This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.  Find out more here  Close
Jumeirah a ‘group to be taken seriously’
April 3 2013

Gerald Lawless, the group’s president and CEO, said 2013 is the year Jumeirah will stake its claim as a formidable player in the global luxury hotel market.

Highlights
  • CEO Gerald Lawless said 2013 is the year Jumeirah will establish itself as a “group to be taken seriously.”
  • The company has nearly doubled its portfolio in the past few years and plans to hit 30 hotels by the end of 2015.
  • Target markets include the Middle East and Asia, with less emphasis on Europe.

BERLIN—Though Gerald Lawless is wearing a cheeky grin, the man means to be taken seriously.

The president and CEO of Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts views 2013 as a defining year for the luxury hotel operator—a year in which the group will establish itself as a formidable player outside of its home base in Dubai.

“This will keep us very busy and at the same time we’ll really get across the message that Jumeirah is a group to be taken seriously in terms of being a major player in the luxury hotel market,” he said during a break at last month’s International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin.

The foundation has been laid, Lawless said. When the Great Recession ground hotel development to a halt, Jumeirah had approximately 10 hotels in its portfolio. But with the recovery churning, that footprint has nearly doubled to 17.

More impressive is the group’s geographic spread, he noted. Though the company is still largely concentrated in Dubai with six hotels, it has an additional 11 properties in markets as varied as Istanbul, Germany, London, the Maldives and Shanghai.

“I look very forward in 2013 to really putting the Jumeirah culture and the Jumeirah difference into these hotels,” he said.

Lawless added he’s looking to do the same in further openings slated for 2013 and beyond—a job that will likely keep him busy. The chief executive is aiming for 30-some hotels in operation by the end of 2015.

Target markets
While Jumeirah will always have a project or two percolating in Dubai—such as another addition to its Madinat Jumeirah complex, which is slated to begin construction this year and open during 2015—the focus of the company’s development team is looking outward like never before, he said.

Primary growth targets include more countries in the Middle East as well as China, where the company has one property in operation (Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel in Shanghai) and an additional four under development, Lawless said.

Jumeirah also has a hotel signed in Mumbai, but the extended development cycle in India means that property won’t open its doors until a bit further out, he said.

Although the company has expanded its presence in Europe in recent years and now counts hotels in Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Mallorca, Spain, and Rome, the volatile continent is less of a focus, Lawless said.

Additionally, Lawless said the company is “not focused on the U.S. at the moment.”.

Development has become easier during the past six months, both for new builds and adaptive reuse, the chief executive said. For example, the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul, a historical landmark that originally opened in 1892, underwent a four-year renovation before reopening in 2010 and then transferring under Jumeirah’s management wing in May 2012.

Lawless also noted a significant uptick in interest from investors.

“There’s a lot of interest in the brand. We’re receiving quite a number of enquiries. Certainly activity has really jumped in the last six to 12 months,” he said.

Performance picking up
“There’s been an incredible recovery mainly in the last six months of 2012,” Lawless said of the Jumeirah portfolio.

Performance has been strong particularly in Dubai, which accounts for the largest share of the group’s profitability.

Average daily rate is back to 2007 peaks, Lawless said. And during January, hotels within the emirate were running near capacity.

During the first two months of the year, occupancy in Dubai was up 2.7%, ADR was up 7% and revenue per available room was up 9.9% in euro terms, according to STR Global, sister company of HotelNewsNow.com.

That strength is even more impressive considering the addition of the 804-room JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, which had its soft opening in November 2012 and launched officially in February 2013, Lawless said.

COMMENTS   Show All
Login or enter a name   Post Your Comment  Check to follow this thread via email alerts (must be logged in)
(4000 characters max)

Comments that include links or URLs will be removed to avoid instances of spam. Also, comments that include profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, solicitations or advertising, or other similarly inappropriate or offensive comments or material will be removed from the site. You are fully responsible for the content you post. The opinions expressed in comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Please report any violations to our editorial staff

TRENDING
Floating hotels riding high-performance wave
STR, Tourism Economics release 2015 forecast
For this GM, it’s about ‘finding the squirrel’
Here’s the hotel stay of the future
How to reach Chinese travelers on social media
7 concerns for hotel general counsels
VIDEO
Wyndham focused on management
Greg Mount talks RLHC's turnaround
The Lodging Conference in review: Day Two
The Lodging Conference in review: Day One
US supply growth not a problem
LATEST NEWS
US hotel results for week ending 22 November
ESA midway through renovation schedule
Flood of equity changes hotel deal dynamics
How to disrupt the growth in OTA bookings
Be afraid, OTA CEOs, be very afraid
US hotel openings list
Contact Us
Hotel News Now
18500 Lake Rd.
Suite 310
Rocky River, Ohio 44116
        
Copyright © 2004 - 2014 Hotel News Now, a division of STR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.   Privacy