Jumeirah Hotels successful expansion in Europe, an interview with the RVP

In a recent exclusive interview with Ms Doris Greif, Regional Vice President Europe at Jumeirah Hotels & Rersorts, CPP-LUXURY.COM has learned about the company’s success in its expansion in Europe

1. How have Jumeirah’s European hotels performed in 2014? Have you seen any particular significant movements in terms of sourcing markets?  (increase or decrease)

We saw excellent performance across the whole European portfolio of hotels and resorts. Every hotel recorded growth over the previous year, with especially strong performances from our three London properties – Jumeirah Carlton Towers, Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel and Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living – and from Jumeirah Frankfurt, which saw an increase in business from the Gulf region of 32%. While we recorded a drop in business from Russia, which was in line with other European hotels, we continue to see increasing interest from the Gulf states and China.

2. What are your expectations for 2015?

Judging by the first quarter performance, all Jumeirah’s hotels in Europe are performing ahead of expectations, with encouraging growth in all segments. The weakness of the euro has had a positive influence on business into our Eurozone properties – Jumeirah Port Soller in Mallorca, Jumeirah Grand Hotel Via Veneto in Rome and Jumeirah Frankfurt in Germany – with significant increases in business anticipated from the US and Gulf regions for the summer season.

3. In Europe, Jumeirah manage a most diverse portolio from the modern Jumeirah Frankfurt to Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah in Istanbul. What is Jumeirah’s competitive advantage as a luxury operator?

Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts are regarded as among the most luxurious and innovative in the world and have won numerous international awards. Our properties are all unique and maintain our brand promise of ‘Stay Different’, offering imaginative exhilarating experiences, within culturally connected environments, providing thoughtful and generous hospitality. In Istanbul, Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah is a museum hotel dating back to 1892, reflecting the elegance and heritage of a bygone era; while Jumeirah

Frankfurt is a sleek, elegant, modern business hotel in the heart of Europe’s financial capital. These hotels, along with our other European properties in London, Rome and Mallorca, are united by a level of luxury service that is unparalleled.

4. Which are the key destinations you are most keen to expand in Europe?

Our focus areas for future expansion are the Middle East, Africa & Asia – and where appropriate Europe. We have just opened Jumeirah Bodrum Palace in Turkey and the next opening in Europe is expected to be in St Petersburg in 2017. Outside of Europe, our international pipeline includes 8 new hotels in China, several in the UAE and others in Jordan, Oman, Mauritius, India and Bali.

5. What is your expansion business model? (management vs franchising)

Our expansion is driven by signing management agreements to operate hotels & resorts as Jumeirah on behalf of third-party developers & investors. Since 2011 Jumeirah has more than doubled the number of properties it has under management. Jumeirah currently manages 23 hotels, resorts & residences, in Abu Dhabi, Bodrum, Dubai, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Kuwait, London, Maldives, Rome, Shanghai, Baku and Mallorca. We
have also launched a contemporary lifestyle hotel brand called Venu, which is already attracting interest from developers around the world.

6. Do you see an opportunity for expansion through rebranding like with the Jumeirah Palace Bodrum?

We are very proud to have Jumeirah Bodrum Palace in our portfolio from 1st May onwards. Jumeirah is always looking for the best location in key cities or destinations. When the destination is of interest for us, the opportunity is there and the hotel or resort is appropriate, we also consider rebranding. This applies to both the luxury Jumeirah brand and the contemporary lifestyle hotel brand Venu.

7. For exceptional projects, would you consider equity investment too?

Our growth strategy is based on ‘dry’ management agreements, a model which has proved very effective to date.

Doris Greif, Regional Vice President Europe, JUMEIRAH Hotels & Resorts