Asian hospitality at its best

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Datin Mavis Masri Azman, Managing Director and CEO of Holiday Villa Hotels & Resorts

Holiday Villa is a Malaysia-based international hotel brand with a wide range of properties spanning across Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Apart from owning and managing hotels, the group also functions through management of selected independent hotel properties, service contracts, joint ventures, and licensed property arrangements. Inside Investor asked Datin Mavis Masri Azman, Managing Director and CEO of Holiday Villa Hotels & Resorts, what the future will bring for the group.

Q: Holiday Villa operates three hotels in the GCC, in Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. Do you have any plans to expand further in that market or others?

A: The Holiday Villa brand name had made its debut in the GCC since 15 year ago . We were one of the first Malaysian hotel groups in Dubai then when the city was developing. During that time, foreigners were not allowed to own properties so the option is to lease the building. We faced some problems with the building and eventually gave up the lease after the Gulf War. Dubai has since changed its foreign investment policy and we would like to return to Dubai should there be a potential partner. We are confident that our Holiday Villa brand is able to bring good value to the market. We are targeting to open a hotel in Bahrain before the end of 2012, but due to the uncertainties there the opening may be delayed. Meanwhile , Saudi Arabia is another potential market for brand growth. At the present time, we have a franchised hotel in Madinah, Saudi Arabia located within walking distance to the Prophet’ s mosque. We had also signed a Memorandum of  Understanding for a city hotel in Jeddah and in deep discussion for a 450-room hotel in Makkah . In Khartoum Sudan, we opened a beautiful heritage hotel fronting the Nile River since 1999. Along with our successful hotel operation in Doha city centre , Qatar, this sums up most of our activities in the Middle East.

Q: The two Holiday Villa hotels in Langkawi and Alor Star are assets in the AmanahRaya Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). How are the hotels doing?

A:  They are doing fairly well, as they are both leading 4-star hotels operating in strategic locations. They give a good fixed return to the REIT, and  after a certain number of  years our company has the option to buy the hotels back.

Q: Malaysia recorded a double-digit growth of tourist arrivals in 2011; reaching about 24 million, with tourism receipts climbing to RM58.3 billion. The Tourism Minister, Dato’ Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen said this growth is in line with the Malaysia Tourism Plan 2020, which is targeting about 36 million tourist arrivals and to generate about RM168 million in tourism revenues by 2020. How can Holiday Villa be part of this vision?

A: Holiday Villa is pioneer  in the promotion of Malaysia as the group started operations 25 years ago.  We do networking actively in all our feeder markets.With the encouragement and enthusiasm of the Malaysian government in making tourism a priority, the Holiday Villa group is expanding in the domestic business. We aim to have one hotel in each Malaysian state. We are targeting to open a hotel in Kota Bharu before the end of 2012. We have signed contracts for Kota Kinabalu , Johor Bahru , Penang and a hotel in Terengganu is slated to open in 2013 giving us a total of 5 Malaysian hotels in the pipe line. In Kuala Lumpur , we are building our own 4-star hotel that is scheduled to open in 2014.In Malacca, we have talked to a few investors but we have yet to find the right product.

Q: 2012 will be your brand’s 25th anniversary. What are your goals for the next 25 years?

A: Presently the group has an inventory of 33 hotels  in 11 countries and it is hoped that within the next five years we are able to add another 17 to achieve a total of 50 hotels. Our next step is to promote the licensing property arrangements or strategic alliance. There are a lot of potential individual hotel owners in the market and it would be more economical for them to join us. We are a Malaysian group , a niche player and have an Asian flavour and at the same time we upkeep international trends and standards. The Asians are very supportive of us in the countries that we operate. For example, our  Asian restaurants in the London and Paris hotels are well patronised.

Q: Where do most of your guests come from?

A: At each hotel, our guests comprise  different mix. We have a big customer base from Asia, for example about 30 per cent at our London hotel, while in Doha, many of the guests are Asian expats, tourists, and VIPs who have been supporting us for a long time. We also have a many European guests in our Langkawi  and Bali resorts, as the Holiday Villa brand has established well in the European market for many years.

Q: Internationally, what are your future target markets?

A: We want to expand and grow our brand operations in China. Currently we have 8 hotels there and are  looking at opening a 300-room city hotel in Shanghai with equity participation. Apart from China, we also want to export our services further in other  European cities like Rome and Frankfurt. We plan to forge strategic partners that can represent us and promote our brand  while we bring Asian clientele in return. The US, on the other hand, is a difficult market for brand expansion. One has to either  invest there with a lot of financial backing, or  put 10 hotels in one go. To expand with just one hotel, I don’t think we would succeed.

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Datin Mavis Masri Azman, Managing Director and CEO of Holiday Villa Hotels & Resorts

Holiday Villa is a Malaysia-based international hotel brand with a wide range of properties spanning across Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Apart from owning and managing hotels, the group also functions through management of selected independent hotel properties, service contracts, joint ventures, and licensed property arrangements. Inside Investor asked Datin Mavis Masri Azman, Managing Director and CEO of Holiday Villa Hotels & Resorts, what the future will bring for the group.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Datin Mavis Masri Azman, Managing Director and CEO of Holiday Villa Hotels & Resorts

Holiday Villa is a Malaysia-based international hotel brand with a wide range of properties spanning across Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Apart from owning and managing hotels, the group also functions through management of selected independent hotel properties, service contracts, joint ventures, and licensed property arrangements. Inside Investor asked Datin Mavis Masri Azman, Managing Director and CEO of Holiday Villa Hotels & Resorts, what the future will bring for the group.

Q: Holiday Villa operates three hotels in the GCC, in Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. Do you have any plans to expand further in that market or others?

A: The Holiday Villa brand name had made its debut in the GCC since 15 year ago . We were one of the first Malaysian hotel groups in Dubai then when the city was developing. During that time, foreigners were not allowed to own properties so the option is to lease the building. We faced some problems with the building and eventually gave up the lease after the Gulf War. Dubai has since changed its foreign investment policy and we would like to return to Dubai should there be a potential partner. We are confident that our Holiday Villa brand is able to bring good value to the market. We are targeting to open a hotel in Bahrain before the end of 2012, but due to the uncertainties there the opening may be delayed. Meanwhile , Saudi Arabia is another potential market for brand growth. At the present time, we have a franchised hotel in Madinah, Saudi Arabia located within walking distance to the Prophet’ s mosque. We had also signed a Memorandum of  Understanding for a city hotel in Jeddah and in deep discussion for a 450-room hotel in Makkah . In Khartoum Sudan, we opened a beautiful heritage hotel fronting the Nile River since 1999. Along with our successful hotel operation in Doha city centre , Qatar, this sums up most of our activities in the Middle East.

Q: The two Holiday Villa hotels in Langkawi and Alor Star are assets in the AmanahRaya Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). How are the hotels doing?

A:  They are doing fairly well, as they are both leading 4-star hotels operating in strategic locations. They give a good fixed return to the REIT, and  after a certain number of  years our company has the option to buy the hotels back.

Q: Malaysia recorded a double-digit growth of tourist arrivals in 2011; reaching about 24 million, with tourism receipts climbing to RM58.3 billion. The Tourism Minister, Dato’ Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen said this growth is in line with the Malaysia Tourism Plan 2020, which is targeting about 36 million tourist arrivals and to generate about RM168 million in tourism revenues by 2020. How can Holiday Villa be part of this vision?

A: Holiday Villa is pioneer  in the promotion of Malaysia as the group started operations 25 years ago.  We do networking actively in all our feeder markets.With the encouragement and enthusiasm of the Malaysian government in making tourism a priority, the Holiday Villa group is expanding in the domestic business. We aim to have one hotel in each Malaysian state. We are targeting to open a hotel in Kota Bharu before the end of 2012. We have signed contracts for Kota Kinabalu , Johor Bahru , Penang and a hotel in Terengganu is slated to open in 2013 giving us a total of 5 Malaysian hotels in the pipe line. In Kuala Lumpur , we are building our own 4-star hotel that is scheduled to open in 2014.In Malacca, we have talked to a few investors but we have yet to find the right product.

Q: 2012 will be your brand’s 25th anniversary. What are your goals for the next 25 years?

A: Presently the group has an inventory of 33 hotels  in 11 countries and it is hoped that within the next five years we are able to add another 17 to achieve a total of 50 hotels. Our next step is to promote the licensing property arrangements or strategic alliance. There are a lot of potential individual hotel owners in the market and it would be more economical for them to join us. We are a Malaysian group , a niche player and have an Asian flavour and at the same time we upkeep international trends and standards. The Asians are very supportive of us in the countries that we operate. For example, our  Asian restaurants in the London and Paris hotels are well patronised.

Q: Where do most of your guests come from?

A: At each hotel, our guests comprise  different mix. We have a big customer base from Asia, for example about 30 per cent at our London hotel, while in Doha, many of the guests are Asian expats, tourists, and VIPs who have been supporting us for a long time. We also have a many European guests in our Langkawi  and Bali resorts, as the Holiday Villa brand has established well in the European market for many years.

Q: Internationally, what are your future target markets?

A: We want to expand and grow our brand operations in China. Currently we have 8 hotels there and are  looking at opening a 300-room city hotel in Shanghai with equity participation. Apart from China, we also want to export our services further in other  European cities like Rome and Frankfurt. We plan to forge strategic partners that can represent us and promote our brand  while we bring Asian clientele in return. The US, on the other hand, is a difficult market for brand expansion. One has to either  invest there with a lot of financial backing, or  put 10 hotels in one go. To expand with just one hotel, I don’t think we would succeed.

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