Daily News Egypt interviewed Mohab Ghali, vice president of operations for Hilton Hotels in Egypt and North Africa. The duties of his role at Hilton include improving the regional strategy and oversee operations of 19 hotels and resorts and monitoring the establishment of 14 hotels under constructions in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. Hilton is one of the leading companies in hotel management, with a portfolio of 5,000 hotels and 812,000 rooms in 103 countries.
Hilton has 14 brands, including Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Doubletree, and the Garden Inn.
What are your priorities in your new position in Egypt?
The group is seeking to develop and renovate a number of its hotels in the local market by four hotels.
Are there other priorities for the group in Egypt?
The group’s priorities in the Egyptian market are to complete the deals for managing the hotels, in addition to adding new hotel rooms to a number of existing hotels.
What is the number of hotels?
Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc is planning to manage seven new hotels in Egypt by 2020. The group will not open any of these new hotels until late 2018.
Where are the new hotels located in Egypt?
Four of these hotels are located inside Cairo, namely Hilton Nile Tower, which was named Grand Hyatt; Hilton Nile in Maadi; Garden Inn in the New Administrative Capital; and Hilton Giza Pyramids in front of the Grand Egyptian Museum.
There is the DoubleTree by Hilton in Ain Sokhna and another Hilton also in Ain Sokhna, next to a Garden Inn in Damietta.
Are there any other priorities you have in the local market?
Hilton International Group will start introducing new brands to the Egyptian market under its internationally recognised Hilton brand.
How long has Hilton been in Egypt?
It has been in Egypt for 55 years and plans to increase the number of hotels managed by the group in Egypt. We are the first group to operate hotels in Egypt.
What are the plans for developing existing hotels in Egypt?
Hilton plans to re-establish and renovate the Ramses Hilton Hotel, where last year the company began renovating a large part of the hotel, and is expected to be fully renovated in 2020.
The company plans to renovate the Hilton Zamalek hotel, adding 50 new rooms, in addition to increasing the number of rooms at the Hilton Plaza to 580 rooms.
Has the impact of the commodity, fuel, and electricity price hikes disturbed the financial position of the company?
The increase in the prices of a number of goods or services, such as electricity, has confused the financial position of the group, especially since the hikes happened with no prior notice.
Do you have a fair share in the Egyptian market?
According to STR International, a specialist in the analysis of tourism markets, Hilton is taking a larger share than its actual share in the Egyptian market.
Which areas were most impacted?
There are four hotels in Sharm El Sheikh that are not making any profits, but suffering continuous losses, due to the sharp fall of tourism inflow in the area.
Sharm El Sheikh as a city has been suffering from the low inbound tourism. The two main markets are not there anymore, as Russia and Britain halted their flights after the fall of the Metrojet airliner at the end of October 2015.
What areas are most promising?
The Cairo and Alexandria hotels have good bookings and high occupancy rates compared to other areas.
Was the flotation of the pound positive or negative on your hotels?
It had more positive effects than negative.
What are your plans to distinguish the new Hilton in front of the Grand Egyptian Museum?
We intend to establish a big wedding hall and a conference center inside the hotel.
What are the nationalities that top your bookings?
Egyptians are on top of the list, followed by Saudis, Kuwaitis, and Germans.
How do you attract Arabs?
Hilton has offers and discounts during several periods to attract tourists. We also have a website in Arabic to facilitate dealings for Arabs. Moreover, we have offices in a number of Arab countries that promote our hotels and services.
Is there improvement in operational revenues?
The operational revenues have increased after the flotation and increased occupancy rates. The inflow from Germany will improve the occupancy rates across all Egyptian tourist destinations.