MD Interview: Rattan Keswani unveals Lemon Tree's expansion strategy
Having signed its very first hotel in Dubai with Al Waleed Real Estate, Rattan Keswani, deputy MD, Lemon Tree Hotels, and director, Carnation Hotels, talks about the journey ahead.
Q: Could you elaborate on the thought process that led to the culmination of Lemon Tree signing up its first hotel in Dubai?
We are constantly evaluating the UAE and larger GCC market, given the enormous potential they hold for both business and leisure travel. For Dubai specifically, we felt the need for a mid-scale hotel of this calibre in this location, taking into account that India has been the largest source market into Dubai, as well as the UAE as a whole, for over three years now, and is constantly growing. Dubai Tourism reported 15.8 million overnight visitors last year, and given the proximity to the UAE, India is unsurprisingly the Emirate’s largest source market for the fourth year running, contributing over 13% to the total figure. Considering each of these factor, we are all set for the launch that is scheduled to take place in the third quarter of 2019.
Q: What are some of the key highlights of the property?
Located on Al Wasl Road, this will be the first branded midscale hotel in the area. The hotel will feature 114 well-appointed rooms and suites, complemented by a multi-cuisine restaurant, Citrus Café, with a beautiful al fresco extension, a conference room, Tangerine, a swimming pool, a well-equipped fitness center and more. We have a locational advantage, with the hotel strategically situated in proximity to famous destinations like Burj Al Arab, Kite beach and the Mall of Emirates, and equidistant from Business Bay and JLT, the two major business districts of Dubai
Q: What are some of the major differentiators that you’ve seen between the two markets? How is the company adapting to these changes?
The main USPs offered by Lemon Tree Hotels are a focus on quality of service and a value for money proposition. These are the key elements that have helped us to grow and evolve the brand in India, and are consistent across every market, both in the country and internationally. Thus, these will be the focal point of our expansion not just within the GCC, but across every country where we expand
Q: How has the brand amalgamated the local culture and trends in the design narrative of the hotel?
The hotel has been designed by the owning company – Al Waleed Real Estate LLC – and their designers. As a Dubai-based company, they understand and have incorporated the local design trends in a soft contemporary style, while also ensuring that the final design narrative reflects the critical design elements that are consistent across all Lemon Tree Hotels.
Q: Lemon Tree is the largest mid-scale hospitality brand in India. How has the company strategised it’s growth in the Middle East market?
We can see a huge potential for quality midscale hotels in the Middle East, and believe there is a large opportunity in the market for an established Indian mid-market brand like Lemon Tree Hotels. Our business development team is focused on finding the right partners across the UAE, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah, as well as the capital cities of the GCC. We have an aggressive distribution network across India, and tie-ups with a significant number of international travel operators, who assist us in growing demand from across the globe.