The time is right: Mohamed Awadalla, CEO of TIME Hotels

Piers Brown By Piers Brown
Uploaded 01 March 2017

SAN talks to Mohamed Awadalla, CEO of UAE-based serviced apartment and hotel operator TIME Hotels

• What is your background?
"I am an international hotelier with more than 30 years' experience, having worked with leading global hospitality companies including Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Hilton International, Rotana Hotels and now at TIME Hotels Management L.L.C, where  I am one of the founding members. Being one of the founders of TIME Hotels Management in 2012, I started as a CEO with overall responsibility for the company's hotels, hotel apartments and residences with a remit to spearhead the future development and drive the commercial success of TIME Hotels rapidly expanding portfolio in the Middle East."
 
• What is the vision behind TIME Hotels?
"TIME Hotels' goal and prospect is to be the leading local brand in the region, offering authentic local hospitality to its guests.
 
• When did the brand enter the UAE marketplace and what is the the current portfolio? 
"The brand was established in 2012 and currently we hold seven properties. The portfolio comprises of two hotels and resorts, three hotel apartments, and two residences.
 
• What is Time Hotels product offering?
"TIME Hotels and Resorts is our premium brand for those seeking a little more in both business and leisure travel. As the flagship brand of the TIME portfolio, TIME Hotels & Resorts ensures very high standards across every facet of the guest experience whilst ensuring our signature value for money propositions is delivered throughout. Some properties cater more to leisure and others more to business travel but all of them provide the guest with the luxury of space and time to be with themselves."
 
"TIME Hotel Apartments are for those seeking the comfort of home with the added convenience of hotel services. Providing a host of attractive facilities normally associated with a home environment combined with the convenience of hotel services, TIME Hotel Apartments deliver a practical and cost efficient accommodation solution which is essentially a home-away-from-home. Each apartment is stylishly furnished and fully equipped throughout, making it ideal for both business and leisure travellers either on long-stay or short-stay visits."
 
TIME Express Hotels are for those who look only for the essentials to make their budget stretch further. The offer of TIME Express Hotels has been created by re-evaluating the entire guest experience with the object of prioritising the essentials. Guests welcome the economic efficiencies generated through this process, leaving them with more to spend on things that matter most to them. Fresh, modern and upbeat, TIME Express Hotels is the brand of choice for budget conscious travellers seeking to get more from life."
 
Finally, TIME Residence is for those requiring long-stay accommodation which combines the luxury of service and security. Long stays at any TIME Residence is the ideal antidote to the long days associated with relocating to a new city or extended business trips. Whether furnished or unfurnished, all TIME Residence properties provide the comfort of security and the convenience of hotel services delivered with unique warmth and energy expected from the friendly professionals at TIME Hotels."
 
• Could you explain more about the TIME Hotel Apartments and TIME Residence brands?
"The hotel apartments and the residences are not similar brands. The hotel apartments are serviced apartments in which you have the services and facilities if a serviced apartment including reception desk, gym, pool, lobby, café, and in some cases a wellness spa and spa wet services. On the other hand our residence is more conservative and represents a residential building which we furnish and look after one behalf of the owner and it falls under our branding which sets a certain level of expectation that the person who is renting will consider. The residences are on annual basis rental contracts but the hotels apartments are for short and long stay, from one night to annual periods."
 
• With TIME being no-alcohol properties in UAE, how does this affect REVPAR and compare within your competitors?
"Being a dry hotel has no effect on the REVPAR as I discussed in my last panel at the GIOHIS Summit 2017 - F&B ranges between 15 and 25 per cent of the total revenue versus 75 to 85 per cent from the room revenue. Family tourism is growing at a rate of 4.79 per cent year on year and it remains a robust market, with the GCC family tourism market expected to reach 53.3 million travellers by 2020."
 
• What is TIME Hotels' approach to distribution?
The market feeder is a mix between leisure and business and its depends on seasonality and between the brands and properties, the mix varies. TIME Hotels visitors are predominantly business travellers, due to the location of the properties in close proximity to major business districts. This makes the stay more convenient for short and long stay guests. The brand also caters to families and leisure travel due to the fact that the properties are close by prominent malls and major touristic attraction and public beaches. The guest mix is  mainly from the GCC followed by European (east and west) along with a Scandinavian guest profile. The markets are on a stable traffic for TIME Hotels and we have been exploring new markets such as East Africa and Nigeria to attract new visitors and to compensate for any drop in regular market feeders."

"We have a natural and healthy split of our online distribution between OTA and direct booking in which we always try to offer special promotions and offerings capture more drive versus the standardised OTA offering. We are focusing more and more to drive more direct bookings and retrieving more of our share from the third party booking engines, also empowering our social and digital strategies to drive further more traffic to our website."
 
• What are Time Hotels expansion plans?
We have a series of properties for 2017 across several brands and across the GCC and UAE. They are:
TIME Beach Villas Resort, Jeddah, KSA - May , 2017
TIME Rako Hotel, Doha, Qatar - August 2017
TIME Asma Hotel, Dubai, UAE - September 2017
Yasma by TIME Hotels, Qurayyat, KSA, December 2017
Platinum TIME Residence, Fujairah, UAE - June 2017
Palm 2 TIME Residence, Ajman, UAE -July 2017
 
• Which TIME brand is showing the most growth and why?
 "Well, we have growth across all brands and we are trying to tackle new trends with new brands that will be upcoming soon. As for the existing ones we would be growing further in 2017 with our hotels and resorts to reach six properties by the end of the year."
 
•  What's the biggest challenge for TIME Hotels in the future?
"Challenges are new trends, and there are more and more on the rise these days. We have a dedicated professional team of hoteliers in executive positions at TIME Hotels who always manage to foresee any challenge and make sure we have a plan to handle them and progress."
 
• What's the outlook for the UAE over the next three years?
 "The UAE is on a plateauing phase which is normal in all economies, and the next three years will be a steady rise in the preparation for the Expo 2020 - the whole country will witness a golden age across all sectors."
 

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