Voilà prepares to sign first Middle East clients

Two of the region’s independent hotel groups will soon join the Voilà Hotel Rewards scheme

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By  Sarah Gain Published  December 7, 2006

Following the launch of Voilà Hotel Rewards at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London last month, the company’s CEO, Mokhtar Ramadan, told Hotelier Middle East that Voilà is currently in the process of finalising agreements with two “major independent brands” in the region. “We have been in negotiations with two groups in the Middle East for a couple of months now, but I can’t reveal who the groups are at present because I’m under a non-disclosure agreement until the papers are all signed and sealed,” said Ramadan. “We are meeting with the clients soon and we hope to finalise the details. I would say that with luck they will both be onboard by the end of the year,” he continued. “But that’s as much as I can say for now.” Having had a strong presence in the Middle East for 12 years, Ramadan is confident that keen interest from hotels in this region will play a major part in helping Voila to reach its worldwide goals of having 1000 hotels on its books by 2007 and 5.3 million end-user members by 2010. “We’ve had a lot of interest from hotels in the region already and the Middle East and Africa is one of our number one target markets right now. The need is there,” said Ramadan. “The Middle East has quite a few groups of that size that are looking for global exposure, geographic reach and good marketing programmes, and this is what Voilà strives to deliver,” he added. By building its international hotel alliance, Voilà Hotel Rewards hopes to deliver measurable return-on-investment for participating hotels. As well as improving customer retention, the reward scheme helps to generate new and incremental revenue with improved profit margin, according to Ramadan. He claimed that the programme can allow hotels to enjoy higher average net rates from Voilà members while retaining control of their pricing and distribution channels and lessen third-party dependency. “By joining Voilà, Middle East hotels will be able to access our database of five million members in 50 to 60 countries around the world. Part of Voilà is a customer relationship management programme — member hotels have full access to the system free of charge as part of the programme and can use it to create specific marketing campaigns for members with different profiles in any or all of the property’s feeder and target markets,” Ramadan stated. “Voilà Hotel Rewards is what independent hotel groups need in order to compete effectively with the mega-brands. [It is] something that every independent hotelier who has ever lost a customer to a mega-brand rewards programme should consider.”

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