Six Strategies That Enabled Homegrown Hotel Brand Rove Hotels To Make Its Mark In The UAE Rove Hotels now has more than 4,000 rooms open or under development across the Middle East.

By Paul Bridger

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Rove Hotels
Rove Hotels Downtown Dubai

Rove Hotels grabbed the attention of Dubai's discerning population, savvy tourists, and digital nomads when the doors to its Downtown Dubai property swung open in 2016. Fast forward to 2022, and the brand's energy and enthusiasm for shaking up the hospitality scene has proven to be infectious.

The venture now has nine locations across the UAE, and it has many more in the works. Indeed, Rove Hotels now has more than 4,000 rooms open or under development across the Middle East.

So, how did we get here? Here's what I believe to be the strategies that have allowed the brand to be declared as one of the best hospitality groups in the country:

1/ Find the best people to run the place Your team is going to set the tone for your brand – and most importantly, for your customers– so, choose your people wisely. At Rove, we have invested a lot of time, energy, and resources into bringing together a team of Rovesters from all over the globe, and it's been an incredibly worthwhile investment.

We call our team members Rovesters, and we see them more as friends and family than employees. One piece of advice I'll stand by is that you don't have to find the most experienced or qualified person to do the job– simply look for the most passionate, and they'll grow with you. The majority of our senior leaders have been with us since we opened our Downtown Dubai hotel, and they have climbed the ranks as we've grown.

2/ Build a community of followers Building loyalty can be a challenge; so, find a point of difference that resonates with your customer base, and keeps them coming back for more. In our case, we served up a fresh and informal take on hospitality that charmed long-time residents and made first-timers in the city feel like locals.

Our Rovesters put a whole lot of energy into delivering unbeatable insider knowledge, and they always have a finger on the pulse of what's happening in the coolest neighbourhoods.

3/ Listen to your customers All the Rovesters –and that includes me– take the time to read as many reviews of our properties as possible. We analyze trends by hotel and by department, and then share best practices across our network, so that we can create the best possible experience for our guests, or as we like to call them, Rovers.

One of the ways we've made a difference for our Rovers is addressing them by their first names. We know they want a high-end experience but without all the fan-fare, and we know they care about art and sustainability, and we share that with them by bringing the themes into our hotels, and also knowing where to find their favourite things outside the hotel doors too.

Related: Six Tactics That Enabled A Business With An Investment Of US$15,000 To Secure Over $1 Million In Revenue In Three Years' Time

4/ Keep it simple To put it simply: work out what works, and stick with it. In our case, we focus on maintaining an energized team and well-maintained hotels. That might sounds like an easy enough goal, but it's actually quite a challenge when you consider the scale of it. These two seemingly simple goals need to be accomplished during every shift, in every one of our hotels, every single day. And hotels don't sleep.

5/ Be creative to keep your costs low We have been working to very tight margins, especially over the past couple of years, and we work really hard to prevent cost creep. Something that's worked really well for us is challenging ourselves to be creative, rather than spending a lot on marketing activities.

The majority of our brand activations have cost us nothing but time– and they've been incredibly successful. For instance, our commitment to the local communities we're operating in has led to us opening co-working spaces that have become the basecamp for podcasts and photo shoots, and our Gamer Caves have tapped into the booming e-sports market. There are loads of ways to keep costs low with collaborations and using resources other than cold hard cash.

6/ Invest in your team, and they'll invest in you As a leader, it's important to have a crystal-clear plan in place to achieve the goals and targets of your organization. Sharing that plan with your entire team, and making sure everyone's onboard, is even more important. I mentioned earlier that bringing together a team of Rovesters has served Rove Hotels incredibly well.

I believe that including them in our vision and growth strategy has allowed us to retain staff we've had onboard since we first opened doors in 2016. They're invested in contributing to our growth and continued success, and we're just as invested in their personal and professional development.

Related: Five Key Trends Shaping The Future Of The Hospitality Industry

Paul Bridger

Corporate Director of Operations, Rove Hotels

A proven hospitality leader with more than 20 years’ experience across the Middle East, Asia, UK & Ireland, Paul Bridger is the Corporate Director of Operations of Rove Hotels, the smart, new value hospitality brand created as a joint venture between Emaar Hospitality Group and Meraas Holding. As “Head Rovester,” Paul has led Rove Hotels since its opening in 2016, and he is responsible for overseeing the initiation, planning, and achievement of strategic brand objectives, ensuring a successful and consistent roll-out of this new mid-scale lifestyle offering. His role also includes providing leadership and management focus on the business operations to achieve maximum financial performance, as well as team and customer satisfaction. 

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