Mr. Sultan Al Otaibi, CEO of Dur Hospitality, has been chosen by Hotelier’s Executive Power List 2023

Jan 17 2023

Over the past 12 months, Dur has made several significant strides in response to new developments and to secure the company’s place as a key contender in shaping the future of hospitality in the MENA region. Dur is also a major contributor towards the Kingdom’s objective to attract 100 million visitors by 2030. Under Sultan Al Otaibi’s unwavering commitment to Dur’s growth strategy and his passion for contributing to the Kingdom’s tourism and hospitality sectors, Dur has thrived during the very challenging postpandemic recovery stage, carefully balancing its expansion to nurture its home-grown brands and empower them to grow in specialised areas. His strategic leadership style has fostered a culture of empowering each employee with the skills and tools needed to place guests, residents, and customers at the heart of every decision, making Dur the leading company in the hospitality sector.

Al Otaibi has led Dur’s ambitious expansion strategy, completing new partnerships with global players and overseeing the rollout of home-grown brands, such as Nur by Makarem (launched at the end of 2021), and the deployment of innovative concepts, like Amasy Ramadan dining banquets. Accentuating the strategic role that tourism and hospitality play in diversifying economies and creating employment, Al Otaibi focuses on a management approach that embraces world-class technological innovations and best global practices, within a scalable, flexible, and efficient financial management system across Dur’s diverse operations. His foresight to make Dur technologically ready and accessible to international travel partners has successfully differentiated Dur from its competitors, resulting in the group evolving into a formidable challenger on the international stage that is successfully contributing to attracting visitors to the Kingdom.

The CEO’s unique people-centric approach has encouraged a nurturing learning environment at Dur. Under his leadership, Dur has provided key training opportunities for its teams through Dur Academy, including in-house training and personalised upskilling and reskilling programs. His effective management policies that is aligned with the national industry localisation and talent-building goals have contributed to Dur maintaining a 38.3 percent Saudisation rate (as of the end of 2022).

Internally, Al Otaibi has played a major role in enhancing Dur’s workplace, driving productivity and engagement across all departments and creating an open communication culture that endorses high values of inclusion, integrity, and transparency.

One of Dur’s major milestones in 2022 was signing a major deal with global hotel brand Accor to develop Saudi Arabia’s first Rixos and Jeddah’s first luxury resort in Obhur Bay. The company awarded a US$48.4 million contract for the project’s development over a duration of 18 months. Through this strategic investment, which will add 174 rooms to its portfolio, Dur aims to cater to a growing demand for family vacations, business trips and ‘workcations’.

The company signed another major partnership for building the first-of-itskind smart, AI-powered hotel within the stc Square Project in Riyadh, taking a revolutionary approach in combining expansion strategies and technological advancements. The JV project will deploy cutting-edge technologies and automated services of the highest international standards to deliver a futuristic, premium hospitality experience. In parallel, Dur is expanding its flagship spiritual tourism brand Makarem into Madinah through a deal with Awqaf Investment to develop the five-star Makarem Madinah.

He said: “These past 12 months have proven that we are on the right path towards achieving our goals of success as the leading hospitality company in Saudi Arabia and enriching the local industry by offering home-grown hospitality services with world-class standards. The mechanisms for digital enhancement, engagement with regional and international partners, and our ambitious expansion strategies were well-timed as market trends and demands rapidly shifted and destinations re-opened for business.

“Looking ahead, we are excited about all the growth opportunities in Saudi Arabia and we will continue to welcome our guests with open arms, offering them the highest quality and services driven by innovation and sustainability and enriched with authentic Saudi hospitality.”