Makkah, Riyadh projects to add almost 30,000 rooms in Saudi hotel market

Above, construction cranes are seen outside the Grand Mosque in Makkah in this January 2016 photo. About 23,307 hotel rooms are now under construction in Makkah, which will add to the 32,377 rooms already in the market. (Reuters)
Updated 14 February 2018

Makkah, Riyadh projects to add almost 30,000 rooms in Saudi hotel market

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s focus on tourism as one avenue to diversify the Kingdom away from oil dependence is receiving a boost with a slew of hotel projects now under construction.
Industry monitor STR, in its latest update on the Middle East and Africa hotel sector, said that projects now being undertaken in Makkah and Riyadh would add almost 30,000 rooms to the current supply.
In Riyadh, a total 6,290 hotel rooms are now being built to complement the 13,104 rooms in inventory while in Makkah about 23,307 are now in construction, which will add to the 32,377 rooms already in the market.
In other Gulf areas, current hotel projects in Dubai would add 36,394 rooms to the 97,736 rooms in supply while in Abu Dhabi about 4,064 rooms are now being constructed to boost the 26,678 rooms available to clients.
STR also noted that 333 properties are under construction in the wider Middle East region, comprising 105,037 hotel rooms while 146 projects are being implemented in Africa, equivalent to 26,030 rooms.
Meanwhile, STR said that the revenue per available room (RevPAR) and average daily rate (ADR) of Jeddah hotels slightly dipped in January despite an increase in demand during the month.
The ADR was 2.4 percent lower to SR732.33 while RevPAR slipped 2.1 percent to 370.33 on an industry occupancy rate of 50.6%. RevPAR, a key hotel industry performance indicator, is obtained by multiplying a hotel’s ADR by its occupancy rate.
“The month’s high demand growth figure was boosted by the school holiday during the middle of January,” STR said in its report.
Hotel room availability in Jeddah was up 11.7 percent in January, while demand grew at a faster 12.1 percent rate.

Indonesia’s Go-Jek close to profits in all segments

Updated 18 August 2018

Indonesia’s Go-Jek close to profits in all segments

  • Go-Jek is Indonesia's first billio-dollar startup
  • Ride haling app evolves into online payment platform

JAKARTA: Go-Jek, Indonesia’s first billion-dollar startup, is “extremely close” to achieving profitability in all its segments, except transportation, its founder and CEO Nadiem Makarim told Reuters.

Launched in 2011 in Jakarta, Go-Jek — a play on the local word for motorbike taxis — has evolved from a ride-hailing service to a one-stop app allowing clients in Southeast Asia’s largest economy to make online payments and order everything from food, groceries to massages.

“We’re seeing enormous online to offline traction for all of our businesses and are close to being profitable, outside of transportation,” said the 34-year old CEO.
The startup is expected to be fully profitable “probably” within the next few years, Makarim added.

Already a market leader in Indonesia, where it processes more than 100 million transactions for its 20-25 million monthly users, Go-Jek is now looking to expand in Southeast Asia.

Ride hailing services in Southeast Asia are expected to surge to $20.1 billion in gross merchandise value by 2025 from $5.1 billion in 2017, according to a Google-Temasek report.

Go-Jek said in May it would invest $500 million to enter Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, after Uber struck a deal to sell its Southeast Asian operations to Grab — the bigger player in the region.

Go-Jek is seeing strong funding interest from its backers as it targets an aggressive expansion, Makarim said.

“Since its Aug. 1 launch, the app has already grabbed 15 percent of market share in Ho Chi Minh,” Makarim said. The firm this week opened recruitment for motorcycle drivers in Thailand.

The startup expects anti-monopoly concerns swirling around the Grab-Uber deal, which Singapore said had substantially hurt competition, to help clear a path for its expansion.

“We’re bringing back choice. The Singapore government is particularly eager to bring back competition,” Makarim said, adding that the order of overseas rollouts had not been set.

Go-Jek’s offshore push comes at a time when Singapore-based Grab is stepping up funding to expand in Indonesia and transform itself into a consumer technology company, starting with a partnership with online grocer HappyFresh.

“Mimicking Go-Jek’s strategy is the highest form of flattery,” laughed Makarim.

Grab told Reuters in a statement, “The super app strategy has been around for a while now and no Southeast Asian player can claim to have pioneered it.” The company also said Grab has not lost market share in Ho Chi Minh since August, but declined to provide market share data.

Makarim believes Go-Jek’s understanding of food merchants will give it an edge over Grab, which counts investors such as Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. among its backers.

Makarim, who sees food delivery as Go-Jek’s core business, said he was not concerned about funding, without giving details.

Go-Jek was reported in June as being in talks to raise $1.5 billion in a new funding round and was valued at about $5 billion in a prior fundraising, sources have told Reuters. The firm had said in March it was considering a domestic IPO.

Makarim noted Go-Jek’s backers were sharing both capital and expertise. The company is collaborating with Alphabet Inc’s Google on platform mobility, Tencent on payments strategy, on logistics operations, and Meituan Dianping on merchant transactions and deliveries.

Go-Jek has set up a venture capital arm, Go-Ventures, to invest in startups in Southeast Asia “with strategic importance to our business,” the CEO said.