KSA top digital banking market in MENA

Ahmed Al-Faifi, senior vice president and managing director, SAP Middle East North, second from right, receives the Banker Middle East Award for ‘Best Technology Provider — Middle East.’
Updated 10 July 2018
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KSA top digital banking market in MENA

As Saudi banks digitally transform, the Kingdom ranks as the top digital banking market in the Middle East and North Africa, with more than three quarters of banking customers using online or mobile apps, industry experts announced Monday.
In a recent survey of regional banking customers by research firm ArabNet, 76 percent of Saudi banking customers use digital platforms, and 60 percent use online and mobile apps, both ranking highest in the region. Top Saudi digital banking offerings are loyalty programs (53 percent), mobile discount coupons (51 percent), and virtual prepaid debit cards (50 percent), according to McKinsey.
“The Kingdom is one of the world’s most digitally advanced countries, and banks are leading their transformation with real-time digital solutions to meet their customers’ banking needs,” said Khaled Alsaleh, managing director, SAP Saudi Arabia. “Saudi banks are driving new and innovative banking models in line with Saudi Vision 2030 goals for economic growth and diversification.”
Across the Middle East and North Africa, banking and security firms are driving their digital transformation, with $12 billion being invested in technology, according to research firm Gartner.
Among the Kingdom’s biggest digital banking growth drivers are moving to the cloud, which SAP supports with the recent launch of its local public cloud data center in the Kingdom. “We are co-innovating with Saudi banks on breakthrough cloud-based technology innovations in artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and the Internet of Things to optimize costs, foster innovation, and transform the digital and in-person customer experiences,” added Alsaleh.
SAP Saudi Arabia was recently recognized as “Best Technology Provider — Middle East” at the Banker Middle East Awards. In the Kingdom, SAP is also working closely on enabling the digital transformation of leading banking and financial institutions, including the Islamic Development Bank and the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority.
As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device — SAP aims to empower people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition.
SAP applications and services enable more than 388,000 business and public-sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably, the company said in a statement.


Marriott hotel, apartments open in Riyadh’s DQ

Updated 21 March 2019
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Marriott hotel, apartments open in Riyadh’s DQ

Marriott International and Dur Hospitality this week celebrated the opening of the Riyadh Marriott Hotel Diplomatic Quarter and Marriott Executive Apartments Riyadh, Diplomatic Quarter. The complex is strategically located in the heart of one of the most sought-after areas in the city with easy access to key embassies and major corporate headquarters, and a 30-minute drive from King Khalid International Airport. 

“We are delighted to enhance our footprint in Saudi Arabia with the opening of two strategically important hotels that not only complement each other but also deliver very distinct brand experiences. Saudi Arabia continues to be one of our key markets and we are delighted to further strengthen our partnership with Dur Hospitality,” said Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International.

The hotel is inspired by Wadi Hanifa, a beautiful desert oasis running through Riyadh. The low-rise hotel resembles the smooth, dry canyon walls that make for a dramatic arrival experience. Once you step inside, the waterways guide the way into the building, ushering guests through the arrival court into the palm-dotted oasis in the hotel’s courtyard. Planted cacti, flowering vines, plentiful blooming desert flora and native date palm trees create a calming ambiance, providing shade from the desert sun. 

The complex is the first five-star full service hotel in the Diplomatic Quarter and features 80 spacious modern rooms, and 140 fully equipped apartments. The deluxe rooms feature modern décor and ample work space, allowing guests to stay connected with in-room technology, including high-speed WiFi and bedside USB outlets. Guests staying in one of the six Premium Suites or the Presidential Suite can enrich their experience in the M Club Lounge offering an international buffet, hors d’oeuvre and local specialties 24 hours a day. 

The Riyadh Marriott Hotel Diplomatic Quarter houses three dining venues, Goji Kitchen — an all-day dining destination, a la carte restaurant Mesquite and Agave Café located in the lobby. The hotel offers multiple recreational areas surrounded by lush greenery. 

Muin Serhan, general manager of Marriott Hotels in Riyadh, said: “The opening of Marriott Riyadh and Marriott Executive Apartments Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter is considered an important milestone in our developing journey in the hospitality field; we are keen to provide a very special experience to our valuable guests whatever they are traveling for — business or leisure.”

He added: “And we are very proud to be part of the new Marriott travel program ‘Marriott Bonvoy,’ built on the belief that travel enriches its members and the world around them. Launching in February 2019, Marriott Bonvoy replaces Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG).”