The rise of Jannah Hotels
Since the first Jannah hotel opened in Abu Dhabi in 2013 the company has not only been on a strong growth footing but has also been looking at innovative ways to drive value for both customers and stakeholders. Alongside increasing the number and range of its hotels, it is pursuing a number of technological and business initiatives in order to grow its revenue base and broaden its market offering. Today the company manages assets of roughly 1.8 billion dirhams, but is seeking to increase this to as much as three billion in the next two years.
Having built their careers in the hospitality industry in various senior positions around the world, CEO Nehme Darwiche and a group of like-minded professionals established the first hotel in 2013. Having built a strong brand based on local values, the business managed to acquire a strategic backer who enabled it to leverage significant capital and construct another four hotels spread between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
While both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are no strangers to luxury hotels, Jannah has worked hard to secure a number of industry firsts in order to make the experiences it offers travellers truly unique in an already unique part of the world.
Darwiche explained that the company’s dedication to its guests was the best example of this: “We introduced the first butler service in Abu Dhabi and we called it Karim which means generous in Arabic; we make sure that all of these butlers are highly trained. This is key to why we get so much return business.” Jannah’s Burj Al Sarab resort also made news for introducing the first hotel range of mini bar items set at ‘street prices’ in the UAE (and probably for much of the rest of the world!)
He also said that, having gone through the full cycle of constructing its first hotel, the company was in a strong position with both its go-to construction company and its consultants, not to mention comfortable delivering this in the UAE, whose government has been helpful in this regard.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.