Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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NOVUM Hospitality

Thriving on Innovation

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NOVUM Hospitality is one of the largest family-run hotel groups in Germany that continues to attach great importance to achieving things together as a team and never forgetting where they came from. In this interview, we spend some time with company CEO & Owner David Etmenan to discuss how he maintains his vision of driving the company forward and growing its international portfolio.

The NOVUM Hospitality business began life in 1988 as a one-man show when Nader Etmenan opened the first site in Hamburg, laying the foundation for the company’s present-day success. Nader’s son David joined the company in 2004 and subsequently became the current CEO and Owner. Alongside his brother, Mortesa Etmenan, and his sister Samira Said, his goal was to implement a central management system and drive expansion forward.

“NOVUM Hospitality currently operates more than 150 hotels in over 60 locations across Europe, and our five owned brands within the economy, midscale, and upper midscale segments allow us to offer diversified guest experiences at central locations,” highlights David Etmenan, CEO & Founder of NOVUM Hospitality. “Select Hotels, Yggotel, Novum Hotels, acora Living the City, and the niu deliver short- and long-stay services catered to the needs of business and leisure travellers. Together with our 2,300 employees, we try our best to make our guests happy – every day.”

The most recent addition to its portfolio was the niu Flower, situated in the beautiful city of Constance, Germany, and opened in January. This latest site is characterized by its innovative amenities, including flat-screen TVs, Bluetooth speakers, and free high-speed Wi-Fi along with co-working spaces in its ‘Living Lobby.’

Like every other hotel of the brand, the niu Flower features unique storytelling and interior design inspired by its location. Since Constance is known for its idyllic and breathtaking nature, the niu Flower greets its guests with floral motifs, natural elements, and bright color concepts.

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Their current development pipeline comprises approximately 20 projects, including both new constructions and conversion projects. With the real estate market becoming increasingly saturated and conditions for property construction evolving, their focus has shifted beyond ‘classic expansion.’

While they have a lot of projects in the pipeline, David highlights that their target market remains the European one, with a particular emphasis on Germany, where locations in big cities with key market drivers continue to make up their main area of interest.

Our conversation with David next takes us to the topic of what draws the company to new properties and why?

“Of course, where the property is situated plays an important role in evaluating the potential success of the hotel. We also pay close attention to ‘basic’ attributes such as infrastructure, neighbourhood, price-performance ratio, operating market, and the perceived attractiveness of the site for both business and leisure travellers.”

He continues by saying: “Since we focus on centrally located city hotels, we cannot consider properties that are too far off. Last but not least, we attach great importance to the relationships we have with our development partners. We aim to nurture cooperative partnerships at an equal level and prefer long-standing agreements over short-term solutions.”

With the hospitality industry placing an ever-increasing importance on e-commerce and social media, NOVUM continues to strengthen its direct sales channels. The company has also launched the ‘NOVUM App’ to enhance digital guest communication while at the same time reinforcing customer loyalty.

In regards to social media, they leverage various platforms to engage with their audiences, share unique experiences, and gather valuable feedback. This integrated approach not only enhances their online visibility but also contributes to building a strong and positive brand presence in the digital realm, aligning with the contemporary expectations of their tech-savvy audiences.

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With the topic of sustainability having become one of the most pressing issues in global society, David highlights that like any other industry, there is a growing emphasis on sustainable practices within the hospitality sector too, and NOVUM Hospitality strives to address by implementing measures related to sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Their long-term goal is to transition to green electricity in all NOVUM Hospitality buildings and hotels. Many of their hotels provide integrated bicycle or e-scooter hire services to promote sustainable mobility, and in the planning of new hotels, they prioritize environmental considerations.

“Several of our project developers and partners have hotel construction projects assessed by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), ensuring that their projects meet the DGNB Gold or Platinum rating. The DGNB criteria include responsible resource extraction, drinking water requirements, wastewater prosecution, and on-site biodiversity,” Etmenan highlights.

The range of hotel choices on offer today means that customer loyalty is more important than ever, and NOVUM Hospitality continues to stand out from the crowd through not only its design and amenities but through their continuing excellence across their portfolio of brands.

In addition, their loyalty program, ‘N-Members’ launched in March last year, and this offers exclusive benefits to regular customers. So far, more than 150,000 guests have registered for the programme and enjoy attractive advantages with every booking. These range from a ten per cent discount on public rates, free cancellation until 11 pm on the day of arrival for a Best Flexible Rate, or the ability to rebook a Non-Refundable Rate, along with a complimentary bottle of water at check-in. The loyalty program, integrated into the ‘NOVUM App,’ appeals to new and returning guests alike, emphasizing their commitment to flexible travel for both business and leisure.

“At NOVUM Hospitality, we embrace and thrive on innovation. We foster swift decision-making processes and maintain flexibility in our thinking. Nevertheless, we consistently uphold our family philosophy, ensuring that people and togetherness always remain at the forefront of our business,” Etmenan explains. “Diversity, integrity, commitment, and respect make up our core set of values and are the key drivers of our company.”