Vision 2030 is the goal set by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to give the country new energy and tools to build a renewed and stronger economy to benefit all.
It also aims to develop entrepreneurship, allowing each and everyone to participate in fostering this better future.
Only two years ago, a young Saudi entrepreneur, Mohammad Alathel, decided to actively contribute to this grand plan by creating a new hospitality group, very different to anything else that was around at the time in the region.
Mohammad Alathel explained how he got his inspiration: “I was inspired by HRH Prince Mohammad bin Salman ambitious Vision 2030 by enabling Saudis to move forward globally, under the leadership of King Salman.”
We spoke to Alathel at Future Hospitality Summit 2022 in Dubai to understand what Amsa Hospitality is all about and how the new hotel group will stand out in an already crowded market.
He said he looked at the GCC hospitality market and compared it to its global counterparts: “All of the regionally developed hospitality groups, with an international level of quality ambition, simply copied what is already existing in other parts of the world, mostly in Europe and the United States.
“While the generous hospitality and warm welcome of visitors are deeply rooted in the Arab culture, the region has not been able to adequately showcase our age-old rich traditions to the outside world.”
The entrepreneur wondered how no GCC hotel group has infused true Arabian hospitality with the best quality service and up-to-date technology.
Amsa Hospitality, the ‘Hallmark of Arabian Hospitality’, was born. Alathel details a very well-constructed vision: “Hospitality groups from all continents developed hotels that reflect their own culture, from Western countries – obviously – to Asia and Africa. They all aim at providing the best standards of quality while promoting their cultural identity.
“This is why I decided that it’s time for the Middle East to join the club of major international hospitality groups that are proud of their ancestral cultural roots.”
Ambitious? Mohammad Alathel definitely is
He walks the path of great predecessors such as Conrad Hilton, who built the Hilton empire, or Paul Dubrule and Gérard Pélisson, co-founders of the Accor conglomerate who started their hospitality group with a vision very similar to his.
These famous precursors started with one hotel in their home country (in Alathel’s case, the Radisson Hotel Riyadh Airport) before building their own brand – which soon became plural – with a global development.
That’s exactly the path Alathel is following. While developing its first home-grown brand (with a second one already in process), Amsa Hospitality is expanding first in Saudi Arabia, with plans to develop next within the GCC then, in the not-so-distant future, go global.
Truly inspired by Vision 2030, which states that “sustainability has been at the heart of Vision 2030 since its inception”, Alathel built Amsa Hospitality as a ‘citizen company’ at heart.
But what does he mean by that, and how does the Kingdom’s Vision help define his own? He said: “To be a citizen company is a real challenge. It means that you must build your firm around the best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices, which include sustainability – of course, but also making social and environmentally conscious investments, promoting fairtrade, reducing carbon footprint, being a true-at-heart respectful company where people enjoy working, and much more.
“I was, in fact, very much inspired by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who said ‘The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is aware of the importance of combating the mutual challenges of climate change and its adverse impacts. Therefore, the Kingdom has launched unique initiatives that are important to the region and the world’.
“I believe it is the duty of a Saudi company that aims to become a global leader in its industry to walk the path so clearly defined. Not to mention that when Vision 2030 states that it aims at ‘bringing Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage, culture, and warm hospitality to the world’, Amsa Hospitality is right on spot.”
It’s rare to hear such a well-rounded and fully constructed vision from a young hotelier, but Mohammad Alathel is built differently.
Building a vision is one thing. Making it a reality is something different
This is the reason why Alathel developed a company – in line with his ‘citizen company’ commitment – where working is not a burden but a challenging and fun daily practice.
For instance, he banned traditional offices with closed doors for a large area with sofas and armchairs, where Team Amsa members – as employees are called – can meet and exchange ideas in a relaxed and stress-free environment.
Amsa Hospitality is one of the first companies in the Kingdom to implement fully the hybrid work scheme, allowing people to work from home or come to the office whenever they feel like or need to, in order to meet colleagues or business partners.
Alathel explains that this setting helps people come up with more innovative ideas, and work harder as a team, as interpersonal relationships are based on trust and freedom, not coercion.
Also, this work organization allows to him to attract and retain the best talents, giving first and foremost priority to Saudi nationals.
Mohammad Alathel explains that, even if Saudi nationals are the majority, in line with the hospitality industry (where diversity is the norm) the mix of nationalities strengthens the team and is beneficial to all to grow and develop their own career paths.
Being a citizen company starts with being a people company
For Alathel, being a citizen company, is more than successful employees, reducing carbon footprint or promoting sustainability; it is also supporting the communities surrounding the company.
So far, Amsa Hospitality has launched an aspiring waste recycling scheme in partnership with the Radisson Hotel Riyadh Airport, promoting and sustaining the Kingdom’s artistic life, and more.
You could spend hours listening to this passionate hotelier. His ideas and projects – complete or in process – are many. One of the highlights being the personalised yet fully digitalized hospitality concept.
At the end of the conversation, we better understand that the ‘hallmark of Arabian hospitality’ is more than a slogan; it’s a life statement.
Amsa Hospitality is a one-of-the-kind company with great principles, great ideas, and great people, but also with great challenges ahead. There’s a lot more to come from Mohammad Alathel and Amsa Hospitality, we’re sure.
This article was published first in Hotelier Middle East.