Arora Management Services Ltd.

When Surinder Arora came to the United Kingdom at the age of 13, he had dreams of becoming a pilot for British Airways. His career ended up taking a different path, but Arora remains close to the airplanes he loved as a boy. As founder, owner and CEO of Arora Management Services, Surinder has a portfolio of highly successful hotel properties located at London Heathrow Airport and other prime locations throughout the U.K. 

Surinder got into property management in the mid-1980s, and by 1994 he was able to purchase a row of houses near Heathrow with the intention of converting them into a bed and breakfast. The success of that property inspired Surinder to develop a purpose-built hotel for British Airways at the airport, which was opened in 1999. That led to the opening of two more hotels in 2001, as well as the company’s acquisition of a portfolio of nine existing hotels a short time later. By 2005, Arora was in a position to bid on opening a hotel at Terminal 5 at Heathrow, which it won in 2006. The Sofitel-branded hotel at Terminal 5 is now the company’s flagship property with numerous awards on its shelf. 

Arora continues to move forward with new and exciting properties in the United Kingdom, including its upcoming InterContinental-branded hotel in London, The O2. In that upcoming property, like all of its properties, Arora will focus on the qualities that have made it successful. By treating guests respectfully and having the best amenities in the business, Surinder says, Arora continues to fly high at London’s airports and elsewhere.

Service Philosophy

Arora owns and operates three hotels at Heathrow, Gatwick Airport and in Manchester. The company also operates two franchised hotels at Heathrow – the Sofitel London Heathrow and the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel – as well as the Sofitel Gatwick London and the Savill Court about 10 miles outside of Heathrow. 

Surinder says the philosophy behind these properties’ success is one that is simple on its surface but requires the utmost skill and discipline to employ. “It’s all in how you treat people,” Surinder says. “I wanted all my team working in the company to treat each other as family and treat the guests like royalty.” 

This philosophy is especially important in London with the current economic climate, where there is only so much money to go around. Surinder says the recession has made it difficult for many hotels to get their fair share of business, but Arora’s properties have been able to maintain a high level of activity thanks to the company’s insistence on the highest possible level of customer service and the high-quality amenities of its properties. 

“You’ve always got to be thinking ahead and making sure looking after the customer is always the No. 1 priority,” Surinder says. 

The Future

The most exciting thing on the horizon for Arora is the upcoming opening of The InterContinental London The O2, which will be operated by Arora Management Services under InterContinental Hotel Group’s flagship brand. The 19-story, 452-room five-star hotel is expected to open its doors to guests in the summer of 2015. 

The property is being built next to the city’s O2 Arena, and is part of a 7.6-acre development that includes a 23-story apartment complex. Surinder says the new hotel will include some of the most unique features in Europe, including the continent’s largest ballroom. “The hotel’s 3,000-square-metre open-plan ballroom – the largest in Europe, with pre-function space enjoying panoramic views of the Thames and Canary Wharf – will complement The O2 and soon become established as one of the world’s preeminent venues, enabling the U.K. to compete with other destinations to attract conferences, meetings and events to our shores and to this increasingly strategically important part of London,” Surinder said in a statement at the time of the property’s groundbreaking.

As for future opportunities, Surinder says the company is being careful not to overcommit and take its growth step-by-step. By taking a careful look at opportunities as they arise, Surinder says, the company won’t risk diluting the formula that has made it so successful to date. 

“I’ve always said if life that one has to make sure that you look one step ahead and one step behind,” according to Surinder. 

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