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Feature: A man’s world? How the changing face of the cosmetics industry will drastically change the hotel spa Interview: Meeting GM Mark McCarthy, from the twin property that takes Rotana to the position of ‘Dubai’s No.1’ Q&A: From keeping on top of stock to electricity bills, hoteliers reveal how they make money on the hotel minibar


Trends: New Scotland Yard’s Mark Moles on improving hotel security to the benefit of guests, staff and local residents Tenders: The latest projects and the supplies they need

GLOBAL HOTEL INDEX: Asia Pacific +0.5% - Americas +2.4% - Europe +2.8% - MEA +6.1% (Regional room occupancy increases 2012 average)

STATEMENT CITY The story behind the world’s tallest hotel, set to make a statement even by Dubai’s standards.

In association with...

Publication licensed by IMPZ

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Put that deal to bed! In the hospitality business, what really matters the most is the netter comfort and guest satisfaction. We at Sealy are committied to better sleep that leads to better sleep thats leads to better business.

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Crime warning A

Complacency about safety helps nobody in the industry these days.

s a Dubai resident of almost three years, and editor of this magazine, I am acutely aware of the role the city’s hotels play in everyday life. From spas and salons, to business meetings and dining venues, Dubai’s hotels are not only world renowned for being some of the best, but they serve as a first port of call for almost every service available in the city, to residents and tourists alike. Which is why, when a press release landed in my inbox, regarding the re-launch of Dubai Police’s security course, “exclusively for the hospitality industry”, I wanted to know exactly what was going on. As the Arab Spring rocked almost every neighbouring nation over the last two years, and meticulous restrictions and protocol remain in place in airports worldwide, Dubai retained its image as the world’s safe haven with a flat-lined crime rate. For those in the industry, it is clear this isn’t the case. From the assassination at Al Bustan Rotana, to the printer-cartridge bomb threat (both in 2010) and recent convictions for theft and even sexual offences, crime is opportunist and it happens here, as it would anywhere else. Crime is not necessarily

Crime is not necessarily something for Dubai to be ashamed of, but it is something that those who can, should do something about.

something for Dubai to be ashamed of, but it is something that those who can, should do something about. It’s not just about training the industry’s front line; as a patron myself, I now question if our ‘everything is fine’ attitude actually serves any benefit. This is no longer just about the reputation of Dubai, but the safety of all those who reside and visit. After speaking with the UK’s New Scotland Yard DCI Mark Moles, who will be promoting the course across Dubai and the GCC over the coming year, it’s clear that continuing to ignore the threats that exist everywhere else, is the greatest threat of them all MELANIE MINGAS EDITOR

On Twitter? Follow us for daily updates on the global hospitality industry at HospitalityBME.

PUBLISHER: Dominic De Sousa GROUP COO: Nadeem Hood ASSOCIATE PUBLISHERS Alex Bendiouis Dave Reeder EDITORIAL Editorial Director: Dave Reeder +971 55 105 3773 Editor: Melanie Mingas +971 56 758 7834 Senior designer: Christopher Howlett Photography: Anas Cherur ADVERTISING Alex Bendiouis +971 50 458 9204 Antony Crabb Sales Manager +971 55 338 7639 Ankit Shukla Sales Director +971 55 2572807 PRODUCTION Production Manager: Devaprekash MARKETING & DISTRIBUTION Rochelle Almeida SUBSCRIPTIONS PRINTED BY Printwell Printing Press LLC, Dubai, UAE PUBLISHED BY

Head Office, PO Box 13700, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 4 447 2409 Group Office, Dubai Media City Building 4, Office G08, Dubai, UAE A publication licensed by IMPZ © Copyright 2013 CPI. All rights reserved. While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.


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MENA New luxury standard for Abu Dhabi NEWS The largest suite in the Emirate kitchenette, a common lounge area; 2,455 square metres of duplex living of Abu Dhabi, with panoramic city and mangroves views, has been officially opened by a group of tourism officials, high profile reigonal executives and government stakeholders. Located along a 1.2 km stretch of protected mangrove reserves, The Royal Mangroves Residence, part of the Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa, by Anantara, offers its VIP guests

space, with opening rate starts from AED 55,000 ++ per night. The suite features a private infinity pool, a private swim up pool-bar and a rooftop garden. It is described by the operator as a “personal sanctuary and the ultimate Abu Dhabi experience”. There is also a private entrance and dedicated lift for privacy; separate living areas, study,

a walk-in closet; butler’s pantry; rain showers and oversized free-standing terrazzo bathtubs. Guests also have access to the executive lounge, Kasara, a limousine service with wifi, private chef, mixologist, 24/7 butler and a massage and beauty therapist during their stay. Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa is Anantara’s third property in the UAE.


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Opening rate starts from AED 55,000 ++ per night .

Online bookings boost for DubaiLand's first hotel DubaiLand’s first hotel, Abidos Hotel Apartments, has reported 90% year to date occupancy, with 65% of the business driven from online bookings and agents and an extra boost provided by Dubai Shopping Festival. “65% of this comes from online sources be it online travel agencies, brand website or e-bookings, reflecting the high demand for


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Dubai from a vast range of feeder markets,” said Mina Habib, business development. “In addition, we are also receiving FIT and corporate guests,as well as airline crew, enabling us to start building a healthy customer base,” he added. The hotel opened at the end of last year and is the only one of 90

properties planned for the troubled Dubai Land development. As an introductory offer, the Abidos Hotel Apartment has launched a family package, offering a two-bedroom apartment for AED650, for up to three nights’ accommodation and inclusive of buffet breakfast for two adults and up to three children.

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16% Anantara The Palm set for September Anantara will launch its first Dubai property on The Palm Jumeirah in September of this year. The Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort and Spa will be a five-star property owned by Seven tides. With 239 guest rooms and suites, clustered to maximise privacy, 130 rooms will offer direct access to 11,000sqm of lagoon pools. Other special features will include a private beach, three natural lagoons, water sports, a shoreline infinity pool, a 12 room Anantara Spa sanctuary, fitness studio and two tennis courts, in addition to “elaborate entertainment systems”. While the resort marks Anantara’s first in Dubai, the operator already has three properties in Abu Dhabi: Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, Desert Islands Resort & Spa and

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UPS $14.6 billion growth achieved by Accor Group globally in 2012

8,000 Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa in Abu Dhabi City. Dillip Rajakarier, CEO Minor Hotel Group, said:“We are delighted to be partnering with a progressive and respected company such as Seven Tides to open our fourth unique property in the UAE. Anantara Dubai Palm consolidates our brand’s focus on iconic destinations and builds upon our growing collection of properties."

Dubai average occupancy hits 80% Ernst & Young’s November 2012 market report has signalled that average occupancy across the Middle East increased significantly YoY, naming existing and emerging hotspots, such as Dubai, Ammam, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In Dubai, occupancy rose 2% to hit 80% overall. Compared to November 2011, rooms yield (RevPAR) increased 3.8% and average room rate marginally decreased by 0.4% in November 2012. Bahrain also witnessed positive changes in its hospitality KPIs, where the overall occupancy rates increased by 7% year-to-date, according to the analyst, due to business events in the Gulf state. Cairo saw an identical rise, with Sharm El Shaikh reaching an above average 12% increase. Sharm Al Shaikh also witnessed the highest year-to-date growth in Egypt in terms of Rooms Yield, of 16.3%


compared to the same time period in 2011. In terms of monthly performance, Cairo’s occupancy rate improved 11% compared to November 2011, with Sharm El Shaikh increasing 6.0% and Hurghada 5.0% compared to November 2011. Notably, in Amman overall occupancy rates increased by 16%, possibly due to “the onset of milder climate conditions, in addition to increased political stability” said Ernst & Young. The year-to-date room yield in Amman is 31.7% higher than it was year-to-date in 2011, with the average room rate 3.1% higher than it was year-to-date in 2011. In Saudi Arabia, Jeddah increased by 7%, and Madina 2%. Compared to November 2011, Riyadh’s occupancy rate increased by 17% in November 2012.

new rooms added by Louvre Hotels Group in 2012, matching growth targets

100 hotels will be operated in India and SE Asia by Starwood by 2015. Currently there are 34 properties with 24 in the pipeline

6.3% YoY occupancy drop reported in Canada, where the current average hotel occupancy stands at 45.3%

1,200 passengers affected when 20 Dubai bound flights and 14 Abu Dhabi planes were diverted due to heavy fog at the end of last month

£8,500 per calendar month, to live at The Ritz, London, where Lady Thatcher now resides, reportedly to avoid care home costs




1/30/13 5:09 PM


$32.9m MENA NEWS


Opening takes Rotana to Dubai No. 1


Rotana hotels is officially Dubai’s largest operator following the opening of its new flagship property, Al Ghurair Rayhaan & Al Ghurair Arjaan. Located in Deira, the twin properties take Rotana’s total inventory in Dubai to 15 properties. The two new hotels also represent Rotana’s largest ever room inventory in a single project and will add 620 rooms to Rotana’s Dubai portfolio – 428 rooms at Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana and 192 apartments at Al Ghurair Arjaan by Rotana – bringing the total room inventory in the Emirate to 3795, the most significant in a single city within Rotana’s portfolio. The hotels are also the first in Dubai to include the company’s award-winning Zen spa concept. Speaking exclusively to Hospitality Business Middle East, GM Mark

The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management has achieved “outstanding outcomes” in the recent International and Domestic Student Barometer survey (ISBSB™) conducted by the International Centre of Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality Education, THE-ICE. The Academy has participated in THE-ICE ISB-SB annual benchmarking survey, conducted in partnership with the International Graduate Insight Group (i-graduate), since 2011. It is the world’s only tourism, hospitality, events and culinary arts, student-focused satisfaction survey, available exclusively for its member institutions, comprising of quality universities and private hotel schools from some 10 countries.

MIDDLE EAST PIPELINE SHARED BY STR The Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline comprises 480 hotels totaling 119,932 rooms, according to the November 2012 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report. The total active pipeline data includes projects under construction, in the final planning and planning stages, but does not include projects in the preplanning stage. Among the countries in the region, the United Arab Emirates reported the largest number of rooms under construction with 20,030 in total. Five other countries ended the month with more than 2000 rooms under construction: Saudi Arabia (16,496 rooms); Egypt (4692 rooms); Qatar (3764 rooms); Jordan (2447 rooms); and Morocco (2329 rooms).

KINGDOM HOLDING RECORDS $32.9M PROFIT ON NY SALE The sale of the Plaza Hotel in New York means a profit of $32.9 million for Kingdom Holding, which sold a 75% stake in the property to Sahara India Pariwar. Kingdom Holding sold its stake for $575 million. The Saudi Arabian giant, currently funding the 'mile high' Kingdom Tower, will retain its 25% equity stake in the property.


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McCarthy pledged not to upset the market dynamic of the bustling Deira district, despite the hotel being fitted out to such a high quality it will become a reference point for Rotana in the UAE. “We’re not going to come in and undermine the other hotels in the area, we are going to try and keep a nice level balance. In the first year our main target will be tourists, because we need to stress test the hotel and that comes with lower rates. By the end of this year, we are targeting 50-65% occupancy,” McCarthy added, reporting a near 100% occupancy rate during the soft opening phase from December 12.

Turn to page 24 for the full interview with Mark McCarthy.

Rotana and Al ghurair Group executives at the official press launch of the new properties.

St Regis Doha opens signature F&B destination Chinese restaurant Hakkasan has opened the doors of its third Middle East outlet at the St. Regis, Doha. Designed by Woods Bagot UK, the 120 cover Hakkasan Doha features a dramatic entrance through its iconic long corridor in slate stone and offers an additional capacity of 60 seats on its outside terrace. Launched in London in 2001, The Hakkasan group is owned

by Abu Dhabi’s property investment company Tasameem which also owns Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant Yauatcha in London. Tareq Derbas, St Regis GM said: “Hakkasan Doha completes our extensive dining offering and will certainly contribute to positioning the hotel as Doha’s best culinary destination.”

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GLOBAL First Hyatt Regency for China NEWS China’s first Hyatt Regency, the programming, as well as high-speed Hyatt Regency Qingdao, has opened on the Shandong Peninsula, beside the Yellow Sea. Not only the first Hyatt Regency in China, it is also China’s first upscale beachfront hotel, located in Qingdao’s new business, commercial and entertainment centre. The hotel offers 439 guestrooms, including 25 suites. All rooms feature views of the ocean or beach through floor-to-ceiling windows, set against a backdrop of the Laoshan and Fushan mountains. High-tech in-room amenities include a 40-inch LED flat-screen TV with cable/satellite

broadband and wireless Internet access. “This opening, in a popular gateway city, is a significant milestone for us as we continue to grow our brands in China in a sustainable manner,” said Christopher Koehler, vice president of operations for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in China. “We are very pleased to be able to offer our signature brand of hospitality and unrivalled guest experience at Hyatt Regency Qingdao and believe that this opening will underscore our commitment to creating preference for Hyatt-branded hotels throughout China.”

All rooms feature views of the ocean or beach through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Welsh hotel named world number one for service Four hundred Trip Adviser users voted the Lauriston Court Hotel, in Llandudno, as having the best service in the world in the 2013 Trip Advisor awards. Owned and operated by husband and wife duo Ian and Carol-Lynn Robins, the four-star seaside property also came sixth for best value – offering B&B for £35/ night. The hotel features 11 double and family rooms,


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and was praised for cleanliness, warm welcomes and home-cooked breakfasts made to order. At the other end of the scale, Raffles Dubai was among the top 25 luxury hotels in the Middle East and Istanbul and Marrakesh represented the region in the top 20 destinations category. Dubai’s Regis Kris Kin Hotel received the ‘Certificate of Excellence’.

Hôtel du Palais, Biarritz, France.

Orient Express launches associate programme Orient Express Hotels Ltd. has launched the Orient-Express Associate Hotels programme and announced its founding member as the Hôtel du Palais, Biarritz, France. Associate hotels will have access to Orient-Express’ full suite of sales, marketing and public relations support in 17 key geographic markets; global voice reservations and dedicated distribution under the Orient-Express GDS code “OE”; and a fully aligned online presence with next generation websites. Available strategic partnerships include the Bellini Club, Orient-Express’ preferred agent programme. “The Associate Hotels programme is an opportunity to enhance our portfolio of iconic travel experiences by partnering with independently owned and/or managed luxury hotels,” said David Williams, chief marketing officer, Orient Express.  “In return for providing access to our highly valued international sales force and strategic marketing channels, this initiative enables us to curate new destinations for our guests to discover.  Our boutique collection is uniquely positioned to work with like-minded hoteliers who wish to preserve their established individual brand reputation, but who share the vision of the Orient-Express umbrella brand, offering an equal standard of authentic experience, revenue return and service as our owned properties.”

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Eye on Saudi Arabia

Everybody has an eye on KSA, but Colliers International suggests that, in addition to the current planned properties, the market could absorb a further 34,882 economy rooms SUPPORTABLE ROOMS - EAST KSA




50,000 45,000 40,000 35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0

1,200 1,000



R 600 400


2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Tourists Inbound ('000 s) Tourists Domestic ('000 s)

2011 200

Source: Colliers International Research, 2012

0 2013






BRANDED VS UNBRANDED STOCK (ECONOMY HOTELS) 4,000 3,500 3,000 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0



52% 42% 31% 18% 0%

12% 0%



60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 0% -10%


2016 Hofuf






5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000


0 Total Branded

Total Unbranded





27- 53%






1000 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0




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2015 Riyadh


5,000 4,000 3,000


2,000 1,000 0 2013 2012






Jeddah Source: Colliers International Analysis

2015 Yanbu


2016 Abha

2017 Taif


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TabukEconomic City Jouf


Eastern Province Economic City

Northern Borders Hail

Tabuk Prince Abdul Aziz BinMousaed Economic City

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JazanEconomic City

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Low Demand Capture (10%)

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High Demand Capture (20%)

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The Eastern Province, Jeddah and Riyadh have the largest amount of internationally branded Economy hotels, closely followed by Jazan. There are no quality internationally branded economy hotels in Abha, Jazan, Hail, Jubail, Buraydah, Yanbu or Al Ahsa, which are markets dominated by full service hotels and locally branded serviced apartments. Markets such as Jazan, Hail and Tabuk are near upcoming economic cities, which are either being planned or are under development.









$5,333/ sqm



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The hotel benchmark The Ernst & Young hotel benchmark report provides a monthly performance overview of leading hotels in the Middle East. It includes five-star and four-star internationally branded and operated properties KEY FIGURES



Occupancy %



Occupancy % November 2011 - November 2012 87






87 79




69 62


















AVERAGE ROOM RATE DUBAI - OVERALL HOTELS (US$) Average Room Rate November 2011 - November 2012 350 300 Average Room Rate


100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

250 200















100 50 0











REV PAR IN DUBAI - OVERALL HOTLES(US$) Room Yield November 2011 - November 2012 300



Room Yield

250 200






211 189 161




148 116




50 0



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P.O. Box 184432 Trade Center Road T:04 255 2560 F:04 255 2561

2/4/13 10:13 AM


Helal Saeed Al Marri appointed to lead DTCM

In his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued a decree appointing Helal Saeed Al Marri as the Director General of Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing Department (DTCM). The appointment, effective of January, will see Al Marri concurrently holding this position and upkeeping his currently responsibilities as Chief Executive of Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). Helal Saeed Al Marri replaces Khalid A. bin Sulayem.

Barjeel Heritage Guest House opens

This place is not only for tourists but for everybody to have the chance to know and understand the culture of the Emiratis.” Al Marri Habib Khan, CEO of Planet Hospitality

Barjeel Heritage Guest House, a traditional Emirati guest house giving tourists and residents in Dubai a chance to step back in time, has been officially opened in Shandagha. Dubai Heritage Village held a ceremony attended by DTCM’s, Majid Al Marri and key management and staff of Planet Hospitality and Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa, who will operate the property. A new classification will be added to DTCM’s current star-rating programme, specifically for this property. “We would like to congratulate Planet Hospitality for preserving our local heritage through Barjeel Heritage Guest House. We have seen an increase in the number of people visiting heritage sites in Dubai and there is a huge interest amongst tourists coming to Dubai to know about Emirati culture and traditions so the Barjeel Heritage Guest House will cater to this demand. Guests staying here will have the opportunity to experience the life of our people during the early years of the city. Everything that you will see here reflects the culture and tradition of our country so it’s like being a guest to an old Emirati family offering true


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R Arabian hospitality,” said Al Marri. Habib Khan, CEO of Planet Hospitality, said: “This place is not only for tourists but for everybody to have the chance to know and understand the culture of the Emiratis.”

All rooms at Barjeel Heritage Guest House are furnished with an Arabian theme and overlook the courtyard. The hotel boasts roundthe-clock butler service, a number of traditional dining offerings, private functions and events.

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First Dubai Green Festival announced As part of its commitment to the UAE Vision 2021, to lead the foundations of a green sustainable economy that consolidates Dubai’s position, and the UAE’s, regionally and internationally in the field of preservation of the environment, DTCM has announced details of the first Dubai Green Festival. “Dubai Green Festival is the first of its kind to target all segments of society to increase awareness of sustainable solutions in order to preserve the environment,” said then director general for DTCM, Khalid A. bin Sulayem. “This festival will gather expertise and corporates to join forces to

enhance sustainable practices, methods and solutions that everyone, individuals or corporates can adopt to enhance the sustainable economy and preserve the environment. At the festival, individuals will have a chance to share their ideas and to promote their aspirations of the future of the environment in Dubai. It will be the ideal stage for public participation in environmental awareness where individuals will feel responsible for the environment and will learn how to practice social responsibility on daily level. “By the end of this festival DTCM aspires to achieve its goal to

raise awareness of environmental sustainability practices,” he added. The festival is expected to gather large audiences on both individual and commercial levels as well as drawing regional and global attention to Dubai’s sustainable ambitions. The festival will feature environmental activities targeting all segments of society, including workshops, presentations and environmental competitions, an exhibition to showcase environmental friendly products, workshops to enhance environmental knowledge, and a display of eco-friendly transportation. The festival will take place over seven days in April 2013.

Radisson Royal honour from DTCM Dubai’s Radisson Royal beat 38 other properties to win DTCM’s 11th annual Concierge Competition. The Radisson Royal Hotel Dubai Concierge Team - headed by Naji Khatar - was chosen as the “Concierge Team of the Year 2012”. Also Melchor Lomboy from Radisson

16-17 DTCM news.indd 17

Royal Hotel Dubai took home the award of “Concierge of the Year 2012” while Mekonnen Getachew from the team has been awarded as the “Best Head Concierge of the Year 2012”. Celebrating during an awards ceremony on January 10, 2013 at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, GM

Cornelia Erhardt said: “I would like to congratulate our team for the great achievement and we are very delighted with this recognition. We will continue our focus on delivering our Yes I Can! promise, to create an unforgettable memories for our guests.”



2/3/13 1:19 PM


Tel: (+971) 2 634 8495

NEW TENDERS Client name: Katara Hospitality (Qatar) Address: Formerly Qatar National Hotels Company, Katara Hospitality Bldg, C Ring Road City: Doha Postal/Zip Code: 2977 Country: Qatar Phone: (+974) 4423 7777 Fax: (+974) 4427 0707 eMail: Website: Nature of work: Supply of general and engineering stores supplies to various hotels. Cost of Tender Documents ($): 20 Last date of submission: February 7, 2013 Client name: Armed Forces Hospital Programme (Saudi Arabia) Address: Contracts Office, Bldg. No.100 City: Riyadh 11159 Postal/Zip Code: 7897 Country: Saudi Arabia Phone: (+966 1) 477 7714 Fax: (+966 1) 478 4057 Nature of work: Supply of complementary and therapeutic foods for a hospital. Cost of Tender Documents ($): 2535 Last date of submission: February 24, 2013

NEW AND CURRENT PROJECTS Project Name: Hilton Hotel Project - Jabal Omar Housing Development Description: Construction of five-star Hilton Hotel comprising (500) rooms. Client Name: Jabal Omar Development Company (Saudi Arabia) Country: Saudi Arabia Status: New project


Project name: Retail & Residential Area Development Project - Al Maryah Island Description: Development of a retail and residential area on Al Maryah Island (formerly Sowwah Island). Client Name: Gulf Capital Pvt JSC (Abu Dhabi) Country: UAE Status: New project Project name: Abu Dhabi Marina Bloom Development Project Description: Construction of Abu Dhabi Marina Bloom including a five-star hotel, serviced apartment


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All the latest information on the tenders you need to know about building and two residential blocks. Client Name: Abu Dhabi Marina (Abu Dhabi) Country: UAE Consultant: Khatib & Alami Consulting Engineers (Abu Dhabi) Status: New project Project name: Dhofar Beach Resort Project Description: Development of Dhofar Beach resort comprising a five-star hotel with (130) rooms, signature restaurants, food and beverage outlets, leisure and water sports facilities, meeting rooms, business centre, retail outlets, including a health club, a spa and a ballroom. Client Name: Taameer Investment Company (Oman) Country: Oman Consultant: Hill International L.L.C (Oman) Budget (USD): 111,000,000 Status: New project Project name: Distinction Tower Project Description: Construction of 53-storey, 195-metrehigh Distinction Tower comprising (295 Nos.) serviced hotel apartments, including a luxury spa, a gymnasium and swimming pool. Client Name: Damac Properties (Dubai) Country: UAE Consultant: ZAS/PSE Architects (Dubai) Contractor: Al Nekhreh Contracting Company L.L.C - ANC (Dubai)

Status: Current project Project name: Mixed-use tower Project-6 Description: Construction of 36-storey mixed-use tower comprising a five-star hotel, an eight-level podium containing high-end retail units and office space. Client Name: Abdali Investment & Development Company - ADIC (Jordan) Country: Jordan Consultant: Perkins & Will (USA) Contractor: Dubai Contracting Company L.L.C. (Dubai) Budget (USD): 200,000,000 Status: Current project Project name: The Address The Boulevard Tower Construction Project - Downtown Dubai Description: Construction of 340-metre, 63-storey The Address The Boulevard Tower comprising a 5-star hotel and serviced apartments consisting of studios, one-two-three and four-bedroom apartments. Client Name: Emaar Properties PJSC (Dubai) Country: UAE Consultant: Atkins International (Dubai) Contractor: Brookfield Multiplex Constructions Middle East L.L.C (Dubai) Status: Current project Project name: Doha Festival City Development Project Description: Development of Doha Festival City comprising a retail centre, an entertainment

1/30/13 5:27 PM

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Project name: Hilton Hotel Project - Jabal Omar Housing Development Description: Construction of five-star Hilton Hotel comprising (500) rooms. Client Name: Jabal Omar Development Company (Saudi Arabia) Country: Saudi Arabia Status: New project

park, two hotels and an auto park made up of car showrooms. Client Name: Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate (Dubai) Country: Qatar Consultant: Mace Limited (Qatar) Contractor: Arabian Construction Company - ACC (Qatar) Budget (USD): 1,600,000,000 Status: Current project

Abu Dhabi Towers comprising two buildings, each consisting of (37) storeys, including a five-star hotel, a resort and hotel apartments. Client Name: Morocco General Trading & Investment Company - Emroc (Abu Dhabi) Country: UAE Consultant: Surbana Corporation (Abu Dhabi) Contractor: Nurol Group (Abu Dhabi) Budget (USD): 272,000,000 Status: Current project

Project name: Mall of Egypt project Description: Construction of Mall of Egypt comprising (380) stores along with associated retail and entertainment facilities. Client Name: Majid Al Futtaim Group (Egypt) Country: Egypt Consultant: RTKL Associates Inc. (Dubai) Contractor: Orascom Construction Industries (Egypt) Budget (USD): 800,000,000 Status: Current project

Project name: St. Regis Hotel Project - Nile Corniche Development Description: Construction of St. Regis Hotel comprising (286) rooms and (217) hotel apartments, including a four-level basement for 900 vehicles and all associated facilities. Client Name: Qatari Diar Real Project name: Abu Dhabi Estate Investment Company FIND MORE Marina Bloom Development (Qatar) TENDERS ONLINE AT Project Country: Egypt WWW.HOSPITALITY Description: Construction of Abu Consultant: Michael Graves & BUSINESSME.COM Dhabi Marina Bloom including a fiveAssociates (USA) star hotel, serviced apartment building Contractor: Orascom Construction and two residential blocks. Industries (Egypt) Client Name: Abu Dhabi Marina (Abu Budget (USD): 1,000,000,000 Dhabi) Status: Current project Country: UAE Consultant: Khatib & Alami Consulting Engineers Project Name: Jewel of the Creek mixed-use (Abu Dhabi) development project Status: New project Description: Development of Jewel of the Creek mixed-use scheme comprising four-star and five-star Project name: Dhofar Beach Resort hotels, furnished service apartments, a convention Project centre, ballroom, office buildings, residential Description: Development of Dhofar Beach Resort buildings, a marina and landscaping. comprising a five-star hotel with (130) rooms, Client Name: Dubai International Real Estate signature restaurants, food and beverage outlets, Company leisure and water sports facilities, meeting rooms, Country: UAE business centre, retail outlets, including a health Consultant: Kling Consult (Dubai) club, a spa and a ballroom. Contractor: Al Habtoor Leighton L.L.C (Dubai) Client Name: Taameer Investment Company Budget (USD): 800,000,000 (Oman) Status: Current project Country: Oman Consultant: Hill International L.L.C Project name: Festival Center Project - Cairo Festival (Oman) City Budget (USD): 111,000,000 Description: Design and construction of a closed Status: New project shopping centre comprising three storeys consisting of (95) restaurants and coffee shops, retail stores, Project Name: Distinction Tower project including a combination of (300) international and Description: Construction of 53-storey, 195-metreregional trademarks. high Distinction Tower comprising (295 Nos.) Client Name: Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate (Dubai) serviced hotel apartments, including a luxury spa, a Country: Egypt gymnasium and swimming pool. Consultant: WATG (UK) Client Name: Damac Properties (Dubai) Contractor: Al-Futtaim Carillion (Dubai) Country: UAE

Project name: Convention & Exhibition Centre Project Description: Design and construction of a convention centre comprising an auditorium with capacity for 3,000 people, a 25,000 square metre exhibition centre/multi-user sports centre, including several hotels in five, four and three-star categories, 20 meeting rooms (each with 250 seating capacity), a business park covering approximately 70,000 square metres, restaurants, cafes, press centre, shopping mall (125,000 square metres) and recreation facilities. Client Name: Oman Tourism Development Company S.A.O.C (Omran) Country: Oman Consultant: RMJM (Dubai) Budget (USD): 1,700,000,000 Status: New project Project name: Dubai Modern Art Museum & Opera House District Project - Downtown Dubai Description: Construction of Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District comprising a modern art museum, an opera house, cultural facilities, including two hotels, studios and leisure facilities. Client Name: Emaar Properties PJSC (Dubai) Country: UAE Status: New project Project name: Emroc Abu Dhabi Towers Project Description: Design and construction of Emroc

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Project name: Retail & Residential Area Development Project - Al Maryah Island Description: Development of a retail and residential area on Al Maryah Island (formerly Sowwah Island). Client Name: Gulf Capital Pvt. JSC (Abu Dhabi) Country: UAE Status: New Project



1/30/13 5:27 PM


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Dubai may have built its reputation on being the region’s safe haven but maintaining that security is everybody’s responsibility. New Scotland Yard counter terrorism liaison officer Mark Moles, answers your questions on the training course you can’t afford to miss


t made headlines around the world; Hamas official Mahmoud al Mabhouh, assassinated in his Dubai hotel room in October 2010. The ramifications on the Emirate’s reputation – in addition to the political impact – were severe. But the lasting legacy of this incident, and others less acute, will result in seismic changes in the delegation of responsibility when it comes to hotel security. “The investigation by Dubai Police uncovered many suspicious activities with the assassination team,” shares New Scotland Yard counter terrorism liaison officer, DCI Mark Moles. “For example, there was a man in the foyer for three hours, wearing gloves in spite of the Dubai heat.


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They were all things that could look innocent, but equally if you really did look at them you would know that something wasn’t right.” In conjuction with the UK’s New Scotland Yard, The Department of Protective Systems of Dubai Police has launched a training programme entitled ‘Security Awareness Training for the Hospitality Industry’. The course, which has been designed specifically for hotel staff, has been described by Dubai Police as equipping the hospitality industry and its employees with “the skills and knowledge needed to prevent and combat potential security risks and criminal threats”. The course is delivered by a UKbased company, Shield Security, but

it’s the brainchild of New Scotland Yard and is being promoted to law enforcement bodies across the Middle East by Moles himself. “The methods taught in this course have prevented terrorist attacks elsewhere and we have arrested and convicted people as a result of surveillance in hotels and malls elsewhere,” Moles says of the scheme that has trained almost 3,000 hospitality professionals in Dubai, from the security staff themselves to chefs and gardeners. “I have a roadmap of best practice that I am trying to introduce to this region, but it takes time to get the buy-in. We have done this in Dubai for over 12 months, and we are also heavily involved in Doha, Singapore, Asia, the

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UK and Maldives. The concept is new here but the UAE isn’t a guinea pig,” he adds, reiterating Dubai’s dependence on repeat visitors and the integral role its reputation plays in this. Each individual, the hotel and the company receives a formal recognition of completion of the course; endorsed by New Scotland Yard, Dubai Police and the UK Government. “It is something tangible that shows the individual has partaken in significant training and the hotel gets that recognition also.” While the course is subsidised by Dubai Police to the tune of 80%, it is not mandatory. Instead, every hotel in Dubai, and then moving out to the other Emirates, will receive an email from Dubai Police and an invitation to meet and discuss the benefits of the course. “Dubai Police makes this one of the safest cities in the world, but a lot of things are happening in the region and ‘we’ all together need to be on the front foot.”

How real is the security threat in Dubai and how can hoteliers protect their properties and guests? There is crime here like there would be in another city. Crime is very opportunist and some of the biggest and most iconic establishments across the Middle East are targets for criminals. This initiative isn’t in response to a massive crime problem, because there isn’t one. The threat from terrorism is ever present, but no more here than anywhere else. This is certainly one of the safest places in the world because of Dubai Police, but this is about giving the hospitality industry a different perception on security. This is unique: it’s UK driven and has some unique differences as to how most people perceive security.

The programme is described as being ‘a tool to identify terrorist threats’. Can you explain what this means?

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It’s important that we don’t overdo this. There is no greater threat of terrorism in Dubai than there is


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the hospitality industry. But if you invest in security and making sure staff remain motivated, you will be effective. We are looking for whatever the security regime is in the hotel to engage in the programme, and that includes outsourced services.

If a hotel employs or outsources to meet its security requirements, why is this course necessary?

DCI Mark Moles, New Scotland Yard, counter terrorism liaison officer

anywhere else in the world, but the biggest threat is complacency. Those who don’t believe the threat exists are the biggest threat. For example, what concerned me for a while was valet parking. People turn up to a hotel, leave their keys and somebody then drives that vehicle into the hotel. How many times do you see somebody actually lift the boot or look on the back seat? A lot of what I do demonstrates that a rucksack could be left in a car with a mobile-activated or timer device inside and the hotel is wide open to that attack. We’re not saying that every time you see a briefcase or rucksack in a car you need to call the bomb squad, but if something is suspicious and you’re not happy about it, report it.

What can GMs do to secure their properties and guests? Invest in training! Because of the sponsorship from Dubai police, the cost of this course is minimal and Shield Security is only covering the cost of delivery of the course. This isn’t a commercial venture, the benefits are for those who partake. We all know that security across the board is low paid and transient with a highturnover of staff, and that isn’t just in

Most of the establishments that have visible frontline security are under the impression that security is left to the security industry to maintain, for instance you will have visible security staff and visible covert abilities, like CCTV. It’s quite understandable that hotels rely on the security staff to be their eyes and ears, but this is about making sure that everybody is vigilant. The applicable lesson from the UK is that security, especially for counter terrorism, but also for crime as well, is not just the responsibility of the security team. This programme brings in the concept that security is everybody’s responsibility; from those in the lobby lounge to the valet parkers and gardeners. Nobody knows the environment of a hotel like those who work there. Things that go on in the hotel will be seen by those who work, and sometimes also live, there. This training programme is about giving other members of the hospitality community the awareness training that will stop them from rationalising and dismissing suspicious behaviour.

DCI Mark Moles

Who do you need to train to reach course objectives? We look to try and get 60-70% of all staff across the board in each hotel engaged, and that can even include chefs because they still pass through the premises. Because it’s difficult to



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release so many staff on a single session, we conduct a series of workshops over a period of time, if needs be over as long as 12 months. The scheme is also a refresher for the security industry, vital because of the turnover rates. One thing I have also seen is that there is very little respect for security staff and for that reason we now include conflict resolution in the training. This is not a one off and it’s not a one size fits all.

Why is the course not mandatory? Dubai Police doesn’t want to make it mandatory because it says there is enough legislation in the UAE. But it has invested in it to such a degree that there is really no reason why hotels shouldn’t take up the offer. The course is 85% subsidised so hotels pay only AED20 per attendee and all the hotel needs to provide is space in which to conduct the sessions and Powerpoint facilities. A lot of hotels then come back and say ‘It’s not mandatory so we’re not going to do it’. That is disappointing to see but the authorities do want a return on those who don’t take it up. The disappointing thing is when security and training budgets are set in October/November and nothing can be allocated to this. Luckily, this is very low cost and that should really not be an issue.

How did the initial idea for this come about? In the UK we have Operation Griffin, which brings together the Home Office and Foreign Office, law enforcement – including police and intelligence agencies – and then private security – for a briefing on the current security situation and immediate threats, for example if there has been a spate of pickpockets. This idea was developed in the UK more than 10 years ago, and has since detected a lot of crime, including drug traffickers and armed robberies. I was part of the development of Operation Griffin in the UK and


20-22 news analysis.indd 22


when we showcased the benefits to authorities in Singapore and Dubai, they really saw the benefits. In an armed robbery incident, the robber wouldn’t just visit the shop or bank to carry out the crime - it’s all about hostile reconnaissance, which is a big part of this course. Criminals will look for CCTV, monitor security change times, and so on and that’s exactly what happened at the Al Bustan assassination. If we look at the worst case scenario, a repeat of an incident like that in Mumbai, or a car bomb, would be devastating.

What is the course about? What this training does is give a different perspective on security in the hospitality industry and other crowded places, such as malls, that are popular with tourists and may be a vulnerable to crime and terrorism. It’s all delivered in English, but we may expand this as the course progresses. The course is very interactive and visual and also engages the staff.

We show video clips from hostile reconnaissance situations and explain the UAE law, also. We show how it is possible to access rooms through fraudulent activities or steel identities if protocol isn’t followed on reception. One hotel we have worked with implemented spot checks on their own staff and identified lapses in their security as a direct result.

What’s your advice to the hospitality industry? Expect the unexpected, continue to train and have contingency plans. That’s what this course is about. It’s about saying you shouldn’t be complacent and this will add to the armoury of effective counter terrorism measures that already exist. This is everybody’s responsibility Hotels are encouraged to enrol their teams by contacting or by calling +971 56 274 1520.

1/31/13 3:40 PM

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2/4/13 10:58 AM




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Last month Rotana became the largest operator in Dubai when its new Arjaan and Rayhaan properties opened at Al Ghurair Mall. Taking its share of both the long and short stay markets, GM Mark McCarthy, tells Hospitality Business Middle East about the vision for the new properties

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Contemporary fully furnished and serviced hotel apartments Connected to the 5-star Al Ghurair Rayhaan AL GHURAIR RAYHAAN BY ROTANA The twin properties are developed under Rotana’s Arabic and apartment brands.


hey are described by Rotana executive vice president and COO, Omer Kaddouri, as “a milestone property with landmark design of the highest quality”. And while the 5-star Al Ghurair Rayhaan and Al Ghurair Arjaan by Rotana no doubt mark a milestone for the colossal hotel group, they also make an indelible mark on the industry as a whole. Tipping Rotana’s reputation from the realms of ‘big’ to ‘supersized’, the new properties, adjoined to the Al Ghurair Centre Mall in Deira, represent Rotana’s largest ever room inventory in a single project with 428 rooms in the Al Ghurair Rayhaan and 192 apartments in the Al Ghurair Arjaan. It also makes Dubai Rotana’s most significant single city market, with 3,795 rooms in the Emirate. Following a soft opening on December 12, 2012, over the Christmas and New Year period the properties experienced – an unexpected – 100% occupancy rate. Crediting his strong team, GM Mark McCarthy, who has worked for the chain since 2007, says the period was hectic but trouble free with only “one or two little pipe leaks” reported.

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“We experienced higher occupancy than expected in the first month and we haven’t built our staff up yet because of the lower projections. So now we have to get more staff in and change our game, which is exciting,” McCarthy comments on the period. When asked how and why the surge in visitor numbers occurred, McCarthy credits the wise allocation and end results of the hotels’ AED2bn investment. “The cost of the hotel is evident wherever you go. From the quality of the finishes to the materials used, everybody who sees it says it’s the best finished hotel in the Rotana portfolio,” McCarthy reports. Not only tapping the tourist and long-stay markets, Arjaan and Rayhaan are also adjoined to the Al Ghurair Centre Mall, a family leisure and shopping destination that later this year will re-launch with a 16,000sqft expansion and 150 new retail units. It gives the new properties one of the strongest footholds on one of 2013’s hottest trend predictions, the mall hotel. And it’s an opportunity McCarthy is poised to seize. From providing Arjaan branded shopping


luxury rooms and suites

6 4

carts and resident access to Spinney’s supermarket for long term guests on the grocery run, to the ‘mall deli’ Buzz Cafe (which will remain open throughout the night to meet DTCM requirements for 4- and 5-star properties), the complex will be kitted out to tap travellers, shoppers and local footfall as well as, eventually, the Emirate’s burgeoning business market. But what will give these residences an edge over The Address at Dubai Mall and Kempinski at Mall of the Emirates? “We are in Deira and this is a vibrant area of Dubai with a number of new and renovation projects currently underway. “I have had friends who visited Dubai and other mall hotels and while they are impressive, they were asking me ‘Where is the soul of Dubai?’ well it’s here in Deira,” McCarthy states, crediting the Gold Souk, Bastikiya Heritage area and impressive public transport links as key drivers. “So now we have a beautiful, modern, contemporary hotel situated

meeting rooms

dining venues LIWAN International all day dining YASMINE LOUNGE Lobby loung

There is a spacious reception area to serve both properties.

SHAYAN Persian restaurant BUZZ deli mall cafe ZEN SPA The first of Rotana’s Dubai properties to have its signature spa onsite The property features four F&B outlets.



1/30/13 5:31 PM


in the heart of Deira and in a mall,” he adds.

To drop or not to drop McCarthy’s approach however, is not to burst onto the local market and rock the boat, so to speak. Pitching the hotel in line with the local market, rather than the going 5-star rates for properties of such quality, he says year one will be about building reputation with an occupancy target of 50-65% by year end. “We could do higher but we would have to drop rates and we are looking, from where the market stands today at about AED600/ night,” explaining the thinking behind the decision as “not wanting to cause a problem in Deira”. “We’re not going to come in and undermine the other hotels in the area, we are going to try and keep a nice level balance,” and as a result of which: “We are not going to drop rates.” He demonstrates similar levels of commitment to his pledge of a zero dilution rate of either brand. Plans include dedicating entire floors of the Arjaan property to the truly long-terms guests, while reserving other apartments for Rayhaan guests booking suites.

“The quality level of this hotel should be positioned much higher than the other hotels in this area, but in our first year we have to get people through the door. “It takes three years for a hotel to stabilise and the first year needs to be a building year. We’re going to have attractive rates but we’re not going to go crazy,” he adds hinting at the launch of a massive marketing campaign to achieve the objectives. “In general, you don’t want to drop rates but other hotels have pitched theirs far too high and it has hurt them. So you have to find that right medium and we are going to come in close to where the market is right now, let people see us and then grow, our own way, based on our quality levels. “People have to become aware of us – the online booking people, the Saudi Arabian market. It’s going to be a real building year.”

The Rotana touch In building that reputation, McCarthy will not just rely on the adjoining mall and bustle of the Deira neighbourhood, but will aim to draw footfall from across Dubai through the hotel’s exclusive Zen Spa – the Rotana spa’s Dubai debut – and its F&B

The multi-billion dirham fit out project makes this property Rotana’s flagship.


24-26 Interview - Rotana GM.indd 26


IN PROFILE: MARK MCCARTHY No stranger to the region, American-born Mark McCarthy was living in San Francisco when initially hired by Rotana and although happy in the US, he says he was “dying to return to the Middle East, despite living in such a beautiful city” after spending his early career here with Intercontinental Hotels. Lured by Rotana’s growth and expansion plans and the opportunity to contribute to them, McCarthy was originally hired to open the Orynx Rotana Doha (which faced delays and is now scheduled to open mid2013). Instead, after his appointment in 2007 he ran the popular Sheikh Zayed Road property, Towers Rotana, for four years. “Launching this property feels great. All of us as GMs want to do bigger and more but for me I think the exciting part was an opening because that was new for me.”

Heavy investment has been made in all aspects. offerings, with four venues located across the two brands (see box). Stressing the international focus of the cuisines, plans for these outlets include increasing the number of theme nights, introducing proven concepts from other properties and offering a very family themed brunch (both the Rayhaan and Arjaan Rotana brands were created for the Arabic market and as such do not serve alcohol). The hotel will also serve as a showcase for the entire Rotana brand, due purely to the quality of the product. “For example in F&B our other hotels will come and learn from our buffet offerings and the presentation of the restaurant. “So we will try to set new standards, even for Rotana, but the great thing about that is through our corporate office using us – and they will have a strong presence here – we will have a lot of support as a result of that.” “With any new hotel there are still hundreds of new systems that need to be put into place and little things that need to get fixed also have to be ironed out, but I think we have a strong team so it’s well in hand. McCarthy concludes: “All our department heads are from Rotana, so they know Rotana inside out and they are going to bring their systems here and then we are going to try and modify them and lead the standards for the rest of the Rotana chain from here.”

1/30/13 5:31 PM

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1/31/13 5:57 PM



Marking the official launch of the world’s tallest and arguably most impressive hotel, Hospitality Business Middle East goes behind the scenes at the region’s first JW Marriott Marquis to speak to the four people who keep it ticking over


hen Bill Marriott first visited Dubai in 1973, the “sleepy Arab town on the Gulf ” had only two hotels. This month Marriott Hotels will add two new properties to the Emirate’s ever-evolving skyline, with an official opening set to make a statement even by Dubai’s standards. Breaking almost every record in the book, the twin-tower JW Marriott Marquis is the first such branded property from the Marriott portfolio to open outside the US. Living up to expectation, it is the world’s tallest hotel, as certified by Guinness Book of World Records, with a total built up area of 3,525m square feet over the two 355m towers.

Marriott Marquis GM, Rupprecht Queitsch.


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Located on the edge of Dubai’s Business Bay, it boasts 1,608 rooms and suites, 14 F&B outlets and world class meeting facilities; this is the only hotel in Dubai where a conference of up to 1,000 delegates can meet and stay at the same time. Yet despite the sheer scale of the hotel, the design of adjoining corridors has deliberately retained a boutique feel, rather than intimidating guests with endless corridors. Following the soft opening in Q4 2012, the hotel experienced near full capacity for much of December and January, and with an eye on the business market – as reflected in the location and meeting and conference facilities – that rate is projected to become a standard. “I think our company looks at this as a really stellar, iconic property, that makes a significant statement about JW and our growth in the region and worldwide,” says GM Rupprecht Queitsch. “There is a lot of anticipation, there is no question about it, but it’s not that complicated at the end of the day,” he adds. Queitsch, who has opened six hotels over the course of his international career as a hotelier, is described by Marriott as “a 40-year veteran of the hotel industry”, who has worked in every area of operation from FoH to F&B, via accounting, marketing, and mid-management. His role, in addition to the dayto-day running of the JW Marriott Marquis is to assist in propelling Dubai from its current status as a business hub, to a contender on the



355m JW Marriott Marquis is the tallest hotel in the world


people can enjoy the hotel’s 14 F&B outlets at any time


French bakery La Farine is open seven days a week and, to represent this, the restaurant features :

247 3ton mirrors

of Dead Sea salt were shipped into the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai in order to service the hotel’s Saray Spa and signature Dead Sea Floatation Pool Dubai Marathon runners enjoyed an exclusive bed and breakfast rate at the hotel, which also hosted the run number collection point

world-wide convention market. “In Dubai you typically have the beach, marina, media city and business markets; Dubai is well diversified. But we are adding another dimension by targeting the worldwide convention business,” Queitsch continues, further revealing the ambition will be aided via the hotel’s close partnership with DTCM and the Convention Bureau. The joint vision is to give global convention destinations from Paris to Las Vegas a run for their money, on the back of a reputation Marriott has carved for hosting such parties in its 60 other speciality convention properties globally. “We already have good relations with some large brokers in the pharmaceutical and motoring industries and we know the patterns in which these industries move, so we can take advantage of that and sell against it,” Queitsch says of executing the vision. The process of designing the hotel’s facilities looked at every possible external factor that could influence a guest’s behaviour, from the frequency and timing of flight arrivals to the demands of cpid cp pidu iiddub ubai a .ccom m

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The shape of the two towers was inspired by a date palm tree, an indigenous desert plant.








om om

Director of human resources, Yasmin Akhtar.

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1/31/13 9:25 AM


global business. The result is 24 hour casual fine dining, health and business facilities, two world-class high-capacity ball rooms, proximity to the airport and metro and one of the widest F&B offerings in the city. “That alone already adds another dimension to the Dubai market, which a typical resort or hotel would not have,” Queitsch explains.

People power The huge pool of associates required to run a property of this size is understandably astonishing and on January 14 the Marquis welcomed its 1,000th associate. Currently employing 1,200, this will rise by up to a further 800 between now and the opening of the second tower. “Our property size is about three times that of a normal hotel opening and we had to be very careful to find people who fit with the Marriott brand, are able to live up to the Marriott values and culture system and have a passion for the business,” says the property’s director of human resources, Yasmin Akhtar, who adds that 75% of the new staff were recruited via Marriott’s E-Portal system and 35% of the total from within Dubai. The recruitment drive began in early 2012 and management was fully appointed by March. Following this phase, 900 associates were welcomed to the property within an astonishingly short period of time; in September 2012, 500 arrived at once. A pace Akhtar says was leveraged by Marriott’s reputation as a leading employer in terms of salary, Vice president and global brand manager, Mitzi Gaskins.


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square foot total built up area


total rooms and suites


King Size Rooms


Double / Double Rooms


Club Suites


Royal Two-Level Suites


F&B outlets


Retail shops

5,100 sqm event space


The largest LED screen in the region Specifically targeted towards the MICE market, The JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai will be the only hotel in the Middle East where up to 1,000 people can meet, sleep and dine under one roof, in one location


retention and benefits, it was not without its challenges. Despite turning to known markets in order to meet staffing needs, Akhtar cites visa complications and the introduction of a minimum wage in Thailand, as the key barriers to overcome. “We of course needed to try and tackle as many visa and pay issues as possible, but in some cases we had no choice. We had to look at whether a similar quality of associate could be found in the local market, for example the specialty restaurant business, which we did manage to find. “With the salary changes in Thailand, we were quite careful not to review the budgets to much because in comparison to the market, our salary ranges and the compensation package were already in the top 25% of the market,” she adds. Once recruited, the melting pot of 60 nationalities underwent intensive training in preparation for the grand opening, which will be held this month. The programme runs from day one orientation through to departmental trainings, skills and services training and mandatory courses, lasting the duration of an associate’s career with the group. The annual target across all divisions is 40 hours of training. It’s not just the training that was used to bond the new and rapidly expanding team, but the welcome each received – a process that was echoed during ‘Daily Rehearsals’, when management recognised personal and professional associate achievements; from congratulating on a good job to birthdays. It’s a touch Akhtar describes as “just celebrating”. She says: “There were simple gatherings, maybe a simple lunch for everybody. Some of the things that helped to bond the family.” Where other chains have struggled to budget for such generous extras, Akhtar describes the exercise as an investment, rather than expenditure. Taking advantage of flexible preopening budgets and emphasising associate relations and development,

The outdoor pool features underwater speakers and breathtaking views of Business Bay and Downtown.

GM op the


In ma the mu its

The Marquis is equipped for the MICE market. she explains: “When we talk about budgets, it’s not so much the amount of money you have, but it’s what you are able to do with it. Sometimes it’s the little things that count and not the big show, that makes it.” “I am very proud to see how the product has evolved since the soft opening. Looking at the business coming in, in a very short span of time we have all come a very long way. Every single associate, from the

2/3/13 1:21 PM

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GM down, has risen to this great opportunity and from what I can see they have all managed to deliver.”

Passport to the world In carving a niche for itself in the local market, Marquis will be looking to the Emirate’s two million residents as much as its 10 million tourists, to keep its 14 F&B destinations full. A number that will drastically alter the dynamic of the local F&B industry, it will no doubt prompt hoteliers and restaurateurs alike to assess their own offerings. But in a market that could be described as nearing saturation point, developing new concepts isn’t just about the food. Director of F&B, Thomas Rebler, explains: “The traveller that stays with us is not our main market. We look to Dubai; to the local residents. We compete with other hotels for rooms,

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I am very proud to see how the product has evolved since the soft opening. Looking at the business coming in, in a very short span of time we have all come a very long way.

but in F&B we are much bigger. We look to DIFC, where there is a collection of select restaurants, and we compete with those. “My wish is that if you are in any of our restaurants you don’t necessarily think you are in Dubai or a hotel. You could be anywhere in the world, in a restaurant that has this concept,” he adds. With specific reference to Marquis’ steakhouse, Prime 68, Rebler explains that despite Dubai already having “in the region of 60 steakhouses”, this one will “meet expectations in a way that goes beyond them”. The line is a fine one, but Rebler’s underlying principles are accessibility and quality ingredients, with a staunch opposition to the sense of ego Dubai has been known for in the past. “You come to Dubai now as much to experience the F&B as anything


else. We want to be part of that experience, but things now are about approachable and casual, and what we also look at is a wellness and sourcing approach of where the products come from.”

Director of F&B, Thomas Rebler.


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This is critically important to us as a JW brand.” Rebler became a cook because his mother described the profession as being a passport to the world. His ability to research the concepts utilised at Marquis is not only drawn from his years spent globetrotting in the name of duty, but also from his time working for Marriott Corporate, designing menus and restaurant concepts for properties around the world. Driven by his desire to return to the “tactical and tangible” practice of operations, after developing the Marquis concepts with the Marriott Corporate team, he moved in-house for both the hands on experience of launching and managing the outlets and his “fierce loyalty” to Marriott as an employer. Staying true to his original dream, the range of outlets created across the two towers is in itself a passport to the world; a range he says is well suited to Dubai’s cosmopolitan culture. As a company itself rooted in F&B, the expectation is already high and after overcoming the competition, the second element of Dubai’s unique challenge is the demand for every type of produce all year round. He explains: “It’s critically important to source sustainable and organic ingredients. We want to have a positive impact. We want to use as much local produce as possible, and the challenge in Dubai is the expectation to have everything available every day,” he says, continuing to describe one solution: “We wish we could do farm to table in Prime 68, but instead we have found small famers in Europe and Australia who can direct ship, so you know the vegetables were cut yesterday. “We just want to offer that simplicity. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Behind the name “One of the reasons we decided to debut the first international JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai was


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CUISINE Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar: The world’s first Michelin Star Indian chef now calls this Indian restaurant home Izakaya: one of the few restaurants in the Middle East where the Head Chef has a license to serve Blowfish. Here, guests order their food using an IPad.

because of the Emirate’s location, with its proximity to huge growth markets such as India, and the fact that it has literally billions of people within a four-hour flight range,” vice president and global brand manager, Mitzi Gaskins, tells Hospitality Business Middle East. “What those business travellers are looking for is a hotel that has everything they could possibly need under one roof and we truly believe this iconic new property will set a new standard in business hotels, not just in the region but globally,” she asserts, further describing the property as “a

symbol of Dubai’s resurgence”. Undeterred by launching more than 1600 rooms in a market that will see its total hotel stock double this year, Queitsch says the more hotels that open in Dubai, ultimately the better. “Dubai and the UAE make statements every other month, if we can add to this expectation and excitement about delivering something special I think we will have succeeded and we will invest heavily to achieve that and more,” he adds. “At the end of the day, the guests will be the judge.”

Tong Thai: The entire staff of this Thai outlet is female The Vault: Tucked away at the top of the tower, here the most expensive item on the menu is a bottle of vodka, prices AED23,000 Prime 68: The boutique steakhouse with a difference, sourcing quality a selection of Australian Blackmore Fullblood Wagyu Beef, US Creekstone Farms Natural Premium Black Angus Beef and Aberdeen Angus, from small farms committed to exceptional products. All seafood is sustainable and vegetables organic.

In addition to the main ball room, Marriott Marquis has a number of smaller conference rooms.

Kitchen 6: International buffet options Positano: A taste of the Amalfi Coast in Dubai Velocity: A contemporary sports and entertainment lounge Kork: A dedicated experiential wine bar and kitchen. Aqua Poolside Grill and Bar: overlooking the hotel pool

It’s the only hotel in Dubai that can cater to conventions of 1000 delegates simultaneously.


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Accor Middle East MD, Christophe Landais, talks about the group’s expansion plans and the drive that will add 24 new properties to the portfolio by 2015. The equivalent of 6000 new rooms.... and 6000 new jobs


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or Accor Group, the last few months have played out at turbo speed and now a heady expansion plan is underway that will put the group on a fast track to regional domination over the coming 36 months. There is no doubt the man at the top has had his plate full. Today counting 59 properties in the GCC, Levant and Egypt, a further 24 new properties will be added by 2015, representing 6000 rooms, and 6000 new jobs. Eyeing the industry’s trinity of key markets - Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE - the plans spearheaded by Middle East managing director, Christophe Landais are robust. The drive began last month with news of the first Novotel in Saudi Arabia, to be located in the thriving city of Jeddah, following the signing of a management contract with the Sons of Ahmed Saleh Kaki Company. The new hotel joins Accor’s rapidly expanding KSA network, which currently includes 12 hotels representing over 3000 rooms, including the Novotel Riyadh Al Anoud and Novotel Dammam Business Park. The fourth, Novotel Jizan Corniche, is currently under development and is due to open in 2015. “It’s a very stable country that is looking for investments. The ministry of tourism is promoting domestic tourism at affordable prices, so this is where our mid-scale offering can really flourish and the next big market for development will be Saudi Arabia,” says Landais, who adds the pipeline totals eight projects currently under construction. Accor also has 11 Ibis hotels in Saudi Arabia, leading over its competitors, and there are more to follow in Dammam, Al Khobar and Yanbu. Despite admission that Accor “doesn’t really target the 2022 World Cup”, Landais says of Qatar: “We have two properties opening in 2014 and we are also looking to develop a Sofitel, Novotel and Ibis there, but Qatar is small.” Of the 24 new openings, nine will be in the UAE, marking a 50% hike on today’s portfolio.

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“It is forecast that by 2013/2014 the global hospitality market in Dubai will grow by about 9%, so the people are not only transiting but staying here. “Dubai has been very resilient and now we can feel the business is back, for example, we can see a lot of postponed projects from before 2009 are now back on the stage. We have real clientele with real money and our role is to further this development of Dubai,” Landais adds, quoting 46% of all Accor’s guests in Dubai are GCC residents, following two years of social and political unrest in the region’s former anchor markets. All the good news marks a seachange in the fortunes of Accor, whose Sofitel brand dramatically downsized under new leadership during the global recession, and who at the end of last year announced that it was to relinquish its flagship mall hotel in Dubai, Pullman Mall of the Emirates, to Starwood, while launching a new Pullman in the Emirate’s bustling Deira district. The existing property was re-branded following extensive renovation and now boasts an enlarged lobby and new, modernised, rooms, F&B and spa offerings. Meeting room space has also been extended to tap the lucrative MICE market, and more than 1000sqm will been dedicated to a single meeting space by mid-year. The property officially re-launches this month.

Market mix Landais says the mix of Accor brands is dictated by the development of their host cities. And while he reports resilience in the international business brand portfolio – referencing Ibis and Novotel – he says luxury brands are at the mercy of lifestyle demand drivers, which can see rates adjusted to get heads in beds. “The brands designed for the international business market, such as Ibis and Novotel are very resilient, even during the crisis, but now we see a clear mix in the dynamic. We were the first to introduce mid-market properties. Ever since then, our

economy and mid-market brands have seen success in the market and there is still room for a product that responds to the market demand of a clientele that is not just looking for 5-star or resort hotels,” he shares.

Recruit to win It’s far from viable to pursue such aggressive expansion plans without significantly increasing human resources and with a projected 6000 new employees due to be welcomed to the Accor family over the coming three years, finding, training and, most importantly, retaining those people will be key. “You could say the openings equate to anything from 5000 to 6000 new jobs, based on an average 1:1 staff to guest ratio. This differs between budget, mid-market and luxury hotels. But overall, I think we could say 6000 new staff will be needed,” he reveals. It no doubt helps matters that last year Dubai-based GM Philippe Montoubain was named ‘best GM’ in his market, following the sustained success of the mid-market properties he has managed over his extensive Accor career. Montaubain himself says the greatest benefit of the award is the motivation it gives associates of all levels to aspire for the same. In recruiting the new talent, Accor will once again head east, looking to its tried and tested key markets. But, inspired by the increasingly diverse mix of business travellers, Landias says there will also be a focus on Chinese and European talent. “Always, the challenges are the human resources and how best and most effectively to train and develop each of them. “If you look at Novotel Ibis in Abu Dhabi we have about 705 of the staff coming from within our existing pool, which is significant in terms of career development for the associate workers in Accor. In terms of product, we are much more up to speed than if we were to bring people from outside Accor and train them.”



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THE SECRET INGREDIENT F&B directors from the UAE’s top properties talk quality supply, discount dining and how to secure a share of the region’s most competitive markets. Hosted by La Farine, JW Marriott Marquis Two-for-One deals are incredibly popular in the UAE, with The Entertainer, Groupon, Cobone, etc. How do you target this market without damaging your brand? Mark Patten: Deals drive volume and awareness. They do have traction and in some instances they do add value. For the local Dubai market, if you are really savvy there are some amazing deals in town. It’s human nature to get a good deal and a great experience and then come back for that experience. I don’t think it de-values the brand.


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What we are trying to do is create awareness of something special. Anthony Tuttle: It goes back to value. The MICE market is shopping for the best deal so you do have to be very competitive with the pricing. But when it comes back to Groupon, etc, there is a way to do it. We try to strategically look at which outlets would benefit from the exposure. If you have a 350 seat buffet restaurant, you need volume and we could afford for 50% of the full

capacity to dine on discounts. With DDR packages you don’t get better than 50% off the price anyhow. We have the luxury of having an exclusive restaurant just for our buffet/ banquet area, which we can open and close as we deem necessary. So we will drive volume into our three meal restaurants for lunch, filling that to 500 people, and if we have overflow we will put it there. We also keep a certain percentage of seats available for outside guests. You need to think of a strategy before you discount because once you commit to it, it’s difficult to take back. Christian Gradnitzer: We do participate, but you have to be careful with the word discount because the perception comes across as ‘are you desperate’? Dubai in general has boomed on these discounts but only over the last three years and that’s because of the number of new restaurants opening and some struggling to gain exposure. More importantly, if you go for those offers, our philosophy is to carefully select which outlets participate. The people who dine on those benefits should receive the service of a lifetime so they return – that’s what driving awareness is all about.

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Kozhaya Tannous: If we were to participate, in my opinion it should be within a time frame. It does create awareness but at the end of the day, it cannot be a long term strategy. With regards to brands, if you look to all day dining you need strategies in place to drive lunch and dinner. Breakfast is attended by guests, so it’s not profitable meal, but you need to drive the events and MICE business for lunch and events, and team nights for dinner, both with consistency on the quality and presentation.

How is your F&B promoted to non-guests? Hassan Massood: Around 70% of our diners are non-guests and we promote our restaurants through social media and special offers. We recently launched a special meetings experience, called ‘Brain Box’, combining free WiFi with a specially designed highly nutritious menu, consisting of Omega-3 rich foods and juices fused with honey. You can have the best concept in the world, but without the marketing nobody knows. AT: Due to our positioning as a MICE venue, we live and die by the catering and banqueting business, but we still need outside guests. So we would never sell our restaurants to an exclusive event, instead we would do dine-around, to preserve the integrity of the restaurant. We really don’t compare ourselves to other hotel restaurants, we look to the free standing restaurants, especially due to our location as there are so many great

restaurants in DIFC. It’s not easy but it’s a challenge for us to raise our bar, in terms of service, great hardware, and the consistency that many Dubai venues usually miss. The true test is to get those repeat guests coming back time and time again. CG: For an in-house guest there really isn’t a separation, what we promise is perfect execution of a concept and we have great marketing and sales forces, great PR activities and great properties. It’s about setting and delivering the concept, irrespective of where the guest will sleep. Consistent delivery is a phrase people like to use a lot but




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don’t practice. It comes through loyal and empowered colleagues. We, within the hotels, get locked into a mindset but why can you not run a restaurant in a hotel that is like a freestanding restaurant? Kerim Basaran: Monte Carlo Beach Club is totally different because we are not a hotel, so the whole destination has four F&B outlets, one exclusively for members only – who are effectively our residents. We of course work with social media, radio and e-blasts, and receive a great response from social media. Our aim is to create an entire experience from a guest point of view, from arrival to departure, but the eating habits in Abu Dhabi are a little different to Dubai. KT: Our situation is similar to the Radisson: We are a business hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, so we have many people coming from outside. In terms of consistency, we have had the same staff there for 12 years and these are the people who make the difference. On top of that, our head office has a whole strategy of value for money. That is also the main factor to apply. We also have the Rotana loyalty card with benefits for the outside guest who dines with you.


If you have a 350 seat buffet restaurant, you need volume and we could afford to go up to 50% or more of the full capacity dining on discounts


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Those people who dine on those benefits should receive the service of a lifetime because then they will come back

MP: We all have our challenges when it comes to driving in the local market. If it isn’t distance, it might be price point – they are looking for value and the overall experience, including sense of arrival, the ambiance and food. But now entertainment, such as Sandance, is becoming part of the puzzle, which just goes to show where we touch the local market. On New Year’s Eve we had 13,500 people there. On the other hand, our hotel market from abroad is looking for a half board component in their rate. It’s all very different and this is becoming more and more apparent. CG: People perceive Dubai as being expensive and we are working together to overcome that but everything comes with a price, when it’s fresh and imported to the desert. Everything has to travel a long way and that is forgotten.

drive volume.

How are you meting the rising demand for casual fine dining, while still retaining the ‘fine’ element? AT: I think we all need to understand that times are changing. The days of three hour long dinners with velvet menu covers are gone and I think a lot of that has to do with the internet and how accessible everything is nowadays. People expect things to be faster, but also everybody perceives themselves as foodies. So they want fast but with good quality, taste and service.... and all over an hour and a half. We need to either adapt or be left in the dust. HM: We strive to maintain quality and consistency and on top of that we see the chef can present even the lowest priced ingredients in a way that ensures the guest will keep coming.

Ahead of the launch of Saadiyat’s key demand drivers, how do high end properties drive volume? KB: We have Entertainer vouchers and we do use them, but we perceive these customers as potentially loyal customers rather than discount. You also have to be very careful on your terms and conditions – sometimes you want to run a promotion, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes instead of using deal providers such Entertainer and Groupon, we will run our own promotions and market them through social media. We do that, for example over a 48 hour period, to temporarily


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We have won so many awards for our casual dining options and I think that’s because we create dishes that are in demand, with a price that presents value for money. We also know the value of providing high quality food and service, regardless of the level of casual or fine in the venue. People today are concerned with food quality and taste, attractive locations and value for money. For example, we have a business lunch in Certo that can be enjoyed in the average 45 minutes a diner will spend with us at lunch time. They get value, quality, and everybody is pleased without the high class element of dining. MP: The market has changed, everybody is looking for something casual and entertainment related. They are looking for an experience that isn’t contrived and takes time. They don’t want to hear ‘my name is Mark Patten, I’m going to serve you today and the fish of the day is....’ It’s all about casual, fun and exciting. At Atlantis, 90% of everything I am working on is casual.

What is driving this trend? MP: The customer’s need for an


experience that is more conducive to the lifestyle that we are living now. Generation X has a different makeup to Generation Y, which makes up 65% of our customers today. They are all about immediate response, social media, how you connect with people. CG: Fine dining is a category that is always needed. It is enjoyed around

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It’s all about casual, fun and exciting. At Atlantis, 90% of everything I am working on is casual the world and there are great examples in Dubai that we all enjoy once in a while. We very much use it as the signature/premier option and there is a need to align the terminologies. We have just done our research on who visits our casual and fine dining restaurants, and that showed signature dining still enjoys fantastic business.

What kind of issues do you experience in terms of quality of supply? CG: The market is so overloaded the supply chain cannot cope. There are so many hotels opening, demand is increasing, but we need to keep up. We cannot really sit here and say this without realising our own responsibility; we need to educate the market and I encourage chefs across the board to do that. MP: Consistency also, because you can source something one week, but not the next. Our suppliers are part of our business and they probably need more support, which comes down to us being involved with them and loyalty to them. We have had the same suppliers since I came to Atlantis and they are part of what delivers our success. It’s training, it’s development, but it’s an area where unfortunately they need to catch up because their facilities are not coping with the increased demand. KB: It is very unfortunate that you cannot find many local or organic products here in the UAE, but if you


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really look you can get good local produce. The whole sustainability vision of Saadiyat means we have to get out there and find these. We also use a local, sustainable fish farm, and the whole point is to go out there and look. If you want Wagyu beef from Australia you have to find it and charge for it and your guests will appreciate that because they know the quality of the product. CG: But good quality product can still be served horribly – there is one driver of the car and it’s as much about the execution as anything else.

Isn’t part of that relationship based on price? So how do you effectively pitch your needs against those of the procurement department? AT: At the level we work at there is an expectation of quality and that


isn’t cheap. Great quality and cheap are enemies and that is something we are always fighting about with accounting because they want the cheapest because of the books, but we are looking at getting our guests to come back. So that’s great value and tomatoes that taste like tomatoes CG: You can buy the AED4 Granny Smith apples or the AED20/kg Pink Lady.... But if your guests are paying AED4,000 for a room, you better get the Pink Lady.

In terms of professional training and executing a concept, how do you manage different staff cultures? MP: It comes down to the leaders in each business unit. They really have to drive their teams to work together – it’s not just briefings, it’s on and off the job training and their interactions with each other. That’s where you really see development succession planning is easier when you are in charge of a bigger group of people. We have around 1,400 staff, so to identify who to develop and how to succession plan throughout the organisation, is a lot easier when you have departments and outlets that really drive this. After nearly five years of operation we’re seeing that fall into place a lot easier, but it takes time. Culture takes time and it’s something you need to continually drive. Retention is probably everybody’s biggest issue; to have quality people in

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We cannot really sit here and say this without realising our own responsibility; we need to educate the market and I encourage chefs across the board to do that

the operation is key and they will push and reinforce the training. AT: With just over 1,000 associates right now, I agree a lot with what Mark says. At our level, we are the visionaries and the ones looking maybe a year ahead. But for the consistency in the training it’s the line managers in each one of our outlets. They are the ones who have to inspect what we expect, make sure things are happening – it is such a diverse staff, you have all these cultures that need to co-exist together but also drive in the same direction. It’s continual training, day in, day out. You cannot manage from an office with your feet under the desk, you have to be in the outlets. KT: It is one thing to have the training schedule but if it’s not exhibited on the floor, it has failed. Training at the end of the day needs to be checked, both that the training is being done and that the service is aligned with it. KB: I believe in role-plays in a training

environment, whether in a restaurant or bar. We try to change our restaurant three times a year and whenever that happens we involve all the floor staff and kitchen staff to understand and identify the cooking methods and preparation. We also put the floor staff in the kitchen from time to time for them to understand how hard it is to get a piece of steak onto the plate. The same thing with the bar tenders, who experience taking orders. HM: It’s about leading by example and knowing our own product. Training should be used to grow your people and educate them on changes.

There is a huge culture of 24 hour and buffet dining in the UAE, how do you balance purchase and usage to minimise waste and ultimately costs? MP: The first rule of thumb is don’t order a lot of food. The more you order, the more you stock, the more your guys think they have to cook and

the more waste you have. Keep it to a day and a half of stock and you really will save a lot of money. There is a bit of an evolution when it comes to all day. The trend is for theatrical, live cooking stations as you can reduce the amount that you cook and make smaller dishes. In all day dining we have seen a reduction in waste and we do waste sheet reports every day. Generally, a la carte wastage is the most overlooked so if you’re over ordering, or over cooking, that needs addressing. CG: Live cooking, but also miniature dishes, especially deserts, help to reduce wastage. Twelve years ago on our Ramadan Iftar, rice would be served in sharing bowls big enough for 10 people, now it’s in individual portions. Having more entertainment behind the creation of the dishes is important and also prevents food being sat around for an hour or more. KT: Guests also demand fresh food, but I think the awareness of wastage is there now – all over the industry and among guests. CG: If you have a lot of food left, say from an event, we are fully participating in the food safety control of that food and then we can donate that to charities and labour camps, if the need arises

Hospitality Business Middle East would like to thank JW Marriott Marquis for hosting this event.


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1/31/13 2:36 PM

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ALWAYS COVERED? With advances in both technology and guest needs, the hotel minibar is demanding more consideration than ever before


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ow is demand for products in the hotel minibar changing and how have you changed offerings over recent years? Adam Beasley: There is always a high demand for compulsive items such as chocolates, crisps, nuts and sweets. We at The Westin Abu Dhabi offer all and our gummy bears and gourmet mixed nuts are particularly popular with our regular guests. One common trend I have found is that international branded bottled water is always an expectation in any minibar by our

guests and is always a high uptake item as are energy drinks and gourmet juice varieties. Subarna Thapa: The demand for minibar products in a city hotel is very different to a resort hotel due to the availability of products in the surrounding location. However we have seen a growth in demand for well known branded snack items such as your Pringles, Kit Kats and Snickers. We are continually reviewing guest feedback to ensure that we are meeting with their minibar demands and suggestions.

Andreas Magnus: The hotel minibar is definitely a service that’s now expected in luxury hotels, and means guests don’t have to plan their purchases in advance or bring in products from outside, and they don’t have to order room service, for example for a single beverage and wait for items to be delivered to their room. We see a lot of demand for larger minibar fridges where guests can stock their own items, especially from families that are staying in the hotel for five days or longer. With the mall adjacent to the hotel there is a wide range of products available for guests to purchase at very affordable prices, so in order to compete with these easily accessible items we decided to differentiate our minibar offering and offer more high quality products that cannot necessarily be found in the mall or supermarket. We are in the process of evaluating our current mini bar offering and have some thoughts around combining unique packaged products including food items, beverages and branded souvenirs in the minibars. We have also noted that a lot more guests are asking for healthier minibar options so this is another area we are currently looking into. John Beveridge: We see a wide mix of clientele travelling to the hotel for business and pleasure. As such our minibar is equipped to cater to the

Left: Hartmann minibars use thermoelectric cooling technology to achieve efficiency and are rated A+ in the EU.

The panel

Subarna Thapa Food and Beverage Manager, Dusit Thani Dubai

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Adam Beasley Director of Food and Beverage, The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa

Andreas Magnus Food & Beverage Manager, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates

John Beveridge GM, Grand Hyatt Dubai and Dubai area director for Hyatt International South West Asia



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Right: PolarBar Minibars are available with 30, 40 or 60 L cooling unit and interior light, lock and glass door as options.

demand of many types of traveller, stocking a range of 34 products, which is one of the biggest selections in the region. For leisure travellers and families we stock more ‘comfort food’ items whereas the business traveller is more likely to consume beverages. Some GCC families request some items are removed and we have seen a higher demand for mid-range products.

Which product features take the highest priority during the procurement process of the actual minibar? AB: Energy efficiency is always a consideration with the growing awareness of global warming. Starwood as a group has committed to reducing its carbon footprint so this is a major consideration during procurement. Capacity and internal design for best display and holding is also very important. ST: Units with reduced noise are always a plus when it comes to any electronic

item in guest rooms. Our guests’ comfort is important to us and so by using equipment that runs as silently as possible, we are ensuring there is minimal noise for them. On top of this, being focused on minimising our impact on the environment and being certified with EarthCheck, we do pay close attention to energy efficiency.

AM: With design playing a more and more important role in hotels, minibar suppliers and designers are working hard on integrating their products into the hotel room design itself, so it blends with the rest of the decor. You really shouldn’t see, or hear the minibar but be pleasantly surprised when you open it. That goes for both hardware as well as the accessories, which are normally found beside it. A minibar today should also be energy efficient and should have settings on temperature based on the room being occupied or not. JB: In determining the procurement of our minibars, all are centrally controlled by a server, which shuts down the minibar when the required temperature is reached inside – this reduces energy wastage as the minibar is not constantly kept running. Additionally, infrared sensors inside the minibar indicate which products have been consumed; the thermoelectric cooling technology to keep noise levels in the guestroom zero; software is used to track when stock needs replacing and minibars are set to specific auto defrost functions . Hotel minibars are often criticised for being expensive. When faced with this complaint, what do you tell guests? AB: We understand the guest’s interpretation on items being expensive, but there are many costs involved in providing the service. We as a company have however taken the guest comments into consideration and overall I would say that minibar pricing in general has not increased in the past few years and the industry trend is to reduce prices with the intention to increase sales. This is especially so in city hotels that have easy access to minimarts and 7/11 style shops. Resorts however do sometimes differ in their pricing approach. ST: We regularly check the market to ensure that our pricing is competitive for our guests. Minibars are genuinely more expensive than supermarkets


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Catering for the impulse buying of guests needs to be balanced by careful control

or other shops, however we are very careful with our pricing to ensure that we are seen as providing value for money. AM: It is very important to diversify your minibar product range and to keep a healthy price mix. I believe that if you offer the right quality and range of products, guests will appreciate the convenience of having these available in their room. Most people, especially frequent travellers, understand that keeping products ready in guest rooms is costly for the hotel. Based on our experience we find that travellers are savvy enough to know how to efficiently use their minibar. JB: Minibar prices are on par with the market. There is a heavy investment on the part of the hotel to purchase


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the minibar and to provide the human resources for restocking and rotating stock. Ease of access and convenience offered by having these products within easy reach in the room supersedes the price factor to a large extent.

What has your hotel done to reduce the financial losses associated with minibars? AB: We have implemented measures to ensure we do our best to check minibars before guest check out and ensure that all guests are asked at check out if they have had any minibar consumption. All minibars are checked and refilled daily. ST: The key for us is to ensure we are providing items that guests are wanting and so there are limited

stagnant products that become wastage. Communication between departments is also important to ensure that correct payments are made by the guests upon check out, as well as information to the guest during the reservation and check in process. AM: Through the use of efficient Property Management Systems (PMS) such as Triton and Opera-To-Go, the servicing of the minibars has become more efficient. Knowing when someone checks out and when guests have asked for their room to be serviced by housekeeping helps to plan manpower and hence saves time. It also helps to anticipate and respond to the need of the guests more efficiently and effectively, which improves guest satisfaction. Efficient inventory control of minibar items and the correct logging of expiry dates also reduces losses and allows for the right inventory to be kept in each room. Efficient labeling of the expiry date helps employees in keeping a daily check on items when refilling the minibar without losing valuable time. JB: One concern is the short expiry on the products offered. As we are running a large food and beverage operation stocks are rotated continuously to avoid expiry of products that have a shorter shelf life. Regular inventory checks are done to tally discrepancies in consumption and sales as well as close co-ordination with Housekeeping and Inventory Control departments help manage bottom lines.

How do you protect against theft from the minibar? AB: All items are checked on a daily basis and charged on receipt of consumption. ST: Our team of minibar agents regularly checks our minibars for replenishment and stock taking. Other than this we work on a trust basis between ourselves and our guests. AM: It happens and will always remain a challenge, it is a risk that is inherent to running a luxury hotel. Ensuring

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efficient communication between the minibar staff, housekeeping and the front office helps to mitigate this risk as much as possible. JB: The Housekeeping department maintains a manual record of daily consumption that can be cross checked should we experience instances when guests have accidentally removed items from the mini-bar or if they may disagree with charges posted. Our team can then physically check the mini-bar to verify. In addition, the hotel has a tracking system in all minibar pantry areas where stock is kept – this is directly co-related to room consumption and replenishment only after cross-checking the consumption. Dedicated staff monitor the inventory. 

Would it ever be viable to make the hotel minibar free? AB: For standard rooms the idea has been thought of a promotional package but the only issue would be to expect a guest to pay for the package they may not like all the items in the minibar thus making this a difficult package to sell. It is however quite a


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common practice for some hotels to sell presidential / royal suites with minibar inclusive at the room rate. ST: This idea depends upon many factors such as the positioning of the property and room P&L but I do not see this being introduced across the industry. However, we offer guests staying in our Club Rooms and Executive Suites the use of our Club Lounge which provides complimentary snacks and refreshments throughout the day. AM: Many resorts turn to this alternative and now include the minibar service as an added value to their room packages and for example offer all non-alcoholic beverages complimentary to guests throughout their stay. As a city hotel this is not something we have looked at, especially with the minibar service being a viable, profitable service for us. JB: We do provide complimentary mini-bars for suite rooms.

What have you found to be the greatest overhead for the running and supply of the minibar? AB: The manpower to service,

maintain and supply the contents and of course the capital investment of the unit / minibar itself. ST: For us it is the replenishment of slow moving, lost or unpaid for items. AM: Keeping high stock levels for items that are not moving quick enough is one of the bigger expenditures in managing minibars hence finding the perfect balance between an efficient product offering and responding to guest demand is key. With regard to the energy, using and efficient RMS (room management system) that allows for change of temperature to the minibar depending on whether the guest is checked in or not, allows for energy saving and thus cost reduction. JB: Other than initial cost of installing the minibar itself, which is usually relatively high, manpower related to replenishment of the mini bars is also significant. Availability of spare parts and technical support also need to be considered in case of breakdowns or servicing as the bars become older. If the software used for tracking becomes obsolete (as can happen in the case of the automated bars) this can be expensive to replace

2/3/13 1:27 PM

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In 2011 the male grooming market was valued at $33b globally and by 2016 it is predicted that male grooming products will ill outsell t ll shaving h i products. d t BButt how h can the hotel spa capitalise on the trend?

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nspired by a growing range of products and new levels of social acceptance, the male grooming business has boomed over recent years.... by 6% per annum since 2006. In 2011 the industry hit a value of $33 billion, according to figures from Euromonitor International. Between now and 2016, the same research suggests that for the first time ever men’s toiletries will gross higher sales than shaving products. The impact is being felt in hotels across the region as, over recent years the ratio of male to female visitors has steadily evened out to a near 50/50 split. “This trend does not surprise me as I believe men have always been interested in their appearance, but in the past the spas were marketed to female guests only, so most men tended to avoid booking treatments,” reports Raffles Dubai spa manager, Renee Reardon. “In recent years the cosmetics industry has begun to recognise that male grooming is an untapped market, and product lines have been developed which are specifically targeted for men and their needs. This is the same for the spa industry – most spas these days will have a specific male product line, and specific men’s treatments in their menu,” she adds. While the most popular male treatment reported to Hospitality Business Middle East is massage, many other properties have also seen an increase in facials – both malespecific and unisex versions – and aromatherapy treatments. Despite experiencing a 5% decline in male guests recently, Simone ElenaLange, spa manager at Amara Spa, Park Hyatt Dubai, is still preparing to launch a range of male-only treatments due to the strong interest in not only products, but surgery also. “We were very much focused on meeting the needs of the female clientele. However, because men are becoming more and more interested in grooming and seem to have started to focus on cosmetic treatments,

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40% 60% cosmetic products and even surgery, Amara will from March 2013 tap this niche by adding treatments as well as retail products catered purely towards males. Furthermore, the new salon, which is planned to open this year, will have a male barber who will offer elaborate grooming services to the male clientele.” At The Address Dubai Marina, despite being launched for female guests and local residents, The Spa has seen a marked increase in the number of male clients, explains assistant spa and recreation manager Yvette Enriquez. “The Spa was originally considered a place for women to unwind and rejuvenate, however there has been a definite increase in the number of

men visiting. This is not necessarily a surprising trend, we are likely to see the trend gain momentum over time.”

Beauty business While many of the region’s hotels actually welcome a higher number of male guests due to local and international business culture, they have still witnessed the same demand dynamics in the spa. “We are both a landmark hotel and a business hotel, so we do get a lot of male guests and because of that we do get a higher percentage of male guests at the spa, but we also find they are very interested in the spa. They approach us, maybe if they are using the gym or pool and we tell them about the treatments and products



2/4/13 11:27 AM


How do you market to male guests? Fairmont: Social media, special promotions, spa menus in hotel rooms Amara: Concierge, in room screens, monthly promotions, social media The Spa: Through proactive media engagement, outreach to our loyal and potential customer-base through email and via HTMLs, in addition to providing discounts to certain credit card holders such as EmiratesNBD Platinum, The Spa at The Address Dubai Marina continues to interact with its clientele. Anantara: Special offer each month for lifestyle members, flyers, online, printed media. Kempinski: In-house marketing and in-room collateral, promotions, reviews and advertising.

on offer,” says Fairmont Dubai spa director Louise Dennis. “The spa has really grown in the last few years and people have realised that there is a need to relax, a need to take some time out and pamper yourself. Men are realising that moisturisers and relaxation aren’t just for women! “It’s really just education and there is so much knowledge out there now so they are realising that it’s ok to come for a facial and to buy some products and keep using them. At the end of the day they want to look after themselves and I think they are ok with that,” she adds, further highlighting that


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when it comes to marketing the everincreasing range of products to an ever-growing clientele, the challenge remains with those men who aren’t sold on salons. Dennis says: “If you look at the spas that have a higher rate of female than male guests they have men’s only sections in the menu and a full range of male products, so the guests can see there is something for them.” Rotana Al Ghurair spa director Afrah Hamdy adds: “The main challenge is to find the most easy, short and yet efficient treatments to satisfy men’s expectations , And yes we overcame this by having dedicated spa products and treatments specially for men from Aromatherapy Associates.” At Raffles Dubai, a whole ‘business express’ spa menu has been developed, specifically for this market. “Business travellers are often on a tight schedule and prefer shorter treatments that give an immediate benefit. Our stress relief massage is great for frequent travellers or people who sit in front of computers as it targets the areas where tension is most often held,” says Reardon. The spa also offers nail services, hair cuts and colouring, as well as shaving and grooming from a

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qualified barber. The Classic Shave service even includes an exfoliation using black diamonds. The male market is not without its challenges. Aside from marketing, strict rules governing male and female contact do heavily influence the scope of some spas’ offerings: “We are not in a position to offer massage treatments by female therapists to our male guests and we do turn away business because of this policy. We can’t overcome this, we just have to make sure we clearly communicate this to our guests at the time of booking or visiting to ensure that we manage the expectations of our guests,” says Kemspinski spa manager Dr Shylaja Ravikumar.

Reasons to be beautiful It’s one thing to notice and capitalise on a trend, but truly harnessing its potential requires understanding. So why are more men ditching the hotel bar for the spa? “The trend is not surprising, if we take the example of the Hammam, this practice goes as far as we could remember, at least 600 years. So the ritual and the culture did not change, it’s the modern way of presenting it to the guests that did, it’s almost like a

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Most popular male treatments – our survey said: Kempinski: Sports massage, Balinese Massage, and Elakkizhi Eastern Mangroves: Traditional Turkish Hammam and a vast array of massages at the Anantara Raffles: Massage treatments are the most popular, especially deep pressure or sports massage, in addition to facials, both male specific and unisex Park Hyatt Dubai: Massages Fairmont: De-stress, aromatherapy and relaxation massage The Address: Treatments that exude a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation, such as de-stress and aromatherapy treatments. Rotana Al Ghurair: Aromatherapy at present although there is no historical data on this newly opened spa.

new packaging and people just needed time to get familiar with it again before identifying their landmarks,” explains Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa supervisor, Mohammad Fleifel, who also says that re-marketing spa in the modern age has been key to the emerging male market.

He also adds that as roles change, the traditional barber is no longer as important when it comes to male facial care: “Facial care is very important in the UAE; however it was always dedicated as the barber’s job, where the client nurtures a relationship with his barber that it almost becomes a social activity where the element of trust and customised service are key. Facials at the spa offer a completely different service and environment, male guests just need to find their comfort zone before it picks up. Looking more towards pop culture, Enriquez reports: “Media and celebrities tend to be among the highest influencers, and when male readers hear or see how celebrities go out of the way to take care of their skin and body, it creates an impact on them.” She adds that the current focus is on organic beauty facials from Themae, with pure collagen, in addition to skin care and weight-loss treatments. “There is a lot more awareness, communication and marketing about health and wellness for both men and women than ever before, which I am sure has contributed to an increase in male spa guests,” Dr Ravikumar adds.



2/4/13 12:47 PM



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This year, the sold-out Gulfood exhibition will expand by 13%, with a hall dedicated to the burgeoning GCC food imports market. Exhibition Director at DWTC, Mark Napier, tells Hospitality Business Middle East what’s driving the demand.

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Helal Saeed Almarri, Dubai World ulfood, the world’s biggest Trade Centre CEO, adds: “Gulfood annual trade exhibition for the 2013 is an essential event for those food and hospitality industry, organisations and companies that want is set to expand by more than 12,500sqm, the equivalent of 13% - this to forge new partnerships and secure lucrative business opportunities.” year. As a result, the bigger expo will offer 113,398sqm in exhibition space. The expansion includes an additional On the rise temporary hall, Zabeel Pavilion, The additional exhibition space at dedicated to food and drink companies Gulfood 2013 will accommodate due to overwhelming demand both the huge demand for participation, regionally and globally and a second enable more processing and packaging hall solely for GCC food imports – a equipment space, and allow exhibitors market that is projected to double to to demonstrate their larger machinery AED195 billion in 10 years. and equipment ranges. The plans saw the show sell out to Increased space has also been new exhibitors, six months before the provided to ingredients, which opening date. supports the region’s increasing drive Last year, the event attracted to manufacture and move up the value 68,681 trade visitors from 152 chain. The largest exhibition space countries – an 11% increase on 2011 increase has been provided to finished – with a 61% international visitor food – especially exhibitors focused on presence. In addition, the 2012 show retail and foodservice markets - where drew 3,816 exhibitors and offered demand far exceeds capacity with over 110 international pavilions. The 900 companies requesting space. An additional exhibition space will allow important bi-product of the expansion many of the hundreds of exhibitors is the many new products, new queuing for a presence at Gulfood exhibitors and new equipment that can to finally showcase their products in be shown, which in turn delivers more this fast-growth market including value and interest to visitors. new country pavilions from Ecuador, “Food prices are on an upward Lithuania and Oman. trend globally and shows such as Under the theme “International Gulfood are one of the best places for Flavours, World Class Business”, buyers to source and benchmark new Gulfood 2013 is on track to provide suppliers, select from the largest range exporters, buyers, exhibitors of products and services available and visitors with the benefits worldwide and, get the best deals on of an even broader trade and these,” explains Napier. sourcing platform as well as knowledge exchange, Date for the diary training, competitions and Reflecting the global profile live events. and importance to exporters, “Every year, Gulfood many agricultural and export has welcomed a record ministers are also expected to number of visitors. Last year attend Gulfood to support their RISE IN DUBAI’S approximately 61% of these country’s participation. FOOD IMPORTS were from outside the UAE. To support their attendance, FROM 2010 – With the 2013 edition of a Ministers Meet will be held 2011 Gulfood set to be the largest to help broker future trade in the show’s history, we are agreements, export initiatives expecting to attract more and food security policy. than 70,000 visitors,” says the provision of context PROJECTED RISE Exhibitions Director at and direction in global trade IN FOOD IMPORTS Dubai World Trade Centre, strategy is also on the 2013 TO 2020 Mark Napier. conference agenda. Captains



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of industry and world-renowned experts will share research, market analysis and predictions at the Food Leaders Summit. Also capitalising upon the region’s fast-growing manufacturing base and business start-ups are dedicated programmes for Food Processing and Packaging and Entrepreneur or Foodpreneur? Completing the line-up is the Franchise Workshop, an essential guide to food franchising to help industry professionals make the right decisions to acquire and manage age a successful network. The third Baking & Pastry Guild Middle East Competition will also o be held at Gulfood 2013, to honour the Food for Thought specialised skills of Launched more than 25 years ago, professional bakers the inaugural Gulfood in 1987 and pastry chefs. offered 850sqm of exhibition space A range to the region’s burgeoning food and of industry hospitality industry. Today, Gulfood sectors will be provides 113,398sqm, a staggering showcased and growth metric which underpins its this demonstrates position as the world’s biggest anGulfood’s 360 nual trade exhibition for the sector degree perspective with unrivalled expertise, in-depth in terms of its market knowledge and spectacular exhibition offerings. return on investment. The sector line-up includes: Ingredients Middle East, Beveragee & Beverage Equipment, Food & Drink, Food Service & Hospitality, Ingredients Middle East, Processing ocessing & Packaging and Restaurant & Cafe. fe “Further enhancing next year’s Gulfood and new to the show are an enhanced VIP buyer programme, a spotlight on Africa, easier on-site navigation tools and workshops dedicated to entrepreneurship, processing, packaging and industry regulations,” Napier adds

Gulfood is open 11am-7pm from February 25-27 and 11am -5pm on February 28. The online entry fee is AED125 and onsite entry fee is AED250. For more information, please visit



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Product watch The world’s most useful and innovative new designs, delivered to you, every month

OMNIX CONTRACT DEMONSTRATES GROWTH Omnix international has won “multi-million dollar” contracts with Conrad Hilton Dubai, Pullman Hotel Dubai, Novotel/Ibis in Fujairah, Fairmont Hotel Ajman and the Bright Start Four

Seasons Jumeirah Resort in Dubai. The IT specialist says the wins are testament to the growth and robust strength of the hospitality industry. Omnix International’s Founder and President Jamal Abu Issa commented: “The hospitality sector is undergoing enviable growth, both in the UAE and across the region. According to recent industry research, room revenues from the hotel industry in the GCC are forecast to rise to about US$ 27 billion in 2015, growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 11% from 2010. Tourist arrivals too are forecast to grow significantly, particularly in the UAE which is increasingly seen as a regional financial hub and tourist hot spot.” Omnix recently handed over the Jumeirah Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, the Jumeirah Creekside in Dubai and the Melia Dubai on time and on budget.

LG’S NEW DIMENSION IN SUSTAINABILITY LG Electronics announced that its CINEMA 3D Smart TV’s Environment Product Declaration has been certified by UL and has received a Sustainable Product Certification. “LG is proud to have its ongoing efforts to develop and manufacture sustainable products recognized by UL,” said Havis Kwon, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Home Entertainment Company. “The LA6900 embodies our desire and commitment to create products that protect not only the health of the environment, but the health of the consumer as well. We will continue to deliver market leading products capable of meeting, and in many cases exceeding industry standards.” LG’s 55-inch and 47-inch LA6900 CINEMA 3D Smart TVs have been awarded SPC Gold certification by UL. Both energy efficient


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LG-UL presentation Hojun Nam (Executive Vice President, LG Electronics) Lisa Meier (Vice President and General Manager, UL Environment) from left

products are manufactured using safer, less toxic materials and production processes. Several of the components employed by LG have been specifically designed and fabricated to be more recyclable at the end of their operational lifespan.



Ideal Standard International has presented its new range of product collections to hoteliers and press at a ceremony at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Towers. The collections included: Strada, Connect, Simplicity, Idealrain family and water and energy Saving ranges. Each is aimed to the needs of the Middle East market. Regional marketing manager Dimitra Dotsia, said: Our products incorporate innovative features in the scope of the safety of the end user, and the water and energy saving, which along with the contemporary design, are aiming to provide bathroom solutions equipped for modern day living. Each piece is the culmination of a lengthy development process, involving some of Europe’s leading designers. The result is excellent in form and function.” The new brand identity will be officially launched at the ISH 2013 International Exhibition, to be held in Frankfurt, March 12- 16.

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SIT DOWN AT ART SAWA Nakkash Gallery, the exclusive distributor of ‘Platform Collection’ by Rausch, in the UAE, is to exhibit the range at Art Sawa, in Al Quoz Dubai, from 10am to 9pm on March 7, 2013. The range, which has already been specified for Intercontinental Hotel in Dubai Festival City, was originally launched in 2009. It is a popular choice for exclusive hotels, bars, resorts and designer project applications. Describing the product as “the yacht for lounging on”, the LED Function transforms Platform from a modern furniture piece to a ‘funky’ entertainment sofa or a sofa showing off its multi coloured lighting application, says Nakkash Gallery.


SUPERIOR SLUMBER FROM HÄSTENS BEDS IN GCC Swedish bed manufacturer Hästens Beds, known for its all-natural and handcrafted beds, launched its new range, targeted directly to hotels, at an exclusive event at Dubai’s Burj Al Arab. Held January 15 – 17, the World Luxury Expo showcased the world’s leading luxury brands to an invitation-only three-day event to private clientele from across the GCC region. The invitees had an opportunity to experience the “Hästens sleep” in a private suite displaying the new

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Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates has introduced a number of technological innovations over the past few months, including tablet-based express guest services, iPads in the hotel’s restaurants and limousines, and a new in-room energy management system that is already seeing a significant reduction in the hotel’s carbon footprint. The hotel was recognised as one of the 2012 EMEA Hotel Technology Innovators during the Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) European Conference held in Austria earlier this month.

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Experience line for hotels – Hästens Experience Frame bed and Hästens Experience Continental bed. The most luxurious bed, the Hästens Vividus, was also displayed in the deluxe suite. Adding distinction to any hotel, Hästens also provides pillow and duvet menus as an added value to the sleeping experience, allowing hotel guests to choose from pillows and duvets made of goose down. Hästens has previously supplied the Four Seasons Hotel in New York.

Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) today announced that it has won Reseller Hot 50 award for ‘Best Storage Networking Vendor of the Year’. The award was accepted by Hassan Hamadani, Brocade’s regional marketing and business development manager, emerging markets, at a ceremony held at the H Hotel, Dubai on the 3rd of December, 2012. The award recognizes the networking vendor’s technology leadership and constant innovation in Storage Area Network (SAN) solutions.



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Hospitality sector measures up to social media


ince mid-2009, many hotel chains in the UAE have been monitoring social media networks and sites for the online usergenerated reviews they contain. Some hotels even respond to guests, developing key relationships with their customer base. Dedicated online distribution and marketing teams are often tasked with communicating in this way in a bid to protect the brand and strengthen customer relationships..

Some of this engagement with customers is about turning negative communication about a guest experience into a positive outcome. Engaging online with guests and customers instead of simply hosting and managing them is seen as the best way to create and sustain business opportunity. Hotels and restaurant chains are focusing on this activity because, as various studies have shown, online user-generated reviews about a hotel or dining experience


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will have a direct impact on the business and its future revenue line.

Hospitality CIOs checking up on TripAdvisor impact Discussing this issue at a recent CIO Forum hosted in Dubai by du, top hospitality CIOs in the region said the sector has become quite astute at using the business intelligence that is to be gleaned from social media conversations. They now understand the impact of social media on their business and can measure how much, say, a half-point decline in a hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s TripAdvisor rating would impact on its revenues. It is a point tested by academic study. du CIO Forums are invitation-only events organised as part of duâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Leadership Series, to provide insight into the latest trends in technology-focused sectors. According to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;How User-Generated Review Websites Impact a Hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Revenueâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; by Milan Patel of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, results of a correlation study showed that eight out of nine hotels that had a high TripAdvisor Popularity Index score also had a high RevPar. (In the hotel industry, RevPar is a measure of the average daily rate for a room multiplied by the number of rooms used. It is calculated by taking the total revenue for a particular period of time and dividing by the number of rooms rented over the same period. It is important to note that RevPar only accounts for revenue from room rental and does not include other sources of revenue, such as that from room service or value added services â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Eight out of the nine hotels randomly selected â&#x20AC;&#x201C; three in each star rating ranging from four stars to twoand-a-half-stars â&#x20AC;&#x201C; clearly showed that hotels that had a better ranking on the TripAdvisor Popularity Index had a higher RevPar,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; the report concluded. Those in attendance at the du CIO Forum agreed that it is becoming increasing vital that the industry monitors social media content in this way. The job in hand is to assess the impact on reputation and help manage business prospects going forward. It is important because the use of social media by customers and guests is on the rise. eMarketer, an authority on digital marketing, media and commerce, has estimated that the Middle East and Africa region has the highest social network penetration rate among internet users at 70.2%. The market watchers estimate that there will have been 146.4 million social network users in the region in 2012. Social media is global, pervasive, complex, and

Social network users and penetration in Middle East & Africa millions, % of internet users and %of population

Social network users % of internet users % of population Note: internet users who use a social network site via any device at least once per month Source: eMarketer, Aug 2012

constantly evolving. At any given moment there are millions of users posting news, commenting on companiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; new products and services, pressing â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;likeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; RQFRPSDQ\SDJHVDQGDVNLQJWKRVHÂżUPVIRUKHOS or feedback - and that is just on Facebook. There are millions of data points across multiple social networks that hospitality businesses must sift through, and within this there are more than a dozen types of data points (from OLNHVWRUHWZHHWV WRÂżOWHUWKURXJKDQGWKHVHFDWHJRULHV are growing.

The growing use and impact of social conversation Globally, TripAdvisor, the consumer review site that has become one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest travel resources, is attracting 41.6 million users a month, and featuring 40 million reviews of hotels and restaurants worldwide, with an average of 300 reviews for each hotel. In one survey of 1,000 business travelers nearly half  VDLGWKH\ZHUHLQĂ&#x20AC;XHQFHGLQWKHLUKRWHOVHOHFWLRQE\ user reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor, illustrating the power of consumer-generated review sites. Another


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study of 4,600 leisure trippers in 13 countries around the globe shed further light on how important social media has become and how it shapes the size of the travel industry sales funnel. The company behind the report, Text100, highlighted a number of key points: Â&#x2021;2IWKRVHXQGHUWKHDJHRIXVH)DFHERRNIRU travel inspiration and over half also use Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms for inspiration. Â&#x2021;$URXQGWZRWKLUGV  XVHWKHLUPRELOHGHYLFHVWR stay in touch with friends and family while on vacation higher than those taking photos (43%) or checking news sources (20%). Over half (52%) post photos and videos during their travels, while 25% write reviews. Â&#x2021;5HFRPPHQGDWLRQVIURPIDPLO\IULHQGVFDPHLQDVWKH WRSLQĂ&#x20AC;XHQFHRQWKHFKRLFHRIDYDFDWLRQGHVWLQDWLRQ (63%) ahead of web searches (55%). Websites with reviews are the most popular, followed by professional travel guides and travel columns. Â&#x2021;*UHDWHUVRFLDOQHWZRUNXVDJHLVHVSHFLDOO\EHLQJVHHQLQ those who are younger and well-educated, and mobile phonesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;already popular among users for accessing social networksâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;will continue to drive usage. The majority of travellers download travel apps before leaving for a trip, with maps being the most popular. Text 100 reported that positive experiences are most likely to be posted on review sites. But it is said that around one in every four postings made by guests to a site like TripAdvisor are said to be some form of complaint. So it is not surprising that CIOs at the du CIO

)RUXPFRQÂżUPHGWKDWWKHPRUHSURJUHVVLYHKRVSLWDOLW\ businesses are now using various social media listening tools to keep abreast of guest sentiment. Increasingly, hotel chains want to empower certain employees to engage with past customers on an individual basis. Many now allow a nominated employee(s) to engage in a social media conversation with a customer. The aim is to create a dialogue with them, retain them as a customer, and win back their loyalty so as to sustain revenues.

Charting the impact of social on future business Understanding customer sentiment about a business or organisation in the social media space is a new challenge. Measuring the value of social media CRM is neither easy nor simple. First, confusion around the differing levels of engagement in social media strategies creates a URDGEORFNWRGHÂżQLQJDVWUDWHJLFJRDOÂąDQLPSHUDWLYH factor in developing metrics. This, however, pales in comparison with the complexity of the social networking space itself. Social networks generate massive amounts of user data each second with every like, comment, and re-tweet across the globe. While tackling the mountain RIGDWDFDQVHHPOLNHDQHQRUPRXVFKDOOHQJHGHÂżQLQJ who and what is important, and assigning value to this information is just as daunting and complicated, if not more so. These challenges can, however, be dealt with, particularly with the help of service providers that have developed the necessary data centre platforms to manage the data.

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du is among a group of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top telecoms operators which now offer hosting and managed data centre services. With its networks, its data centre expertise and its strategic role in switching and managing network bandwidth, du is extremely well placed to provide co-location and hosting services. The latter are becoming increasingly important as organisations turn to their preferred telecoms and network operator for more ICT and applications services. The company is well established provide of hospitality services such as Managed Voice, high speed managed internet with bandwidth on demand, Managed DDoS and IPTV services providing the best in class IP services built to support the hospitality industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s critical needs. du now also has access to available data-centre capacity in strategic business locations next to, or in close proximity to, network hubs and access peering points, it is possible to expand the services footprint for customers wanting IT managed services and the ubiquitous cloud. The telecoms operatorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pivotal role in supporting and managing IP networks and access to high bandwidth services puts it in a strong position as a provider of data-centre managed services, such as server, storage and applications hosting to customers.


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For the brand perception aspect of social media, QHZRUPRGLÂżHGLQGLFDWRUVKDYHEHHQGHYHORSHGVXFK as conversation volume, buzz, and sentiment analysis. &,2VLQWKHVHFWRUFRQÂżUPWKDWWKHUHDUHSOHQW\RIWRROV available to help track reputation by monitoring social media conversations. Salesforce Radian6 helps companies listen to what people are saying about them online and engage in those conversations across the social web. From blogs and comments to multimedia, boards, forums and communities like Twitter, the system gathers the discussions happening online and gives businesses the ability to analyse, manage, track, and report on their social media monitoring and engagement efforts. Another tool is Klout, which measures discussion mentions across several social networks and shows users how they impact the people connected to them. The Klout Score, a number between one and 100, is a representation of DQRUJDQLVDWLRQÂśVRYHUDOOVRFLDOPHGLDLQĂ&#x20AC;XHQFH7KH science behind the Score examines more than 400 variables on multiple social networks beyond the number of followers and friends. It looks at who is engaging with

an organisationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s social media content and who they are sharing it with.

Plotting a social media strategy Social media engagements can be broadly separated into listening, public relations and marketing, and customer service, each of which can be handled internally or outsourced depending on the hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needs and capabilities. Listening (or social monitoring) is the most passive of the strategies, and provides hospitality companies with an insight into their brand perception among customers. :KLOHÂżUPVDSSURDFKVRFLDOPRQLWRULQJGLIIHUHQWO\WKH general goal is (or should be) to gain real-time market data and insights to help shape business-end plans. The next, more active approach to social media involves marketing and PR campaigns in which enterprises reach out to their customers via communications such as promotions, ads, and surveys in order to promote and protect their brand, broaden and deepen their customer base, and drive sales. Finally, social customer service allows companies to


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monitor customer feedback and inquiries, and to respond accordingly. Due to the public nature of social networks, customer service on these posts incorporates the listening and PR sides of social media strategies. The following are basic KPIs that leading hospitality companies have started to develop, adopt and measure, to help them manage that social media strategy: Â&#x2021;%X]]DQVZHUVWKHEDVLFTXHVWLRQDUHSHRSOHWDONLQJ about the company and its products or services? A company can push marketing and PR on social media sites all it wants, but unless customers respond in some way, the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s efforts will not mean much. Â&#x2021;6HQWLPHQWDQDO\VLVPHDVXUHVFXVWRPHUSHUFHSWLRQRI and attitudes toward the company. This is particularly useful in evaluating responses to a companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CRM efforts, strategy changes, and events, among other things. Â&#x2021;7KHYROXPHRILQWHUDFWLRQV SRVWVOLNHVHWF ORRNVDW how much is being said, and by how many different customers. Â&#x2021;5HDFKLQĂ&#x20AC;XHQFHFDOFXODWHVWKHQXPEHURIFXVWRPHUV that the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s social media activities reach. This includes the primarily number of followers and fans reached by the company directly, but excludes those UHDFKHGE\VXSHUXVHUVDQGLQĂ&#x20AC;XHQFHUV Â&#x2021;7RSLFSRSXODULW\LGHQWLÂżHVWKHNH\LVVXHVDQGWRSLFVWKDW the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s customers on social media care about. Â&#x2021;.H\FXVWRPHUVLQĂ&#x20AC;XHQFHUVGHWHUPLQHVLIDQGKRZVRFLDO

PHGLDHIIRUWVDUHUHDFKLQJVXSHUXVHUVRULQĂ&#x20AC;XHQFHUV and measures the impact of this on usersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; networks. 7KLVPHWULFLVSDUWLFXODUO\GLIÂżFXOWWRFDOFXODWHGXHWR ambiguity in what it means to have a lot of followers or friends. Â&#x2021;6KDUHRIYRLFHEHQFKPDUNVDFRPSDQ\DJDLQVWLWV competitors by aggregating conversations and activities about the entire industry, and determining what fraction of those conversations are about the company. Adoption of such KPIs will be vital to the continued success of the hospitality industry. If the sector only halfheartedly pursues social media engagements without really understanding what the goals are, then it will be a struggle. It only leads to a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;chicken versus egg situationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; where customers are hesitant because of a lack of PHWULFVE\ZKLFKWRTXDQWLI\WKHEHQHÂżWVRIVRFLDOPHGLD and executive boards do not therefore see the value of investing in a social media strategy. In this regard, return on investment (ROI) is one of the most important metrics that executives use to determine the effectiveness of social media strategies, but it is also RQHRIWKHPRVWGLIÂżFXOWWRHYDOXDWH7KHSUREOHPLVPXOWL faceted â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not only are there questions around what should EHXVHGWRFDOFXODWH52,EXWWKHUHLVDOVRGLIÂżFXOW\LQ determining these variables. For further information, please contact :


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Hospitality Business Magazine The choice of the professionals Heinz Grub, General Manager of Sheraton Dubai Creek and Area Manager of 7 Starwood properties in Dubai

To advertise please contact: Alex Bendiouis, +971 50 458 9204 Antony Crabb, +971 55 338 7639 Ankit Shukla, +971 55 2572807 Read every monthly issue free of charge via:

Published by

NEW HBME ARTWORK final.indd 50

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is to leverage our dynamic business model, as we seek growth opportunities in the vibrant marketplace of the UAE capital. The property offers a unique mix of a strategic location, superb MICE, F&B and leisure facilities, which will prove to be a winning formula,” said van der Kruyf, who has 30 years’ hospitality experience with a number of global 5-star operators, including Le Meridien Hotels, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Hilton, Marriott and Sheraton.


Appointment news The latest appointment and promotion news from the region RIYADH HYATT GM NAMED

such as Hyatt Hotels Baku, Grand Hyatt Muscat, Hyatt Regency Belgrade and was subsequently appointed in September 2008 as the opening team EAM food and beverage for Park Hyatt Jeddah, where he has held his most recent role as director of operations since September 2010. Expected to open in the third quarter of 2013, Hyatt Regency Riyadh, will offer 257 guestrooms, including 37 suites. The hotel will also offer a lobby lounge, two restaurants, a Regency Club lounge, more than 550sqm of ballroom and event space, and a number of small meeting rooms. Additional hotel amenities include a male spa with six treatment rooms.

Nizar Weshah has been appointed general manager of Hyatt Regency Riyadh. Weshah holds a Hotel Management degree from Al Mustansiriy at University in Iraq, and joined Grand Hyatt Amman’s opening team in October 1998 as an outlet manager, where he was later appointed to the post of assistant director of food and beverage in July 1999. Prior to this appointment, he worked in several Hyatt properties around the world

Rotana’s first Dubai property under the Centro brand, has announced the appointment of its new GM, Eleni Tsolakou. Tsolakou replaced Sherif Madkour, who is now the General Manager of the four-star Al Maha Arjaan, one of Rotana’s 11 properties in Abu Dhabi, from January 6th. “Today’s figures prove that since the opening of the property, Sherif developed a very strong platform which I am sure Eleni will continue to build on, and bring even more business as the property grows,” commented Rotana EVP and COO Omer Kaddouri. Tsolakou was promoted to general manager of Centro Barsha after completing two years as the executive assistant manager of Yas Island Rotana and Centro Yas Island. “This is a very exciting opportunity and I feel confident we will all work together successfully in order to establish Centro Barsha as the most preferred destination for business travellers visiting Dubai, and a hub for the vibrant local community,” she said. The Rotana Centro, in Dubai’s Al Barsha area is now in its third year of operation.

DUSIT THANI ABU DHABI APPOINTS Stefan van der Kruyf has been named director of sales and marketing at the new Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi. At Dusit’s first property in the capital Emirate, Kruyf will be integral to the property’s launch period. “I am delighted to be a part of Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi in this exciting phase. Our strategy

Newly appointed Hyatt GM, Nizar Weshah.


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Eleni Tsolakou and the Centro Barsha team.

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Job watch

DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING - DOHA, QATAR Industry: Hotels Clubs and Spas Department: Sales and Marketing/PR Level: Corporate /Group, Department Head Location: ME/GCC (Except UAE), United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: Attractive Posted: 09/01/2013 t&OTVSJOHUIFIPUFMIBTTJHOJGJDBOUQSFTFODFJO key markets t4IFIFXJMMQSFQBSFBOEBENJOJTUFSUIFIPUFMT Marketing Plan and Budget to achieve the revenue goals. t%SJWFT3FWFOVF.BOBHFNFOUUPFOTVSFUIBU maximum revenues/yields are achieved in the development, maintenance and education of Strategic Rate Pricing, Strategic Rate Selling and plays a lead role in the development of the Strategic Plan and the education of all members of the team to this direction t*EFOUJGJFTNBSLFUUSFOETBOEOFX opportunities and implementing strategies to address them, develops action plans as necessary t&OTVSFTUIFBQQSPQSJBUFUSBJOJOHBOE development is in place t.BOBHFTUIF4BMFT*ODFOUJWF1SPHSBNBOE the activities of outside agencies and internal staff on local and in-house advertising campaigns. t1BSUJDJQBUFTJOTBMFTBDUJWJUJFTCPUIPOBOE off property and has ongoing personal involvement in community events. t5BLFTBOBDUJWFSPMFJO3FHJPOBMBOE4UBUF Tourism Partnerships as well as other key local UPVSJTNPSHBOJ[BUJPOTt-JBJTFXJUI1VCMJD Relations to stimulate additional profile within all markets, which complement the sales effort t5BLFTBOBDUJWFSPMFJO0XOFSTIJQSFMBUJPOT  where applicable

Time to move on? We can help. All jobs can be applied for through the Hozpitality Web site SR. GENERAL MANAGER- ABU DHABI Industry: Hotels Clubs and Spas Department: General Management/ GM Level: Corporate /Group, Top Management Location: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: attractive Posted: 19/01/2013 Start Date: asap Recruiter: Hozpitality Consulting We are looking for a Sr. GM for a new local 5 star hotel opening in Abu Dhabi by the end of 2012. European/American/Australian nationals are preferred by the client for this position. The candidate should have over 15 years experience as a GM and preferably with similar experience in UAE. Age 45-60 years. Attractive salary plus benefits. Please apply with your CV and photo urgently.

CFO / CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Industry: Hotels Clubs and Spas Department: Finance and Accounts, Head Office/Corporate Level: Corporate /Group, Top Management Location: ME/GCC (Except UAE), United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: AED 35.000 net basic ++ Family Package Recruiter: CHA International We are looking for a CFO/ Chief Financial Officer, based in Dubai, preferably Indian Nationality. Age between 40-50 years old with experience in an International Hotel Chain and in charge of multiple properties or holding a cooperate role with Dubai/GCC Experience. CPA holder is a plus. All Resumes please to

COMPLEX DIRECTOR OF FINANCE Industry: Hotels Clubs and Spas Department: Finance and Accounts Level: Corporate /Group, Department Head, Top Management Location: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: Attractive Posted: 16/01/2013

69-70 Jobs.indd 69

Recruiter: Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort Job responsibilities will include, but not limited to the following: ‡ Direct preparation of annual budgets and monthly forecasts; establish or recommend to management major economic objectives and policies for Hotel. ‡ Support General Manager and hotel financial goals by direct preparation of monthly and annual reports summarize and forecast hotel’s revenues, expenses, and earning based on past, present and expected operations. ‡ Ensure compliance with Starwood policies and procedures and all applicable laws. ‡ Provide effective leadership of the Finance team in relation to goal setting, development and direction of activities. ‡ Negotiate and monitor contracts with hotel’s vendors. ‡ Ensure the collection and payment of applicable local, state, and federal taxes. ‡ Arrange for audits of hotel’s accounts. ‡ Prepare reports required by regulatory agencies. ‡ Additional duties as necessary and assigned. Requirements To move into this position you should have ‡ Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting with a major in Hotel Accounting or a Certified Public Accountant license or Master’s in Accounting or Business Administration. ‡ Four years plus experience in similar role and five years experience in five stars property. ‡ Budgetary analysis capabilities required. For more information, please visit or www.



PURCHASE EXECUTIVE FOR AJMAN CORPORATE OFFICE Industry: Hotels Clubs and Spas Department: Finance and Accounts, Purchase and Stores Level: Corporate /Group, Middle Management, Supervisory level Location: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: Attractive We are currently looking for the following


2/4/13 11:33 AM

JOB WATCH Jobs supplied by:

SR. GENERAL MANAGER- ABU DHABI Industry: Hotels Clubs and Spas Department: General Management/ GM Level: Corporate /Group, Top Management Location: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: attractive Posted: 19/01/2013 Start Date: asap Recruiter: Hozpitality Consulting We are looking for a Sr. GM for a new local 5 star hotel opening in Abu Dhabi by the end of 2012. European/American/Australian nationals are preferred by the client for this position. The candidate should have over 15 years experience as a GM and preferably with similar experience in UAE. Age 45-60 years. Attractive salary plus benefits. Please apply with your CV and photo urgently.

CFO / CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Industry: Hotels Clubs and Spas Department: Finance and Accounts, Head Office/Corporate Level: Corporate /Group, Top Management Location: ME/GCC (Except UAE), United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: AED 35.000 net basic ++ Family Package Recruiter: CHA International We are looking for a CFO/ Chief Financial Officer, based in Dubai, preferably Indian Nationality. Age between 40-50 years old with experience in an International Hotel Chain and in charge of multiple properties or holding a cooperate role with Dubai/GCC Experience. CPA holder is a plus. All Resumes please to

COMPLEX DIRECTOR OF FINANCE Industry: Hotels Clubs and Spas Department: Finance and Accounts Level: Corporate /Group, Department Head, Top Management Location: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: Attractive Posted: 16/01/2013 Recruiter: Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort Job responsibilities will include, but not limited to the following: ‡ Direct preparation of annual budgets and monthly forecasts; establish or recommend to management major


69-70 Jobs.indd 70

economic objectives and policies for Hotel. ‡ Support General Manager and hotel financial goals by direct preparation of monthly and annual reports summarize and forecast hotel’s revenues, expenses, and earning based on past, present and expected operations. ‡ Ensure compliance with Starwood policies and procedures and all applicable laws. ‡ Provide effective leadership of the Finance team in relation to goal setting, development and direction of activities. ‡ Negotiate and monitor contracts with hotel’s vendors. ‡ Ensure the collection and payment of applicable local, state, and federal taxes. ‡ Arrange for audits of hotel’s accounts. ‡ Prepare reports required by regulatory agencies. ‡ Additional duties as necessary and assigned. Requirements To move into this position you should have ‡ Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting with a major in Hotel Accounting or a Certified Public Accountant license or Master’s in Accounting or Business Administration. ‡ Four years plus experience in similar role and five years experience in five stars property. ‡ Budgetary analysis capabilities required. For more information, please visit or www.

DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING - DOHA, QATAR Industry: Hotels Clubs and Spas Department: Sales and Marketing/PR Level: Corporate /Group, Department Head Location: ME/GCC (Except UAE), United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: Attractive Posted: 09/01/2013 t&OTVSJOHUIFIPUFMIBTTJHOJGJDBOUQSFTFODFJO key markets t4IFIFXJMMQSFQBSFBOEBENJOJTUFSUIFIPUFMT Marketing Plan and Budget to achieve the



revenue goals. t%SJWFT3FWFOVF.BOBHFNFOUUPFOTVSFUIBU maximum revenues/yields are achieved in the development, maintenance and education of Strategic Rate Pricing, Strategic Rate Selling and plays a lead role in the development of the Strategic Plan and the education of all members of the team to this direction t*EFOUJGJFTNBSLFUUSFOETBOEOFX opportunities and implementing strategies to address them, develops action plans as necessary t&OTVSFTUIFBQQSPQSJBUFUSBJOJOHBOE development is in place t.BOBHFTUIF4BMFT*ODFOUJWF1SPHSBNBOE the activities of outside agencies and internal staff on local and in-house advertising campaigns. t1BSUJDJQBUFTJOTBMFTBDUJWJUJFTCPUIPOBOE off property and has ongoing personal involvement in community events. t5BLFTBOBDUJWFSPMFJO3FHJPOBMBOE4UBUF Tourism Partnerships as well as other key local UPVSJTNPSHBOJ[BUJPOTt-JBJTFXJUI1VCMJD Relations to stimulate additional profile within all markets, which complement the sales effort t5BLFTBOBDUJWFSPMFJO0XOFSTIJQSFMBUJPOT  where applicable

PURCHASE EXECUTIVE FOR AJMAN CORPORATE OFFICE Industry: Hotels Clubs and Spas Department: Finance and Accounts, Purchase and Stores Level: Corporate /Group, Middle Management, Supervisory level Location: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: Attractive We are currently looking for the following position for a renowned international hotel group with hotels in Dubai and Ajman for the corporate office:- Purchase Executive for Ajman Corporate Office. The right candidate should have the following:Similar experience in international hotels needed for this position preferably in UAE/ Middle East. Good English communication skills and Excellent Guest Relation Skills Positive attitude and willingness to learn and grow Attractive salary plus expat benefits offered. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

1/31/13 3:32 PM


The Hotel Show 2013 Big changes are ahead for The Hotel Show 2013 with a greater focus on maintaining occupancy, new technology, evolving leadership trends, and even new dates. Event director, Christine Davidson, explains What’s new at The Hotel Show 2013?

demanding more display space to increase their product ranges on show. There has also been a rise in demand from the architecture and construction sectors, demonstrating that they are keen to engage with professionals throughout the industry to understand the guest requirements from an early stage.

Most importantly and one for your diary is the date: September 28 - 30 2013 at Dubai World Trade Centre. Our Vision Conference, over all three days, will look at new trends and technologies, from customer insight and engagement to contracts and tenders, as well as interiors and operations with some of the world’s leading experts. There will be live demonstrations featuring latest hospitality technologies and in-room entertainment and a demosntration of the hotel rooms of the future – sustainable, stylish and cost efficient demonstrated by Well-Tech.

What are the main industry trends driving these changes? Guests have higher expectations from mobile connectivity, everyday services and entertainment and it is vital that all hoteliers understand the new trends and innovations, which will allow closer customer engagement and which may ultimately make the difference between winning or losing customers.

Driving growth The event format this year is driven very much by the renewed momentum in the hotel business with almost 500 hotels reportedly under construction in the MENA region. The hotel and tourism sector in the UAE forecast to grow from US$4.9 billion in 2012 to US$ 7.5 bn by 2016, while the overall GCC market set to grow at more than 8% a year for the next four years, according to Alpen Capital. Our focus will be about meeting that demand to ensure our visitors can access the largest collection of hotel and restaurant interiors, technology, HORECA, equipment and outdoor resort suppliers from around the world.

00 Hotel Show Q&A.indd 71

More than 15,000 visitors attended in 2012 and even more are set to attend this year.

How will the exhibition be divided into product, conference and meeting areas?

Increasing expectations for sustainable and innovative products need to be achieved cost effectively, so the show will offer insights across the board through seminars, and features. Achieving high occupancy throughout the year is a key aim of the industry and whilst the region has the highest levels the show will arm managers and owners with various ways of maintaining these exceptional business levels.

What are exhibitor numbers and projected visitor numbers at this point? Around 75% of our stand space is already taken for the September show and we are pleased to welcome some new and exciting brands. The show attracted 15,500 visitors in 2012 and with the increase in momentum for the industry we are forecasting an exceptionally busy 2013.

Are there any surprising developments in the mix of exhibitors and visitors? The Operating Equipment and Supply section of the show is a notable growth area this year with exhibitors

The Show takes up halls 3 – 8 at Dubai World Trade Centre. There are five main exhibitor sectors: Interiors & Design, Technology and Facilities Management (FM), HORECA, Operating Equipment and Supply and Outdoor and Resort. HORECA now stands alone from Operating Equipment to enable us to market this sector in a more targeted way. We are seeing a lot of potential growth from catering equipment companies and high-level tableware brands interested to participate. Technology is the fastest growing sector and this year we will be showcasing FM alongside it at the show following increased interest from FM companies.

What is on the conference agenda? Global brands, leading industry experts, and a programme designed to inform and inspire managers, owners and buyers from MENA’s hotel and hospitality market. GMs who need to stay in touch with the market and understand future trends will find the programme a worthwhile investment of their time.

Keep up to date with news and announcements by following the Hotel Show Dubai on Twitter @ thehotelshow


Around 75% of our stand space is already taken for the September show and we are pleased to welcome some new and exciting brands.

Event director, Christine Davidson


2/4/13 11:17 AM


The MLOS myth Remember back in the day when consumers used rack brochures and travel agents to book their hotel stays? Remember when Minimum Length Of Stay (MLOS) and stay patterns were the only way to deal with unconstrained demand to try to control revenues and occupancy? Jean Francois Mourier, CEO of REVPAR GURU, explains why those days are over.


imes have definitely changed since the days when MLOS and stay patterns were the norm for revenue managers. Back in the day, it was impossible to use flexible pricing because revenue management technology wasn’t sophisticated enough and the Internet was not yet in existence. But today, times have definitely changed. While MLOS can be useful for special events or big-ticket days (like New Year’s Eve), MLOS and stay patterns aren’t the best revenue management strategies for day-to-day use in today’s online, highly competitive market. Still not convinced? Here are some very important reasons for hoteliers to shift away from MLOS restrictions for their day-to-day revenue management, and instead, adopt flexible pricing using sophisticated revenue management technology.

The Internet MLOS was created before the invention of the online travel agencies (OTAs) and the resulting change in consumer booking habits. It’s an outdated system


72 Column.indd 72


Jean Francois Mourier, CEO of REVPAR GURU that for the most part doesn’t work with today’s technology (the good technologies). You’re inconveniencing the customer. If I’m a consumer and I want to stay at your hotel for three nights and I‘m told that the minimum stay is four days, you can be sure that I would take my business elsewhere.

a MLOS does not persuade a consumer to book the extra night to meet the requirement. If a consumer is looking for a hotel for a three-day stay, and your property’s MLOS is four days, your property will not show up in their OTA search results. In short, you’re blocking your own property from potential guests and killing your billboard effect.

MLOS rules for 2013 If you are going to use MLOS for special events, use them sparingly. Don’t just load a four-night MLOS for all dates, instead, try balancing the demand through pricing and if you really need to apply restrictions for any of the dates, make sure they are a reflection of the respective level of demand for that date. By focusing on longer stays, sometimes hoteliers miss out on single night bookings that could fill inventory gaps during shoulder dates. Not to mention the price hikes that may occur due to lower category rooms not being available for the full length of stay period. This can automatically bump your pricing way above the market. Day-to-day, a sophisticated, algorithmbased revenue management system that collects and analyses data, and provides rate recommendations in real-time as the factors in the market change is the best solution for consistent financial success. These systems allow you to control your rates and occupancy as needed, boost your revenues and free up valuable time to concentrate on the big picture.

You’re decreasing your online visibility We’re all familiar with the billboard effect. Contrary to popular belief, having

For additional information from REVPAR GURU, visit:

1/31/13 9:04 AM

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Hospitality Business ME | 2013 February  

In-depth news and analysis for the Middle East’s hospitality professionals, wrapped up a in an intelligent, well designed monthly magazine.

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