GLOBAL HOTEL INDEX: Asia Pacific 70%/ $129.44 - Americas +63.7%/ $113.62 - Europe +63.8%/ $126.34 - MEA +67.1%/ $179.57 (Average occupancy March 2013/ADR $)
Radissonâ€™s Tim Cordon on taking the helm at Dubaiâ€™s first 5-star
Starwood SVP Guido de Wilde reveals aggressive expansion plans /FXTBOEBOBMZTJTGPSUIF.JEEMF&BTUTIPTQJUBMJUZQSPGFTTJPOBMT UBM BMJUZQSPGFTTJPOOBM BMMTT
Almost every hotel has one, but many run at a loss. How to maximise impact in the gym
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How does Front of House IT affect the guest experience?
The latest data, trends, tenders and news
DTCM director of hotel classification, .BKJE"M.BSSJ, speaks exclusively to Hospitality Business Middle East about the development of the Hotel Classification System and the ambitious vision that will welcome 20 million annual visitors by 2020
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NEWLY APPOINTED GM OF DUBAI’S FIRST 5-STAR HOTEL, TIM CORDON, REVEALS SOME OF THE CHANGES UNDERFOOT AT THE HISTORICAL CREEKSIDE PROPERTY
HOW MUCH OF A 5-STAR EXPERIENCE CAN I.T. CREATE? AND COULD SELFSERVICE KIOSKS AND TABLET COMPUTERS CHANGE THE CHECK-IN PROCESS FOREVER?
THE FULL STORY BEHIND DTCM’S HISTORICAL MONTH, INCLUDING THE NEW HOTEL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM AND THE 20MILLION BY 2020 VISITOR TARGET
STARWOOD’S GUIDO DE WILDE AND FRITS VAN PAASSCHEN EXPLAIN HOW THE RISE IN MOBILE BOOKINGS WILL DRIVE THE GROUP’S HUGE EXPANSION PLANS
BEHIND THE SCENES AT LAST MONTH’S HOSPITALITY HYGIENE SUMMIT, WHERE WE TALK CHEMICALS, EQUIPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT WITH THE EXPERTS
DO YOUR RECREATION FACILITIES MEET THEIR REVENUE GENERATING POTENTIAL? GYM OPERATORS AND REVENUE EXPERTS SHARE THEIR SUCCESS TIPS
REGULARS 04 EDITOR’S COMMENT
06 NEWS 11 DATA 14 DTCM NEWS 18 TENDERS 50 PRODUCT WATCH
53 APPOINTMENT NEWS 54 JOBS 56 COLUMN
HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST / 1
3OHDVHFRQWDFW/*(OHFWURQLFV*XOIRIˉFHIRUIXUWKHUGHWDLOV LG ELECTRONICS GULF FZE AL NASR PLAZA OFFICE BUILDING #4, OFFICE 309 OUD METHA RD., P.O. BOX 61445, DUBAI, UAE TEL: +971-4-357 3466, FAX: +971-4-357 3460 &RQWDFW Salwan Finj (+971-56-683 7424) Jeongjun Park (+971-56-681 7029)
COMMENT / EDITOR’S LETTER
ast month saw thousands of industry professionals descend on Dubai for Arabian Travel Market. Almost every exhibiting hotel chain had news of expansions and diversification, CSR projects and staff development drives. But it was DTCM that really stole the thunder when announcements were made that not only is Dubai on track to welcome 20million visitors annually by 2020, but implementation of the Hotel Classification System is to begin. While the two received separate announcements there is little doubt they are inextricably linked. With leadership as ambitious as Dubai’s, such things are not left to chance. It may be only last year that tourism hit the 10million mark for the first time, but it is now predicted that within seven years Dubai will become the most visited city in the world. Keep in mind that to reach that target – according to the figures by Mastercard – the city will need to welcome 50% more visitors to beat current leader Bangkok, at 2012 standards. It’s only common sense that 20million people cannot stay in
Hospitality Business Middle East official media partner
28 - 30 September 2013
PUBLISHER: Dominic De Sousa GROUP COO: Nadeem Hood
With leadership as ambitious as Dubai’s, such things are not left to chance
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHERS Alex Bendiouis Dave Reeder
5-star luxury accommodation and so Decree No. 17 was issued, legally regulating hotel classifications by type and location. In addition to offering a transparent reference system for guests, it will open up the much over-looked midrange and budget markets, ensuring that when Expo 2020 arrives Dubai has a mature and diversified market. As for the viability of the visitor number targets? Dubai’s growth is probably the strongest of all the cities listed in the survey. If in doubt, consider the fact that all its competitors have been around longer than the UAE has been recognised as a country. Year to date tourism receipts stand at $10.4bn and even more demand drivers are to be introduced in the coming years; from theme parks to Expo 2020 itself. After all, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly and judging by developments of recent weeks, if there is a city in the world that can demonstrate that, it’s Dubai.
Photography: Anas Cherur
MELANIE MINGAS EDITOR
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PROJECTED VALUE OF HOTEL TRANSACTIONS IN 2013, JLL
MENA Oman-based GMs praise weekend changes NEWS From this month, Oman’s weekends enhance business relations. But GMs Largely due to the introduction will change from Thursday and Friday to Friday and Saturday, in line with neighbouring countries, to
in the sultanate are already eyeing a new weekend getaway market, predominantly from the UAE.
Radisson Blu, Muscat.
of leisure rates on Saturday – which could slash the corporate rate by as much as 40% for visitors – the change was welcomed by Radisson Blu Muscat GM, Marius Wolmarans, and Park Inn Muscat GM, Rabi Zein. Speaking to Hospitality Business during their annual GM conference in Fujairah UAE, both Wolmarans and Zein said they would be using online marketing to capture a new UAE clientele. “There is an opportunity for the future because as of May we have our weekends the same as Dubai and there is the opportunity to chase the UAE weekend market,” said Zein. “Today the UAE residents are not coming because our Saturday was a corporate rate, but now it will be up to 40% cheaper. So we are going to be promoting the rates and letting people know that we can add value to their weekend getaways,” he added. During the week, the two Oman properties will also seize on opportunities for business travellers, as the Sultanate’s infrastructure developments continue.
Middle East Hotel Awards winners announced IN FIGURES
ENTRIES RECEIVED FOR THE 2013 AWARDS, HELD ON MAY 22
CATEGORIES INCLUDING THREE NEWS CATEGORIES
Held at Jumeirah Creekside hotel, 2013’s Middle East Hotel Awards, welcomed hundreds of industry professionals. Ahead of The Hotel Show, September 28-30, this year, 98 entries were received in a total of 11 categories covering a range of diverse elements contributing to “the perfect hotel stay”. Three new categories were added: Best Hotel, Best Hotel Apartment and Best Marketing Campaign, reflecting both the growth and increasing standards of the MENA industry.
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THE WINNERS ARE: Best Hotel Suite: The Atlantis, Dubai Best Fitness & Leisure Facilities: Grand Hyatt, Dubai Best Technology Integration: Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai Best Outdoor Area: The Westin, Abu Dhabi Best Restaurant or Food & Beverage Outlet: Ossiano, The Atlantis, Dubai Best Lobby Reception or Guest Lounge: Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, Dubai
Best Hotel: Six Senses Spa, Oman Best Hotel Apartment: Marriott Executive Apartments, Saudi Arabia Best Marketing Campaign: Hilton Worldwide Best Sustainable Initiative: Six Senses Spa, Oman Best Convention, Conference or Banquet Facility: Four Seasons Hotel, Riyadh Best Lobby Reception or Guest Lounge: Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, Dubai
HOTELS TO OPEN THIS YEAR IN THE GCC
Citymax CEO: Mid-market is priced out Land prices and management contracts in Dubai are pricing out mid-market hotel brands and potentially jeopardising future visitor numbers, according to Citymax CEO Russell Sharpe. Speaking to Hospitality Business Middle East at AHIC, Sharpe concluded that DTCM would have to step in to assist the establishment of a mature mid-market offering, particularly in light of the growth of Fly Dubai and the new Dubai World Central, both of which will bring in ever increasing numbers of midmarket travellers. “Dubai has done a really good job selling sand, sea and the air above in build-up charges, but when we look at new build we have to look at
Gen Y trends changing recruitment On-the-spot hiring is being used by an increasing number of employers in response to the changing workplace demands brought about by Generation Y, says Purple Cubed MD, Lynne Bellinger. But not all hotels are doing it right, she has warned.
Purple Cubed MD, Lynne Bellinger.
Russell Sharpe, Citymax CEO.
the land in perspective of the costs and that usually dictates the type of hotel you can build,” he explained to Hospitality Business Middle East at AHIC. “A few days ago it was declared that the aim is for 20 million tourists to visit annually, by 2020. You can’t have 20 million tourists all in top end. “You would need to have a number of government initiators in order to look at where and how you would attract mid-market brands, in today’s environment,” he added. Citymax, which recently launched the new Citymax Premiere brand for under matured markets such as Doha and Saudi Arabia, is looking to open 5000 rooms, MENA-wide, with the predominant focus on Dubai.
“There are better ways of conducting on-the-spot hiring. The Emirates Group has got it so right by putting all candidates, regardless of position, through an assessment centre, and this is something that hotels could also do in conjunction with mass recruitment days,” she said. -Citing competition and mass recruitment challenges, Bellinger praised Emirates’ call back methods and suggested the industry should contractually bound its associates to avoid footing expensive recruitment bills. “Hotels are poaching staff from one another and this is a hugely contentious topic. Hotels should have an agreement to not recruit from other properties unless the applicant has worked for them for at least two years, which is a good indicator of loyalty, and allows the hotel to recoup its hiring costs,” she remarked.
Marriott’s 60% extended stay target for MEA Marriott Hotels has unveiled plans to open dozens of extended stay properties under its Residence Inn and Marriott Executive Apartments brands, culminating in a near 60% portfolio share for Residence Inn and Marriott Executive Apartments brands by 2020, up from 13%. Said extended stay brand manager, Diane Mayer: “Marriott’s extended stay brands are 27% of its global pipeline, but note we are conservative in pipeline stats, so these are approved or under construction. For the Middle East we expect extended stay to be 57% of our distribution by 2020.” Globally, extended stay generates $3.2bn of total revenues – a 27% share, from 23% of current hotel distribution. The chain has also announced five new properties in Abu Dhabi as part of its extensive expansion plans.
450 MENA NEWS
NEWS IN BRIEF KERZNER INKS KSA DEAL Kerzner International Holdings Ltd, has announced it is to develop Saudi Arabia’s first One & Only resort on the Red Sea, Jeddah, in partnership with Saudi Oger and Al Khozama Management Company The 150 room, luxury property, will be located north of Jeddah to capture both business and leisure markets, within a 30 minute radius from King Abdulaziz International Airport. It will feature 230m of beachfront and an area of 95,000 sqm and promises “unique entertainment and sport activities on-site”.
CURRENT GCC HOTEL CONSTRUCTION PIPELINE
Ritz-Carlton Marrakech Ritz-Carlton has announced it will open its fourth North African property in Marrakech, Morocco. The fortress style resort will be located on a nature reserve, 20km from the centre of Marrakech, with 60 hotel suites and 20 hotel villas of two, three and five bedrooms; bars and restaurants; a luxury spa and related leisure facilities.
Said Herve Humler, President and COO, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company: “The Ritz-Carlton, Marrakech will be our fourth property in North Africa, each one offering a different proposition, indigenous to the style and location of the hotel or resort. Expansion in this region is unquestionably an essential part of our future growth strategy.”
VICEROY THE PALM ANNOUNCED Viceroy has confirmed that it will open a $1bn property on The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Q4, 2016. Real estate investment firm SKAI Holdings has officially announced the construction of a 481 room hotel and 221 furnished residences project that will mark the first property in Dubai for the American chain.Construction is already underway and the property is located at the base of The Palm’s ‘trunk’. Earlier this year Viceroy CEO Bill Walshe told Hospitality Business that he “wouldn’t rest” until the group had opened a property in one of Dubai’s prime locations. Late last month it was announced that Viceroy, Cape Verde, would also open soon.
Project rendering of the new Ritz Carlton Marakech.
SIMPLIFIED VISAS AIDING TRAVEL Dubai’s 13.2% surge in airline passenger numbers is due to simplified visa processes and fewer barriers to travel, according to Fly Dubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith. In 2012, 57 million people travelled through the airport and a 15.6% increase has already been achieved YTD. Al Ghaith concluded in a statement last month that: “Simplified visa processes and lower barriers to travel have contributed significantly to rising passenger traffic to the UAE.” Fly Dubai now travels to 33 countries over North and East Africa, GCC, ME, Subcontinent, CIS countries and Europe.
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Wyndham UAE for Dubai Marina Wyndham, the largest hotel group in the world will open its first property in the UAE, with a 33-storey building at Dubai Marina. With a current portfolio of 7380 hotels globally, the 497-room Wyndham Dubai Marina is expected to open within the next three years. The chain already runs a number of properties in Saudi Arabia. Dubai Marina will include 251 luxury suites, 6,800 sqft of F&B outlets, MICE facilities and
2,500sqft of spa and leisure facilities. Said SVP and MD, Europe, Rui Barros: “We’re very excited to be bringing our namesake Wyndham Hotels and Resorts brand to Dubai, following its successful introduction to the region through the spectacular Wyndham Grand Regency Doha. I have no doubt that Wyndham Dubai Marina will be another superb addition to the brand, which we are already growing in key cities throughout the region.”
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OF SURVEY USES SMARTPHONE OR TABLET TO BOOK TRAVEL
GLOBAL Ritz-Carlton unveils global CSR initiative NEWS Ritz-Carlton has unveiled a global a sustainable difference in the
Sue Stephenson, VP of CSR.
CSR programme that offsets humanitarian activities against sustainability targets. Spearheaded by vice president of CSR, Sue Stephenson, the initiatives will use unspent revenue and financial savings accrued from sustainable practices, to fund its continuing work with NGOs and charities, including the Make a Wish Foundation and Al Noor School, Dubai. During her visit to Dubai to promote the programme, Stephenson said: “We believe that global companies have a responsibility to implement and inspire positive action in a way that is geographically and culturally relevant. Community Footprints focuses on making
communities within which The RitzCarlton operates and, as we extend our physical footprint in the Middle East, we are committed to replicating the success of our global social responsibility and community engagement commitment.” Community Footprints was institutionalised by The Ritz-Carlton in 2002, to tackle three key global issues; child well-being, hunger and poverty relief and environmental responsibility. The company integrates Community Footprints within its business goals, placing it as a foundational piece in the company’s business management model, incorporating it as a key success factor, and has developed robust metrics to measure progress.
Mobile booking “a must”
$10bn in new US openings
Travellers from the UAE and KSA avoid travel sites that are not mobileready or do not have mobile booking capabilities, according to research cited by Google. The data is thought to be the first to provide extensive insight into consumer behaviour for the travel sector and concludes the Internet is the number one source for trip planning for 39% of UAE and 38% of KSA leisure travellers, with the number rising for business travellers to 50% and 48% respectively. Google also cited the surge in smartphone ownership and improved connectivity in the region as a major driver of mobile usage when planning travel with 48% of survey respondents using their smartphone in the last year to engage in a travel related activity, rising to 69% for specific smartphone or tablet use. The report also noted travel companies are missing out on the prospect to convert mobile travellers into bookings.
Approximately $10bn in new hotels opened in the U.S. during 2012, according to the debut issue of STR Analytics report Hotel Development Almanac and new developments are near their lowest level in the current cycle with only 420 hotels opening last year. Broken down, the average cost of development per room stands at $164,000, driven by a dominating upscale and upper midscale segment, although New York City ranked above average, demanding investments of around $508,000 per room. The most active market tract for development in 2012 was North Dakota, which saw 23 new hotels open but Hampton
10 / HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST
Inn & Suites and Holiday Inn Express had the most U.S. hotel openings in 2012. “With a limited amount of financing available for new developments, the volume of new rooms entering the market is negligible in most cities,” said Steve Hennis, director at STR Analytics. “With continued improvement in both the general hotel industry as well as the national economy, we are beginning to see the pace of new construction increase.”
An outlook on the UAE T By Matthew Green, Head of Research UAE, CBRE Middle East
he Emirates tourism sector remains fixed on a solid growth course, with occupancy rates rising across key markets in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah. During Q1, hotels in the capital recorded double digit growth in revenue and occupancy figures, building on a 2012 performance that saw 13% growth in total guest numbers. Dubai is also having another stellar start to its year, with further growth in tourist arrivals recorded during the first three months, building on the 9% rise achieved last year. Whilst still an emerging tourism destination, Ras Al Khaimah is starting to see a steady rise in its hotel keys, and some very impressive growth in tourist arrivals. After attracting over 1 million visitors in 2012, Ras Al Khaimah is now aiming for 1.2 million during 2013. Over the past decade, the country has invested heavily into its infrastructure facilities and its tourism marketing capability, with Dubai leading the way in establishing the emirates as a globally recognised holiday destination and one of the most important aviation hubs on the planet. The recent opening of the first Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) representative office in Brazil, highlights a continued effort by the government to raise global awareness as part of their strategy to attract visitors from burgeoning tourism markets in South America and beyond. Together, the UAE’s airports handled over 80 million customers during 2012, with the lion’s share passing through Dubai International Airport (DXB) which registered 71% of all passenger movements. Passenger numbers
VISITORS TO RAS AL KHAIMAH IN 2012
OF THE 80 MILLION PEOPLE WHO USED THE UAE’S AIRPORTS IN 2012, PASSED THROUGH DUBAI INTERNATIONAL
65m have continued to rise during 2013, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi seeing double digit growth during the first quarter. DXB is projected to see over 65 million passengers this year and 98 million by 2020. Significant investment has already been earmarked by the Dubai Government for further expansion plans, following quickly on the heels of the recently completed A380 concourse at DXB. Some of this new investment is likely to be directed towards the new
Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali, a facility which has been integral to the 2020 Expo bid. The UAE currently has over 95,000 completed hotel keys, a figure which could expand by 30% over the next five years with close to 30,000 keys in varying stages of construction and planning. Dubai’s hotel stock dwarfs the rest of the region with nearly 60,000 keys operational, although other markets such as Doha are slowly catching up. Despite such significant supply, Dubai posted the best performance of any Middle East city with average occupancy rates of 76% during 2012 and one of the best ADR performances of any global market. Although the regions sizeable hotel development pipeline should be monitored with some caution, the short term outlook for the sector looks to be positive with most key local markets recording growth in Q1
PASSENGER PROJECTIONS FOR DUBAI INTERNATIONAL IN 2013
HOTEL KEYS CURRENTLY IN THE UAE
GROWTH IN TOTAL GUEST NUMBERS IN Q1
AVERAGE OCCUPANCY ACROSS DUBAI IN 2012, ONE OF THE BEST PERFORMANCES OF ANY GLOBAL MARKET
HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST / 11
ADR WATCH Year on year ADR fluctuations across seven key Middle East destinations, supplied by Hotels Combined Location
TOTAL PROPERTY PIPELINE
134,912 TOTAL ROOMS PIPELINE ASIA PACIFIC
TOTAL PROPERTY PIPELINE
387,179 TOTAL ROOMS PIPELINE
EXTENDED STAY As Marriott International announces huge investments into its two extended stay brands (see MENA News pages), the Highland Group shares its key findings about the sector’s global market value ALL THE WAY BACK RevPAR for the extended-stay sector as a whole hit $58.80 last year - surpassing the pre-recession peak of 2007. Broken
CENTRAL/ SOUTH AMERICA
TOTAL PROPERTY PIPELINE
down by type, the upscale sector is above its 2007 levels while the midprice and economy sectors are slightly
below the previous peaks. Overall, RevPAR grew 7 percent in 2012 compared from the previous year.
TOTAL ROOMS PIPELINE
TOTAL PROPERTY PIPELINE
(Source: The Highland Group) 00
TOTAL ROOMS PIPELINE
$58.80 2012 REVPAR
12 / HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST
+6.9% 2012 ADR EXT STAY ONLY
+4.2% 2012 ADR HOTEL ONLY
THE GLOBAL PIPELINE, BY STR GLOBAL Middle East/Africa pipeline by Chain Scale segment for April 2013 (number of rooms) Chain scale
Existing supply (as of April 30, 2013(
Total active pipeline*
PIPELINE FIGURES SUPPLY GROWTH (POTENTIAL)
* Includes those projects in the construction, final planning and planning phases.
GLOBAL PIPELINE, 2013, STR GLOBAL Figures from STR Global demonstrate a robust pipeline around the world, however Asia Pacific continues to lead the way - significantly - showing that geographical diversity, economic strength and huge population growth are the key driving factors. Current pipeline numbers incorporate projects in the Construction, Final Planning and Planning stages, but does not include projects in the Pre-Planning stage. Among the markets in the region, Manila, Philippines, reported the largest expected supply growth (+43.0 percent) if all 9,968 rooms in the marketâ€™s total active pipeline open. Six other markets reported expected room growth of more than 10 percent: Mumbai, India (+25.2 percent with 5,117 rooms in the active pipeline); Jakarta, Indonesia (+23.8 percent with 8,115 rooms); Bali, Indonesia (+19.7 percent with 7,587 rooms); Brisbane, Australia (+13.9 percent with 1,698 rooms); Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (+11.7 percent with 3,611 rooms); and Phuket, Thailand (+11.4 percent with 2,928 rooms). Looking ahead to 2014, Asia is unlikely to lose its stronghold. Europe will open a further 233 hotels and Caribbean/ Mexico, 53.
+11.7% KUALA LUMPUR
ASIA / PACIFIC
HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST / 13
20 Million by 2020 - The next step HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid affirmed that the UAE has succeeded in placing itself amongst popular tourist destinations on the global map of tourism, walking confidently into the future through launching ambitious developmental initiatives and high quality projects. His Highness also noted that building a robust infrastructure with high capacity and providing quality high-end services to all the visitors of the UAE is an ongoing process that also necessitate keeping up the pace of development to meet the requirements of the global markets, bearing in mind changes that may occur in such requirements so as to preserve the country’s gains and earn more achievements in the tourism
sector that is full of opportunities. The economic importance of the tourism sector, cannot be ignored and it is hoped the visitor numbers will triple tourism receipts. His Highness also said that he firmly believes in Dubai’s ability to reach even a substantial tourist influx in light of the fact that Dubai will shortly witness the implementation of wide new range of projects that will represent new elements of attraction and will open the door to welcoming larger numbers of visitors into the country. HH Sheikh Mohammed went on to say: “We are aware that such goals are ambitious, but more important than ambition is realizing these goals in reality. We are confident that the Department of Tourism and
Spanish TO congress welcomed More than 120 tour operators and travel agents from Spain were hosted in Dubai last month, with the Emirate staging one of the Spanish tourism industry’s most important congresses. The FETAVE (Federation of Spanish Travel Agencies and Territorial Associations) Congress is an annual event aimed at promoting the flow of tourism and identifying future tourism trends. The 2013 edition was The congress is the first in a number of events to be held in 2013.
14 / HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST
organised by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and its partner Alpha Tours, as part of DTCM’s ongoing positioning of Dubai as the world’s leading tourism and commerce destination. The Spanish market is of increasing importance to Dubai, with 41,000 Spanish visitors staying in Dubai hotels last year, an increase of 20%
Commerce Marketing is capable of achieving what it aims for given the previous accomplishments and the positive results attained”. However, Sheikh Mohammed said, “We need to bear in mind that tourism is a broad service sector that one entity cannot solely be held responsible for its development; therefore, it is important that other government departments and institutions share this responsibility and join in developing this sector in order to strengthen our macroeconomic capabilities. Moreover, we expect the private sector to play a similar role in supporting this goal within the framework of the partnership that we have established decades ago. This partnership between the government and private sectors is a source of our pride and we will do all what it takes to make it a success.”
from 2011. During the five day congress, the participants took part in tours of the city and key attractions and had numerous meetings with hoteliers to discuss future business partnerships. Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director of DTCM Overseas Promotions and Inward Missions commented: “It has been our pleasure to host the congress, one of a number which the city will host during 2013. It gave us the opportunity to promote the emirate to key decision makers in the Spanish market and to provide information on Dubai’s tourism attractions and hotel offerings, with the ultimate aim being to further increase the number of Spanish tourists to Dubai. Each congress and event that we host is an opportunity for us to both demonstrate the uniqueness of Dubai and to play a small role in the future success of businesses and industries. We thank both Alpha Tours for their partnership in hosting the congress and FETAVE for choosing Dubai as a venue for the congress.”
Sustainability – adding up the maths During DTCM’s Dubai Green Festival hoteliers and environment managers met at Jebel Ali Beach Resort, Dubai to learn, discuss and debate the latest green initiatives Water monitoring
9% 70% DESIRE
OF ATTENDANTS WERE FROM HOTELS
9% 15% 58%
FINANCIAL - ROI WHAT
To know current consumption Provide information support for decision making Verification and forward planning Dedicated budget
Sub meters Auditing Identification of equipment longevity
Government Subsidize Reward system Regulatory
To identify additional businesses and opportunities Show that is possible to minimize investment
Basis and statistics to move on and plan
To assess the risk , safety and issuance
Assess the risk , safety and issuance
Guest satisfaction survey
link this measure with additional revenues
Collect statistics Share knowledge, best practices
OF ATTENDANTS WERE FROM HOTEL APARTMENTS
OF ATTENDANTS WERE FROM 5-STAR ESTABLISHMENTS
Design of the hotel building
Requirement for green initiative for energy saving
Engineering Architects DM
Hotel design Licensing
Operators Owner Dubai municipality
Reduction in fossil fuel Reduce carbon footprint Financial cost reduce
DM All hotel levels
Solar energy encouraging the development
DM Incentives Advisors
Waste management systems
Government - Users
Garbage compactors Incentives for garbage collection
Water management systems
Sewage water A/C conditioning
OF ATTENDANTS WERE GMS
HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST / 15
Style and substance
Middle East Hotel Awards judge and founder and managing partner of Hospitality Design Partnership, Meelis Kuuskler, moved to Dubai with Jumeirah Group at a time when the industry was a benchmark for success. He shares his predictions for a rise in the boutique stay and other 5-star alternatives
I believe the region will begin to see a move away from 5-star high-end luxury properties, to make the region more user-friendly for travelers of all types.
hat have been your stand out moments in the industry since you arrived in 2005?
The Middle East has the ability to grow so quickly and I have seen some dramatic changes over the years. For example, Dubai started out as simply sand and sea and within a few years, we had many of the world’s leading hospitality brands springing up at pace, and it really went from strength to strength. The world economic crisis certainly was a tough time for the industry in general but, amazingly, occupancy figures remained quite stable compared to the rest of the world. That’s the magical thing about the Dubai hospitality industry – it is resilient. The Middle East will always have the threat of being affected by world events and particularly political events in neighboring countries. But yet it survives and recovers unlike any other market I have seen. Since the market has bounced back, Dubai has truly become one of the world’s most unique hubs for all types of travel.
As sectors architecture & interiors are making their mark in 2013 – why do you think it is so popular?
I believe that diversity is the key. In the past, interiors and architecture in the Middle East has always had its own style – modern contemporary with traditional Arabic influence. But now we are seeing different styles and new approaches come into play. I particularly have noticed a strong influence from Northern Europe here in recent times – very simplistic design and clean lines.
16 � hospitality business middle east
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Creating interiors and designs that are inspiring and new are most certainly contributing to the popularity and increasing growth that we are seeing right across the sector. The Middle East is now at the forefront of worldwide trends and I believe that hotels in the Middle East are finally coming around to the idea that each part of an interior should have a purpose, other than just a cosmetic one.
What do you see as the major growth areas for the next 1-2 years?
I believe the region will begin to see a move away from 5-star high-end luxury properties, to make the region more user-friendly for travelers of all types. Of course we will always have the luxury market, but we will see more budget and 3 and 4-star properties being developed, to cater for the increasing stopover market we are seeing due to increased flight routes. Also the boutique hotels being developed across the region give visitors increasing options to find more individual, intimate and welcoming settings. I think this is good for the industry as a whole, as it will make the Middle East a estination that people want to visit more regularly, rather than just once a year.
What do you see as the biggest threats for the industry? The lack of cross-promotion across the region could become a problem if not tackled. Each country really needs to support one another to make the Middle East as a whole a destination, rather than a city on its own. Political events in nearby countries will also continue to pose a potential threat, especially for international travelers. The continued growth of Africa as an emerging destination could have either a negative or positive impact on the Middle East – but that is yet to be seen.
As a Judge for the Middle East Hotel Awards in both 2012 and 2013 –have you noticed any significant changes in the number or caliber of entries this year?
We saw more than double of entries in 2013 than 2012, and the hotels that participated were more wide ranging. It was good to see entries from across the region, including Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It has been an inspiring experience to see the hospitality industry at his best. The awards are a true example of how the Middle East is leading the world in hospitality Meelis Kuuskler is the Founder and Managing Partner of Hospitality Design Partnership, a boutique hospitality consultancy service offering a range of solutions from design and project management, brand development, F&B, feasibility and technical services. He has over 18 years experience in the hospitality industry across Europe and the Middle East.
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Tenders All the latest tenders information you need to know about NEW AND CURRENT PROJECTS Project Name: DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Description: Construction of five-star DoubleTree, Suites by Hilton Hotel comprising (350) rooms, which will be surrounded by cafes, shops and restaurants. Client Name: Hilton International (Dubai) Country: Bahrain Status: New Project Project Name: Hotel Residences Tower Project Dubai Maritime City Development Description: Construction of a new luxury tower consisting of serviced hotel residences at Dubai Maritime City Development. Client Name: Damac Properties (Dubai) Country: UAE Status: New Project Project Name: The Beach Mixed-use Development Project - Jumeirah Beach Residence Description: Development of The Beach mixed-use scheme comprising retail, food and beverage outlets as well as entertainment facilities.
Client Name: Meraas Development (Dubai) Country: UAE Status: New Project Project Name: Al Bait Hotel Project â€“ Sharjah Description: Construction of luxurious 5-star Al Bait Hotel. Client Name: Sharjah Investment & Development Authority (Shurooq) Country: UAE Consultant: Godwin, Austen Johnson Architects (GAJ) - Dubai Budget (USD): 27,000,000 Status: New Project Project Name: One & Only Hotel Project - Obhur District Client Name: Construction of One & Only Hotel comprising (150) rooms. Client Name: Al Khozama Management Company (Saudi Arabia) Country: Saudi Arabia Contractor: Saudi Oger Limited (Saudi Arabia) Status: Current Project
Project Name: Hilton Garden Inn & Double Tree by Hilton Project - Riyadh Financial District Client Name: Construction of Hilton Garden Inn hotel comprising (260) rooms and Double Tree by Hilton comprising (110) serviced apartments. Client Name: Hilton International (Dubai) Country: Saudi Arabia Contractor: Mawten Hospitality LLC (Saudi Arabia) Status: Current Project Project Name: Al Baleed Resort Project Description: Development of a high-end resort in Al Baleed Village comprising a total of (136) rooms and associated facilities. Client Name: Musstir (Oman) Country: Oman Contractor: Carillion Alawi L.L.C (Oman) 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: Hilton Waldorf Astoria Hotel Project Doha West Bay Description: Construction of a 42-storey Hilton Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Client Name: Hilton International (Dubai) Country: Qatar New Project Project Name: Water Discus Underwater Hotel Project Description: Construction of Water Discus Hotel comprising two discs - one under the water and one suspended above the water. Client Name: Dubai Drydocks World Country: UAE Status: New Project Project Name: Salalah Intâ€™l Medical City
Description: Construction of an International Medical City in Salalah comprising facilities such as a state-of-the-art diagnostic centre, a healthcare resort and healthcare education complex, including a luxury hotel and wellness centre. Client Name: Apex Medical Group (Saudi Arabia) Country: Oman Consultant: W S Atkins International (Oman) Budget (USD): 1,000,000,000 Status: New Project
Country: Saudi Arabia Consultant: Drees & Sommer AG (Germany) Status: New Project Project Name: Grand Heights Mixed-use Development Project Description: Development of Grand Heights mixeduse scheme comprising 3,500 residential units, shopping outlets, restaurants, entertainment and sports facilities, a hospital and schools. Client Name: National Real Estate Company (Kuwait) Country: Egypt Consultant: KEO International Consultants (Kuwait) Contractor: Orascom Construction Industries (Egypt) Budget (USD): 1,000,000,000 Status: Current Project
Project Name: Barwa Al Khor City Project Description: Development of Barwa Al Khor city comprising villas and townhouses, terraces, flats and mixed-use areas, 2 sprawling hotels - one being a five-star and the Project Name: Mall of Egypt other four star, a superior shopping Project mall, 4 top schools, 250,000 square Description: Construction of Mall of metres of office space, a mosque AL BAIT HOTEL, SHARJAH Egypt comprising (380) stores along and an international golf course, with associated retail and entertainment including amenities such as a clinic, facilities. library, information centre, public and private Client Name: Majid Al Futtaim Group beaches. (Egypt) Client Name: Barwa Al Khor Company Country: Egypt (Qatar) Contractor: Orascom Construction Industries (Egypt) Country: Qatar Budget (USD): 800,000,000 Consultant: Cansult Maunsell (Qatar) Status: Current Project Budget (USD): 8,000,000,000 Status: New Project Project Name: Crowne Plaza Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre Project Project Name: Msheireb Downtown Doha Description: Construction of a hotel comprising Development Project (296) rooms featuring extensive meeting and Description: Development of Msheireb Downtown event facilities with a separate function centre Doha (Formerly Heart of Doha City) mixed-use that will include a glamorous ballroom with scheme comprising several districts, including a terrace, a boardroom and three large meeting residential and mixed-use quarter, a retail quarter, a rooms. heritage quarter and a commercial area. Client Name: Oman Tourism Development Company Client Name: Msheireb Properties S.A.O.C (Omran) (Qatar) Country: Oman Country: Qatar Status: New Project Consultant: Gensler Associates International (USA) Contractor: Hyundai Engineering Corporation Project Name: Sowwah Central Project - Al Maryah (South Korea) Island Budget (USD): 6,000,000,000 Description: Development of Sowwah Central Status: Current Project scheme comprising a super-regional shopping centre, a hotel, serviced apartments and flats. Project Name: Kempinski Hotel Project â€“ Client Name: Gulf Capital Pvt. JSC (Abu Jeddah Dhabi) Description: Construction of 65-storey, five-star Country: UAE Kempinski Hotel comprising (242) hotel rooms and Budget (USD): 1,000,000,000 (104) serviced apartments. Client Name: Assila Status: New Project Investment Company (Saudi Arabia)
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INTERCONTINENTAL OPENS FIRST FIVE-STAR PROPERTY IN DUBAI
here are few things more difficult to juggle than moving to a new city, in a new country, to take over one of its oldest hotels and all while being thrown headlong into an extensive renovation project. But for Radisson Blu’s newest GM, Tim Cordon, that’s exactly the challenge he is facing and it’s compounded by the city in question having probably the most competitive hospitality market in the world. Cordon’s appointment was announced in February, when he replaced Janet Fitzner, who moved to Radisson Blu Resort, Fujairah. With 13 years’ experience under his belt – not to mention a degree in mechanical engineering – he says of the challenge: “Coming here to work for the first time, even from a city as competitive as London, I thought I’d seen fierce competition but you come to Dubai and you realise it’s incredibly fierce.” Cordon’s entry to the industry is one he describes as non-conventional, falling into hospitality through part time jobs while studying for a degree in mechanical engineering. After a stint in hospitality sales, he started his career as operations manager at Crowne Plaza Edinburgh, Scotland, and it was when the property was re-flagged Radisson Blu that his career with Carlson Rezidor began. Moving next to what was then Radisson’s largest UK property, Radisson Blu Manchester Airport, he took on the role of GM and went on to
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Above: The hotel as it looked when opened in 1974. It was Dubai’s first 5-star . Right: GM Tim Cordon.
A its As i renovation i project j gains i momentum, Radisson Blu Deira Creek’s newly appointed GM, Tim Cordon, explains why works will shun the zeitgeist for modernity to embrace the hotel’s rich heritage
I thought I’d seen fierce competition but you come to Dubai and you realise it’s incredibly fierce
position the hotel as one of the group’s top 20 globally. Having spent 10 years with Carlson Rezidor in the UK, Cordon most recently held the position of GM at the 1000-room Cumberland, Park Lane, London, before returning to the group for his move to the Middle East. “It was a fantastic experience to go outside the company and see how other people do it. In my assessment they didn’t do it very well, but then Radisson called to say there was an opportunity, and now after three years later I’m back with them here.”
A PIECE OF HISTORY The 276 room property located along Dubai’s Deira Creek is literally where the local industry started.
The first five-star property in a city that is now boasts one of the highest concentrations of hotels of any place in the world, it was opened by Intercontinental on March 5 1975, and handed by its Galadari Group owners to Carlson Rezidor on October 1, 2006. Credited with the invention of the world-renowned Dubai Brunch, and with a legacy of famous – and even royal – visitors, their pictures lining the lobby area, it is these elements that will become the marketing USP postrenovation works. “The fantastic legacy and history here is unique in itself for Dubai, because everything else is so modern and new. This hotel was a trailblazer for what was to follow,” Cordon
To have a property that actually speaks of the history of Dubai, right back to the time when it was pretty much a desert and a road, is something we intend the make the most of
Eventually the work will also take in guest rooms, working with the existing structural fabric of the building while overhauling what is offered in terms of design and furnishings. Details are closely guarded, but Cordon hints at an aesthetic that will “be unique to the property but very much define the style of the hotel.” He adds: “It’s a delicate balance because you can go super-modern, and there are many hotels that do that, but here we are challenging our design team because not only do we want to meet the demands of the modern business and leisure traveller, but we also want to be able to recognise the heritage of this property and the place it has been for the last 30 plus years. “I wouldn’t call it a soft renovation, it’s more technical than that, but it isn’t a full configuration of the size of the rooms.”
shares. “At that time, Dubai was quite a different place, so there is a lot to do in terms of bringing this hotel up to the modern Dubai level to compete with the new hotels, while recognising its legacy. To have a property that actually speaks of the history of Dubai, right back to the time when it was pretty much a desert and a road, is something we intend the make the most of,” he explains. The detailed plan is phased to be completed within 24 months, without closing, and has already encompassed the pool deck, tennis court and pool bar area, all of which are due to be reopened by year end. Entertainment plays a key part in the plan, with a number of new dining concepts to be introduced across the
While the point of any renovation is to update and enhance, an evolution in the market appeal isn’t entirely the aim here. “One of the things about this hotel is that it has a fanbase and they are incredibly loyal, so we don’t want to isolate them.” Leveraging the power of a low staff turnover rate, Cordon says the level of personalisation in service is one that can only be achieved by employees who have worked for the property for decades, in some cases. “While it is about attracting new markets, it’s also about showing loyalty to our customers and what we stand for,” he adds, naming the variety of the hotel’s offerings as his own favourite aspect. “The consumer is so world weary to another new hotel, restaurant, brunch, that you have to be very careful in your positioning and in such a fiercely competitive and dominant market it is always going to be a challenge. “But it’s one that we feel we are very suited to because we have something nobody else does.”
16 existing F&B outlets, including the first traditional Emirati restaurant, which will link to a raised pool and decking area, providing an impressive vantage point of the creek. “We think we are ideally suited, not only from a location point of view but also the history of the building, to try and create the premiere Emirati dining experience in Dubai,” Cordon says, revealing that the budget for this element of the project alone will fall in the region of AED10-12m. “The Emirati restaurant will appeal to locals, but this area of town is also a hotspot for tourists. I think it’s something that is an untapped market for them as most want to experience the local culture and taste of the place they are visiting,” he observes.
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Technology is changing the world around us, but what is the impact on guest relations? How can owners be persuaded to invest? And do the innovations begin and end with IT or is there scope to enhance the reach of marketing practices?
L-R: Prasanna Rupasingh, IT director, Kempinski Mall of The Emirates; Fabien Schmittmann, Dubai AICR president & director of front office at Millennium and Copthorne Airport Hotels; Rushdy Mubarak, IT manager, Radisson Blu, DMC; Santosh Nair, IT manager, Radisson Royal; Aime Musonerwa, director of IT Middle East, Mรถvenpick Hotels and Resorts; Paul McNeil, Infor; Andrew Turton, director of sales, APAC and MEA Hospitality Solutions, Infor; Darin Davies, AICR president & director of front house operations, Marriott Marquis ; Gurav Shanker, FoH manager, Radisson Blu Media City.
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rom the service point of view, what are guests saying about the level of interaction allowed by current FoH systems during arrival? Darin Davies: There is a hesitation
that if you remove the personal interaction, you may lose some of the 5-star deluxe element of the check in. However there is certainly drive to change things and I think the airline industry in particular has shown what can be achieved in terms of increasing staff productivity with kiosks.
We at International Association for Front Office Managers (AICR) talk about this often but believe that from the guest perspective, a hotel is going to be reluctant to forego that personal connection with the guest because the opportunity to say ‘good afternoon and welcome to the hotel’ is lost. Check in and welcoming is all about ensuring service is appropriate and meets guest needs. So we will certainly be looking for a solution that is simple and reliable, fast, easy and applicable.
Fabien Schmittmann: We always
This isn’t just guest satisfaction, it’s guest optimisation.
include speed of check in on the guest feedback survey but that comes back to the actual speed of the IT and how much whoever is serving the guest is interacting with the guest and keeping them busy. If you are talking to them for 20 minutes, the check in won’t be perceived as slow. After speed, automation to ensure we don’t spend too much time away from the guest is also important.
From the CIO perspective, how easy is it to achieve the objectives of speed, interaction and connectivity? Prasanna Rupasingh: For a while now we at Kempinski have been looking at different solutions to help FoH, but have not found the simplicity we need. That’s a key element. Over eight months, we refined our systems to customise and mobilise the check in process. Now check in is on tablets and the room key is sent to guest’s mobiles. Even the signature and passport scan has been mobilised. At check out the same concept applies, which works well when there is a high demand for check out. We mobilise staff with tablets and they can access the entire guest bill and process the credit card details, which are then emailed to the guest. We are the first MEA property to launch this and we are still developing it. We have challenges in chip and pin authorisation, because that requires a different device, but it is on-going. However, we are in touch with multiple vendors to make this happen.
How much does the procurement and connectivity of multiple systems slow down the development of such a solution? PR: In hospitality the adoption of this technology has been slow. For example DHL had similar software years ago. There are multiple reasons why we are not there yet, but then again if the staff are not confident and if the system is not simple, it is never going to work. The challenge here is that, traditionally we should be looking at
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how a department works and how we can provide a solution, as IT. Rushdy Mubarak: It is the IT department that brings all the others together and from my point of view, a system that is implemented in the right way is one that works for us and the guest. FS: There is no one provider for all this. You use payment systems, key card systems, passport scanners, a phone interface, it’s very complex. Even the check in and check out systems are different and in some tests an iPad will crash because of this. It comes down to simplicity. We make our lives difficult with too many different vendors, too many fancy things. We should make things simple, quick and easy to use with just the basic programming – like airlines and the kiosk check in. Aime Musonerwa: For me this is a journey. It starts from the moment a guest arrives at the airport. They can access emails and internet in the air, so we continued that connectivity by equipping our cars with WiFi, not just to check emails but begin the check in process or prepare your pre-check in requirements. Our drivers are no longer the guys from a 3rd party company who drive limousines, they are part of the arrival experience. But with this technology it’s more about culture. It’s not just about handling that iPad and the synergy of those systems, it’s the culture for accepting the technology. DD: And it’s not just the acceptance of the staff, but the guest. Fifteen years ago people didn’t feel safe using ATMs. AM: In a city like Dubai where you receive guests from everywhere, speaking a number of different languages, any system needs to be able to adapt to that. Today we are using translation tools to bring services to our guests, but both the accuracy and culture of international guests in that translation are a challenge. Each guest profile has data on languages and can also store other preferences, that should go to the
Currently, we see hotels reducing waiting time for guests while providing dynamic information delivered through iPad/ Android applications. Information on large displays is also gaining acceptance in the FoH area, where not only commercial advertisements but also informative content is delivered and can be changed and revised almost instantly with the power of cloud computing. Recent market intelligence from IDC shows a near 140% increase in tablet sales Q1 2013, compared to last year, and the trend is evident in this industry, also. Some major hotel chains in Dubai are in the midst of a Tablet frenzy, installing iPads in each room and even giving away Tablets to guests. Restaurants are installing iPads on every table to replace paper menus. An average cost of a high quality tablet is around $350 - divide that by 365 days of the year and the cost of a single tablet is reduced to less than $1. For that price, high-end restaurants in the region can afford to buy 10 iPads by selling just one orange juice daily. What these tablets also provide is one of the best advertisement slots, which can bring amazing ROI. It also helps in reducing re-printing costs.
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VENDOR VIEWS AATIF KHAN, KPTAC TECHNOLOGIES AND CONSULTING
room for the welcome message, to the restaurants, concierge. All these are factors which, if you look to the future we need to focus on.
What about staff training? DD: What one has to be really cautious of, is that the people you are expecting to use this facility are fairly junior members of the team and they are handling something that is fairly complex. As much training as you can give them, they are always going to take the road of least resistance. They don’t want to be conducting a mobile check in on the 60th floor and be unable to access the room because the system isn’t working. Their trust and confidence will be lost. It’s a vicious circle because you can’t develop something without going through that process. You will always find resistance in the service provider – the associate or receptionist – if they cannot trust in what that technology is able to deliver. FS: Take the iPad you want to use for the check in. that is successful as a normal gadget because it’s simple. It doesn’t come with a manual. People pick it up and start exploring it and that familiarity means we don’t need to retrain staff. AM: There does needs to be synergy in the back end and that person needs to use that tool effectively in order to produce effective and accurate data, otherwise the front end interface is useless. All these things require infrastructure and discipline and that discipline can only be achieved with training. To me, that’s what we need to bring together. iPad, mobile technologies, they’re amazing, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg, and it all has to be integrated. Santosh Nair: Investment is needed to achieve simplicity and not just in
a single property but across an entire chain, linking systems. RM: It’s easy to say ‘make it simple’ but the back office operations require a lot of teams to work together. It’s easy to check in, but there are a lot of other operations to integrate here.
What’s the vendor perspective on this? Andrew Turton: We are in the middle of a big cycle change at the moment. November 2012 was the first time that Android and Tablets outsold PCs and by 2015 more people will be entering transactions through those devices than through a PC. The industry is moving. There are always basic functions that will have to be done on a desktop terminal, but if guests are changing we are changing. Looking at this from a much wider perspective, where can we start the process of interaction? Almost down to the point of the reservation being made. Not every guest is going to use it, but more and more will. Check in has to be simple. I have been asked the type of pillow and newspaper I want at 2am when I just want to sleep – and I do accept there are necessary functions and a need for interaction – but does it have to be at that point? Surely interacting with the guest over a longer period, then providing them with that option to self-service for other elements of their stay, would be more beneficial? And what about the 3-star properties or ones who have large parties arriving from China or Russia? Would you want to open up your check in to the group leader so that when they are transferring from the airport they can directly scan in information? It could also minimise discrepancies typing information in
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languages we are not familiar with. More players are coming into the market who are not tied to a client server approach and they use technology that can sit on a wider level. The same issues of performance and reliability still fall to IT, but the solutions would be readily available. We are strong believers that technology will now start supporting business, rather than driving the need to uniform systems and that means the enhancement of systems will lead to marketing opportunities. Gurav Shanker: At Radisson Blu Media City, 80% of our guests are business travellers so the option for self-service is a ‘wow factor’. But for core hospitality – where is the guest relations? If you remove, or minimise that interaction, how do you upsell to the guest or promote the group’s loyalty programme? PR: The problem today is that you can have 1000 guests in a hotel and no way of channelling marketing towards them. You spend a lot of money getting them to the hotel and once they are there there is no way of targeting them. But here is a possibility to sell exclusive products and market services, while also cutting down on paper costs.
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DD: We need to, as an industry, be careful about putting what we believe our industry is about, into what a guest is looking for. It’s not about taking service away, but creating opportunity to spend more time interacting, just in different ways. Airlines do this successfully and I would be interested to see their rates for upselling. It’s a balance and we need to be careful that technology doesn’t distract us from providing that.
There is agreement that the way forward is choice and the future will combine kiosks and tablets and interact with the guest, but only on their lead. So when and how will hotels invest and how will the infrastructure to support this be developed, considering how much guest expectations differ? PR: When it comes to mobility, the key is WiFi. You need to have one of the best systems available. Now we are bringing technology into the room, the investment in that is part of selling the room as a product. It’s essential because technology will become a differentiator. AM: Our core business is to attend the guest and enhance and improve their experience. To bring in a 3rd party
JUNE MAY 2013 2013
There is a bigger picture of money and once everybody understands there is a gain in profitability, it’s an easier sell
to provide these solutions through software and infrastructure and other added value from other areas of the hotel operation, is possible. But we must still understand the 3rd party perception of our industry. Sometimes they don’t have that service oriented approach and you find that you miss the compatibility in that regard and don’t achieve what you want to provide for the guest. DD: But this comes back to the point that the vendor who will break through first is the one who says to the hotels “this is fairly easy to implement. You need your wireless to work but in a case study this is what you will save on staffing, gain on overall satisfaction and this is what you will gain on your upselling”. There is a bigger picture of money and once everybody understands there is a gain in profitability, it’s an easier sell. AT: We have been talking to clients who are taking this even further in order to continue the hotel-guest communication throughout the stay. When a guest arrives, if they don’t own their own tablet they are offered one, pre-set up, courtesy of the hotel. That’s a tool that can then be used to ‘tag’ the guest. So it’s linked into the room controls for AC, you can track what the guest is doing, establish a pattern and see if there is a service or product that can be sold to them. This isn’t just guest satisfaction, it guest optimisation. How do we know if a guest is happy? They don’t want to pick up the phone or fill in a survey to tell us how they are feeling, but there are other ways to use technology to communicate. You can make options available. Keep it simple and people – although only some people – will play with it. You have a huge gap of people who may find the array of facilities intimidating, but give them a computer…. There is a lot more you can do if you open the systems up. Think of the tablet as a solution, not just an application for check in. AM: We need also to educate our owners on these new trends and the
eMenuâ„˘ for restaurants/bars
PO BOX 30479, DUBAI, UAE - T: +9714 3793455 F: +9714 3793465 E: firstname.lastname@example.org WWW.EMENU.AE
importance of investing in them to add value to the hotel operations. It’s not just about the access points but the capacity of them, for example. It’s an ongoing process and the owner has a big role in enabling these. FS: I see IT more as a cost than an opportunity. There are those who want to generate money from it, the market leaders who differentiate their offering with it, and then a second group who have to follow to stay competitive, by which time the technology itself will be competitively priced. AT: The very fact you see IT as a cost means we as the IT industry are doing something wrong. That’s the perception we should be changing. We are at a point in terms of capability where we can come to you and say “what do you want us to do to make your guests happier?” We have the infrastructure, knowledge and solutions for that. PR: IT is a tangible benefit for my teams because it helps other processes. You don’t ask about ROI when rooms are being designed, because you sell that as a single product and IT today is an element of that overall product. But our core product as hoteliers remains the room and the hospitality.
We need also to educate our owners on these new trends and the importance of investing in them to add value to the hotel operations
Is that enough in today’s market? PR: That is the question, because we are not IT companies, we sell hospitality.
Now IT is such a huge part of guest’s lifestyles can you afford to think like that? RM: No. We offer free WiFi to guests but if you want to have a bandwidth good enough to do that, while meeting the needs of your operating systems, you have to invest and naturally you want to see ROI. AM: It’s not just about the FoH operations, it’s about combining FoH and BoH data and turning that into extra revenue.
What would you summarise to be the key points of IT advancements? PR: Simplicity. The sophisticated form of complexity is simplicity and that is true here. I think this will become increasingly important as Dubai builds a reputation as a technologically innovative city. DD: As an industry we 100% need to understand that there is a balance to be achieved between the traditional
FS: So is this as an investment in IT or marketing? AT: The point is how to add value, which is a key concept of IT, but I think
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it’s a double edge sword. I have seen systems where the guest profile comes up before the room booking. You can potentially provide the person doing the check in with a lot of information and then it is up to how good they are a sales person – and that’s up to you as a business if you want your ‘receptionist’ to be sales person or not. Should that upselling have been done earlier in the booking process? Perhaps should there have been marketing contact for upgrades and add ons? It’s your business decision, but IT solutions should provide you with the tools to do that job. How you want to utilise it is your decision to make, and the costs to do this will also require a higher skill of staff at reception than somebody who takes down details and hands over a key. Training is probably the largest cost of delivery for hotels currently.
type of hospitality and the services guests expect. The next step I see is us offering a combination of both services and then re-directing that man-power into other areas, rather than using it as an excuse to downsize. AM: To bring it to FoH we must focus on training and technology awareness for the guests and employees and the rest will follow. The iPad is perfect, but the back end of that isn’t so simple. You need to measure the productivity is still there.
Do you find training is also the greatest barrier? AT: For change yes. But this is the second quickest region to adopt mobility, after Asia, and that goes right back to the owners and their way of doing business. It’s training that makes the movement of systems from one application to another slower, which you then have to multiply by thousands of staff over multiple properties. IT has to be simple, easy and flexible. It has to be global, because hospitality is a global business, and it has to add value to what you are doing as a hospitality provider.
Hospitality Business would like to thank Radisson Blu, Media City for hosting this discussion at the Library Lounge.
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At this yearâ€™s ATM, it was announced that Dubai is to target 20 million visitors by 2020 and reclassify its 600+ hotel and residences, under the newly issued Decree No.17. Majid Al Marri speaks exclusively to Hospitality Business Middle East about the development of the standards and the vision for Dubai
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ay 2013 was an historic month for Dubai’s Department of Tourism Commerce and Marketing (DTCM). Almost a year to the day since the soft launch, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued Decree No. 17 of 2013, legalising the Hotel Classification Scheme for Dubai’s hotels, while announcing that the Emirate will also strive towards a tourism target of 20 million visitors by 2020. In the 15 years since its first hotel classifications were introduced, Dubai has evolved into a heady and fastdeveloping market that today boasts one of the highest concentrations of 5-star properties in the world. In response, the aim of Decree No. 17 is to enhance transparency and efficiency and allow guests to know exactly how their chosen property ranks in comparison to others within the same category and geographical location. With a current total stock of more than 600 properties, it will be a welcome move, for the department, industry and guest. Inspiration was taken from around the world, with extensive research and benchmarking undertaken since 2008. But the aim is not to imitate, rather to quantifiably distinguish Dubai as truly world class. As DTCM’s own manifesto states: “Our mission is to position Dubai
THE HOTEL INSPECTORS
We have joined hands to make this happen and we have partnered with the major brands to bring something that fits Dubai and raises its already high standard
It’s one thing to be awarded five stars, but to consistently operate in 5-star style is another. Therefore a major element of the new classifications will monitor quality standards as an ongoing process. In addition to scheduled inspections a number of ‘mystery guest’ exercises will also be conducted. These ‘after hours’ checks are incredibly thorough and will cover room service; spa facilities; pre-arrival, arrival and departure experience; bell service; guest lunch,
as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub.” The resulting HCS adopts a multi-layered framework to rate and categorise each hotel, and provides specifications on the requirements for different types and levels of Guest Accommodations. The multi-tiered framework will formalise the quality and standard of guest accommodation and encourage a wider range and choice for visitors, including the much
CATEGORISATION OF PROPERTIES
dinner and breakfast; wakeup call services, and others.When conducting these and pre-planned checks, the inspectors will be armed with PDAs, in order to create instant reports for hoteliers to view online. The inspectors conducting these checks have been trained by DTCM and its third party industry and education partners, in-house and externally. There is ongoing advanced training through the Quality Check System employed in coordination with the Tourism Board of Switzerland.
debated ‘budget’ level. “By adopting a multi-tiered framework of ratings, categories and designators, clearer choice will be provided to visitors. At the same time, new marketing opportunities are provided to hotels, with the ranges of categories and designators demonstrating the wide offering that has developed in Dubai, from a deluxe hotel apartment in the city to a family and golf resort on the beach, to a business hotel close to the airport,” says director, classification and licensing, Majid Al Marri. The framework includes the traditional one to five star rating system, but will be grouped so each category will cover city, resort and desert locations, (see table right and on page 30). But it’s not all about the hardware and location, according to Al Marri, like other rating systems this is predominantly a service-focussed initiative:“Our previous system, launched in 1998, had three main
HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST / 31
classifications, now we are talking about five categories, with different and new grading within each. For example resorts will only be classed 3-, 4- or 5-stars. You will not have a resort with 1-star. “In the hotel apartments we are offering a new category between standard and deluxe, so there are now three categories in the hotel apartment sector. But we have focussed mainly on services” Looking ahead, the system will also develop to include staff welfare and cultural diversity, as well we sustainability elements. Ensuring the industry does not stagnate once the stars are awarded, classification certificates will be renewed annually.
Pledging that the framework will not be an “instant assessment”, hoteliers are now bound to a 12 month introductory period in order to comply with changes to maintain their existing star rating, or to strive for a higher rating. Al Marri maintains that the period for compliance will not cause issues as site visits have been conducted regularly and the industry closely involved in all elements of the framework’s developments. On some levels the changes are easily realised, on others they will require much more work, both now and in future, particularly in terms of sustainability and BoH objectives. THE NUMBER OF DIFFER-
If we are to double the number of tourists, we will have to double the room inventory, too
Further, requirements will place onus on DTCM to increase collaboration with other government entities, to facilitate this. “Eco-tourism has a lot of criteria that is covered in our Green Award, but as a minimum we will be asking hotels to provide us with an environmental strategy for waste, water and energy.” Other environmental and social elements in the framework will include in future, provisions regarding staff accommodation and catering facilities, in addition to the possibility of guidelines for offices. “Previously we didn’t have this so we will start with something general, even the cafeteria for staff and offices will have guidelines in future. It is something that we will work out with Dubai Municipality and it could even
ENT HOTEL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEMS IN USE GLOBALLY
Majid Al Marri, centre, with L-R: Buthaina Mohammed, executive hotel classification; Moza Al Jamri, executive hotel classification; Alia Bin Hendi, head of media relations.
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go as far back as the construction of properties and accommodation. â€œWe take everything into consideration,â€? Al Marri adds, hinting at the level of cohesion that is looking to be achieved through the new system. To date, plans for collaborative working will draw in the services of Dubai Municipality, DEWA, RTA, Dubai Police, Civil Defence, and hygiene and building standardisation committees. â€œWe have joined hands to make this happen and we have partnered with the major brands in Europe, America and Asia, as well as locally, to bring something that fits Dubai and raises its already high standard.â€? And while many embark on extensive refurbishment projects to ensure they can continue to meet DTCM standards, Al Marri assures that the point is not to see hotels losing stars. â€œWe will work closely with each establishment to make sure they reach the new criteria because we have already worked with them and spoken to them about this. They have one year to fix or raise the criteria and we will give them time to do that. We are not hoping that any hotel will lose a star, if anything we want them to have more,â€? he assures. Streamlining the process, 80% of classification services have been digitised through a huge self-assessment, E-services portal, accessible via personalised log in and password at www.classification. dubaitourism.ae Aligned with wider government targets to increase the efficiency and volume of online services, each property will now have its own account where its entire DTCM case history is stored, from submission of applications to the online classification self-assessment and circular communications from DTCM. In future this will also include DTCMâ€™s industry data. The portal will also be used to speed up inspection reports. Armed with PDAs, DTCMâ€™s inspectors will now log data during
DEFINITIONS & GRADINGS CATEGORY
A hotel is a Guest Accommodation that provides paid lodging, meals, and other services for travellers and tourists on a short-term basis.
Budget 1 Star 2 Star 3 Star 4 Star 5 Star
A Guest House is either a converted house, etcâ€Ś adapted to accommodate overnight guests; or it may be a purpose built facility. A Guest House is run as a commercial operation, with a minimum of 5 rooms, and is often ownermanaged. It has public areas, which are for the exclusive use of the guest. The owner/ manager lives either off-site, or in a separate area within the Guest Accommodation.
A Hotel Apartment shall signify a Guest Accommodation offering guests a complete self-contained sole occupancy unit consisting of studios and units with one or more bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen with cooking facilities and dining area.
Standard Superior Deluxe
A Resort is a full service, amenity rich Guest Accommodation expanding over numerous acres, which provides a destination experience to its guests. Resorts differ from hotels, due to the range of additional facilities and services provided, including F&B, sports, leisure, entertainment, and shopping.
3 Star 4 Star 5 Star
A University Campus Guest Accommodation can be defined as â€œStudent dormitories or bedrooms rented (sometimes with meals) to tourists or the general public by a college or university, as follows: t%VSJOH5FSN5JNF family & friends of registered students t0VUXJUI5FSN5JNFBMM
One Level â€“ no split Gradings
A Youth Hostel is a budget oriented, sociable Guest Accommodation providing the options of Single, Double, and Family Rooms (Group Rooms, i.e. Dormitory Style, can also be offered however as Gender Specific).
One Level â€“ no split Gradings
the inspection process, allowing for each report to be available digitally, through the personalised account, to the hotelier, with almost immediate effect.
In addition to the consumer transparency element of the reclassifications, it cannot be denied that part of the exercise will see visitors to the Emirate presented with more choice in terms of the types of offering, and that will
THE AMOUNT BY WHICH VISITOR NUMBERS WILL HAVE TO INCREASE TO MEET 2020 TARGETS
be an essential component of the vision for 2020, which aims to boost numbers by just short of 100% in seven years. There will be a greater focus on the price bands that are not considered luxury; including the introduction of budget, hostel and university accommodation, within the framework. In itself this marks a stark commitment towards market maturity, if only through recognition that you cannot put 20 million visitors in luxury hotels. For now, there is still no national
HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST / 33
framework to tie Dubai’s regulations to, something that has been identified as causing issues in countries such as Spain and Italy, at as high a level as UNWTO. In the absence of such a system, the only method guests have at their disposal by which to compare each Emirate’s market remains to be online booking systems, even though such ratings are not industry verified. But while the focus is firmly on Dubai, the maturity of that focus and leadership behind HCS, provides a head start in itself. “We will focus on Dubai being a leading family and entertainment destination,” says Al Marri, of the continued development of the Emirate’s brand. Last year, we had more than one million visitors
Our mission is to position Dubai as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub”
contribution of tourism from Saudi Arabia so to the local economy; that’s a market we will OF CLASSIFICATION SERVICES FROM DTCM over the same period it target more, and of ARE TO BE DIGITISED WITH THE NEW ONLINE is forecast that tourism course developments like PORTAL receipts will triple and the Mohammed Bin Rashid mid-market will have an ever City will help with that target significant role to play in achieving as there are more than 100 hotels that. planned there. If we are to double “If the volume and standard of the number of tourists, we will have hotels increase, this will definitely to double the room inventory, too,” be reflected in the economy,” Al he adds. Marri assures. Increasing visitor numbers by He concludes: “This is something 100% in seven years may sound new for Dubai that makes it stand ambitious, but the thing to out internationally. With the remember is that Dubai has already industry feedback we wanted to achieved this feat once – and create something unique, where without the current socio-economic everybody can benefit, and which factors that have seen recent visitor will help hotels sell their product numbers, and investments, soar. internationally and help visitors The element of this vision that choose the right place to stay.” will really make a difference is the
CATEGORISATION OF PROPERTIES
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ECONOMIES OF SCALE Following the temporary relocation of 200 senior staff to Dubai, and ahead of a huge expansion project, Starwood senior vice president Guido de Wilde explains why it makes economic sense to bring 14,000 new rooms to the local market
n 2011, Starwood relocated its entire senior management team to China to find out first-hand about key market drivers and actual growth potential.
As a result, Starwood now bosts a total of 119 properties in the Asian economic powerhouse, 51 of which have opened since that exercise, with a further 106 properties currently in the pipeline. In March 2013, the exercise was repeated, this time by sending 200 of the company’s top minds to Dubai for a month long, fully immersive relocation, headed by global president and CEO Frits van Paasschen (overleaf) and SVP and regional director Guido de Wilde (pictured left). During their time in the region they visited 64 open and under construction properties; met 3000 associates and 150 customers and owners; and managed to cycle almost 600km. All in a day’s work, before departing the announcement was made that 50 new Starwood hotels would open across the region over the next five years, marking a 60% growth
For the corporate traveller it’s about ‘do you recognise me, do you know me?’ That trend is global and it ties in with the mobilisation of booking systems” Guido De Wilde
W, St Regis and Westin are growing aggressively. and turning the existing global allocation of the chain’s properties and brands on its head. Properties already announced include new W hotels in Amman, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, and two in Dubai. St Regis will continue to expand in Abu Dhabi – the first city to have two such branded properties – and Doha, Cairo and Amman. Luxury Collection will open in Ajman in 2014 and de Wilde advises a “stay tuned” approach towards the introduction of Aloft to Dubai. Adding a total of 14,000 rooms, these openings and others will take the regional portfolio to 100 (see tables overleaf).
DOLLAR VALUE Guido de Wilde SVP and regional director, Starwood.
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The numbers are staggering, and scream of the heady glitz of precrash years, but the boys have done their homework. After all, van
Paasschenâ€™s own catchphrase is: â€œWe have ringside seats at the global economyâ€?. The equation is simple: Emerging markets, plus population trends and travel patterns, minus a global economic melt-down, multiplied by technological innovation. According to Starwoodâ€™s figures, more than 70% of the worldâ€™s economic growth is coming from fast growing markets such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, Senegal, South Africa and Nigeria, and 80% of Starwoodâ€™s development pipeline overlays this economic strength, with additional focus on Iraq, Pakistan, Angola, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and East Africa. Over the last 20 years, the number of people considered â€˜middle classâ€™ doubled to two billion, and looking ahead that will grow again to five billion. What that means is a city with the population of Dubai will be added to the world every week for the next 30 to 40 years. Also consider that in 2012 Dubai International Airport counted approximately 58 million visitors, a number which is expected to grow at annual rates of more than 10%, taking the airport to the position of worldâ€™s largest in terms of international passenger traffic, by 2015. The direct result of these socioeconomic conditions is an upward trend that even the global financial crisis couldnâ€™t stem: Rising wealth and connectivity. In summary, Van Paasschen concludes the MENA region is at the epicentre of a travel revolution: â€œGlobalisation is accelerating new trade patterns, capital flows and wealth creation: this translates to more people from more places traveling to more destinations than ever before. We are on the cusp of a new Golden Age of Travel.â€?
BIGGER, FASTER, MORE Translated to the Starwood portfolio, the growth isnâ€™t just new builds,
BY 2017, STARWOOD WILL OPERATE MORE THAN 130 HOTELS IN MEA, MARKING SOME KEY MILESTONES, INCLUDING: t1PSUGPMJPHSPXUI of over 60% in the UAE with 12 new hotels, including six in Dubai, bringing Starwoodâ€™s portfolio to more than 30 hotels across the country. Starwoodâ€™s growth plans in the UAE also include expansion into Sharjah and Ajman. t3BQJEFYQBOTJPO across Saudi Arabia with six new hotels slated to open by 2015 bringing Starwoodâ€™s portfolio to 15 hotels in this key developing market. t5IFSFFOUSZPG Starwood into Iraq with the milestone signings of three hotels across three brands in the city of Erbil, located in the re-emerging Kurdistan area of the country. t.PNFOUVNJO Nigeria with two new Starwood hotels, under the companyâ€™s Four Points by Sheraton brand. t"EEJUJPOPGUXP new hotels in Algeria with a new Sheraton hotel in Annaba and Four Points by Sheraton in Oran. t5IFMBVODIPG Starwoodâ€™s Aloft Hotels brand in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Aloft will also open its second property in the UAE in emirates of Sharjah.
AT A GLANCE
45"3800% HOTELS GLOBALLY, MAY 2013
*/$3&"4&*/.&"1035'0-*0 (6&45300.4 TO BE ADDED 505)&3&(*0/ HOTELS EXPECTED TO OPEN BY THE END OF 2015
itâ€™s also conversions â€“ such as the recently acquired Sheraton, formerly Accorâ€™s Pullman at Dubaiâ€™s Mall of the Emirates â€“ as well as renovations and extensions. Over 95% of Starwoodâ€™s global portfolio is actually owned by investors, representing trillions of dollars in global capital, so itâ€™s no wonder the expansions plans are backed by the very highest people, including Royalty. New York State currently has the highest concentration of Starwood properties in the world, with Dubai â€“ a very close â€“ second. When will first position be achieved? â€œYou are asking the same question as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum!â€? De Wilde begins. â€œIf you look at upper up-scale and luxury, we would be on par to have more hotels than New York in that segment in practically a year or two, we are actually very close. If you look at Manhattan alone we are already on par, but this [statistic] looks at New York State, so I think we are probably going to come on par in around three years from now.â€?
(6&45300.4 1&01-&"3& CHECKED INTO "45"3800% 1301&35:"5 ANY TIME
Building hotels in the right place is one thing, but the next major trend in Starwoodâ€™s predicted revolution will be the rise in mobile bookings, which will apparently count for half of all bookings in a matter of months. In fact, mobile bookings are growing at almost five times the pace that the internet itself was growing a decade ago. â€œThatâ€™s a growth that is just unstoppable. The traditional way to deal with wholesalers and tour operators is gone. In the past, you would have two prices a year, the brochures would be printed and the prices locked, now you have a very dynamic pricing going on with the tour operator. â€œThat is a new trend, but they also want us to open our inventory so they have day to day access and the ability to see the rooms we have and their categories. â€œThey want to interconnect with our systems in a way that in the past wasnâ€™t possible,â€? says de Wilde, putting the trend into context, then adding that on any given day there
HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST / 37
are 250,000 people checked into Starwood properties.
FINGER ON THE PULSE During the relocation period, meetings were held with 150 customers and owners giving de Wilde and his team unparalleled access to market feedback and the next big development.
“The corporate traveller is interested in consistency of service and there is a loyalty attached to that, just the same is found with the airlines. For the corporate traveller it’s about ‘do you recognise me, do you know me?’ That trend is global and it ties in with the mobilisation of booking systems, because with our new systems we will soon be able to
MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA HOTEL/ROOMS COUNT EXISTING PORTFOLIO
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We have ringside seats at the global economy” Frits Van Paasschen
use a [potential] guest’s location to offer them a personalised service, on the move, that they can literally book with one hand, from their mobile device, while doing something else. “Then on the other hand, the leisure traveller wants new destinations and they want us to opening places where we are not already present. So we’re reaching further, penetrating new markets, but establishing our brand values along with the physical building and making it easier to book into those properties,” de Wilde adds. While the motives may be 100% corporate, the future for Starwood is driven by people. It’s reactionary without being knee jerk, but is strongly pegged on social and economic patterns. All that is left now, is time for the global scenarios to play out
Frits van Paasschen, CEO and president, Starwood Hotels.
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Hygiene under the spotlight Industry gathers to share best practice tips and tricks at the Hospitality Hygiene Summit, May 27, Habtoor Grand
rom staff training to the regulation of chemicals and equipment, hygiene in guest areas is equally important as cleanliness in food service and preparation areas. These issue, along with many others, were on the table for debate at the Hospitality Hygiene Summit, held at Habtoor Grand on May 27. Expert panellists Christiane Abou Zeidan, director of environment, health & safety, Rotana; Tatjana Ahmed, housekeeping manager and member of the council of experts, Grand Hyatt; Nadaf Allabaksh, executive housekeeper, Mövenpick; and Balachander V, hygiene manager, Grand Hyatt Dubai, were joined by Dhofar Global’s deputy GM, Chandan Singh in front of a live audience of hygiene professionals. The primary area of debate that emerged was how best to combine the a hotel’s hygiene standards with
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sustainability targets – specifically with targets to reduce energy and water wastage, as well as overall waste generation. Disposable amenities were high on the agenda and how best to provide these while reducing negative environmental impact, was hotly debated. Also discussed was the progression of cleaning technologies, regarding which, Dhofar Global deputy GM, Chandan Singh predicts electric hand dryers could soon become a thing of the past, as more people learn about US conducted research that claims bacteria is only removed when hands are wiped on tissue. The summit began with a keynote presentation from Dubai Municipality principle food studies, Bobby Krishna, who explained the concept of crosscultural hygiene, and concluded in the afternoon follow-ing two panels on food hygiene and F&B best practice.
Hygiene is basically common sense but events like this help to focus the market on new solutions and provide opportunities for those who deal with hygiene issues on a day-to-day basis, in order to refresh their thinking and consider alternative solutions. We see great opportunity in the hospitality sector for our innovative tissue products,â€? Chandan Singh, deputy GM, Dhofar Global
Dhofar Global deputy GM, Chandan Singh. L&R: Panellists Christiane Abou Zeidan, dir. environment, health & safety, Rotana; Tatjana Ahmed, housekeeping mgr, Grand Hyatt; Nadaf Allabaksh, exec housekeeper, MĂśvenpick; Balachander V, hygiene mgr, Grand Hyatt Dubai. Far left: Bobby Krishna, principle food studies, D.M.
With the support of:
Meat Hygiene Sponsor:
HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST / 41
In a world where food safety, food traceability and workplace hygiene is a priority, the 2013 Hygiene Summit provided a timely platform for industry professionals to network and gather information and techniques that will no doubt benefit their best management practices and boost their businesses’ overall performance within this area,” Jamie Ferguson, regional manager , MENA Meat & Livestock Australia
As we all know, the UAE has a great mix of cultures each with its own customs and practices and that is why it is important to ensure the same proper hygiene habits are shared and practiced by all. To help with this transformation, Kimberly-Clark Professional has decided to bring its Healthy Workplace project to this region. Our objective is very simple: We identify germ hotspots for our customers and then provide them with the right reduction tools in the appropriate locations within their facilities,” Jordi Perpiñá, Healthy WorkPlace consultant manager, KimberlyClark Professional.
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SPECIAL FEATURE/ FITNESS PAYS
Regionally, recreation and fitness industries are generating huge revenues and it’s a stream that doesn’t experience the same peaks and troughs as F&B or ADR. But beyond guest provisions, are you doing enough to capture the local residents’ market?
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SPECIAL FEATURE/ FITNESS PAYS
hile F&B and room revenues are the first to suffer in times of economic trouble, the fitness and health industry is one that has continued to see robust growth. In the Middle East today the spa and fitness industries are worth a combined $20bn with most of that revenue generated from local resident markets, rather than tourism. The YoY growth as a result has been phenomenal, however while spa generates significant interest and investment, the hotel gym is often left behind, with only basic facilities and limited capacity to become a hotel selling point in its own right. But now fitness experts globally are advising Middle East hoteliers to buck the trend and follow the lead, not only
Some business streams are anything but ancillary and may contribute more than 50% of a hotel’s total revenues Gold’s Gym COO Nitesh Seebran but not for fitness, yet today nontraditional facilities are a primary revenue generator,” he observes. If your own gym lies empty for most of the year it’s an even greater reason to utilise the space. It’s something that Sheraton has implemented on a global scale, partnering with Core Performance to deliver, on a third party basis, a health and fitness programme that is bespoke to the hotel chain. The tie up has seen the installation of top-class gym facilities, healthy dining, guest room workouts and online training to follow up even after check out. Says brand manager VP, Brian Povinelli, Sheraton Hotels: “Fitness and travel go hand in hand and our guests have told us that working out is a priority when they travel. Our unprecedented partnership with Core Performance offers an array of programmes and services to help guests enhance their overall fitness regimen and performance before, during and after their stay.” They are measures few Middle East hotels have gone to. Fairmont The Palm keenly promotes its health and fitness offerings, but few others are taking the lead. Fairmont currently provides daily fitness classes with a timetable incorporating yoga, pilates, zumba, step aerobics, body balance and aqua aerobics and in making the most of its location, maps of suggested running routes around Palm Jumeirah. At the chain’s Vancouver property, GM Ian Pullan, will even run with guests. It’s a philosophy that has also been echoed in Starwood’s Westin brand, through the Westin Workout,
for fitness holidays but in capturing the local market. “Non-traditional fitness facilities such as those found in hotels, corporations, housing developments and country clubs are growing rapidly in popularity and are completely redefining how we exercise,” says Brian Green, president and CEO of Advantage Fitness Products. “It’s common place to open the doors to patrons for other areas,
WORKING IT OUT Follow these three steps to boost your recreation centre revenues, by Bryan Green, president and CEO, Advantage Fitness Products. Paid for fitness programmes Leisure travellers are typically looking for new and better experiences than they get at home. Their impulsive mind-set has made an industry of fitness holidays in Thailand and India, but an un-catered to market stays in city and beach properties around the world. Work in a workout programme and you could essential re-brand your entire property and offering. Outsource If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly, so if you do decide to enhance your offering, you need the specialists to provide it. Also,
affiliation with the right third party brand can really boost marketing activities. Add on sales While too many chains now offer free access to mats, bottled water and even workout kits to justify renting such equipment, gym and spa does still come with F&B opportunities that could cater to fitness dieters, rather than those with special dietary requirements. Loyalty pays The rise in the popularity of loyalty schemes – specifically aviation-related tie ups – offer opportunity for value added extras. In addition to sign-up promotions, corporate gifts such as airmiles can be given to the most loyal of clients.
HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST / 45
SPECIAL FEATURE/ FITNESS PAYS
although this is yet to be brought to the local market. “Wellness has really become a macro-global trend, and not only in the hotel category but across all industries,” Povinelli comments. As an expert in generating ancillary revenues, primarily through F&B, Table4ME managing partner TiinaMaija Bergman, says that anciliary should not automatically mean less important in terms of total revenue management. “We know from the market in the Middle East that some business streams are anything but ancillary and may contribute more than 50% of a hotel’s total revenues. The question is, are we investing 50% of our focus and budget towards managing and optimising these opportunities? “With the world changing and travel behaviour changing as a result, due to corporate travel budget restrictions, the mid-scale and luxury hotels are facing increased pressure to maximise their hotel’s revenue generation per square metre,” she observes.
HOW TO OPTIMISE ANCILLARY REVENUES Understand it To effectively manage ancillary revenues hotels need to have the ability to forecast accurately. In order to do that, they need to understand the business at a granular level. As with hotel rooms where we now can dissect the business into booking source, market segment, rate code, room type and booking channel, the other ancillary revenue generating departments need a similar focus to understand where there is room and opportunity to maximise revenues.
be able to tick a few boxes on the checklist, for what we look for. Gold’s Gym caters for all therefore a hotel tie up must be one with memberships for residents as this will be our main source of income. But, he advises, in the meantime while hotels are by and large left to find their own way, skilled staff should be a top priority. “Don’t hold back on staffing, Hire in advance and stop saying we will hire down the line. Our success will always be our staff and bringing the team on board before a club opens is vital. Members want to see our teams presence when they come in for the their first visits, remember a high
GYM BUDDY The next step in gym development according to Gold’s Gym COO Nitesh Seebran will be for more international chains such as Gold’s to tie up with hotel chains, in much the same way spa and F&B brands do. He says: “The UAE is such a place where 5-star hotels are located in residential areas, if Gold’s moves into hotels it will have to be where we know we can maximise our investment. Members and a good number of new members is what all health clubs look for, hotels will
it makes sense to ensure that the revenue and profit potential of your facility is maximised 46 / HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST
Plan for it We want to turn the ‘chance business’ into a planned and manageable business in order to make the most of these additional sources of revenue for the hotels. Manage it Effective reservations and database management - the customer is still king - and the more relevant information we can gather about them the better.
percentage of new members will be joining a health club for their first time.” According to Green the maximisation of revenues in this crucially neglected sector is nothing but common sense, when the cost of investment is brought into consideration. “Typically, hotels and resorts that successfully leverage fitness to support their core hospitality business see a fitness centre as more than a one-time, stagnant installation. Contemporary standards of safety and hygiene, guest’s ever-changing expectations in terms of amenities and unique services, and keeping up with state-of-the-art fitness modalities and technologies, all play a vital role in terms of your business focus regarding fitness. “Considering the work and effort that goes into creating and maintaining a successful fitness centre, it makes sense to ensure that the revenue and profit potential of your facility is maximised,” he adds
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WHAT DO CUSTOMERS ACTUALLY WANT FROM A SPA RETREAT AS A HOLIDAY DESTINATION? TKI’s Daniel During asks if perhaps the most effective way to maximise spa revenues is actually to shun the allure of catering to a tried and tested social scene
e have plenty of hotels in Dubai. And we have plenty of spas. And, we have plenty of spas in
hotels too. But do we have real retreats? Or is it all about flamboyant, luxury resorts and a few beauty treatments and massages. I am still to see in Dubai a real retreat the likes of Shiva Som in Thailand. Retreats are not about caviar or gold leaf facials of which Dubai is so proud. True retreats are rather about the ultimate wellbeing of body and mind achieved over a period of time where the body (through specific dieting, foods and treatments) and mind (through meditation, yoga and relaxation) are cleansed, detoxified, purified. The world over, our day to day cosmopolitan lives take a huge toll on our bodies and minds. Pollution, processed food, stress, cigarettes, alcohol: they all contribute to our lack of wellbeing. There are many people out there who, more conscious than others, understand the benefits of not only “taking” vacations but also “giving” vacations to their bodies and minds, and opt for health retreats that would help gain that equilibrium once again, an equilibrium that is achieved through detoxing and pacing ourselves down. A bit like slow walking on a treadmill after an hour of fast racing.
48 / HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST
And there lies our un-catered-to opportunity. As much as we love our resorts here, it is pretty obvious that alcohol and partying negate the very core belief of detoxing and cleansing and we will never cater to the true retreat seeker. Is there an opportunity out there to create a new offer and bring new markets into our emirate? While we all agree on the added financial benefits that alcohol brings to the bottom line, there may be room for dry resorts that maximise revenues through long staying guests and all inclusive packages, catering to all the guest needs all through his or her stay. So, if retreats the world over can do it, we should be able to do it too. Or are we too greedy to let go of it? Or afraid that the added benefit of long stay guests and guaranteed revenues will not compensate for the lack of alcohol? I believe we are still on time in Dubai to create new resorts that merge luxury and health, but if Dubai is too gluttonous to lose its alcohol revenue, is there room perhaps in neighbouring dry emirates such as Sharjah to cater to this market? Considering that the retreat market comes in all sizes and budgets, from the luxury end to the more modest resort, it could also be an opportunity for Sharjah to come up with top end glitz dry retreats,
attracting investors with more affordable land and compete with Dubai’s not so health oriented bling. And there lies another opportunity for Dubai: three and four star retreats, an argument I have been preaching for quite some time now. When thinking of retreats we generally think of inner peace, quiet and meditation. And that comes with modesty, both of spirit and of surroundings. Is there not room for more modest resorts too in our “blingy” city? Finally, there is another opportunity out there: boot camps. Not the ones on JBR beach, but rather the ones that you join for several weeks to train hard core and play hard core too. These new Spartan resorts don’t cater to boys alone: there is a whole bunch of devotees out there who seek adventure and adrenaline. And probably nothing like our Musandam mountains to offer that. Austere camps, offering a range of activities and hard core training, using our very own nature, training under a scorching sun, rock climbing, mountain biking, trail biking, but also, racing between barbed wire, charged electric wires and mud. And finally these resorts can also be host of triathlons and Spartan races the like of Mud on the Mountain, Adventurerace or Spartan Race. Catering to a currently nonexisting tourism segment would bring additional tourism to the area and can reposition the UAE as a more “real” place to vacation. Maybe there is a place out there to create a new UAE? Not the one of dining out and partying but rather one that also caters to both the peace and the adrenaline seeker. Maybe we have forgotten a whole market out there which is waiting to be catered for and we are just missing out on the opportunity? By Daniel G During, principal and MD, Thomas Klein International
Heinz Grub GM, Sheraton Dubai Creek and Area Manager of 7 Starwood properties in Dubai
Samer Khanfar GM, Jumeirah Living Dubai World Trade Centre Residence
Majid Al Marri Gerald Lawless President and Group CEO, Director Hotel Classification Jumeirah Group at Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, Dubai Municipality
Hospitality Business ME magazine The choice of the professionals To advertise please contact: Alex Bendiouis, email@example.com +971 50 458 9204 Alexander Griffin, firstname.lastname@example.org +971 50 8500727 Ankit Shukla, email@example.com +971 55 2572807 Read every monthly issue free of charge via: www.hospitalitybusinessme.com
SERVICES AND SUPPLIES
Services and supplies The industry’s most useful and innovative new designs, delivered to you, every month
DESSO CRADLE TO GRAVE CERTIFICATION Carpet manufacturer Desso is the first in the world to be certified under Version 3.0 of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard administered by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. The Cradle to Grave concept is based on five categories: material health, material reutilisation,
renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness.The initial stages of the certification process comprise assessing raw materials in terms of human and environmental health criteria, and evaluating the manufacturing process according to recycling potential, energy and water use, and social responsibility.
ADA CHAMPIONS CSR ADA Cosmetics International has modified the flacons of its successful cosmetics series ‘Eco by Green Culture’, certified with the eco-label of the European Union, to incorporate a practical flip-top cap that uses less material and energy to produce. The new 30ml bottles are made from recycled PET and are recyclable again. The fresh design remains the same since it underlines the natural
50 / HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST
appeal of the product line. In a statement, ADA commented: “The fact that intelligent packaging solutions preserve our resources is also proven by ADA’s two dispenser systems: the tried and tested press+wash system and the new smart care system. Our clients can, therefore, continue to order ‘Eco by Green Culture’ in the 300ml dispensers, which are both economical and eco-friendly.”
SABRE SOLUTIONS STRIKES ABIDOS DEAL Sabre Hospitality Solutions will provide its SynXis Central Reservations System to Abidos Hotels, conncting to global distribution systems, online travel agents and mobile booking engines, to increase global revenue and connect Abidos Hotels CRS to major property management systems, for merchandising and revenue management. Alexander Barder, regional director of business development Middle East and Africa, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, said: “We are truly grateful to Abidos Hotels for having chosen to partner with Sabre Hospitality Solutions. Abidos is a new and exciting hotel brand in Dubai and we are thrilled to be able to fully support their endeavors via the SynXis CRS allowing seamless distribution across all channels along with full integration with their hotel PMS’s.”
SERVICES AND SUPPLIES
HANSGROHE AT A QUALITY FORUM
6 MOTION WASHING MACHINE FROM LG A range of front loading washing machines featuring 6 Motion™ technology has been launched to the market by LG. The appliances also feature Inverter Direct Drive™ motor and steam washer, complete with an allergy care function and a Steam Refresh Cycle for a detergent-free wash that uses less than one litre of water, deodorizing and washing with every cycle. Combined, the machines incorporate scrubbing, stepping, swinging
and rolling motion, immitating hand washing techniques. “The innovative technologies on LG’s new front-load washers are designed to make laundry time a breeze. The 6 Motion™ technology means less wear and tear on clothes, giving consumers more time with family and friends,” said Mr. D. Y. Kim, President of LG Electronics, Gulf FZE. The noise and energy reduced model also comes with a 10 year warranty.
Hansgrohe SE, the bathroom and showerhead manufacturer last month showcased a number of sustainable technologies at Abu Dhabi Quality Forum, April 28 – 29. The two day event was organised by the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council (QCC) and was organised in pursuit of QCC’s objective to act as key contributors to achieving Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030, through attracting recognised industry players to share their knowledge. Hansgrohe’s range of mixers and showerheads fitted with the EcoSmart technology consume up to 60% less water than conventional products without any loss of comfort and have recently been awarded the prestigious Abu Dhabi Trustmark for Environmental Performance to certify that they have been rigorously tested by QCC and meet UAE and international standards. Lower hot water consumption also means a reduced energy requirement, resulting in lower CO2 emissions and lower costs. Hansgrohe mixers go beyond the minimum requirements set by Estidama to deliver 5 l/min, instead of the minimum 6 l/m and can also help developers to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building standards.
IN-ROOM ENHANCEMENTS FROM DIGIVALET Luxury in-room automated technology vendor DigiValet™ has responded to the rising demand in the luxury sector with a suite of new technology exhibited at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC). Exhibited at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, DigiValet promoted a “platform with which hotels can take guest experience to higher levels of comfort and complete satisfaction.”
The products integrate In-Room Controls such as lighting and AC, entertainment controls that include TV; a wide array of films and music; a complete in-room dining menu; spa options, shopping, a definitive selection of world newspapers, concierge based services and other features that are bound to enhance every guest’s experience. The solution is available on the Apple iOS platform on the iPad and iPad Mini.
Dirk Shilmoeller, sales director, Hansgrohe Middle East.
HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST / 51
The Pro Chef ME magazine - the magazine for professionals
SASCHA TRIEMER, EXECUTIVE CHEF, ATLANTIS, THE PALM
If you work as a chef, restaurant manager, sommelier, banqueting manager or catering manager for a four or ďŹ ve star restaurant in the UAE, then apply for your free monthly copy of The Pro Chef Middle East, the magazine for ďŹ ne dining professionals. For all advertisment related enquires please contact the following: Sales Director: Ankit Shukla firstname.lastname@example.org +971 55 2572807
Associate Publisher: Alex Bendiouis email@example.com +971 50 458 9204
Read every monthly issue free of charge via: www.cpidubai/com
Bowen will take charge of all current F&B operations as well as being involved in the re-opening of the hotel’s all-day-dining restaurant, the launch of a “new culinary concept” and revamps of the hotel’s landmark revolving restaurant, in addition to a new Club Lounge and lobby entity and conference and banqueting operations. Later this year the revamp will incorporate an expansion of the Irish pub- the only Irish bar in the capital.
Appointment news The latest appointment and promotion news from the region GLOBAL PROMOTION FOR MARRIOTT MARQUIS FOH DIRECTOR Marriott Marquis director of front of house operations, Darin Davies, has been appointed to the position of president of the Association of Front Office Managers and Deputy Managers of Luxury Hotels (AICR). Founded in 1964 by, the front office leader of several luxury properties in the south of France, the international organisation is represented in 15 countries and has almost 1000 members. Davies’ responsibilities will include liaising with members worldwide,
HYATT VP OF SALES AND OPS
expanding the association and planning for the next Presidium and Receptionist of The Year competition in Hamburg. Davies’ shares his guest relations expertise in this issue’s FoH IT roundtable, on page 20.
MERIDIEN F&B DIRECTOR ABU DHABI Christina Bowen has joined the Meridien Abu Dhabi F&B team in the midst of a multimillion dirham revamp project of all the hotel’s restaurants and outlets. “We are glad to have Christina join the team at a time where strong leadership in our F&B department is a must,” said Shaun Parsons, general manager of Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi. “The plan to refurbish our existing outlets and to open a new one within 2013 is a great challenge with regards maintaining service delivery at an optimum while keeping inconvenience at a low for guests and clients,” he added. Drawing on previous experience with Events and Entertainment UK and Canada and Starwood Hotels, Bowen holds a BBA in Hotel management from The Hague Hotel School.
Ron Cusiter has been named as the newly appointed VP of sales and operations for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Southwest Asia. The Scottish national has 22 years’ experience in the industry, working in Europe, North America, Middle East and Asia. Its experience that will come in useful as Hyatt prepares to open 57 properties globally. Speaking about his appointment, Cusiter said: “Hyatt International is a renowned global hospitality company with a strong growth strategy for Southwest Asia, these are exciting times for Hyatt as we embark on a strong period of expansion.”
HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST / 53
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Time to move on? We can help. All jobs can be applied for through www.Hozpitality.com GM â€“ UAE Level: Top Management Location: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: Attractive salary and benefits Recruiter: Auris Plaza Hotel Dubai The Operation Manager should be familiar with all aspects of hotel operations with strong background in Rooms Division and Food & Beverage Departments. Minimum Requirement: Â‡ Qualification: Western Hotel School educated with a degree in Hotel Operations/ Management. Â‡ Experience: 5-6 years of experience in Hotel Operations with background in Rooms Division & F&B Service. Â‡ The candidate should be ready to travel within and outside U.A.E.
GM â€“ TANZINIA Level: Top Management Location: Worldwide, Africa, ME/GCC (Except UAE), United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: attractive Recruiter: FJ Recruiting and International Consulting Service We are looking for a GM for for a first class chain hotel in Tanzania, East Africa. Must be single or married WITH NO CHILDREN NOR PETS ! Accommodation provided with full maintenance. Pay package is negotiable and tax free. Age 35 to 48 years of age single or married with no children nor pets. European/ American, Australian/Canadian preferred. Please apply with your CV .
Recruiter: Bouthaina Salon and Spa Bouthaina Salon and Spa, a well-known highend beauty center exclusively for women in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where we provide high standard services that offer a sense of pride in elegance, prestige and style, and rejuvenating the soul thus revealing true inner beauty of a woman. For more than 20 years we have been utilizing the latest technologies and techniques and the best international talents to provide the highest standards and services in all areas of beauty and care. Our plan is to spread our success into a chain of beauty salons and spa all over the kingdom, providing continuous excellence to our customer, and for this, we need a highly qualified professional Operation Manager to join us. The Operations Managerâ€™s is responsible for the overall management of operations in all BOUTHAINA Spas and Salons. The Operations Manager oversees profitability, guest satisfaction, performance standards, human resources and training. New developments/projects are also the responsibility of the Operations Manager. Full time â€“ a minimum of 48/52 working hours per week, or as required by the operation
FEMALE OPERATIONS MANAGER, JEDDAH Level: Department Head, Top Management Location: ME/GCC (Except UAE), United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: attractive salary and benefits
E-COMMERCE MANAGER Level: Middle Management Location: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Start Date: 01/06/2013 Recruiter: Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek Job Purpose: The purpose of this role is to establish, drive and deliver the Ecommerce Strategy for the Hotel and to manage activities to drive traffic to the web-site; optimising marketing activities to ensure maximisation of return on investment. You will work closely with the sales and marketing team to align brand and marketing activities, whilst supporting product and site development strategy. Person Specification / Requirements: t&YUFOTJWFLOPXMFEHFJOUIFPOMJOF environment
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t$BOEJEBUFTXJUIQSFPQFOJOHFYQFSJFODFXJMM be given priority. OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY OFFICER Level: Middle Management Location: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: attractive salary and benefits Recruiter: Grand Hyatt Dubai You will be responsible for the efficient running of the department in line with Hyatt Internationalâ€™s Corporate Strategies and brand standards, whilst meeting employee, guest and owner expectations. The Occupational Health & Safety Officer is responsible to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate the hotelâ€™s environmental, safety and health activities / programs, and policies & procedures. Qualifications: Ideally with a professional diploma or certificate in Safety and Health. Minimum 2 years work experience as Occupational Safety & Health Officer, or in any related field of Safety and Health in larger operation. Good practical, operational and adequate administrative skills are a must.
RESERVATIONS MANAGER â€“ JEDDAH Level: Middle Management Location: ME/GCC (Except UAE) Salary Description: Competitve Salary Package Recruiter: Qasswa for Haj and Umra We are Looking for an Experienced Reservation Manager for our Qasswa Head Office Located in Jeddah. The Position is very vital and need some one strong in Sales and Reservation of Hotels or Travel Business. Only Muslim candidates are requested to apply. Handsome Salary package+Housing Allow ance+Transportation+Medical and Return Tickets.
REVENUE MANAGER Level: Department Head, Middle Management Location: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: attractive Recruiter: One to One Hotels- the Village One to One hotel â€“ the village: designed by an innovative creative team, stands alone in the region offering a unique home away from
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HEALTH AND SAFETY OFFICER Level: Department Head, Middle Management Location: ME/GCC (Except UAE), United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: attractive Recruiter: Regency Group Holdings, Doha Regency Group Holding is one of Qatarâ€™s oldest and largest business entities encompassing several divisions across a spectrum of industries and a portfolio that includes several internationally acclaimed brands. Health & Safety Officer required for Regency Group Holding, Doha, Qatar.
HR MANAGER Level: Middle Management Location: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: Up to AED 8,000 plus free accommodation and other hotel benefits are provided Recruiter: Apt Resources, Dubai For an established group of 4star hotels in Dubai, UAE Location: Dubai, UAE Industry: Hospitality/hotel/tourism Department: HR / Training & Development Level: Managerial Minimum experience in same role: 3 years Minimum experience in same industry: 5 years Education: Degree/ Hotel Management Salary: Up to AED 8,000 plus free accommodation and other hotel benefits are provided
HR COORDINATOR Level: Staff- Line level, Supervisory level Location: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: attractive Recruiter: One to One Hotels- the Village One to One hotel â€“ the village: designed by an innovative creative team, stands alone in the region offering a unique home away from home for both business executives and leisure travelers alike. We are currently looking for:Good English speaking 3-5 years of similar experience in star hotels in UAE/Gulf Good Computer skills Extremely active and prompt
I NFORMATION SYSTEMS COORDINATOR Level: Staff- Line level, Supervisory level Location: United Arab Emirates (UAE) Salary Description: attractive salary and benefits Recruiter: Grand Hyatt Dubai You will be responsible to assist with the efficient running of the department in line with Hyatt Internationalâ€™s Corporate Strategies and brand standards, whilst meeting employee, guest and owner expectations. The Information Systems Coordinator is responsible to assist in the smooth and efficient running of Information Systems Department.
HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST / 55
When done the right way, email marketing can help you build brand awareness and create direct revenue opportunities with past, present and future guests.
Integrate Data Systems
Email marketing for hotels Digital Nexa MD Andrew Thomnas asks if email marketing is the key to boosting direct bookings
omehow, email marketing has been more recently overlooked, what with marketing campaigns focusing more on interactivity that social media platforms can deliver, we wanted to remind you why it’s still one of our favourite methods of marketing and how it can also ensure more direct bookings for your hotel whilst being an excellent tool for you to stay in touch with your guests and prospects.
Nurture relationships Email marketing is an excellent relationship building tool, and can be one of the most effective ways to deliver revenue growth and by personalising the email and targeting specific audiences for specific offers you will inspire more bookings and drive responses. Send a pre-stay welcome email; a post-stay thank you email; and, to loyal guests, personalised communications notifying them of exclusive offers, new amenities,
56 / HOSPITALITY BUSINESS MIDDLE EAST
or special packages. Some of the larger hotel chains have used email marketing to cross-sell, where they partner with local retailers and offer exclusive discounts to guests (e.g. snorkelling packages, golf packages).
Improve Customer Retention The best way to increase customer retention is by automating your guest relation program to keep in front of your customers even after their checkout. Even if your guests are only likely to visit you once a year, keep in touch with them throughout the year so that when it comes time for them to book their next trip, your hotel is firmly in their mind. Feedback is essential to know what your guest wants, so ask for it! Invite comments on the quality of their experience, the services offered and most importantly; suggestions for improvement, you can reward or incentivize this by entering them automatically in to a competition.
We encourage our clients to integrate their data systems to personalise their automated email communications to maximize potential. Seamless integration between your email marketing system and your internal database eliminates the need to manually upload CRM data and email tracking data. Email marketing also allows you to gain an understanding of the effectiveness of your campaign by providing information such as indicating data on opens, clicks, bounces, unsubscribes, etc. By integrating email with your CRM data, you can also identify your most influential and profitable customers and create, manage and send out highly targeted promotions to that profile.
Transform Transactional Email into Revenue According to Forrester, confirmation emails are 17% more likely to be opened than newsletter or promotional emails, and customers are 20% more likely to click through on them. They are often read multiple times and are usually last to be deleted, include in these emails details about hotel and local facilities. And even if the guest cancels, follow up with an email suggesting other properties. To conclude, the key is to make your emails stand out by delivering messages that are timely, relevant and personalised. It is not a broadcast medium where you can just “batch and blast” out messages, but one when carefully crafted and segmented can deliver highly compelling and contextually-rich messages that drive people to act time after time For more information on email marketing solutions contact us via: www.digitalnexa.com
Published on Jun 2, 2013
In-depth news and analysis for the Middle East’s hospitality professionals, wrapped up a in an intelligent, well designed monthly magazine.