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April 2019

All the latest from the Middle East hospitality industry

Leading by Example How women in leadership roles are shaping the hospitality industry

GM Roundtable A round-up of all the action from this year’s Gm roundtable

THe ja Way We find out the home-grown hospitality brand’s plan for the future

P 2 8 - M e e t t h e j u d g e s : T h e L e a d e r s I n H o s pi ta li t y A w a r d s


April 2019

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On the web Keep up to date with all the latest news, features and much more on our website. www.hotelnewsme.com

April 2019 // Issue #010

Contents

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36 28

News

Awards 2019

34 Roundtable

GM Leaders Conference

Features 08 //

News SLS Dubai hotel & residences to open in 2020; Rotana marks positive growth; Sheraton unveils new logo

24 //

COVER STORY We speak with Anthony Ross, CEO, JA Resorts & Hotels about the company’s vision

28 //

LEADERS IN HOSPITALITY AWARDS Meet the judging panel for this year’s annual Leaders in Hospitality Awards

34 //

GM ROUNDTABLE A round-up of the GM Roundtable held this month that set the agenda for the GM Leaders Conference

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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April 2019 // Issue #010

Contents

On the web Keep up to date with all the latest news, features and much more on our website. www.hotelnewsme.com

39 //

OPINION Martin Kubler, CEO, sps:affinity- Strategic Partnership Solutions, explores WeChat

40 //

SPEACIAL FEATURE We speak to some of the leading women in hospitality about how they are breaking boundaries

50 //

IN FOCUS The benefits of using nondairy cream

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April 2019

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February 2019

Editor's letter

Director Rabih Najm

A note from the editor

Ma h a k Ma n n a n @MahakLFC

Rabih@bncpublishing.net CEO Wissam Younane Wissam@bncpublishing.net Editor Mahak Mannan Mahak@bncpublishing.net Group Commercial Director

Samer Alloush samer@bncpublishing.net

elcome to the April edition of Hotel & Catering News ME. Summer has come fairly early this year with Ramadan around the corner, and as we all wait to embrace the long summer, BNC have a number of events lined up just before close of the season. Our annual Leaders in Hospitality Awards is back for its fifth year running, for which we received a record number of nominations. Combing through these nominations to pick a winner is no easy task, which is why we have assembled some of the leading names in the hospitality industry together, to be a part of the judging panel. The awards ceremony will take place at Fairmont, The Palm, on 23 April 2019. The shortlist is out on our website at www.hotelnewsme. com and you can read more about our judges in this edition.

The same morning, we will host the GM Leaders Conference, where the hospitality industry will come together to discuss and debate the challenges that the market is faced with. The event promises to give an honest insight into the hospitality industry and what the future holds for the region. Talking about the future, our cover story for this month features an exclusive interview with Anthony Ross, CEO, JA Resorts & Hotels, as the company gears up for a rapid expansion phase. From acquisitions and management contracts to revamping its F&B strategy, the hotel group will be busy in the upcoming months, our cover story reveals more. Until the next edition, happy reading. Regards, Mahak

Contributor

Marouane Al Mandri Art Director Aaron Sutton Aaron@bncpublishing.net Photographer

Farook Al Saliq

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For all commercial enquiries related to Catering News ME contact samer@bncpublishing.net T +971 55 776 4670 All rights reserved Š 2014. Opinions expressed are solely those of the contributors. Catering News ME and all subsidiary publications in the MENA region are officially licensed exclusively to BNC Publishing in the MENA region by Catering News ME. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher. Printed by UPP

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April 2019

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April 2019

News

For all the latest News, Visit www.hotelnewsme.com Follow us on Facebook for up-to-the-minute breaking news Read the latest edition on www.hotelnewsme.com

New opening

$550 Million SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences To Open In 2020 Sbe, an international hospitality group that develops, manages, and operates global hospitality brands has announced a partnership with World of Wonders Real Estate Development to continue the expansion of the SLS brand with the first SLS property in the Middle East, SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences. The property is already more than 60% completed and is set to open in Q3 2020. The 75-storey tower will be comprised of 254 designed hotel rooms, 371 residential units, and 321 hotel apartments. The property will also feature Sbe signature culinary concepts Fi’lia and Carna, Sbe’s mixology lounge in the lobby, as well as a signature rooftop nightlife venue, Privilege. Two infinity pools are situated atop the 75-storey tower offering an incomparable 360-degree aspect of Dubai, making the pools among the highest not just in the city, but globally. SLS Dubai will be an essential piece of Sbe’s development in the Middle East that comes on the heels of successful openings of Katsuya in Kuwait City, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. In October 2018, Sbe entered into a partnership with Accor, following the latter’s 8

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

acquisition of a 50% stake in Sbe. This long-term investment will allow Sbe to leverage Accor’s leading global hospitality platform while remaining an independent luxury lifestyle operator. Sbe will continue to be led by its founder and CEO Sam Nazarian as well as its management team while retaining its global headquarters in New York. “We couldn’t be prouder to bring one of our signature brands to one of the world’s luxury capitals,” said Sam Nazarian, founder and CEO of Sbe. “Dubai is not only the Middle East’s biggest tourism and business hub, but it is also the

epicentre for all things luxury and we are excited to be there. It is truly an honour to partner with World of Wonders Real Estate Development, I am confident that this is just the beginning of a long-lasting relationship with many more projects to come.” Sbe subsidiary Dakota Development, led by president Joe Faust, provided the original concept development and design management services for the luxury project in collaboration with international architecture firm Aedas and interior design firm Bishop Design. Upon arrival, hotel guests will enter through the ground

floor lobby and take an express elevator to the opulent Sky Lobby on the 71st floor. SLS Dubai will also feature Sbe’s acclaimed Italian restaurant concept Fi’lia, located on the 70th floor. Fi’lia will serve as the hotel’s all-day dining outlet and will offer active food stations and a display kitchen. In addition, Carna, a Sbe steakhouse concept by award-winning Italian butcher Dario Cecchini, will be located on the 74th floor and feature a dedicated bar, private dining rooms, wine rooms and an open kitchen. Additional hotel facilities include an extensive ballroom and flexible event studios. www.hotelnewsme.com


April 2019

News

Performance

Rotana Marks Growth In Occupancy, ADR And RevPAR Rotana reported positive results across the three key performance metrics in the first two months of 2019 in spite of the economic outlook for the region. “Most of our markets in the region posted firm growth in occupancy, ADR, and RevPAR and this is mainly due to our relentless focus on improving product offering, expanding portfolio, and enhancing commercial efforts. Given the upward trend in the performance of global markets, we remain optimistic about positive growth prospects for the region,” said Guy Hutchinson, Acting CEO, Rotana, while leading a roundtable held in Abu Dhabi. During the January-February period, Rotana hotels in Abu Dhabi delivered stronger growth as compared to properties in other emirates and recorded a 3.5% growth in occupancy, 2.3% increase in ADR and 5.9% rise in RevPAR, while its properties in Beirut and Riyadh posted 17% and 15% rise in occupancy and 29% and 48% surge in RevPAR respectively, as compared to the same period in 2018. Similarly, ADR and RevPAR soared 24.8% and 9.8% in the company’s resort in Sharm El Sheikh, while Manama saw a 5% rise in occupancy rates. Room nights coming from Saudi Arabia, which is one of the key feeder markets, have increased by 15% in the first two months of this year. In 2018, the UAE, UK, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and India topped the list of leading feeder markets.

Highlighting key opportunities in the market, Hutchinson said that with the growing public spending in tourism sectors, driven by the ambitious economic diversification roadmaps for the regional economies, including the UAE Vision 2021 and the Saudi Vision 2030, the region’s hospitality sector is on the tip of a tremendous transformation. Major upcoming events, such as Expo 2020 Dubai, and tourism initiatives, including the $500 billion Red Sea coastline project, NEOM mega-city project, Al Qiddiya Entertainment City, Farasan Islands, and the 3,000-sq km Amaala luxury destination project in Saudi Arabia, will

further strengthen the region’s reputation as an attractive destination for tourists and investors alike. In addition, international events set to take place in the region with the support of regional governments – such as the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 that will get underway in the capital city from 14 March will not only help drive occupancy, but also promote the destinations worldwide. Similarly, the ongoing reforms aimed at easing visa regulations will make way for new source markets. Furthermore, up-and-coming inventory in mid-market offerings will enhance the hospitality market’s appeal and attract

the growing segment of budget-conscious guests. Against the backdrop of these developments, the region is poised to witness a rise in the coming years, offering an opportunity for hotel operators to further improve their performance in the market. Putting a spotlight on the challenges facing the hospitality sector, Hutchinson mentioned that the GCC region is expected to see an additional 58,000 keys entering the market in 2019, with destinations such as Dubai, Makkah, and Riyadh accounting for the highest increases in supply. These new stocks will intensify competition leaving further pressure on room rates. As a result, maintaining profit margins will be a key challenge for hoteliers this year. Sharing his insights into emerging trends in the industry, Hutchinson said hotel operators will continue to explore new markets for expansion and they will place a significant emphasis on the development of green and mid-scale offerings. In addition, improving guest experiences will remain a top priority for industry players and disruptive technologies will unleash new possibilities in product and service offerings. Hutchinson added that profits management is becoming increasingly important for hotel operators, and as a result, they are expected to continue adopting tighter cost control measures through clustering and outsourcing part of their services. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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April 2019

News

Rebrand

Sheraton Unveils New Logo

Construction

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts has unveiled a new logo that pays homage to its past and depicts its vision for the future. The new design reflects the brand’s holistic vision for the future, making Sheraton the central gathering place of communities around the world, welcoming guests, and locals into a public space that embodies the modern town square vibe. “The logo’s evolution reflects the renewed energy and firm commitment we are making to our owners and guests to the resurgence of this iconic brand. More than a logo, this is a symbolic statement of Sheraton’s vision for our new guest experience,” said Mara Hannula, vice president, Global Brand Marketing, Classic Premium Brands. “This was the final piece of the redesign puzzle and offers a modernised look and feel to match our reimagined spaces while maintaining the powerful equity and recognition of the original logo.” The new Sheraton experi12

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

ence will be available to guests later this year in Phoenix. The transformed 1,000-room Sheraton Grand Phoenix hotel which the company purchased in 2018 will bring to life the first of Sheraton’s strategy hotel along with other exciting innovations. “We are excited to introduce the new direction of the brand’s iconic symbol in the Middle East and Africa, where Sheraton has nurtured longstanding relationships with guests, owners and communities for over 50 years,” said Sandra Schulze-Potgieter, vice president, Premium & Select Brands, Marriott International Middle East and Africa. “In line with the transformation of the brand, we are excited to showcase our early adopter properties soon, the Sheraton Jeddah Hotel and Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai.” The new logo reimagines the signature laurel as movement from the world and the energy of gathering, which points to the modernised Sheraton “S” redrawn in the centre.

ASGC Leads Construction Of Address Harbour Point Hotel ASGC has been appointed as the main contractor of the Address Harbour Point project in Dubai Creek Harbour. Located on Creek Island Dubai, the premier district where the first residents will move in this year, Address Harbour Point Hotel is also in close proximity to Creek Marina, which features yachting facilities, complete with a yacht club, three hotels, a promenade, landscaped pedestrian walkways, art installations, gourmet restaurants, cafés and entertainment venues. With the ASGC team onsite, construction works are already underway. Address Harbour Point comprises of two towers, 65 and 53 stories each, located next to Creek Heights, a collection of luxury

waterfront homes. Featuring 202 luxury rooms, it will offer a choice of up to four-bedroom homes and an exclusive Sky Collection of penthouses on the upper levels. Bishoy Azmy, CEO of ASGC, said: “We are confident that Address Harbour Point will be a signature landmark. We will bring innovative technologies and deep sector experience to the project. We look forward to contributing to the wider Dubai Creek Harbour development and Dubai’s reputation as a global hospitality destination.” For nearly 30 years, ASGC has been delivering turn key special projects across the UAE, employing more than 16,000 construction specialists and workers across the nation. www.hotelnewsme.com


April 2019

News

Initiatives

Marriott International Launches Tahseen In The UAE

Marriott International has announced the UAE launch of Tahseen, a hospitality training program developed in response to the growing need for local talent within the industry. Developed in partnership with Cornell University, Tahseen is focused on fast tracking the next generation of hospitality leaders from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), by providing them with first-hand hospitality experience and an opportunity for graduates to rise quickly into leadership roles within the industry. The UAE launch follows the successful program roll-out in Saudi Arabia and has very recently launched in Bahrain and Egypt. The program in Saudi Arabia has nurtured a batch of local graduates who are now set to advance the hospitality industry within their home countries. In line with the UAE’s vision to build a competitive knowledge economy and boost Emiratisation, to increase the number of Emiratis contributing to the local economy, Marriott International is committed to enhancing the tourism industry through the identification and development of local talent to take on leadership roles as part of its program. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, travel and tourism contributed 5.1% (USD 18.8256 million) of the UAE’s GDP in 2017 which supported 300,000 jobs. The findings also outlined that the industry will continue to grow over the coming years. The individualised program created in partnership with

Cornell University focuses on practical application across all departments as well as an indepth understanding of leadership skills led by teams across Marriott International’s participating hotels over a course of 12 to 18 months. Participants also receive first-hand experience through the Cornell e-learning platforms and a university-led development program tailored specifically for UAE nationals. Present at the launch, Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International said: “At Marriott International our core company value is ‘Putting People First’ and this rings true throughout everything we do. We believe in providing our associates with world-class training and personal development opportunities through every stage of their career, whether they have been with

the company for a number of years or are just starting out their career in the industry. Our Tahseen program is targeted at finding the future leaders in the hospitality industry and we are committed to strengthening and developing these talents to take on leadership roles.” “In line with the UAE government’s vision to build a knowledge economy, we remain committed and passionate about providing those keen for a budding career in hospitality with the tools and skills they need to succeed, not only for their own development but also to be a part of the wider UAE success story,” he concluded. David Leman, chief human resources Officer, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International added: “Through our partnership with Cornell University, we have been able to amplify awareness of the Tah-

seen program to ensure that we enroll the finest candidates who are able to flourish through the program. We are always delighted to see future leaders of the industry develop through our programs and turn this experience into a prosperous career, we’re excited to watch the Tahseen program unfold in the UAE for the first time.” Tahseen is a program that falls under Marriott International’s sustainability and social impact platform, Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction, which guides how the company makes a positive and sustainable impact wherever it does business. From empowerment opportunities to sustainable hotel development, the platform is designed to foster business growth while balancing the needs of associates, customers, owners, the environment, and communities. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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April 2019

News

Appointments

Omar Souab To Lead Pre-Opening Team At Sofitel Dubai Wafi

Appointments

Accor has announced the appointment of Omar Souab as general manager of Sofitel Dubai Wafi scheduled to open at the end of 2019. Formally with Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort, within the Accor portfolio, Souab will lead the strategic direction and manage the pre-opening operations of Sofitel’s largest property in the Middle East. Commenting on the appointment, Ayman Gharib, managing director for Raffles Dubai & Sofitel Dubai Wafi, said: “I am confident that Omar’s expertise will be inspirational for the opening of Sofitel Dubai Wafi. His wealth of experience, strategic market insight and strong leadership skills will fulfil a challenging role and exciting role.” Souab brings a wealth of hospitality experience with an in-depth background in operations and sales following a 15-year career with Accor in Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. He first joined Accor in 2004 as a sales manager with Sofitel Thalassa Marina 16

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Smir. Shortly after, he transferred to Sofitel Royal Golf El Jadida as rooms division manager in charge of sales before joining Pullman Mazagan Royal Golf and Spa El Jadida as deputy manager in 2009. In 2011, he moved to the UAE as operations manager of Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre and Residences before joining Fairmont Dubai in May 2014 as director of operations and was promoted to hotel manager a year later. Appointed general manager of Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort in May 2016, Souab has successfully opened the resort in January 2017 and drove the strategy and operations of the property. Souab holds a Bachelor in International Business from Santa Monica College in Los Angeles, USA, a Bachelor of International Business majoring in Marketing from Schiller International University in Madrid, Spain, and a Masters in Hospitality from Accor’s International Hospitality Management Program in Paris, France.

Address Dubai Marina Welcomes New General Manager Emaar Hospitality Group has appointed Eleni Tsolakou as the general manager of Address Dubai Marina, the premium luxury waterfront destination overlooking Dubai Marina, under Address Hotels + Resorts. With over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry in Africa, Greece, Indonesia, and the Middle East, Tsolakou will be responsible for driving and strengthening the distinctive positioning of the hotel. She will focus on delivering innovative initiatives to achieve higher levels of operational efficiency, guest experiences, and unrivalled service standards. Olivier Harnisch, CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group, said: “Address Dubai Marina has a unique appeal with its prime location, one of the world’s largest marinas and renowned waterfront lifestyle district. Eleni is a hospitality veteran with extensive multi-cultural experience and an in-depth knowledge of the industry. She brings a refreshing approach, and outstanding acumen that

will help in providing distinguishing experiences and upholding the very highest levels of guest service.” Eleni Tsolakou said: “Address Dubai Marina stands out for its sophisticated architecture and design, stylish interiors and award-winning dining venues. Located at the heart of new Dubai, the hotel offers a wide range of amenities that appeal to both business and leisure travellers. Our focus is to ensure that Address Dubai Marina continues to offer superlative guest experiences and be a destination of choice for residents and tourists. We will continue to build on its strengths, while striving to enhance service quality and brand value.” Hailing from Greece, Tsolakou holds a master’s degree in hospitality management from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. She has a proven track-record in implementing innovative approaches to team development and improving competitive positioning of the hotels in the GCC market. www.hotelnewsme.com


April 2019

News

New Opening

New Indian Gastropub At Grand Millennium Hotel Barsha

Hitchki, meaning ‘hiccup’ in Hindi serves modern Indian cuisine with a twist. Already a favourite on the streets of Mumbai, this franchise is an ode to nostalgia with a menu that reads like a gastropub. Located in the heart of Dubai, the restaurant sets up shop in The Grand Millennium Hotel, Barsha Heights. Offering up a new spin on favourites, the dishes are a take on modern Indian dishes. Re-

gional and traditional flavours from across the country are brought together with a medley of alternative cuisines from around the world, including bountiful options for vegetarians and vegans too. Think charlie chapli kebab, crispy chicken kkurana, PP’s spinach risotto which features cottage cheese and crispy okra, and kewada lasoon biryani. Those with a sweet tooth can enjoy the signature baratiyon

ka swagat, a chocolate filled fondant with paan pasand jelly and perfectly pink candy floss. The banofee bomb is comprised of a caramelised banana, pecan nuts, banana cake, and chocolate topped with salted caramel. For those looking to spice things up bhat saab ki chai mixes, kahula, and masala chai with a swirl of candy floss on the top while the genda phool marigold is gin-based sweet-

sour mix. Guests can also bring back childhood memories with a round of tipsy colas. “It’s a very chic Indian concept for the global audience, adapted to the Middle Eastern palette,” explains Arjun Raj Kher, brand head, Hitchki. “Its casual and energetic ambiance along with nostalgic food and drink elements make the perfect space for themed evenings. A signature will be the Bollywood nights.” Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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April 2019

News

Appointments

Rotana Appoints New Corporate VP For Food & Beverage Operations As part of its ongoing regional and global expansion, Rotana has announced the appointment of Jarrett Beaulieu as corporate vice president – food and beverage operations. Jarrett Beaulieu will be responsible for the development of new concepts of outlets to reinforce the company’s reputation in the F&B business. With his extensive background and expertise in F&B strategy, development, and openings, Beaulieu will be at the helm of the organisation-wide efforts aimed at enhancing Rotana’s restaurants portfolio in the region. The industry veteran will be responsible for the development of new concepts of outlets that deliver on the company’s promise of ‘Treasured

Time’ and offer endless culinary adventures to its guests, in addition to maintaining Rotana’s high standards in improving the quality of products and services. Guy Hutchinson, Acting CEO, Rotana, said: “Beaulieu’s appointment comes at a time when Rotana is pushing ahead with its

rapid expansion and development plans. It also represents a major step forward in our efforts focused on further enhancing guest experiences across our portfolio of hotels and resorts as well as our over 300 F&B venues – many of which have been conceptualised and created by Rotana itself. Beau-

lieu carries an extensive experience in culinary operations, deep understanding of the food and beverage business strategy and development, and strong leadership credentials, and we are excited to have him on board." A Canadian national, Beaulieu joins Rotana from Hilton Worldwide where he held, since 2010, various positions including senior corporate F&B roles. Most recently, he served as director of food and beverage development and openings EMEA, covering the regional pipeline portfolio and successfully opening 24 properties. With several awards to his credit, Beaulieu showcased his excellent culinary skills serving as executive chef at a number of leading hotel brands.

Suppliers

Newby Wins Big At The Global Tea Championship Newby is celebrating success after winning 14 new awards at the 2019 Global Tea Championship on March 5, confirming its title as the most awarded international tea brand with a total of 143 accolades to date. Winning 25% of the total awards at this year’s competition in Boulder, Colorado, USA, Newby has been recognised by the Global Tea Championship for its quality and taste across a variety of categories inlcuding a few line extensions that will be launching in 2019. The Global Tea Championship is an independent competition judged by reputed tea masters who evaluate the

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product on character, taste, and aftertaste and not for packaging or leaf apperance. Newby uses the highest standard of hygiene for its packaging, product selection, and conducive atmosphere for storing prior to packaging. This puts the company ahead of any other tea brand in the world. The sole benefactor of Newby teas income and growth is a British registered charity N. Sethia Foundation which is supporting concepts of preservation, medical research, academic education, autism, and disaster relief. Newby is the only tea company in the world whose profits are totally dedicated to the charity. www.hotelnewsme.com


April 2019

News

new Opening

MOCCAE & EAD Launch UAE National Framework For Sustainable Fisheries

In an effort to protect marine resources, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and the Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi (EAD) have unveiled the UAE National Framework for Sustainable Fisheries 2019-2030, building on the recently completed UAE Sustainable Fisheries Programme (2014-2018). Launched at the World Ocean Summit 2019 in Abu Dhabi, the strategic action plan, slated for execution by 2030, seeks to mitigate the effects of overfishing and establish an environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and socially responsible fishing sector in the UAE. The framework, the country’s first ever national recovery plan for fisheries, aims to achieve sustainable fisheries across UAE waters. Key actions recommended include the implementation of management measures that will reduce pressure on fish stocks from the commercial and recreational fishing sectors, the enhancement of fisheries through the development of robust aquaculture research and programmes to support fish stock improvement, and the rehabilitation of marine habitats through the installation of artificial reefs as protected areas. The framework’s 2030 timespan reflects the period fisheries will take to recover after adopting the appropriate measures. This benchmark is consistent with the global recovery rates of around 12 years. Speaking on the framework, HE Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, minister of climate change and environment, said:

“At present, we are facing a twofold challenge, first, we are working to sustain our fisheries and allow them to replenish. At the same time, we have the responsibility of meeting the growing market demand for fish. “The UAE National Framework for Sustainable Fisheries will help us strike a balance between the two priorities. This monumental step for our nation will enable us to preserve our long-standing fishing tradition for years to come. Together with EAD and key government authorities and in consultation with our fishing community, we are confident that this framework will guide us towards a sustainable future for the UAE’s fisheries sector.” The UAE National Framework for Sustainable Fisheries was developed in response to the results of the 2018 Fisheries Resources Assessment Survey (FRAS) and insights from over 300 members of the UAE fishing community. The findings revealed that the country’s fish stocks are severely depleted due to overcapacity of the commercial and recreational fishing sectors. Specifi-

cally, three demersal indicator species, hamour (orange-spotted grouper), shaari (spangled emperor), and farsh (painted sweetlips), have witnessed a significant decline to 10% of their adult (reproductive) stock size and are overexploited by up to five times the sustainable limit. This is well below the 30% target set by the framework, as well as the minimum threshold that international standards prescribe for sustainable fish stocks. Speaking on the occasion, HE Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, acting secretary general of EAD, said: “Today marks a watershed in the protection and preservation of our marine environment and resources. Building on the vital insights we have gained from the UAE Sustainable Fisheries Programme, the UAE National Framework for Sustainable Fisheries will pave the way for collective and targeted action to conserve an ecosystem that has been and will remain an essential pillar of the past, present and future development of our nation. “The World Ocean Summit provides an ideal platform to reaffirm our commitment to

promoting sustainable and responsible practices among the fishing community. Together with its partners, EAD will continue to advance the national agenda to achieve environmental and economic sustainability across the country.” In line with global trends, the UAE fisheries sector is under pressure due to factors such as the rising demand for fish triggered by a rapidly growing population, as well as the loss and degradation of key habitats and marine water quality due to coastal development, cumulative desalination activities, pollution and climate change. Three separate climate change studies by EAD and the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) have predicted a 26% decline in fish catch by 2090. Illegal fishing, use of banned fishing gear, catching of prohibited species, violation of size limits, as well as unreported significant catch through recreational fishing are all adversely impacting the country’s fish stocks. Following the wrap-up of the UAE Sustainable Fisheries Programme, resulting in a better understanding of the challenges that need to be overcome, the UAE National Framework for Sustainable Fisheries sets out the 2030 vision and the actions required to achieve it. Implementation has already commenced with EAD engaging with the spearfishing subsector to discuss daily intake and boat limits based on species stock status, with further plans to involve the wider recreational and commercial fishing community. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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April 2019

News

Appointments

Emaar Appoints Mark Kirby As Area General Manager Emaar Hospitality Group has appointed hospitality veteran Mark Kirby as the area general manager of four premium luxury hotels under Address Hotels + Resorts. Bringing more than two decades of regional and international experience, Kirby will drive all aspects of the hotel operations of Address Downtown and will oversee Palace Downtown as well as the soon to open Address Fountain Views and Address Sky View. He is mandated with strengthening the iconic flagship hotel, Address Downtown’s brand distinctiveness and directing operations, marketing, sales and administrative functions of the hotels. Kirby was the general manager of Armani Hotel Dubai for the past four years and was responsible for directing the commercial strategy and the all-round operations of the hotel, ensuring that it sustains and builds on its reputation as one of the world’s most admired properties. Olivier Harnisch, CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group, said: “Mark Kirby brings homegrown hospitality expertise and strong insights on the market trends that will add value to the four Address hotels. His passion and extensive knowledge will be invaluable in setting new standards for excellence, innovation, and extraordinary guest service at the hotels.” Mark Kirby said: “A premium luxury brand, Address Hotels + Resorts has brought a fresh identity to the global hospital-

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ity and service. Our focus will be to continue underlining the positioning of the existing and upcoming hotels under Address Hotels + Resorts, as ‘Where life happens’ by offering engaging and personalised guest experiences. Whether for business or leisure, we are committed to delivering gracious hospitality and exceptional

service standards in a premium lifestyle environment.” A highly motivated and experienced professional, with a bachelor’s in hospitality management from the University of Central England in Birmingham, Kirby has demonstrated dynamic leadership, while focusing on ensuring strong levels of productivity

and resource use efficiency. Under his leadership, Armani Hotel Dubai clinched several global recognitions, from outstanding design and architecture to exceptional dining and lifestyle facilities in the region. He is actively involved in charity work and fundraising through sports including marathon running. www.hotelnewsme.com


April 2019

Cover Story

The

Way

It’s a year of rapid change for JA Resorts & Hotels, one of Dubai’s longest-serving homegrown hospitality brands. Fresh blood in the leadership team is catapulting the company into the future with a new vision and mission, a reinvigoration of the brand, new properties, and renovations. Mahak Mannan catches up with Anthony Ross, CEO of the hospitality company on their expansion plans.

J

A Resorts & Hotels was born in 1981, taking its name from the original Jebel Ali (JA) Beach hotel and the portfolio now features eight distinct properties across the UAE and Indian Ocean. This number is expected to significantly go up in the coming years as the company looks to expand its portfolio within countries in Africa and South Asia, according to the CEO. “From our inception, we have grown to two hotels in the Indian ocean and JBR, the intent going forward is to expand around the Indian Ocean, and by that I mean the wider Indian Ocean spanning from the East coast of Africa through to Asia,” Ross says. “Our secondary focus is in a couple of key cities within Europe, and a rather large country in Asia. We are very excited

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about what is in the pipeline for JA. We are looking at a couple of management opportunities and joint ventures. Acquisitions along the Indian Ocean is on the cards as well.” The company has made a number of senior leadership appointments in the past few months to drive its expansion plans. Ross’ new additions to the team include Dany Karam, former general manager at BBDO, to lead the brand and communications division. Karam’s aim is to bring the brand firmly into the future, focus on creativity and transform the brand marketing division into in an in-house agency team while Thomas Grundner, vice president of sales & marketing, is already known regionally for driving change, having spent time transforming the sales & marketing

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April 2019

Cover Story

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Cover Story

function for Jumeirah, Meydan, and Millennium before joining JA Resorts & Hotels. Even the human resources function is turning on its head, with vice president of human resources Robert Mikaelian creating a new programme called the JA Way, whereby associates are told to ditch their name tags and embrace their individuality. The addition of vice president of food & beverage, Rob Cunningham, an Australian national with extensive experience will aim to bring a fresh focus on F&B concepts, which are set to include several collaborations with chefs of Michelin star acclaim. “We work in an independent way where we manage our hospitality business, so we have opportunities for acquisitions come to us which are passed to our parent 26

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company. As such we are looking to grow our management business too, and whether we manage the assets of Dutco, or other companies, we have the capability here at JA with the talented professionals we have on board to enable us to expand,” the CEO adds. The company’s expansion plans are not confined to the Middle East region, according to Ross. “We are looking at Kenya, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Uganda, Mauritius, and of course the UAE and Oman. We have not had a proactive approach to Saudi Arabia yet, but are looking into it,” he says. “The world has become flatter, wherein the big brands have become so big that if you are the owner of a property you will be serviced by the deputy assistant regional VP, who will also be on a career

path and might be transferred. This means every six months there would be a new person to build the relationship with and going up the organisation to have decisions made can be a task. With brands like ours, you deal with me, the CEO and senior management team directly. “With the technology on hand today, we have access to some strong distribution channels and have also joined a consortium of hotels called GHA, which pulls the database of small to medium size hotel companies together for loyalty programs, which is very important to compete with the mega brands.” For its expansion plans, JA is not confining itself to a specific market segment, explains Ross. “We are looking at a number of different market segments, we already have a few upscale resorts in the Maldives and will www.hotelnewsme.com


April 2019

Cover Story

new beds, and furniture in a fresh colour scheme of soft greys, neutrals, and relaxing royal blue, and all food and beverage outlets will be refurbished with new concepts. Additionally, the CoolZone Kid’s Club will be relocated and doubled in size, offering a 450 msq area, divided into different zones for children aged 4-12 years. Adjacent to the new kids’ club facility, there will also be a new wet recreation area with an interactive Splash Pad. The four-month renovation process will take place from May to August 2019 and the hotel will reopen on 1 September 2019.

potentially have more hotels in the same bracket. We are in discussion to create a luxury spin-off too. JA is an upper upscale brand and if we have a couple of luxury hotels together, we may create a spin off. Upper midscale is an area that we are exploring too.” In terms of F&B, JA will be opening 12 new restaurants within Dubai, this year. “We want to penetrate the local community and add value in our F&B outlets to make sure that we are a known entity in Dubai,” Ross says. One of the things that JA will be looking into for its new F&B concepts is pricing, which includes a new New York Pizza place in Ja Ocean View Hotel. “We want to create a neighbourhood place where we don't go out with thoughtless hotel prices and keep the venue’s empty, we want it to be a place

where guests would dine at least two to three times a week, and come back for the environment, quality, and pricing,” he says. JA plans to manage all its new F&B venues themselves instead of outsourcing them, however they are working with a number of endorsing brands and chefs to create menu’s, source chefs, and build on their value. Apart from expansion and the addition of news F&B Concepts, JA will also be looking at renovating its Beach Hotel property. As the 1,000,000 sqm JA The Resort in Jebel Ali prepares to add a third hotel to the area, JA Beach Hotel will undergo an extensive makeover which includes an enhanced facade with new, all-glass balconies for the rooms and suites, the bedrooms will be given a new look for 2019, with modern wood tile flooring,

THE MARKET Commenting on the current hospitality market within the region, Ross says: “We were able to improve our market position in 2018 as compared to 2017 and continue to do so this year. JA is focusing on what sets us apart from the competition, creating a niche for our self with all the different experiences that we offer. We are one of the largest resorts in the country that offers golf, shooting, a beach, and so much more at one location.” “The industry is heading in a good direction. The supply and demand cycle, and the challenges it comes with, forces you to look at the products you are offering, value propositions, and aspects that will set you apart from competition. We are not complaining about the market situation, it is what it is. “Many years back, Australia went through a boom and bust, that is when people got creative about the way they build their business. Dubai is reaching that level now, if you are innovative and provide good value for money, you can be successful,” he says. “The average rates have come down, so we have to look at the cost structure. How can I drive more occupancy? Where can I generate more revenue from?” “The question that everybody should be asking in the current market is, How can I be better? That is when you know that you are heading towards the conception of a mature market.” Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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April 2019

Awards 2019

9 1 0 2 s d r Awa A night to remember The Leaders in Hospitality Awards, BNC Publishing’s annual award ceremony for the hospitality industry is back for its fifth year running and promises to be a night to remember with a total of 26 categories to be awarded on the night. This year’s winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony at Fairmont, The Palm on 23 April 2019.

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April 2019

Awards 2019

Meet The Judges Comprising some of the region’s key experts, Hotel & Catering News ME has rounded up the most knowledgeable names in the industry to make up the judging panel. The individuals have extensive knowledge of the key trends, opportunities, and challenges associated with the business and a wealth of experience spanning operations, investment, development, education, marketing, and consumer trends.

Katharine Le Quesne Managing director, HoCoSo

Le Quesne leads the operations at Hocoso, a company that work with clients to create the next generation of unique hospitality experiences through developing new concepts, products, optimising assets and portfolios, and spreading knowledge in the hospitality sector. Le Quesne has spent 25 years as a hotel advisor, working with owners, operators, and governments in emerging and developed markets all over the world. She has a particular specialisation in luxury, boutique, and resort products. She is also head of resorts at Glion Institute of Higher Education and a regular speaker at industry conferences.

Sidharth Mehta

Partner and head of building, construction, and real estate, KPMG Lower Gulf Limited Mehta joined KPMG UAE in 1999 and is currently an audit partner within KPMG’s infrastructure, government, and healthcare department. Over the years, he has gained significant experience in leading the audits of the real estate, construction, and engineering industry and is currently responsible for managing audits of several large local business groups and multinationals. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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April 2019

Awards 2019

Meet The Judges Jennifer Houchaime

Talal Yousif Director, HVS

Senior hospitality consultant, Roya International

After graduating from The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management and Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Houchaime began her career in a mass media conglomerate, where she gained experience in project management and thereafter proceeded to receive a Masters of Sciences from Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Lille. During her post-graduate university work, Houchaime developed strong skills in report and proposal scripting as well as translation. After graduation, she returned to Dubai and hospitality consulting. Experienced in market research backed with an in-depth, strong knowledge of the MENA hospitality market and its fastmoving trends, Houchaime is a skilled specialist in hospitality advisory and research consulting.

Martin Kubler CEO, SPS Affinity

Kubler is a hotel general manager turned hospitality and service industries consultant with over 20 years of executive-level management experience in five-star hotels in Europe and the Middle East. In May 2011, Martin founded Iconsulthotels, a boutique hospitality, leisure, and tourism consulting firm based in Dubai which quickly gathered local and regional acclaim. In 2016 Iconsulthotels acquired SPS – Strategic Partnership Solutions and rebranded as sps:hotels, part of sps:affinity. Martin holds an MBA in International Hospitality and Service Industries Management, Marketing, and Innovation, from Glion Institute of Higher Education.

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Yousif is the director at HVS Dubai where he delivers on its consultancy services and heads up its business development activities through developers, owners, operators, investment institutions, and government entities. Over the last 15 years, Yousif has built extensive hotel operations management experience with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts across in the US, Europe, and the Middle East, consulting experience with HVS London and Dubai, and hotel development with MĂśvenpick Hotels & Resorts in charge of its growth strategy across the Middle East region. Yousif has worked on various kinds of assets conducting valuations and feasibility studies, as well as operational assessments and return on investment analyses in the Middle East and North Africa. He is actively involved in largescale mixed-use development projects in Saudi Arabia.

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April 2019

Awards 2019

Meet the Sponsors Presented by

Du

Hany Aly, executive vice president, Enterprise Business, du talks to us about sponsoring the Leaders in Hospitality Awards

Tell us about du’s vision for the industry. Du continues to take the responsibility to support and empower businesses in the UAE throughout their journey of digital transformation as their partner for growth. The scope of our work continues to expand, which is why we offer a wide range of products starting from basic fixed and mobile connectivity all the way to advanced, bespoke ICT and managed services solutions. Why did you choose to partner with BNC Publishing for the Leaders in Hospitality Awards? As part of its continued efforts to build strong bonds with enterprises in the UAE, du has partnered with BNC Publishing to host a series of events aimed at supporting enterprises throughout the course of 2019. We have partnered with BNC on many events in the past and BNC has delivered the best in market events and publications addressing du’s priority verticals. This proud partnership has been in place for three years and produced very positive outcomes for both parties.

Looking ahead, du will sponsor a series of 14 BNC events, including conferences, competitions, forums, and award ceremonies spanning multiple industries. What are du's plans for the upcoming months within this sector? du is committed to ensuring businesses of all sizes thrive and prosper. From start-ups to established entities that make up the large proportion of the UAE’s commerce activities, du plans to continue delivering the best-in-class solutions to reflect the dynamic needs of enterprise customers. The organisation realises the potential in the economy of the UAE and therefore is dedicated to providing innovative products, services, flexibility, and value to its enterprise customers across sectors to support digital transformation. At the core of our offerings, du will continue to be a key enabler of transformation to empower businesses to achieve growth and continuity in order to progress the UAE’s economic future.

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Nestlé

Ali Mansour, beverage business manager, Nestle, on partnering with BNC Publishing

Tell us about Nestle’s vision for the industry. Nestlé Professional is committed to providing the finest ingredients, operational knowledge, and uncompromised support to the foodservice industry. We’re in the business of helping your business succeed. Our goal is to help our customers grow their businesses with our creative, branded beverage, and culinary solutions. Our expertise comprises of combining global thinking and local understanding with our dedicated, state-of-the art, culinary and beverage centres around the world. Why did you choose to sponsors the Leaders in Hospitality Awards? Nestlé Professional aims to build strong relationships with the hospitality industry, to create a partnership where we can help your business succeed.

Why should the hospitality industry pay attention to your business? We are committed to ensuring that we provide the best solutions based on the customer’s needs. Nestle Professional is celebrating the launch of whole beans coffee solution, where for the first time in 80 years, with all our expertise in the coffee industry and our knowledge of harvesting coffee beans, Nescafe is entering the whole roasted coffee beans market. The new combi machine brings you the aroma and flavour of fresh roasted beans with the simplicity and user friendliness of coffee at the press of a button. We aim to provide hotels and restaurateurs on-trend and sustainable solutions that let them delight their consumers in an operationally simple and profitable way.

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Awards 2019

Meet the Sponsors Gold Sponsor

HORECA Trade Tell us about HORECA Trade. HORECA Trade, a part of JSE-listed Bidfood Group, is a food distributor and beverage supplier in the UAE. It is present in all seven Emirates and offers premium quality products to the UAE market through an extensive brand portfolio of 25 accounts pertaining to bakery, dairy products, seafood, meat, and beverage industries. HORECA Trade has been aggressively expanding its product offerings through exclusive partnerships and distribution deals with a number of locally and internationally recognised brands. Why did you choose to sponsor the Leaders in Hospitality Awards? We partnered with this event because the Leaders in Hospitality

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Jad Asaad, marketing manager, HORECA Trade on sponsoring the Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2019

Awards celebrate innovation and we, at HORECA Trade, are all about innovation in an ever-changing market. This will be an opportunity for us to expand our network and build relationships with some of the industry’s greatest minds. Above all, it’s a chance for us to highlight the amazing products that our company has to offer. Why should the hospitality industry pay attention to your business? Companies like ours are the unsung heroes of this industry. Behind every unforgettable dining experience is a team like HORECA Trade, who undergo hours of brand and industry research and development to provide clients with exceptional products and services.

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23 APRIL 2019 FAIRMONT THE PALM, DUBAI

WE INVITE YOU TO ATTEND THE GM LEADERS CONFERENCE FOR AN INSIGHTFUL MORNING ON THE FUTURE OF THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY. THE EVENT IS FREE TO ATTEND FOR PROFESSIONALS IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY. FOR PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES, PLEASE CONTACT: SAMER ALLOUSH GROUP COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR MOBILE: +971 55 776 4670 LANDLINE: +971 4 4200506 SAMER@BNCPUBLISHING.NET

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April 2019

Roundtable

A Positive Outlook

Hotel & Catering News ME brought together a group of the leading general managers within the hospitality industry last month, to discuss the trends, opportunities, and challenges in the sector, and we round up their outlook for the industry.

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he GM Leaders Conference has become one of the most eagerly awaited dates on the hospitality calendar in the region, and with the help of our esteemed panel, we have put together the agenda for this year’s conference. Read what the general managers have to say about the current hospitality market below, followed by the topics that will be discussed this year. 34

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Slim Zaiane, general manager, Kempinski Hotel MOE: Dubai is currently running at 75% occupancy and if we take the overall ADR of the city, all hotels combined, I believe that the city is doing well for a mature market. In the luxury segment, occupancy is close to 75% with a rate of around $300, these are KPI’s for markets like Paris, London, and New York. The biggest challenge the industry is facing

right now is getting everyone involved with this new way of Dubai. Pace of growth is a challenge too, with the extra supply bringing in new pressure. James Berry, general manager, Radisson Blu Hotel Media City: The region is not an emerging market anymore, it is an emerged market. The growth in tourism looks positive, however the growth in www.hotelnewsme.com


April 2019

Roundtable

wanted a 5-star hotel, now the demand for mid-market hotels is growing and we need to see more of those in the leisure segment too.

supply is a challenge and that changes the dynamics of the business. There are other challenges around loyalty and how to retain customers too and of course discounts within F&B is a growing concern as well. Sharihan Al Mashary, general manager, Manzil Downtown: Looking within the supply and demand, the supply metrics have changed a little bit in recent times. The younger generation is moving towards the midscale market and that brings in a positive flow in the industry. Luxury brands will not lose its markets, however the demand will diversify. Another thing the industry needs to look into is sustainability, an aspect that directly corelates to your relevance. And if you are relevant, you are a trend setter. Patrick Moukarzel, general manager, Al Bait Sharjah: We run in Sharjah, so for us the market is very positive. Demand is Sharjah is increasing, especially within the luxury segment. We set the ADR, as compared to Dubai where properties have to constantly compete on ADR’s. If we look at the region as a whole, there are a lot of activities and initiatives coming up that will draw in tourism, so as long as that is happening, the market will not deteriorate.

are looking at different areas during different times of the year based on activities. Hence the business is coming in but there is an oversupply, which is diluting the ADR. Hotels in Dubai specifically are not just competing within the city but also with the rest of the world. All we can do is make the best out of the demand that is coming in. Patrick Antaki, cluster general manager, Le Meridien Al Maha and Al Aqah: Currently, we are in a year of learning, the hospitality industry has developed very well and the next few years will test us hoteliers. The business will keep coming into this part of the world as long as we continue to build and the oversupply will bring its own business too. We do see a shift in demand, wherein a few years back everyone

Nayla Chowdhury, general manager, Hampton By Hilton Dubai: Dubai is a well performing market, if you compare it with other parts of the world, however it is still evolving and with that comes the growth of mid-market hotels. Luxury hotels have been the focus in this area, but now there are travellers from different parts of the world that want to experience a great product within their budget. Hotels in the region should now be strategic in their approach and see how they can be more dynamic, agile, and efficient. Vipin Khattar, general manager, Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights: Hospitality in Dubai is quiet a journey, and it will not reach a destination because it will keep evolving. The industry has been facing challenges over the past years and every single time, we have overcome it. What we need to look at right now, is within the macro level, when opening a property. Proper investment and research needs to be done at the regional level in order to set the right targets and bring out better performance. Another thing that we can look into is learning from other markets that have faced the same challenges that we are currently facing, knowing about their learning curve can equip us better to face the market.

Jean Francois, general manager, Anantara The Palm: There are a lot of things happening within the region, and people Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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April 2019

GM Leaders Forum

Let’s Talk About The future

BNC Publishing and Hotel & Catering News ME have opened registrations for the fifth annual GM Leaders Conference 2019. This year’s event will take place on Tuesday, 23 April at Fairmont, The Palm and is free to attend for professionals within the hospitality industry in the Middle East region. The GM Leaders Conference 2019 is expected to welcome over 200 attendees to discuss topics such as the increased competition from home-stay services, the rise of technology in the industry, and how to be prepared for the challenges that the hospitality market is expected to face. The full agenda has been revealed here.

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April 2019

GM Leaders Forum

Panel 1: The changing Panel 2: Mastering the phase of hospitality technology landscape Although the hospitality industry is still dominated by hotels, home-stay services are changing the landscape drastically. While the success of these individual companies, in the Middle East, still has a long way to go to match up to its global success, what is its impact on the hotel industry?

Ensuring you are up-to-date with technological advancements in today’s market is an integral aspect of the business, from mobile check-in and OTT in-room services to integrating blockchain and AI within your hotel, how can hotels make the most of technology?

Points of discussion: • What is the scope for expansion of such services in the Middle East and how can the hotel industry gear up to compete with them? • Is there opportunity to join hands and benefit through each other’s success? • What should hotel operators change in their business model/hotel rooms and services in order to attract customers who would prefer a home-stay apartment? • What do tourists coming to the UAE want, is there a shift in trend? • How does pricing differ between the two?

Points of discussion: • What are the pros and cons of mobile check-in, is it essential for all guests? • With the increasing number of millennial travellers being extremely tech-savvy, what aspects of hotel and in-room services can hotels integrate in order to win their business? • How important is human interaction in hospitality, and does it trump technological convenience? • Advancement in technology can also mean increased selfservice, is the Middle Eastern guest ready for that? • Can Chatbots and AI ease the workload on staff? • We also want to hear from hotels that have integrated blockchain within their supply chain, to find out the benefits of the technology.

Panel 3: Growing pains in the Middle East hospitality market There is a debate whether the regional market has ‘matured’ or in the ‘maturing’ phase, as compared to some of the hospitality hubs across the globe. This panel will delve into a number of discussions that impact the hospitality industry in the Middle East from the effect of big events like the Expo2020 and 2022 FIFA World Cup and developing infrastructure to the ADR war between 5-star and mid-market hotels. Points of discussion: • Several international events that bring in big numbers are slotted in over the next few years within the region, how do hotels prepare for the influx of visitors and what should the

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industry know about what comes next? • The falling ADR’s are a global issue, how can the industry collectively resolve this problem and is a correction in the works? • With the increase in lifestyle brands entering the market targeting millennials, what is the balance between 5-star and mid-market brands, where is the demand coming from and how does competition cope? • Does outsourcing F&B outlets benefit the hotel and ease the pressure on revenue? • Is the region ready, with respect to infrastructure, for an increased number of visitors?

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April 2019

GM Leaders Forum

Meet the Sponsors Presented by

Du

Hany Aly, executive vice president, Enterprise Business, du talks to us about sponsoring the Leaders in Hospitality Awards

Tell us about du’s vision for the industry. Du continues to take the responsibility to support and empower businesses in the UAE throughout their journey of digital transformation as their partner for growth. The scope of our work continues to expand, which is why we offer a wide range of products starting from basic fixed and mobile connectivity all the way to advanced, bespoke ICT and managed services solutions. Why did you choose to partner with BNC Publishing for the GM Leaders Conference? As part of its continued efforts to build strong bonds with enterprises in the UAE, du has partnered with BNC Publishing to host a series of events aimed at supporting enterprises throughout the course of 2019. We have partnered with BNC on many events in the past and BNC has delivered the best in market events and publications addressing du’s priority verticals. This proud partnership has been in place for three years and produced very positive outcomes for both parties.

Looking ahead, du will sponsor a series of 14 BNC events, including conferences, competitions, forums, and award ceremonies spanning multiple industries. What are du's plans for the upcoming months within this sector? du is committed to ensuring businesses of all sizes thrive and prosper. From start-ups to established entities that make up the large proportion of the UAE’s commerce activities, du plans to continue delivering the best-in-class solutions to reflect the dynamic needs of enterprise customers. The organisation realises the potential in the economy of the UAE and therefore is dedicated to providing innovative products, services, flexibility, and value to its enterprise customers across sectors to support digital transformation. At the core of our offerings, du will continue to be a key enabler of transformation to empower businesses to achieve growth and continuity in order to progress the UAE’s economic future.

Gold Sponsor

Nestlé

Ali Mansour, beverage business manager, Nestle, on partnering with BNC Publishing

Tell us about Nestle’s vision for the industry. Nestlé Professional is committed to providing the finest ingredients, operational knowledge, and uncompromised support to the foodservice industry. We’re in the business of helping your business succeed. Our goal is to help our customers grow their businesses with our creative, branded beverage, and culinary solutions. Our expertise comprises of combining global thinking and local understanding with our dedicated, state-of-the art, culinary and beverage centres around the world. Why did you choose to partner with BNC Publishing for the GM Leaders Conference? Through the GM Leaders Conference, Nestlé Professional aims to build strong relationships with general managers and the leading faces within the hospitality industry, to create a partnership where we can help your business succeed. 38

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

Why should the hospitality industry pay attention to your business? We are committed to ensuring that we provide the best solutions based on the customer’s needs. Nestle Professional is celebrating the launch of whole beans coffee solution, where for the first time in 80 years, with all our expertise in the coffee industry and our knowledge of harvesting coffee beans, Nescafe is entering the whole roasted coffee beans market. The new combi machine brings you the aroma and flavour of fresh roasted beans with the simplicity and user friendliness of coffee at the press of a button. We aim to provide hotels and restaurateurs on-trend and sustainable solutions that let them delight their consumers in an operationally simple and profitable way.

www.hotelnewsme.com


April 2019

Opinion

I chat. You Chat. WeChat

A monthly column by Martin Kubler, CEO, chief cook, and bottle washer of sps:affinity Strategic Partnership Solutions. Social media these days adds to my general grumpiness. Facebook privacy scandals, that guy on Twitter (if you know, you know), Instagram outages and the declining organic reach – it’s enough to drive even the happiest marketer to despair a little. There’s one social media platform, though, that still excites me, probably, because I don’t use it and cannot understand anything that’s posted on it, WeChat. In China, WeChat is the virtual operating system for more than a billion people. Forget Facebook, Instagram, What’s App, and essentially any other social platform you might be on. WeChat lets you message your friends, order food, read the news, pay for snacks at WeChat enabled vending machines, book and pay for taxis, transfer money to your bank account or other WeChat users, make medical appointments, handle conference calls, and interact with government entities, and that’s just a fraction of what the app lets you do. It also contains ten million thirdparty apps called WeChat mini-programs. Really, WeChat seems to do just about everything, but make coffee. 重点是什么? – that translates to “What’s the point?” in Chinese. The point is that WeChat isn’t only confined to China anymore. Chinese travellers started exploring the world, including many Middle Eastern countries, and Chinese companies are setting up overseas at a rapid pace bringing with them Chinese expats all connected via WeChat. It isn’t even just mainland Chinese, but also Chinese speakers from countries like Malaysia or Singapore. In short, it’s a big

audience and research shows that WeChat users spend on average over 70 minutes on the app every day. If you’re running a business and want your company’s messages and offers to reach Chinese expats in the region you’re operating in or if you want to be part of Chinese travellers’ decision-making set you cannot afford to overlook WeChat. There are different types of accounts on WeChat. Personal accounts are used by individuals, while businesses can create WeChat official accounts to stay in contact with their customers and post promotional information. A WeChat official account allows you to generate content for promotional purposes, talk to your followers, and even offers you CRM functionality. WeChat’s owner, Tencent, previously did not allow advertising and focused primarily on growing the platform’s user base. A while ago, however, WeChat Advertising launched and you can now advertise on WeChat with banner ads, KOL advertisements, and Moments ads. Banner

ads probably don’t need an explanation, but you might not be familiar with the other two advertising options. A Moments ad allows you to advertise within WeChat’s Moments section, which can be compared to Facebook’s news feed. Moments ads are the most effective, but also the most expensive form of advertisement of WeChat, prices for Moments ads put them out of reach for most smaller companies or brands. KOL ads or activations are cheaper (starting from approximately AED2,700) and more engaging. Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) are other WeChat accounts, which are influential in their specific niches and which are willing to talk about your brand or company in exchange for money or other perks. If you think advertising on WeChat isn’t for you, take a look at the platform’s other features, many of which are very helpful for hospitality businesses and WeChat users alike. QR codes might be dying in the Western world, but they are still widely used in China. Mobile users often scan for promotion, passwords or to follow a brand. Unlike other social media platforms, creating a business presence on WeChat isn’t free. There’s a one-off registration fee of approximately AED 300 and a yearly account usage fee of around AED 1,500 - if you want to reach Chinese audiences, that’s a price worth paying. Undoubtedly the biggest challenge when it comes to marketing your business on WeChat is, of course, the language barrier. In short, you need a native Chinese speaker. Do not accept substitutes or use Google Translate, because both will likely cause severe tragedies. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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April 2019

Special Feature

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April 2019

Special Feature

Women are taking over the world, whether it be in the creative space or in entrepreneurship, and the hospitality industry is no stranger to this shift. Over the years we have seen a rise in the number of women taking over leadership roles within the hospitality industry, an area which was dominated by their male counterparts not many years ago. This month, Mahak Mannan speaks to a few of the leading women in the industry to hear first-hand on how they are breaking boundaries.

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mpowering women largely relies on the support extended by the economic planners of the nation. The UAE has made significant progress in its mission to empower women in the workforce wherein the current rulers have set an invaluable standard in the region by extending their support to women to take the initiative to harness their potential and achieve success in their professional journey. In this feature, we speak to Shireeni Samarasinha, director of revenue management, Linda Mwaffak, director of sales, Bharati Kejriwal, director of human resources, and Saskia Evraert, complex

executive assistant manager, rooms, the leading faces of Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre along with Dorsai Khaghani, director of sales and marketing and Jennicor Grava, director of housekeeping, both from Sofitel The Palm, on the changing phase of women in hospitality.

management. The more I learned, the more I found myself loving this area of work. Every day is unique with challenges, hotel revenue management was very much in its infancy stage when I started in it and I was blessed with superiors who supported me and gave me opportunities to grow and develop.

Tell us a little bit about your current role and your journey so far in the hospitality industry. Samarasinha: After graduating, I got the opportunity to move to Dubai and started my journey in the hospitality industry over 20 years ago. I worked in various roles, but my passion led me to revenue

Khaghani: I have been working in the hospitality industry for over 10 years, having joined Sofitel, The Palm as part of the pre-opening team in 2013. Our general manager and owning company have really encouraged me to grow within the company. I was brought on as the director of sales, leisure, and am currently Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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April 2019

Special Feature

Dorsai Khaghani, director of sales and marketing, Sofitel The Palm

Le Meridien Dubai as director of rooms in 2017. In 2018, I was promoted to executive assistant manager for the hotel, second in command after the general manager. What are the biggest challenges of being a woman in your role, if any. Samarasinha: I was in a senior role when board rooms were dominated by males and I believe if you have what it takes to get to the top, gender has no relevance. A person’s passion, commitment, and knowledge are the key ingredients for success.

leading the sales and marketing team. I’m an advocate of women empowerment, in fact, our team of 21 individuals is made up of 13 ladies. Mwaffak: I have been working in the hospitality industry for 16 years, having started with Marriott Beirut. I have held positions with reputable chains such as the Ritz Carlton, Conrad, Kempinski, and Four Seasons, and joined the team at Le Meridien Dubai as head of catering sales in November 2017, following which I was promoted to director of sales for the hotel complex in February this year. Grava: With over 14 years of experience in the hotel industry, I hold the position of director of housekeeping at Sofitel The Palm, since 2014. After majoring in Hotel and Restaurant Management, I worked as a room attendant, to later on become an executive secretary to the CEO. Years after, I worked in many international chains in Dubai, perfecting my skills set and growing my wealth of knowledge in the industry before joining Sofitel The Palm as executive housekeeper. 42

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Kejriwal: I started out as a housekeeping supervisor, moved up to executive housekeeper and then joined Xerox, India as a customer satisfaction manager. Soon after, I moved to Bahrain and taught hospitality courses at the Bahrain Institute of Hospitality and Retail. I later joined The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain as training manager in 2007 and grew with the company to director of human resources. Le Meridien Dubai is the fourth hotel I have held that position in. Evraert: After school, I enrolled in an apprenticeship program as a hotel specialist in Frankfurt, Germany which lasted for a total of three years. After completing it I specialised in the front of house department and worked my way up in different positions of front of house at Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel following which I got the chance to move to Dubai at Sheraton Creek and was a part of the executive committee. I have been a member of the Marriott family for the past 17 years and after fulfilling the role of head of front of house at Sheraton Creek, I got the opportunity to move to

Khaghani: I’m happy to be working for a company that values women and runs a successful programme, RiiSE, our empowerment, diversity and inclusion platform for AccorHotels. I often see leadership roles in many other companies taken by male professionals, based on the fact that they can dedicate more time to their role and are seen to be more effective leaders. Mwaffak: Challenges are everywhere, what is the fun if there are no challenges? How you deal with the challenges is what is important. I believe there is no such thing a woman can’t do in this industry. I love challenges. Grava: Housekeeping operation runs 24/7 and hence a lot of my time is dedicated towards my role and responsibilities in the resort. This makes it challenging to maintain a work-life balance and as a result I do not spend as much time with my son as I would have wished. Kejriwal: Marriott International is one of the best places to work at as a woman. The challenges we face are what anyone in our position as an executive committee member would face. Evraert: Honestly, there are no challenges which we, women, can’t overcome. However, if I have to name a challenge, it would be more of the stereotypical and cliché notions in the minds of male colleagues and staff, about women in www.hotelnewsme.com


April 2019

Special Feature

leadership roles. There are no challenges particular challenges, but the mindset of some male colleagues can at times pose as a hindrance. Thankfully, the leadership roles at Le Meridien Dubai are extremely well supported, and you only need to stand firm for what you believe to grow in the hospitality industry. How easy or difficult is it for women to grow in the hospitality industry? Samarasinha: The only struggle for a woman is maintaining a work-life balance, especially if one has a young family. Without a spouse or family support, the long hours as a hospitality professional can affect life outside work. I was very fortunate to have a spouse who supported my ambition and passion at work and was there to fill in for me as our son was growing up. My success is my family’s success. However, there is always a way to manage these challenges as you gain more experience.

hospitality, to grow their careers. Gender does not play a role in your growth. Evraert: There are some great opportunities for women. Having been in the industry for the past 17 years, I’ve witnessed ample opportunities for women to grow and move ahead towards leadership roles. I personally believe that it is as easy or difficult as you make it, opportunities are present, but it depends on you how you grab them and work towards advancing your career. Does a hotel or establishment need to ensure a certain percentage of women on the managerial or executive position? If yes, what is that percentage and why, if no, why? Samarasinha: Gender balance is important, but this should not be a defining factor. If you are the right person for the job then gender does not matter. Your passion, commitment, and attitude should be

the criteria for growth. Furthermore, companies should hire based on the individual’s credentials. Gender balance is always good but not at the cost of lowering standards or taking on a person with lesser credentials, this applies to either gender. Offering equal opportunity is more important. Khaghani: I personally believe there should be a fair balance of gender at any workplace. Women have a different approach or viewpoint to certain situations and will positively compliment a male-dominated team. The decision-making process becomes more dynamic and constructive enabling creative thinking in implementing initiatives across departments. Mwaffak: Regardless of nationality or sex, if you are the right fit and have the experience and qualification, you should be in the right position. Recruit the right fit for the right position, would be my motto.

Khaghani: To start off with, women must believe in themselves. We are the ones paving the path for the next generation in the hospitality industry. Secondly, the vision of the company, as well as the support of management to give women equal opportunities in leadership roles is key to making the integration easier. Mwaffak: Growth is performance driven for both male and female employees. I have had growth in my career and can confidently say that it was always based on merit, backed up by facts and figures. When you are a star performer no one can stop you. Grava: There are certainly some obstacles along the way, which I have experienced. These have never stopped me in my career because I firmly believe that if you’re determined and accept the challenges along the way, you will be stronger and will achieve the goals you have set for yourself. Kejriwal: Marriott International is a great company for anyone with a passion for

Jennicor Grava, director of housekeeping, Sofitel The Palm

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TOP THREE TIPS TO MAKE IT TO THE TOP Samarasinha: • Integrity • Commitment • Embracing change

Shireeni Samarasinha, director of revenue management, Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre

Grava: There should be a fair balance within managerial roles of both male and female professionals. Women are typically detail-oriented and possess several qualities that can add value to operations. Kejriwal: The percentage of women in leadership positions is growing and we have quite a few general managers and executive committee members who are women. I would personally like to see this percentage grow as I believe women bring a different perspective to any business, especially in the hospitality industry Evraert: Most of my professional experience has been with Marriott and I don’t believe there is a set rule to have a certain percentage of women in managerial roles. However, it is greatly supported across all properties and is among their focus areas. Your advice to women starting out in the hospitality sector. Samarasinha: We have equal opportunity, if you have the right qualifications, passion, and drive, go for it, don’t hold back or hesitate. Khaghani: You have to believe in yourself, know who you are, and what your personal and professional mission is in life. Once you set your goals in 44

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your mind, you will know that these are achievable and manageable. We each play different roles in our day to day lives, we are mothers, sisters, wives, professionals, and we accomplish all of it effortlessly. Likewise, we can also be in leadership roles and make it a success, because we are born to lead and inspire. Mwaffak: Hospitality is an industry where we serve people every second and that culture of service needs to come from within. Unless you are passionate about the industry this is not for you. A high sense of adaptable nature is required to meet the demands of the industry. Grava: I would advise women not to focus on the position or title but rather on familiarising oneself with your own strength, weaknesses, and qualities that set you apart. Identify what you are good at and what awakens your passion. When that passion is discovered, your talents will be recognised, and you will achieve the goals you have set for yourself. Kejriwal: Work smart and hard, write down your goals and where you want to go, build strong relationships and find a great mentor. Evraert: Be confident, stay true to yourself, be bold, and work fearlessly towards your goals.

Khaghani: • Be a master in what you do, improve your knowledge and stay up to date with industry trends. • Support other women and give them a chance. • Don’t use your personal challenges as a reason for why you cannot achieve the highest level in your career Mwaffak: • Determination • You’ll face a lot of challenges along the way, never give up. • If a place doesn’t know how worthy you are, be sure to find that other place that will realise it. Grava: • Set your personal and professional goals to achieve your vision within your career. • Always inspire people and they will inspire you in return. • Always stay grounded and remember where you started. Kejriwal: • Explore all aspects of the business. • Build strong relationships. • Invest in yourself. Evraert: • Have the right mindset. • Stay true to your beliefs. • Be consistent.

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April 2019

Opinion

When Technology Meets Hospitality Anil Goel, chief technology officer, OYO, tells us how technology is changing the hospitality industry.

The Middle East is changing and so is the possibility of integrating technology into traditional industries and sectors. Take for instance, food delivery apps and the pervasive change in the ordering and delivery experience brought about by food tech players and restaurants. Today, technology presents multiple opportunities for us to harness its potential towards not just solving demand generation but also opening up new customer channels. As we continue to make progress in artificial intelligence and machine learning especially in the customer experience management segment, the personalisation and responsiveness of tools and app features improves dramatically. Today, you can log on to a travel portal, search and book and you are all set to go on a vacation in a matter of minutes. The power of decision making with a click of a few buttons has empowered end customers to create their own personalised itinerary. For the indecisive, there are chatbots with the omniscient AI technology to further ease the decision making process. While enabling faster decision making for customers, technology can also help dramatically modify established industry processes and throw surprising results. Take for instance, the OYO OS (Operating System) that involves a full suite of technologies that can help identify, track developments and transform every OYO hotel. Features on the guest experience end include facilitating express check-in and check-out. However, the bigger benefits lie in ensuring online procurement and inventory management. The OYO OS 46

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further offers apps for housekeeping and regular room audits while introducing solutions for multiple hotel management aspects like expense management, staff training and engagement along with monitoring performance review and incentives for the hotel staff. The Darwinian evolutionary theory thus holds true for business practices as well, more so since technology has emerged as the single largest reason for change in the way we do things. While hospitality may not be the oldest industry in the world, humans since the early ages have been inquisitive about exploring new destinations and cultures. The hospitality industry therefore needs to embrace technology to adapt to the needs of the contemporary traveller. Implementing new age technologies allows us to deliver a highly personalised experience to customers while giving us insights into their preferences, travel patterns, expectations, among other parameters. We are further experimenting with speech recognition, natural language processing, deep learning and other AI techniques to improve the guest experience at our hotels. Our core strength therefore lies in the mix of technology and the wealth of expertise that we have amassed during this journey. Our understanding of the Middle Eastern market has led us to customise our tech offerings to better suit the region’s needs. As a rule of thumb, our strategy is focused towards utilising the power of technology not just to ensure superior guest experience but also empower the asset owners in the form of informed

and fact-based decisions when it comes to managing and operating any property. Currently, we provide multiple app-based solutions for customers, employees and asset partners. Utility of these solutions has led to faster growth and had a profound impact on the hospitality sector. For instance, OYO’s in-house Property Manager app acts as an end to end solution for managing all the daily functions of the building, visibility on bookings, sales channels, customer requests, housekeeping, finances and more. Co-OYO is another app that helps the asset owner get real-time information on the health of his hotel investment through visibility of cash flows, business performance, pricing, customer reviews and recommendations. There has been a 60% reduction in the number of owner-related queries since the introduction of the app, and concurrent savings in manpower and resources to service these concerns. Every OYO hotel located anywhere among the 500+ cities and 10 countries where we are currently present is benefitting from OYO OS. This helps save costs for our franchisees while driving efficiency. AI, CRM, POS, IoT, ML, cloud computing, voice and facial recognition, biometrics, robotics, VR and AR aren’t just buzzwords but present us with a unique opportunity to bring about a paradigm shift in our sector as well as enhancing guest experience. In the days to come, scalable and robust tech DNA will catapult the hospitality industry on to another growth trajectory, perhaps at the speed of thought. www.hotelnewsme.com


April 2019

Opinion

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April 2019

In profile

Tricon Foodservice Consultants Mike Coldicott, owner and managing director, Tricon Foodservice Consultants Ltd, tells us about their services in the Middle East.

Tell us about your company. Tricon Foodservice Consultants Ltd was set up 37 years ago to meet a growing demand for the provision of specialist management and design consultancy within the F&B and hospitality industry. At the time, it did not have sufficient support with regards to knowledge and expertise in the planning of kitchens, serveries, and general food and beverage design. The business grew over the years to support all sectors and areas of the food and beverage industry. As we grew as a business, the work became more varied with different projects and challenges within different sectors. In 2003 Tricon began work in the Middle East and by 2005 we had become quite successful as a business in marketing our services to clients here. Over the past 14 years the business in the Gulf region has grown in reputation and size and we now have 12 staff in Dubai supported by a further 35 staff in the UK office. Tricon have built a reputation in Dubai and the Middle East as one of, if not the only market leader in the provision of kitchen planning services, laundry and housekeeping design, and waste management consultancy. What services do you offer the hospitality industry? A principle part of our business is the management and design consultancy, providing strategic business planning advice, concept development, operational overview, and anything associated with the development and business case analysis of the food and beverage operations. This works in parallel with the planning and design side of the business, which is taking operational concepts from its preliminary stage to base build analysis, detailed design, tender documentation, and construction supervision across all sectors of the market. 48

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optimise the use of space. There is also a focus on kitchens that can adapt and develop to suit the market as it moves and evolves throughout the operator lifecycle. We’re seeing great emphasis placed on environmental design solutions that minimise or reduce utility usage using intelligent management systems.

What are some projects that you have worked on in the ME region? The projects that Tricon work on are wide ranging from hotels and restaurants, businesses and retail to sport and leisure. We’ve worked on numerous exciting projects including Olea restaurant at Kempinski, Mall of Emirates with its wonderful show kitchen, the Andaz Capital Gate Tower in Abu Dhabi, Grosvenor House’s acclaimed Ruya restaurant, and the Four Season’s Abu Dhabi where we worked with Turkish chef Nusret Gokce otherwise known as Salt Bae. What are the latest trends in the F&B kitchen consulting industry? We’re seeing clients and developers wanting to minimise kitchen space, which is understandable given the cost of real estate per sqft. We’re constantly devising creative solutions to maximise and

What are the latest trends in the hospitality industry and how is Tricon keeping up with those trends? In hotels it’s about designing the three meal restaurant in such a way that they can support the volume of breakfast service but also have a character and identity to support a lunchtime and evening service rather than just become a generic international all-day dining. We spend a great deal of focus on designing solutions that are scalable for the time of day to avoid that feel of being in a space where only half the counters are operational. Unsurprisingly there is also a great focus on technology being used to aid the chefs brigade and his team with equipment linked via data cabling to provide constant monitoring and feedback on how the equipment is performing. This will only increase in usage given that a well designed and specified kitchen can generate up to 30% savings in utility bills. What are your plans for the rest of 2019? We’re busy working on a number of international pavilion projects associated with Dubai Expo 2020 in preparation for its launch next year. We have ten 5-star hotel developments in progress that we’ve been working on including the new Mandarin Oriental Bahrain, the MGM and Bellagio Porto Island Dubai, and a food & beverage masterplan for a new development in Saudi Arabia. www.hotelnewsme.com


April 2019

Special Feature

A Non-dairy Affair

With the rise in healthy eating trends, last month IFFCO launched a range of new non-dairy products including whipping and cooking creams at ExpoCulinaire, Sharjah, where chefs from across the region got the chance to sample the product. Tasos Charitakis spoke to Hotel & Catering News ME about the benefit of non-dairy products and his expectations from the market.

Pristine Hulalà, is the latest product in IFFCO’s portfolio for the foodservice industry and is set to be a game changer for both kitchen and pastry chefs. With reduced food cost and increased output, Pristine Hulalà cooking and whipping creams have been receiving a positive response from the market. The range of non-dairy creams includes two whipping creams, Gold and Classic and one cooking cream, Gran Cucina all originating from Italy. Hulalà is a wellestablished brand across the globe and is distributed to more than 60 countries. In 50

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the GCC, the products are available under the Pristine brand by IFFCO group and comes in 1l tetra packs. Tasos Charitakis explains: “Pristine Hulalà is a non-dairy cream and we have both cooking and whipping creams under our portfolio. Being non-dairy means that they are produced with vegetable fat allowing them to last longer than most dairy creams as well as having many other advantages. “We launched our Pristine Hulalà Gold and Classic whipping creams in the UAE two months ago. They are great products

which are very versatile allowing them to be used pure or blended and give chefs the flexibility to add flavourings or colouring. These creams are produced in Italy and exported to almost 60 countries worldwide. Speaking about the benefits of non-dairy creams, Tasos Charitakis says: “Non-dairy creams were created because there was a huge demand from chefs for an alternative to dairy creams, there are a few aspects of cooking that they were not able to achieve with dairy creams and this marked the entry of the non-dairy sector. www.hotelnewsme.com


April 2019

Special Feature

BENEFITS OF USING NON-DAIRY CREAM Non-dairy creams, as the name suggests are completely free of dairy constituents. Vegetable and non-dairy creams are both widely used to substitute to dairy creams. Industrial bakers, patissiers, and foodservice kitchens choose these alternatives, known for their stability that makes them ideal for fillings, coverings, and decoration. Vegetable and non-dairy creams are used in many applications, from fine patisseries to decorated cakes and desserts. Cooking creams like Hulalá, tastes and performs at par or better than dairy creams, while satisfying dietary preferences, restrictions, and sensitivities. By adding Hulalá to your pantry, you’ll save your kitchen space, labour, and money, all while meeting the trending demands of the modern consumer. There are several reasons your guests might be looking for substitutes for dairy, the most common ones include: • Milk allergy: 2–3% of kids under three have a milk allergy. This can cause a range of symptoms from hives and stomach upset to severe anaphylaxis. Most kids outgrow it by their teenage years. • Lactose intolerance: 75% of the world's population doesn't produce enough lactase, the enzyme needed to digest the milk sugar lactose. “The yield of non-dairy creams is much higher than dairy creams; to give an example whipping 1L of dairy cream gives you an average of 2.3L of product, however whipping 1L of non-dairy cream gives you three times that output. With Pristine Hulalà, chefs get almost 4.5 times the output they would from a 1L pack.” Non-dairy creams are also more cost effective, he says, “Dairy creams are expensive, while non-dairy creams are cost effective and create more value. Using non-dairy cream brings down food costs and increases savings. According to our customers in the UAE, using Pristine Hulalà reduced their cost of creams by almost 40-50%. This makes a big difference.

• Vegan or ovo-vegetarian diet: Some vegetarian diets exclude dairy products. Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs, but no dairy, while vegans exclude all food and products that come from animals. • Potential contaminants: Some people choose to forgo dairy due to a concern over potential contaminants in conventional milk and dairy products, including hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics.

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Tasos Charitakis

“Non-dairy creams are also smoother when used as icing for cakes. Chefs can put the cake in the fridge or freezer and defrost it a few days later, they will still see no cracks.” Apart from being lactose and gluten free, Pristine Hulalà Gran Cucina cooking cream is also free from palm oil, “Most non-dairy creams are produced with palm oil and this is a concern for most chefs as they don’t like the taste of palm oil in their creams. To combat this issue, we use sunflower oil in our products as this does not impact the taste and gives the closest flavour possible to dairy creams,” he says. “The feedback from the chefs has been amazing so far and we see a lot of potential in the regional market. The consumption of cakes here is high and we believe the taste and texture of our product is a very good match for the requirements of the chefs in the region. “With our whipping creams we are targeting pastry chefs and the bakery channels. Our cooking cream is a really great product which has received huge praise especially from the HORECA channel due to its thick and creamy texture. The consumption in this region is not heavily dominated by dairy creams as compared to other countries and this makes us confident about our product and its launch in the market.” 52

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Hulalá Whipping Classic

Benefits: • Can be used pure or blended. • If blended, it enhances added ingredients taste • Sweetened • Lactose-free • Gluten-free • Delicate mouthfeel • Excellent overrun • Neutral customisable taste

Hulalá Whipping Gold

Benefits: • Can be used for long lasting decoration • Sweetened • Lactose-free • Gluten-free • Excellent workability • Can be frozen and defrosted without cracking after whipping • Can be stored in the fridge for up to five days

Hulalá Cooking Gran Cucina Benefits: • Thick and creamy texture • Palm oil- free without hydrogenated fats • Performs at high temperature • No aftertaste • No clogging • No cracking • No burning • Sticks perfectly to pasta • Performs well even after adding acidic ingredients

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April 2019

Talent

Experience • August 2018 – December 2018: Director of sales & marketing, V Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton, Al Habtoor City • September 2017- July 2018: Area director of sales, Roda Hotels & Resorts • May 2015 – April 2017: Head of sales, Dubai Parks and Resorts

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April 2019

Talent

A new Chapter We speak to Nevil D’souza, commercial director, R Hotels, Dubai properties on his new role and journey through the hospitality industry. Describe your first ever role in the hotel industry? I started my career as a trainee in the rooms division and was soon given an opportunity to be a full-time employee in the front office department. Briefly describe your new role. As the commercial director, I am in charge of the overall sales and marketing strategies of R Hotels’ portfolio of four hotels in Dubai, Ramada by Wyndham Downtown Dubai, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham JBR, The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel, and ibis Styles Jumeira Dubai. Together with the hotels’ sales and marketing teams, we are in the process of rolling out a comprehensive strategy for the group while capitalising on each property’s distinctive features and offers. Digital is another aspect I would work closely with the team to explore and connect with both wholesale partners and individual guests. Who has inspired you most in your career? It is not what someone teaches you but what you remember of him which makes the person remarkable. Amit Arora has been that special mentor in my life. I really look up to him, he is not only an inspiring leader who leads by example

but also very humble and full of wisdom. I would define his role in my life beyond his inspiration with respect to my career; most importantly, he is an exceptional human being who has always been there for me. He is an ideal mentor and it was a learning experience just observing him going about his work. Currently, Sumair Tariq is a guiding presence in my career. He has shared some unique insights and set a guidance path which has helped me to strategize for R Hotels from a unique perspective. How do you view the hotel scene in the region? The hotel industry is at a very interesting cusp in the region. Currently, it's a bookers market, with guests having an opportunity to choose from multiple and many new offerings. The upcoming Expo 2020 will certainly provide a leg up to the demand. DTCM too has been a catalyst and driving force in promoting brand Dubai and I am certain with their new initiatives the future of Dubai is full of opportunities. What is the biggest challenge in your role? The challenge which any hotelier faces today is to provide unique experiences to each guest and translate the business opportunity into a long-term relationship. R Hotels Dubai hotel properties are in an

advantageous position due to the foresight of the owners in locating all our hotels in iconic locations. Hence it is now up to me and the team to translate each stay into an experience, so the guests keep coming back. What is your favorite aspect of the role? I am fascinated with the dynamic nature of my role, I have seen this space transform from a pure relationship play to a more technology enable arena. The digital space has democratized the whole aspect of reaching out and connecting with partners and guests. If you could work in any hotel in the world which would it be? This is a tricky question, especially when you are starting a new innings. To answer your question, I would like to work in any property under my mentor Amit Arora. What tip would you share with new staff starting out in the hotel industry in the region? The most important thing that I would like to convey to a new joiner is to keep smiling and maintain a positive attitude in life. This will expand their horizon and enable them to learn new things from peers and seniors. The hotel industry is one of the few industries which place a big premium on experience. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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April 2019

In Focus

Speaking From Experience

Elias Rached, regional director of sales, MKN, Middle East and Africa, tells Hotel & Catering News ME about the current challenges in the kitchen contracting sector

MKN, a family owned company for kitchen equipment has been operating in the Middle East for the past 25 years, and over the years the market has overcome a number of challenges. Keeping on par with the latest trends in the industry is key to ensure smooth running of the business, the director says. “We decided to open an office in the Middle East about a decade back, in order to be closer to our partners and provide instant support. We had a vision to build the best equipment with German technology however that is not where our job stops,” he says. “60% of our sales people come from a culinary background, so they know what they are selling and are able to create concepts with the machines in commercial kitchens. Whenever we present our machines to the customer, we know exactly what we are talking about. After sales service is also a key area for us and is something that not a lot of brands offer in the region. Speaking about the challenges in the region, Rached says: “The market is not easy anymore, it is not just about selling equipment, it requires more education and information about the machines. Machines should function for longer periods and increase productivity to save water and energy. Environment is an important factor today and people are trying to save energy. Our machines save energy, are efficient and fast. “There are a lot of manufacturers 56

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available in the region who sell only based on the price and we don’t believe in that sort of sale. This means they sell machines at a low price which is not followed by any training or after sales service. “A few of our partners understand this aspect and work with us with trust, in return, we give them the same. Some others are very price oriented however, slowly people will realise the difference. Customers are watching their money in today ’s market but our days will come

back where people will want to know more about the equipment before they buy it. You can never save by getting cheaper equipment. Customers miss out on accessories, water consumption and instead spend the savings in electricity, however they only recognise it after a couple of months. Chefs need to have safe equipment that does not breakdown all the time. A long-term investment will be profitable if you invest in a good equipment.” www.hotelnewsme.com


April 2019

In profile

Goldberg & Sons Cord H. Vinke, marketing director, MBG, tells us about their range of high-quality mixers.

Tell us a little bit about Goldberg & Sons. Goldberg & Sons are bitter lemonades with an intensive taste. Since its market entry in 2013 the Goldberg & Sons portfolio has been a favourite with restaurateurs, bartenders, and their guests. The range is an ideal complement to high-quality spirits as complex and unusual flavours are enhanced and accentuated by the relatively high proportion of carbon dioxide in Goldberg. What are the origins of the taste and the brand? In the early twentieth century, pharmaceutical entrepreneur Jacob M. Goldberg from Frankfurt wanted to combat tropical diseases with his medicinal drinks. He migrated to North India in pursuit of his goal, where the products he created soon found the approval of the British colonial rulers. What had once been tinctures produced

for medicinal purposes became soft drinks. Jacob M. Goldberg then redefined his business segment and Goldberg bitter lemonade was born. He added carbon dioxide to his drinks to create ready-to-drink lemonade products which could be enjoyed on their own or mixed with spirits. Which flavours does it come in? Goldberg Tonic Water’s subtle sweetness develops into a surprisingly bitter, mature finish. The water derives its refreshing character from natural quinine, fresh fruit flavours and a high carbon dioxide content. The Goldberg Bone-Dry Tonic is based on the classic tonic taste, but bone-dry offers a new dimension with its unique balance of reduced sweetness and characteristic bitterness. Goldberg Bitter Lemon unites the natural freshness of lemons and oranges with the intensive bitterness of real

quinine while Goldberg Ginger Ale combines natural ingredients to provide an unusual, outstandingly clean, and refreshing experience. The portfolio also includes Goldberg Ginger Beer, which brings out the full flavour and corresponding bite of root ginger. Goldberg Soda Water is a very natural table water with a high carbon dioxide content and a balanced amount of sodium chloride. Connoisseurs appreciate this filler for its ability to subtly enhance nuances of flavour in a complex spirit. The Goldberg Indian Hibiscus Tonic is a premium filler with the strength of real hibiscus. The distinctive flowery aroma forms an exciting contrast to many spirits, thereby opening up new wide horizons for potential mixing possibilities, and finally, the Goldberg Japanese Yuzu Tonic impresses with its finely balanced interplay between exotic fruit and complex bitterness. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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April 2019

In focus

Hain Celestial Expands In The MEA Region Rajnish Ohri, managing director, IMEA, Hain Celestial Group, a leading organic and natural products company with operations in North America, Middle East, Europe, and India tells us about the company’s expansion plans. when they use our products is the ultimate satisfaction for us.

Tell us about Hain Celestial and its products. Our Purpose is to create and inspire 'A Healthier Way of Life' and our mission is to be the leading marketer, manufacturer, and seller of organic and natural products. We are committed to growing sustainably while continuing to implement environmentally sound business practices and manufacturing processes. Tell us about your business in the Middle East. Hain Celestial has been involved in providing healthy, sustainable food and personal care products long before consumers became wary of healthier lifestyle trends. We can proudly say that 99% of our products are natural with more than 40% are certified organic. We service the market by meeting the growing trends with our brands like Tilda – Organic & natural Rice, ready-to-heat, Rice bran oil, oats etc, TERRA vegetable chips, Sensible Portions, Veggie snacks, Garden of Eatin, Organic corn tortilla chips, Dream, Plant and grain based beverages, Earth’s Best Organic baby food; Live Clean Natural baby personal

What are your plans for the region? We are expanding our Middle East portfolio to refine the categories of organic and natural products, notably baby nutrition and care, in the UAE. The organisation, which is a subsidiary of Tilda Hain, recently introduced a number of brands to cater to eco-conscious consumers, further enriching its existing selection of certified products across popular hypermarkets in the UAE.

care, and Avalon Organics, Organic personal care, to name a few. Our success is being measured with the acceptance of our offering to the consumer. The consumer’s feedback shows that the products we have introduced are as per market trends. Consumer preference is of high importance to us than just the market share value. Our measure of success is also defined by making sure we are the leader of the latest trends in the food and personal care segments. The smiles that we bring upon our consumers

What are your expansion plans? Our headquarters are based in Dubai, and boast a market presence in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman. The group is currently setting up a facility in India in order to serve the MENA region with more variants. While the UAE is nowhere compared to the US markets in terms of development stage, these are signs that show positive growth. This is further demonstrated by the increase in supermarket shelves dedicated to healthy food. How do we fit in? We aim to declutter the category and execute plans, such that a consumer can be empowered to buy what he really needs straight from the shelf.

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Hotel & Catering News ME April 2019  

Hotel & Catering News ME April 2019  

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