Chief operating officer Middle East Luxury Brands at AccorHotels Middle East, in both Dubai and Doha. Our Pullman brand gains traction in the region with the sixth branded property to come on-stream early next year in Doha, while our regionally inspired Majilis Grand Mercure brand will also see two properties open within the next 15 months in Dubai and Doha.
What were the Middle East’s key Luxe achievements and milestones in 2016? 2016 represented a very exciting transition period as AccorHotels merged with FRHI Hotels & Resorts in July 2016, effectively positioning the group as a major global luxury hospitality player. It was also a key period as Chris Cahill was appointed as the chief executive officer for the luxury division. What makes his role noteworthy is that he brings with him 19 years of experience with FRHI. My appointment as Chief Operations Officer followed towards the end of the year whereby I oversee the luxury portfolio within the Middle East as well as existing Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel properties in Africa and Indian Ocean (Seychelles). What have been the key challenges facing a) your hotel group b) the hospitality sector in general and how have you met these challenges? I’m a firm believer in the following saying from Charles Darwin – ‘It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.’ One of the key challenges is recruitment, considering the sheer number of colleagues required for our robust pipeline. My opinion is that there are thousands of talented, capable AccorHotels colleagues just waiting to be discovered. In order to attract them we must ensure that our organisation has the processes, procedures and the strategic vision to ensure we capture that talent, and retain it. Over the course a year, I’ve prepared six leaders to take on the top leadership position either at their own hotel or within one of our other hotels or brands within the portfolio. Setting up the proper framework for their professional growth, providing constructive and constant feedback and giving them the opportunity to take the reins of managing a
hotel, is the key to our business. My firm belief is that to be an employer of choice, investment into our colleagues is crucial and nurturing their growth within AccorHotels and the industry is something that I devote a lot of my energy towards. What are the hotel group’s key goals for 2017, for its activities in the MENA region, and why? The key priorities for the year include ensuring the successful opening of several hotel projects in the pipeline, including two new Fairmont flagships, one in Riyadh as well as Amman, both opening later this year as well as our second Fairmont hotel in Abu Dhabi, a very impressive build with two iconic towers meeting together in a magnificent arch. In addition we debut the MGallery brand, a collection of hotels that exude charm, charisma and a profoundly local character for the first time in the
How is technology dictating the way you run your business and liaise with customers from bookings and social media to in-room technology? As a Group, in 2014 AccorHotels embarked on an ambitious digital plan, investing 225 million euros into various projects designed with three targets in mind: customers, employees and partners. Examples of our digital roll-out include the integration of additional services and acquired start-up companies like Wipolo (a travel companion that gathers all travel information in one single space and Local measure an e-reputation management tool that aggregates in real time all content posted about a hotel on the Internet. In late 2015, AccorHotels partnered with TrustYou, the global leader in online reputation management to power the Voice of the Guest (VOG) platform. This platform provides hoteliers with a snapshot of their hotel’s on-line reputation as well as guest satisfaction surveys. The third step in the digital services strategy include the recent acquisition of Availpro, the leader in France and one of the leading European software providers to hoteliers. One of the latest developments in the digital front is launch of the new Flight + Hotel reservation offer on AccorHotels. com. Built on a pre-packaged model, the offer enables AccorHotels.com to position itself as a travel advisor, offering travellers customised packages at attractive rates. June 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME
Published on Jun 5, 2017