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All the latest from the Middle East hospitality industry

Cut to the future

The Milky Way

Reactions on the recent reductions in municipality fee and tax

A look at the top dairy manufacturers in the region

Cover Story

Home-grown Haven Omer Kaddouri on Rotana’s growth over the years P64 - Uncovering the secrets of Indian cuisine


August 2018

AUTHENTIC BUTTER A SOURCE OF

PLEASURE White, yellow, tender, smooth, soft, flavored, salted… Butter takes many forms, textures, colors and flavors. How can you tell the difference and how do you choose the best one? FIRST THINGS FIRST, WHAT IS BUTTER? Butter is the milk fat obtained by beating the cream pulled from milk. It consists, according to the regulations, of a minimum of 82 % of fats of dairy origin and of a maximum of 16 % of water in the form of droplets. NOT ALL BUTTER ARE CREATED EQUAL The best butter takes time to make. In Europe, the process of making butter is comprised of seven stages from milking, to the dairy to the packaging. Above all, it is necessary to respect the time of maturation, of churning, of kneading. The time spent is what gives added value to the product: the taste, the aroma, the texture. So of course you will have understood: origin is one of the most important factors when choosing butter. European butter is an entirely natural product in its pure state. Making 1kg of butter requires 22 liters of milk. And that’s it! By law, in France, only salt can then be added, to obtain a salted butter. It has been made the same way for thousands of years and is still as smooth, soft, and delicious as it always has been. Even through the ages, it has remained a natural and traditional product, an emblem of European agriculture and gastronomic cultures. Embedded in regional products and ancestral expertise, it is the benchmark product of pleasure and gastronomy.

Did you know? European Butter is 100% natural: soley containing cream, milk and ferments. — European Butter is a traditional product, an emblem of European agriculture and gastronomic cultures. — European Butter Can be yellow as a result of the grass which the cows eat

BUTTER: COOK IT OR SPREAD IT! Butter is a food, much more than a mere ingredient, and it reveals numerous flavors. It fits into elaborate dishes and simple recipes alike. Nowadays, we readily place it at the table, at the forefront, as we would do a noble product. Butter, an essential ingredient for new culinary trends, is an ever-renewed source of inspiration. BUTTER, OIL, MARGARINE: WHICH ONE HAS THE HIGHEST FAT CONTENT? Butter and margarine have the same fat content: 82%. Butter is animal-derived, from cow's milk; and margarine is from vegetable origin, from sunflower seeds. However, oil (regardless of its type or origin) has a 100% fat content. WHITE BUTTER, YELLOW BUTTER, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? Be it yellow or white, butter contains 82% of fat. The yellow color is the result of beta-carotene, which is naturally found in milk and transforms into vitamin A in the body. Beta-carotene is found in grass fed cows: the more grass a cow eats, the more likely the butter will be yellow in colour. Consequently, butter is stronger in colour during spring, as cows eat fresh grass. Summer butter is also richer in vitamin D: it is synthesized by the cow when it is exposed to the sun, which in turn is found in the milk and the butter. In Europe, cows eat grass in the meadow, that’s why you can find both white and yellow European butter!

The content of this advertorial represents the views of the author only and is his sole responsibility. The European Commission do not accept any responsibility for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

FRENCH BUTTER, THE SECRET TO MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

CAMPAIGN FINANCED WITH AID FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION

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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

August 2018 // Issue #002

Contents

8

38 18

News

What's cooking?

24 Talent

The business

Features

Issue #002

08 //

News Meraas Announces Hatta Projects/ Al Bait Sharjah Sets Opening Date/ Dubai Tourism rolls out green initiatives

24 //

TALENT In conversation with the new F&B manager at Hilton Abu Dhabi

34 //

COVER STORY An in-depth look at Rotana’s growth and expansion plans, with president and CEO Omer Kaddouri

38 //

THE BUSINESS Reactions to the recent deductions in fees and tax within the hospitality industry

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018 // Issue #002

Contents New Hotel opening

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

48 //

MARKET TRENDS Wego looks at the top 10 Trends Driving Hotel Online Search and Booking

54 //

In Focus Everything you need to know about French butter

70 //

Marketplace Top dairy suppliers in the region

48 74 4

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

What's cooking?

www.host.fieramilano.it/en

Issue #002


August 2018

Editor's letter

A note from the editor

Ma h a k Ma n n a n @MahakLFC

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

elcome to the August issue of Hotel & Catering News ME. We are already eight months into 2018, with just four more months to 2019. I think most of you would agree with me that time is flying by really fast, so much so, that we seldom stop and look back at how far we have come, rather keep worrying about the future. This thought came to me during my interview with Omer Kaddouri, CEO and president of Rotana Hotels Management Corporation. He was one of the first high-profile interviews I did years back when I just started my career in journalism and I could not help but think of the difference between that day and now. The market, whether it be F&B, hospitality or other segments in the region have been going through some tough times. Businesses have been faced with challenges one after the other, many adapted and survived, and a few failed to persevere. Although we keep talking about the current troubled times, I think it is very important to also look back at what has been achieved. This not only motivates everybody but also helps set the bar of growth really high. Take for example the UAE, which is going through a tough economical time, but a lot of great ideas, focused vision, in-depth planning, and changes have led to it becoming one of the 6

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

most famous destinations in the world from merely a desert less than 50 years back. That is progress at an unimaginable scale and not just of the country but it’s resources, people, businesses, and investments. The hospitality industry is high up on that list. As Kaddouri says in our cover story, adapting to change is key and if anything, tackling tough times only push an individual or company to prosper. So instead of thinking that this industry is going through a tough time, people should look at how far the industry has come, what has it given or taken to reach to this point and, if it is possible to reach this point in such a short time, then there is so much more to be achieved. We have already seen a number of positive changes in the industry with the support of the government reducing fee and taxes. This has brought about a sense of optimism as you will see under The Business section where we speak to industry leaders on the impact of these changes. So, if you consider yourself a part of the massive hospitality and F&B industry in the UAE, don’t dwell over the hitches of the past, but lay out the growth of the past and build towards reaching that light at the end of the tunnel. Regards, Mahak

Group Commercial Director

Samer Alloush samer@bncpublishing.net

Sales Manager James Stead james@bncpublishing.net Contributor

Marouane Al Mandri Art Director Aaron Sutton Aaron@bncpublishing.net Marketing Manager Mark Anthony Monzon Mark@bncpublishing.net Photographer

Hayder Al-Zuhairi

SUBSCRIBE subscriptions@bncpublishing.net PO Box 502511 Dubai, United Arab Emirates P +971 4 4200 506 | F +971 4 4200 196

For all commercial enquiries related to Catering News ME contact samer@bncpublishing.net T +971 55 776 4670 All rights reserved © 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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August 2018

What's cooking?

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August 2018

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

Projects

Meraas Announces Multiple Projects In Hatta

Meraas has announced a series of major projects aimed at boosting the tourism sector in Hatta. The move aligns with the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, which includes the 10 year Hatta Comprehensive Development Plan that he officially announced in 2016. Positioning Hatta as a destination of eco-tourism in the region, the first phase is scheduled to open in Q4 2018. Projects are based on strategic plans managed by Meraas, with both 8

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

design and construction adhering to the highest global sustainability standards. HE Abdulla Al Habbai, group chairman at Meraas, said: “Hatta is known for its beautiful scenery, mountains, lakes, wadis, farms, and fresh air and the development of eco-tourism demonstrates our commitment at Meraas to implementing the vision of our wise leadership by creating economic opportunities for young people, local businesses, and entrepreneurs in Hatta. “We have worked to establish effective partnerships between Meraas and the people

of Hatta in order to ensure projects meet the aspirations of present and future generations and that the area is equipped to receive more visitors to historical, social and cultural heritage sites, as well as indulge in a distinctive shopping experience of handicrafts and agriculture products and enjoy authentic Emirati cuisine in Hatta.” The first addition to Hatta’s tourism landscape will be a giant Hatta sign located at an elevation of around 450m in the Hajar Mountains. An adventure centre and an interactive tourism information hub will also

open, reinforcing the links between visitors, tour guides and the people of Hatta. The first phase of the development also includes an idyllic mountain lodge with 20 rooms that will offer a tranquil retreat. Visitors to Hatta will also have the chance to camp at a first-of-its-kind trailers hotel on the banks of the Hatta dam. The developments are located away from residential areas to preserve the privacy and lifestyle of the people of Hatta. The second phase of the project includes additional hospitality and retail facilities. www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

News

initiatives

Dubai Tourism rolls out Green Tourism initiatives Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing hosted an immersive workshop with 51 Dubai hotels to provide them with a refreshing outlook of its innovative sustainability board game and encourage hospitality stakeholders to enrol their properties in the carbon calculator, to enhance Dubai’s position as a leading sustainable tourism destination. The Board Game and carbon calculator have been created specifically for the hotel industry and serve as integral awareness tools used by the Dubai Sustainable Tourism (DST) initiative, launched by Dubai Tourism to support and encourage hotels to actively drive sustainable tourism practices, efficiently manage their resources, and reduce the collective carbon footprint of Dubai’s tourism industry. 74 hospitality professionals from 51 hotels attended the workshop in addition to representatives from Dubai Municipality who presented the Dubai lamp, the world’s most energy efficient lamp designed by Philips lighting and Dubai Municipality. Yousuf Lootah, executive director, Tourism Development & Investments, Dubai Tourism said, “Dubai’s hospitality industry has long been a cornerstone of the city’s economy, recently crossing the 110,000 room threshold. As we look forward to continued capacity expansion and increased visitor volumes in the lead-up to 2020, it is paramount that we continue to implement new and improved measures for Dubai’s Issue #002

fast-evolving tourism and hospitality industry to further reduce excessive consumption and conserve resources, particularly in line with the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president and prime minister, and ruler of Dubai, to transform the emirate into one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism destinations.” Ahmad Saeed Al Badwawi, director of applied sustainability and renewable energy department, Dubai Municipality, said: “The applied sustainability and renewable energy department at Dubai Municipality participated with Dubai Sustainable Tourism by presenting Dubai

Lamp, the most efficient lamp in the world. The Dubai Lamp Initiative is a unique research resulting in the development of the world’s first commercially available 200 lumen per watt LED lamp, available in widely used shapes and colours. By replacing conventional lamps with the Dubai Lamp, households and enterprises can reduce electricity used for lighting by up to 90%. In addition to raising light and energy efficiency to new levels, the Dubai Lamp is also extremely durable with an average lifespan of up to 15 times longer than conventional lamps.” The Board Game has been designed to raise awareness

of sustainability in a fun and interactive way, allowing participating teams to measure the levels of electricity and water consumption in their establishments, and identify ways in which they can reduce costs. More than 630 participants from over 110 hotels have played The Board Game so far during events and roadshows organised by Dubai Tourism. Meanwhile, the carbon calculator programme developed by Dubai Tourism in partnership with Dubai Carbon, allows hotels to help establish a benchmark among all hospitality establishments in Dubai and identify various cost saving opportunities.

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August 2018

News

Reports

Saadiyat Rotana Resorts & Villas Reveals Top Source Markets Appointments

JRG Appoints New Operations Manager

Since the opening of Saadiyat Rotana Resorts & Villas in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, the property has welcomed more than 25,000 guests. With an average occupancy of 55% during the summer so far, the property has forecast a positive outlook ahead of its grand opening in late October. European, Eastern, and local guests have been the top markets for the booming property. The increasing popularity of Abu Dhabi as a leisure destination, which was recently revealed to have welcomed a record 1.2 million hotel guests in Q1 2018, a 10.9% increase within the same period in 2017, and expects 5.5 million hotel guests in 2018, lends a hand to driving footfall. The resort has also undertaken the opportunity to build its awareness in neighbouring GCC areas through road shows conducted with the support of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, in efforts to draw in residents of the region. Saudi Arabia was identified as the key GCC country for the property. In terms of source markets, the 10

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German market has driven the highest percentage of guests at Saadiyat Rotana Resorts and Villas, with 40% being of German origin. European guests form the second largest sector, with 15% coming from the UK, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, and Belgium, with their average length of stay being five nights. 20% of its guests came from from the local region. “Our soft opening phase has already exceeded expectations in terms of both occupancy and consumer response and sentiment,” comments Marc De Beer, general manager of the property. “The resorts stunning location, approachable team, and relaxed environment, complimented by our unique F&B concepts have begun to establish a strong presence with local and international visitors. Our sights are set on further success with the upcoming grand opening and Q4 high season.” The hotel is set to accommodate for a high occupancy in the coming year, with 80% occupancy expected as per the current trends in the market.

Jumeirah Restaurant Group Dubai, the home-grown restaurant management company, has appointed Richard Antony Cowling as its new operations manager. Cowling returns to the group to oversee day-to-day operations across its casual premium dining brands: Al Nafoorah, Flow, Pai Thai, Perry & Blackwelder’s, Segreto, and Trattoria Toscana. With more than two decades of experience within the restaurant and hospitality sector in both Europe and the Middle East, Cowling has been tasked with driving enhanced operational activities across the JRG Dubai portfolio. The British national will also spearhead recruitment and training of new joiners and be responsible for the group achieving KPIs in service standards and financial performance. Having first worked with JRG Dubai as outlet manager for The Ivy as part of the preopening team in 2011, Cowling has since led a number of restaurants and hospitality groups across the UAE. His most recent role was operations manager at Nakheel Hospitality, a position which saw him conceptualise, develop

and roll-out a number of the group’s brands. In addition to leading JRG Dubai’s existing portfolio of restaurants, Cowling will work alongside the group’s senior management to further develop the current pipeline of new concepts. Based at JRG Dubai’s head office, Cowling will report to the group’s general manager, Emma Banks. “Richard brings with him a wealth of experience that will support JRG Dubai’s vision and goal of offering our guests an exceptional experience across our casual premium dining outlets, both existing and pipeline projects. Through his dedication and inspirational leadership, JRG Dubai’s brands will continue to flourish and excel,” Banks said. Cowling added: “JRG Dubai has undergone a number of changes in recent years, galvanising a team of exceptional operators to streamline the business and establish a strong basis for long term sustained growth. The capability of the management team in all areas is unique in the market and I feel fortunate to join at an exciting time when we are upping the game on our successful well-loved brands and homing in on some exciting new developments.” www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

News

Education

Marriott International Launches Tahseen In Egypt

Marriott International has reinforced its commitment to Egypt with the launch of Tahseen, a hospitality training program developed in response to the growing need for talent within the industry. Created in partnership with Helwan University and Professional Development Foundation (PDF), the program focuses on fast tracking the next generation of hospitality leaders from Egypt by providing them with first-hand experience and a springboard to launch successful careers in the industry. The company unIssue #002

veiled the program at a signing ceremony in the presence of HE Khalid Atef Abdul Ghaffar, minister of higher education and scientific research, Egypt. Also present at the signing was Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive officer, Marriott International, he said: “Marriott International is a company that believes in putting people first and we are committed to giving our associates world class training and the opportunity to grow and reach their potential, both personally and professionally. Building a sustainable and robust hospital-

ity education program like Tahseen, that nurtures and builds national talent, is indeed key to our success.” “Over the last four decades we have worked hard to consciously develop local talent and prepare them to become future leaders in hospitality,” said Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “Today we employ over 10,200 associates across our hotels in Egypt with 99% of them being Egyptian nationals. Hospitality comes naturally to Egyptians. We therefore saw an

opportunity and felt the need to play a more active role in the development of local talent in a formal and structured manner.” Tahseen, was first launched by Marriott International in Saudi Arabia in 2017 and received encouraging results paving the way for a wider regional roll out. Tahseen, which is set to commence in September 2018 in Egypt, provides the technical training that complements the newly initiated Hotel Management & Operations Bachelor’s Degree program created through the joint efforts of the PDF and Helwan University. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

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August 2018

What's cooking?

Issue #002


August 2018

News

Beverages

Halal Sparkling Grape To Hit UAE Shelves

Imports

France Tops List Of Cheese Imports To The UAE Pearl’s Vignes de France is launching a premium grape based sparkling beverage made with grape juice and infused with carbon bubbles, in the Middle East. The beverage is sparkling, 100% natural, alcohol free, and halal certified, a new alternative to alcoholic bubbly beverages. Designed for the Middle East and in line with cultural tastes and preferences, the name Pearl’s is in honour of the region’s historical pearl trading background, the packaging is designed in white as a symbol of purity and gold to portray the splendor of the product. “We are very excited to launch Pearl’s on the occasion of the French national day in partnership and hosted by the 14

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

French Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General of France in Dubai. This is a great opportunity to introduce this unique sparkling grape beverage which is a reflection of French indulgence and heritage, linking French vines to regional consumers,” explained Alexandre Mensuelle, founder of Pearl’s. Created with an assortment of the finest grape selection of chardonnay and folle blanche, picked from the French vineyard, Pearl’s taste is the perfect balance of a relatively dry, medium-bodied white grape with crisp notes of fruity flavours. Pearl’s works in close collaboration with the vineyard’s growers to ensure that the highest-quality of grapes are selected.

The UAE imported over 18,000 tonnes of European cheese in 2017, of which French cheese accounted for a total of 2,725 tonnes. The UAE is one of the largest importers of European cheese according to the latest statistics from the European Union (EU), with 18,485 tonnes imported. Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait also underscored the popularity of cheese, importing 17,900 tonnes of French cheese alone. “Thanks to the evolving tastes of Middle East residents, tourist, and business visitors, European cheese exporters are keen to explore opportunities in the region and introduce even more variation to restaurants and supermarkets,” said M. Laurent Damiens, communication director of CNIEL, the official French cheese board. “One of the most interesting increases in the usage of European cheese we’ve witnessed in

the region is when it is used in cooking, we’re seeing more and more chefs in the Middle East use it in their dishes which in turn is encouraging others to experiment,” he added. In order to ensure the quality of European cheese and to support the growth ambitions of exporters, the European Union has developed a program dedicated to the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) quality labelling. This provides safe and high-quality products for consumers. The mark identifies a product originating in a specific place or region, whose quality is due to a particular geographical environment with its inherent natural and human factors of production in line with strict EU regulations. Among the most soughtafter varieties were Camembert, Neufchâtel, Pont l’Evêque, Comté, Morbier, Mont d’Or, Mimolette, Fourme de Montbrison and Époisses. www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

News

New opening

Al Bait Sharjah Sets Opening Date General Hotel Management Ltd (GHM) has announced heritage resort, Al Bait Sharjah will open on 1 September 2018. Developed in partnership with Shurooq (the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority), Al Bait Sharjah offers an unrivalled dimension of luxury, sophistication, and personalised service never experienced before in the Emirate. Located in the region’s biggest restoration project, Heart of Sharjah, the opening of Al Bait plays a key role in re-establishing Sharjah as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. Paying homage to traditional Sharjah architecture, the 53-key heritage resort is constructed from the restored foundations of vintage homes that once belonged to Emirati families. Al Bait, meaning home in Arabic, is carefully remodelled and designed to

Issue #002

provide world-class hospitality services and luxurious experiences to its guests. Patrick Moukarzel, the resort’s general manager said, “GHM has taken the lead in pioneering luxury hospitality in the Emirate, while connecting the modern traveller to Sharjah’s rich storied past. “We eagerly look forward to welcoming guests to Al Bait for an experience comparable to no other.” Al Bait Sharjah is also home to a number of Arabian and multi-cuisine restaurants, a Turkish inspired ice cream shop, as well as The Café where diners discover the only remaining circular wind tower in the UAE, while sipping Arabic coffee and indulging in authentic European pastries or traditional Emirati desserts. Booking portals will open shortly for reservations.

Initiatives

Zero Gravity Pledges To Ban Single Use Plastic Beach club Zero Gravity has announced the launch of its environment friendly campaign to boycott single use plastic at the venue. The objective is to ban all plastic straws and plastic utensils including single use plastic cutlery, cups, plates, and stirrers from the venue and replace them with biodegradable alternatives. By the end of the year, Zero Gravity will implement further changes to ensure that this pledge is implemented across all replaceable elements of the beach club both front of house and back of house. Peter Skudutis, general manager, Zero Gravity said: “We are taking a strong stand on this environmental issue, by implementing a strict ban on single use plastic. We’ve all seen horrifying videos of oceans filled with plastic which without a doubt harms marine life, birds, animals, and eventually impacts the food chain as well as our health. “The hospitality industry uses a huge amount of single use plastic every day and it

needs to stop. We need to find alternatives, where possible, and make changes now. We encourage other venues, companies, and individuals to join us and say no to single use plastic.” Currently, Zero Gravity is exploring various biodegradable options to see what can be replaced making sure that the guest experience will not be affected by any of these changes. The venue is set to reduce its annual single use plastic consumption from a total of 729,600 straws, 43,200 plastic cutleries and 40,800 plates to zero, declaring the venue a single use plastic free zone. The ban on single use plastic campaign will take place across three phases which includes commitment from Zero Gravity to strictly ban single use plastic by the end of 2018, continued research with suppliers to find the most suitable alternative products for both front of house and back of house and sharing knowledge on how to best implement these changes at venues across the UAE. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

What's cooking?

Rebranding

Hilton Takes Over Al Habtoor City The group has ended its partnership with Marriott International and brought in Hilton Hotels and Resorts. Mohammed Al Habtoor, vice chairman & CEO of Al Habtoor Group and Ian R. Carter, president, global development, architecture, design, and construction, Hilton, announced a new franchise agreement, effective as of 1 August 2018, for the three hotels at Al Habtoor City. The decision to rebrand these properties as Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts, V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, and Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City was unveiled at a ceremony held at Al Habtoor City. The announcement of the deal comes after a recent statement that Al Habtoor Group plans to expand its Habtoor HospitalityManagement portfolio. Mohammed Al Habtoor said: “We are pleased to extend our partnership with Hilton to three additional hotel properties at Al Habtoor City, our flagship hospitality, leisure, and residential de-

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velopment located in the heart of Dubai. This is a record transition into a new portfolio of brands, a testament to the strong relationship and trust between Al Habtoor Group and Hilton. “The announcement today increases our partnership with Hilton from five hotels to eight hotels around the world.” Ian Carter said: “The addition of these three properties is great news for Hilton and strengthens a strategic partnership with Al Habtoor Group which spans across several markets internationally. Our portfolio will now see more than 5,000 rooms open by the end of the year in Dubai, a destination that ranks alongside global powerhouses such as London, Paris, and New York in terms of annual visitor numbers.” Al Habtoor Group’s hospitality division includes 14 lifestyle destinations, seven in the United Arab Emirates and seven abroad, in the United Kingdom, United States, Lebanon, Austria and Hungary.

Partnership

Boecker signs MoU with Hamriyah Free Zone Boecker, the Public Health reference in the Middle East, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA), Government of Sharjah to enhance food safety programmes. Under this MoU, Boecker has been appointed as the service provider for training and consultancy services for food industries coming from the desire of HFZA. Boecker will advise companies on the highest standards in food safety, health and hygiene related regulations, and practices in the food industry. Boecker will be working hand in hand with food establishments to apply food safety programmes for Hamriyah Free Zone Food processing companies in an effective and efficient way to comply with the laws, codes, rules, and regulations in the food industry. In addition, Boecker certified consultants will provide trainings to HFZA food workers and assure their compliance with Sharjah Municipality, Dubai Municipality, and Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority standards. The signing ceremony was attended by Abdulhadi Chalak, UAE country manager, Boecker and Rakesh Ranjan, the chief de-

velopment officer of Hamriyah Free Zone. Hamriyah Free Zone Authority is one of the fastest growing free zones in the Middle East with a current strength of more than 6,000 investing companies. It is now fostering food related companies for their commercial and manufacturing ventures, one of the focused business activities in Hamriyah Free Zone. Boecker is the Middle East's largest public health company, providing a holistic range of products and services in pest management, food safety, biosecurity, and health and safety across the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Qatar, Jordan, and Kuwait. Its food safety services cover both consultancy and trainings approved by the Royal Society for Public Health - RSPH registered centres. The food safety consultancy services look into the delicate aspects of building safe food systems such as HACCP, ISO22000, and BRC, as well as Boecker signature Q-Platinum Award certification that has been tailored to meet the needs of small to medium food establishments, a certification assured by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) UK. www.hotelnewsme.com


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August 2018

What's cooking?

What's Cooking? Four Seasons Hotel LA Launches Plant-Based Menu

Developed in partnership with KBW Ventures founded by HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, the menu named Folia, includes a selection of 10 wholesome, plantbased items including starters, entrées, and desserts created by Matthew Kenney, the founder of Plant Food + Wine. The full menu will be available from July 20 through September 7, 2018, in both, the hotel’s poolside Cabana Restaurant, and in 18

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

its dedicated wellness rooms and suites. “The appeal of plant-based cuisine has never been stronger,” HRH Prince Khaled said. “My partnership with Matthew Kenney for this new menu at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills is just the beginning. The concept of presenting Folia is rooted in our love of quality dining, and in my objective to continue to be involved in ethical busi-

nesses. This new venture will introduce truly healthy menus to people who otherwise would not have had an opportunity to see the array of options available in the plant-based world, especially when a master chef is at the helm.” The menu features refreshing summer options for healthdriven individuals. Appetisers include watermelon poke, marinated in a flavourful ponzu lime broth, Hearts of palm

ceviche with California fruit, vegetables and edible flowers, beet hummus with oregano cream, and dukkah avocado with spicy greens, preserved lemon and tomato jam. Entrees include green herb tacos filled with roasted squash and king oyster barbacoa, and the signature cacio e Pepe kelp noodles with a creamy cashew pepper sauce. Desserts include a savoury coconut cream pie with a delectable macadamia crust. www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

What's cooking?

Royal Central Hotel The Palm Welcomes Guests The 5-star resort at The Palm features 207 rooms and suites where guests will have access to a private beach. Ahmad Al Abdulla, Chairman of Central Hotels, said, “We are very excited to announce the soft opening of the Royal Central Hotel The Palm. The hotel has been designed to make travel seamless and enjoyable. This opening demonstrates our confidence in the future growth of the Dubai tourism sector and we have no doubt that Royal Central will establish itself as a preferred choice among travellers.” Abdulla Al Abdulla, vice president of Central Hotels, added, “Dubai is one of the top travel destinations in the world and we look forward to extending our hospitality to a newgeneration of globetrotters. At Royal Central Hotel guests can surround themselves with a whole lot of fun in a funky, casual, comfortable and familyfriendly atmosphere.” Each room has floor-toceiling windows and spacious balconies offering relaxing views. Ammar Kanaan, group general manager of Central Hotels, said, “The spectacular Royal Central Hotel The Palm is your escape from the busy city life. It is the perfect gateway to exploring Palm Jumeirah’s stunning scenic beauty as well as other unique attractions of Dubai. Awaiting you at every corner of the resort are signature experiences Issue #002

designed to provide relaxation at its finest. Focusing on truly meaningful elements, our facilities have been conceptualised to make the most jaded senses come alive in a cool and vibrant atmosphere.” Dining options at the Royal Central Hotel range from casual to fine dining restaurants

including Choi, La Maison, and Ya Bahr by Dynamic Hospitality. Guests can also enjoy freshly baked pastries and signature speciality coffees as well as other refreshing drinks all day at the new Baristas’ Corner. Opening for the first time in Dubai, Hush Beach Bar will offer guests an immer-

sive experience with its location and exciting concept of food and beverages. An array of recreational facilities at the Royal Central, ranging from water sports to an outdoor infinity pool, state-of-the-art gym and health spa, along with exciting dining options, will allow guests to unwind and relax. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

What's cooking?

Marks & Spencer Food Expands Located in the newly opened Springs Souk between The Meadows and The Springs, this second stand-alone food store and M&S Café brings Marks & Spencer’s existing food catalogue to more families in Dubai. The food store, which will stock the same range as other M&S food stores in Dubai, will provide convenient meal-ideas, kitchen cupboard essentials, quintessentially British foods, delicious bakery items, and chilled and frozen favourites. With over 1,700 premium food lines available, families can turn meal times into a main event with Marks & Spencer’s range of tasty vegetables, bright salads, and oven-ready meals, giving customers healthy food options as well as more time to spend with their family and friends.

For special occasions and entertaining at home, M&S customers can choose from a variety of antipasti, luxury cheese boards, and desserts. Also on the shelf at the new

food store are Marks & Spencer’s food gift hampers. From indulgent Belgian chocolate gift bags to Swiss chocolate assortments and gluten-free delight, the offerings cater to all culinary requirements.

The Springs community can also enjoy Marks & Spencer’s famous M&S Café, serving a variety of meals, from healthy smoothies, to an extensive selection of soups, salads, sandwiches and pastas, as well as British classics such as fish and chips. Stephen Rayfield, vice president of Marks & Spencer MENA and Asia, said: “From our award-winning cheeses, to sustainably sourced fresh food, M&S is continuing to grow in popularity in Dubai. That’s why expanding our food stores here presents us with a strong growth opportunity. Our new stand-alone food store at the recently opened Springs Souk really puts M&S on the map as the must-go destination for food lovers in the area.”

Three New Zaatar W Zeit Branches in Dubai Cravia, the parent company of Cinnabon, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Zaatar w Zeit, and Five Guys, has announced that it will open three new Zaatar w Zeit outlets as part of its ongoing expansion plans for the brand. The new outlets are due to open in Mira Town Centre and Al Hadeel as well as re-opening in The Dubai Mall. These branches will be joining the brand’s recently opened branches in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Springs Souk, as well as the Golden Mile, Palm Jumeirah. Customers at the new venues will be able to enjoy Zaatar w Zeit’s signature wraps, salads, platters, and desserts in a welcoming am20

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biance with warm service. Mahmoud Harb, director of operations at Cravia, commented: “We are very pleased to be launching three new Zaatar w Zeit outlets, to have a total of six newly opened outlets this

year. These openings assist us in our main aim which is to connect with our customers and make sure they can easily find their favourite dishes. The successful launch of our three new branches shows that

Zaatar w Zeit’s menu remains in high demand, and we will continue to satisfy our customer’s appetites by pursuing our expansion plan. We look forward to welcoming guests at our new locations.” www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

What's cooking?

Bateel International Opens New Outlet Café Bateel has announced the launch of its newest location at Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, joining the Bateel Boutique located on the second floor which opened in April 2017. The tastefully designed Café Bateel at Mall of the Emirates will be located on the ground floor. The latest outlet from Café Bateel offers a new format, with a menu showcasing a fine selection of Bateel’s premium gourmet dishes, perfect

for a quick, flavourful, and satisfying refuel. The new design promises a modernised experience with

chic and welcoming interiors. The open-concept features intimate seating areas, punctuated in shades of greens, greys,

and rich oak browns, with an emphasis on natural materials. The walls hold art pieces that represent the culinary journey of Bateel, adding an educational element to the newly fashioned outlet. The new location marks the first new opening for Bateel International this year. The global company continues to grow with now over 31 cafes and 49 boutiques worldwide, with a further three outlets set to launch this year.

New Range Of Luxury Lattes At Giraffe Giraffe will now serve a new range of luxury lattes across all airport locations in Dubai International Airport Terminal 3, as well as in Giraffe Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi. The venue, operated by Emirates Leisure Retail will be adding a splash of colour to their coffee with the recently launched range of four new coloured lattes, butterfly pea, matcha, turmeric, and beetroot. Using all natural and superfood ingredients such as coconut blossom sugar, butterfly pea, stone ground green tea, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, the new lattes are delicious as well as nutritious. The lattes are completely dairyfree and gluten-free to suit all needs and when served with coconut or almond milk they are also vegan friendly. The lattes are available in all Dubai International Airport Giraffe outlets including Giraffe World Kitchen, Giraffe Stop and Giraffe Stop Pop-up and also in Giraffe Yas Mall. The luxury latte collection is priced at AED 24 for a regular milk latte, AED 27 for a coconut latte or AED 29 for an almond milk latte. Issue #002

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August 2018

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August 2018

What's cooking?

Issue #002


August 2018

Talent

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August 2018

Talent

From the seas to the Middle East We spoke to the recently appointed F&B manager at Hilton Abu Dhabi, Eugene Conradie, on his new role

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. After finishing school I wanted to travel, so I ended up joining Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, sailing out of the USA. It was an exciting experience that led to a stint in the UK and finally back to my home country to study hospitality management. Since then I have been fortunate to work and travel to many countries, with my latest assignment being with Transcorp Hilton Abuja, Nigeria before joining Hilton Abu Dhabi. Describe your first ever role in the F&B industry. I was 18 years young, just left school and got a job as a waiter in a local hotel in Cape Town. At the time, I had no idea what the industry was all about and I landed the job by good fortune, rather than planning. The team was absolutely amazing and in spite of long hours and hard work, I liked it so much that the experience set me on the path that brought me to where I am today.

October 2012 - February 2014 Assistant F&B director, Hyatt Oubaai Resort, South Africa March 2013 - October 2014 F&B director, Salalah Rotana Resort, Oman November 2014 - March 2018 F&B manager, Transcorp Hilton Abuja, Nigeria Issue #002

Describe your current role and responsibilities. I have the best job anyone could ask for in a hotel. Apart from the more obvious responsibilities of managing operations and commercial activity in all our outlets, I get to meet passionate foodies, chefs, and industry professionals while creating memorable experiences for our hotel guests. Who has inspired you me most in your career? I have had the great fortune of

working with some amazingly talented professionals in my career and the list of people who have inspired me along the way is quite long. I would give a special mention to the very first executive chef I worked with, Patrick Docherty, who was a mentor and had endless passion for his craft. How do you view the F&B scene in the region? I think the UAE, in particular Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is a very exciting place for the industry. There is tremendous amount of innovation in the region and we have a lot of well-travelled guests who expect the very best, which ensures that high standards are maintained. What is the biggest challenge of your role? Because of the diverse nature of my role, effective time management is crucial and a constant challenge. What is the best aspect of your role? The instant gratification of exceeding a guest’s expectations or creating a memory that will last a lifetime. If you could work in any restaurant in the world which would it be? Alinea in Chicago, USA would be amazing. What tip would you share with new staff starting out in the F&B industry? F&B, and hospitality as a whole, is one of the most rewarding careers anyone could wish for. It may be hard in the beginning, but it’s all worthwhile. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

In the mix

Parag Kamtekar, assistant bar manager, Aji The Palm, gives his thoughts on the trending beverages.

layer in the drink. The quantity is also very important, using it in wrong measurements and quantity can spoil everything. How often do you experiment on your beverage offerings and why? I always try to make beverages according to the palate of the guests, since everyone has different tastes and preferences. I learned this skill in Buddha bar and Embassy Dubai, where my seniors taught me how to work with the flavours, which is very important for any bartender. What is currently trending amongst your customers? During summer, most of our guests like to opt for white wines and light flavoured drinks like simple sours with low alcohol content. Tell me a little bit about yourself. I graduated hotel management and chose to take bartending and mixology courses in Mumbai at the STIR Academy. That is where I got to learn the details of mixology. When I came to Dubai I worked under the guidance of some of the best people in the local bartending community like Matthias Giroud, Francesco Galdi, Jan liska, and Russell Sanchez to name a few.I kept learning and pushing my horizons by attending various trainings organised by A&E, MMI, and Fresh Express. How do you bring creativity to your drinks? I always try to keep things simple, yet combine complex flavours together.

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What is the most important factor in mixing the perfect beverage? Temperature and quality of ingredients. Which is your favourite flavour to work with and why? Cinnamon and nutmeg for the woody smell, which helps to build a different

What do the coming months hold for your beverage menu? Currently I’m working on a new beverage menu, which will blend in with our Nikkei cuisine. A new sangria, pisco sours and some infusions will definitely create a different experience for all our guests.

What is your signature drink and why? My favourite signature drink is sensei sour, which is inspired by the legendary classic whiskey sour. This cocktail has a huge impact on our guests. The drink is made with different layers of flavours, which are carefully weaved together to give an extraordinary experience.

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August 2018

Gastronomy Uncovered

Levee

BNC Publishing’s resident food aficionado, Mark Anthony Monzon discovers the best new restaurants in town

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or the inaugural edition of Gastronomy Uncovered, I visited a new French Mediterranean café and lounge, Levee nestled in the north side of La Mer in Dubai. The restaurant offers oceanic views combined with an all-day dining menu in an elegant, well designed spot. Fresh is the word that comes to mind when I look at the interiors conceptualised by a Dubai-based boutique developer, Innovate Living. The idea was to recreate the New York loft experience in Dubai, resulting in a stylised space. With several seating options including a chic alfresco terrace, it’s an environment that fits with the vibe,, a place where Bang & Olufsen TV screens and Balearic inspired music are

To discover more dining gems in the city, follow Mark on Instagram @markmyworldblog or visit www.markmyworld.me Issue #002

complemented by classic fresh florals. The massive space is divided into different parts with a coffee & juice mixology bar and their very own bakery & pastry studio serving fresh pastry every single day. The kitchen on the other hand, is led by chef Chandima Alawata who has previously worked with Vida Hotel, and is a firm believer of heartfelt home cooking. His signature dishes include Canadian lobster tail, red snapper carpaccio, and La Mer seafood risotto. Having tried some of their most popular dishes, I can say that the spicy prawns provencale and the rigatoni with mushrooms and truffle are a must try. The concoctions are impressive and so is the excellent service with equal parts of communication and genuine attention from the staff. True to its name, Levee acts as a resting place or dock, offering the blueprint to successfully mix cosmopolitan living with warmth and seaside detail anchored by gastronomy and design, the heart and soul of this experiential venue. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

Chef Focus

Dining in the Desert

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Chef Piotr Kamieniczny, executive sous chef at Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, tells Hotel & Catering News ME how he runs the reigns at the leisure destination.

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August 2018

Chef Focus

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ituated in a palm oasis away from the fast-paced vibe of Dubai city, Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa offers its guests a unique experience amidst sand dunes and natural habitat, and the hotel’s Polish executive sous chef says most of his inspiration for the menu at the property has come from his travels across the globe. “Before joining the UAE chef’s community, I travelled to explore cuisines across Cyprus, Ireland, France, and England. I’ve had the pleasure to work in the famous Institute of Paul Bocuse in Lyon and Fat Duck, Heston Blumenthal's three Michelin Star restaurant,” Kamieniczny says. “I am passionate about seeing different places, experiencing diverse cultures, and sampling their cuisine to get familiarised with their ingredients. It is sometimes overwhelming to experience how a country uses a particular ingredient in different ways. I love experimenting with unusual flavour combinations and always try to reflect my diverse travel experiences in my menu here at Al Maha. “This resort provides an exemplary culinary experience. Be it our dishes on the menu, curated events or dining

What is your hero dish? There are many dishes loved by our guests, but if I had to list a few names then it would either be the foie gras caviar, duo of lobster or our Al Maha Tiramisu. What advice would you give chefs starting out in this region? A vibrant city like Dubai gives excellent career opportunities to talented hospitality professionals. Due to the rapid development and expansion here, almost all famous hospitality brands are present, creating easy access to the newest trends, technology, and products from around the world. I meet a lot of young chefs who want to lead the kitchen very early in their career, but just like any other profession you have to wait for your turn. My advice would be to be persistent and put in the hard work before claiming the throne. What suppliers do you work with? We work with more than 40 suppliers to source ingredients and produce required at our restaurants. What are the most challenging items to source? No ingredient is impossible to source over here. The challenge is to ensure consistency. However, technology has advanced to a great extent making it possible to transport items far from their source of origin in perfect conditions.

options, great reviews on various world-renowned travel websites are a testimony to the gastronomic experience Al Maha is renowned for.” Located in a secluded area, majority of the guests who stay at the property prefer dining there too, “Most of our guests book with us on a full-board basis which entitles them to three meals per night,” Kamieniczny explains. “Given that we have one signature restaurant, Al Diwaan, it is important for us to offer variety in the fare to ensure guests enjoy a unique experience each time they dine with us. The resort offers separate menus for lunch and dinner while also offering a healthy menu which can be opted for during any meal. We also like to keep our dishes simple with great quality to complement the natural beauty around our resort.” Flexibility and variety are two things Issue #002

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that top Kamieniczny’s operational ethos spearheading the hotels culinary offerings, “Guests at Al Maha Desert Resort are our priority and we make it our mission to satisfy their cravings. They sometimes like to shuffle with the lunch and dinner menu and we are happy to accommodate, unless the inventory is insufficient, in which case the service staff will offer the next best substitution to fulfil their requests,” he says. “With three different menus to choose from, guests are offered an assortment of choices ranging from simple comfort food to gastronomic masterpieces.” The nature of the hotel also means a lot of guests prefer in-room dining, the chef says: “Al Diwaan is usually the most used venue for meals. However, in-suite dining is also an option for guests who are fond of staying in. As all the villas have their own private pool, pool deck dining is also a popular option as guests can enjoy their meal with views of the dessert and wildlife. For those who wish to enjoy a more intimate setting, the resort also offers a curated desert dune dining experience with a five-course menu and choice of sparkling. “Maintaining the hallmarks of our resort’s brand, guests can also opt for luxurious options ranging from caviar to oysters among other favourites. Our team is renowned for creating culinary masterpieces whilst accommodating guest requests,” Kamieniczny says. The change in weather in the desert is quite often the reason behind changing the menu, according to the chef, “We offer three menus at our restaurant, lunch, healthy, and dinner to ensure that our guests have ample options. I try to change the menu at least twice a year keeping the drastic weather in mind. Winters are extremely cold in the middle of the desert hence we incorporate dishes that are warm while the summer menu relies more on dishes that nourish the body in the heat without compromising on taste,” he says. Chefs are now witnessing a shift in trend in the dining industry world over with respect to healthy eating and this is the route Kamieniczny is also working towards, “We are witnessing a big boom in lifestyle well-being and healthy food preferences. People are becoming 32

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more and more health conscious and are opting for simple and honest food, prepared with quality ingredients. People are also looking for authentic farm to table experiences to ensure a healthy lifestyle. Each chef brings their spin to the menu but the ultimate aim is to

create food that offers nutrition without compromising on taste,” he explains. “Our plan for 2018 is to continue exploring novel flavour combinations and surpass guest expectations. There are a few activations in the pipeline, one of which is the extravagant brunch in October.” www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

Opinion

Going the extra mile

Audrey Murugaya, operational & training manager at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, explains the impact of personal interaction with guests in the hospitality industry.

Quality is not just about ensuring that standards are consistently met, it’s also about how we engage with our guests. In today’s date, quality standards are met when your staff get to know guests on a personal level by engaging with them, listening to them, and using what they have shared with you. As a training and operational excellence professional with over 11 years of experience working in Asia, the UAE, Maldives, and Oman, I see that this is an area where one has to challenge the market to bridge the gap and create an environment where there is mutual understanding and everyone works towards a common goal. Being part of an Asian chain, Anantara has its challenges in explaining the culture and brand identity to different nationalities, and our aim is to bridge this cultural gap while respecting cultural differences. At Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, we combine both international and Asian hospitality where every guest is treated as family while respecting their individuality. We take time to listen to our guests and show them how valuable they are to us. We also practice humility, courtesy, respect, and other basic values linking it to individual cultures which leads our guests to experience the fact that we treat all guests like family. I often ask my team, “Why do you think our guests make the effort to drive for two hours to such a remote location and stay at our resort? What is it that we offer that has an edge over the other hotels?” This was answered by the chairman and founder of Minor International, William Heinecke who said, “Brands don’t build Issue #002

people, people build brands.” Take for example our mountain guru, he leads the guests through the beautiful hiking trails with so much passion, care, and safety, our recreation team seeks the guests comfort as well by packing dates, coffee, and snacks. The team is constantly thinking of the guests’ overall experience, as they believe in creating stories that our guests will carry with them for a lifetime. All our team members truly understand the concept of engaging with our guests and creating an experience that leads to an everlasting relationship. Located approximately two hours away from Muscat, we have the opportunity to go the extra mile for our guests. Once a guest had left behind some items at the hotel and left to Muscat. We took this opportunity to personally drive to the guests’ location to deliver these items

and a few months later, this guest returned with extended family. We truly delivered our message that we treat our guests as a part of our family. Our welcome messages in the guests’ native languages, our towel art decorations, offering them their preferred beverages in the morning without waiting for them to ask, all these services give us a lead in the competition and we constantly challenge ourselves to stretch out of our comfort zone and come up with innovative and indigenous ideas for our guests. At Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, our brand values emphasise on authentic luxury, expertise, and indigenous, each value having its own meaning. We are continuously working to build our name as internationally as possible whilst maintaining our individuality. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

Cover Story

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August 2018

Cover Story

Home-grown Haven I

Being with the company since its very inception as general manager of Beach Rotana in Abu Dhabi, Omer Kaddouri, president and CEO of Rotana, has watched the company grow to become one of the most successful regional player in the hospitality industry and Mahak Mannan speaks to him about the achievements over the years and what lies ahead.

f you compare the UAE today, to 26 years ago, the one thing that strikes first is the growth, development, and progress the country has seen in such a short time. In similar fashion, the people, businesses, investments, and infrastructure has grown in ways unimaginable. An example of this mutual progress in the hospitality industry would be the Rotana group. “When the founders of the company came to building Rotana, never in their wildest dreams would they have thought that 25 years later they would be sitting with over 100 hotels in their portfolio, all of it stemming from the Beach Rotana in 1992,” Omer Kaddouri, president and CEO of of Rotana Hotel Management Corporation says. “As far as the owners are concerned they have done really well and are very proud of what has been built, especially because today, we compete with everybody. Is Rotana a regional company competing with only regional companies? No, we deal with everybody.” This can be defined by the performance of Rotana hotels within their competitive set, the CEO explains. “In our competitive set for all our hotels, we compete with the likes of major multinationals. In some cases we do better than them and in some cases they do better than us, but we are nestled very comfortably in between the multinationals. We do Issue #002

not compete against the likes of the Four Seasons because we don’t have properties that are on the same level as Four Seasons although if you take a good look at Saadiyat Rotana, it’s a little bit close. We do not have a luxury brand of hotels, what we have is the upper class,” he says. “Every major chain here looks at Rotana to find out how we do it and why this regional company competing with us. I know there is a lot of respect for Rotana in the region and having grown here, works to our benefit. A lot of people want to come here and have a cultural experience, so they pick a chain that is from here to get that added cultural benefit.. “Moreover, because we are competing with all the multinationals we have to work that much harder. Look at some of these companies, the resources and the booking engine strength they have. We don’t have that, so we have to work that much harder and it has worked for us. We have nudged some of the multinationals out of their position and taken it and we need to do that. Over the past few years there have been a lot of challenges, but we have been able to hold on to our market share and that is something to be proud of." THE MARKET With a decrease in room rates and increase in inventory and costs, the hospitality

industry in the region has been facing a number of challenges over the past few years and like every other hotel company, Rotana had to adapt to the market. “The situation in general has been very tough for the past five years,” Kaddouri says. “With the increase in inventory, the challenges due to the price of oil, which is creeping back now so it is positive, and so many things happening in the neighbouring countries, it has really put a damper on not just our industry but a lot of industries in the region. We are not the only industry suffering and what we had to do was adapt commercially to drive business through every channel that we can. When we lost the Russians we had to travel to Eastern Europe and find the Hungarian, Slovakians and more. We really needed to angle our markets, change our pricing strategy and go out in the market to let everyone know that we are here and that’s why we have been able to safeguard our market share. Are we out of trouble right now? By no means. Is there still difficult times to come? Yes, but things are starting to improve a little bit. “We are hoping for 2020 to start seeing a positive growth starting that year, but if people are thinking that every hotel is going to be running at 100% occupancy at Dh1000 all year round, then that’s not Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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going to happen. The mind set should be that not all the hotels are going to be full. The UAE is maturing as a market, primarily in our industry. It is obvious that there will be high and lows and right now we are in a low and this low is making us stronger. We have to adapt to situations. This is a cycle that we are in and I believe, we are just starting to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.” The average room rate has also considerably dropped over the years and it is something that in unavoidable in current market conditions, according to Kaddouri. "Because rates are coming down and revenue is reduced, dropping room rates is an essential way to deal with the market. 99% of ownerships will not tell their general manager to keep their rates high, and run on low occupancy. Majority of owners understand that you have to play the market. We had to come down with rates too and the only blessing in the UAE especially in Dubai was that occupancy has been consistent. Occupancy has dropped only about a point or two year-on-year in some cases whereas average room rate has gone down 20%,” he says. “A lot of owners understand that the cycle of the economy impacts business. You can cut costs all day long but what is the result of it? If the quality of food and service goes down then people will not come to you. The past four years have been very exciting, I would have rather not have had this excitement but if things start to get better we are going to hold on to all our systems that have resulted in cost efficiency and driving revenue, and we can be stronger coming out.” Cutting costs can be tricky and the channels need to be chosen wisely, Kaddouri says. “Certain things you just don’t compromise on like food quality and service has to be at a certain level. During days when you have an average room rate of AED1000, you can afford to have a couple of extra staff behind the reception to really enhance that comfort feel for the customer. Those are things that we have had to look at to make sure we have the right manning levels. Our food quality we haven’t touched but looking into things like letting the water run for too long 36

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Cayan Tower Residence by Rotana

or lights which are wasting money by remaining on, have benefitted us. We have programs in which we look at cost saving utilities and sustainability.” Being passengers on the same boat, the F&B market, like the hospitality industry, has also been hit due to the challenging conditions, according to the president. “F&B has been affected because there are so many new restaurants that have come up and occupancy is not on the

level where every restaurant will be full. It’s like the room rates, more inventory, means dilution. One of the problems is that owners of real estate have kept their rates very high. If I am the owner of a restaurant and the rent is really high, I am going to try to charge high prices to keep up with the rent but if I charge high prices, no one is going to come to me. We have seen a decrease in our F&B revenue in the past few years, every other www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

Cover Story

hotel has and independent restaurateurs have also suffered. Our business psyche in this region has been whatever goes up, keep going up and when it did start hitting the curb, it was a little bit of a surprise for some but it’s been going on for so long, people have started to adapt and understand.” EXPANSION While keeping an eye on the international market, Rotana’s ethos for expansion Issue #002

focus more on growing organically, marking a strong hold in the region before moving out to more mature markets. “We are a regional company with aspirations to grow outside the country, but we are not overly ambitious to say that we want to be in the US, UK or Canada, we are very happy where we are and plan to grow organically from the region, like Turkey and Africa,” Kaddouri explains. “Rotana has the support and culture from the corporate office to fit anywhere, but our ambitions are to take it easy. There still are a lot of opportunities in the region to grow. Saudi Arabia is a big growth market, we are still growing here in the UAE and Bahrain too. We could be putting resources out to grow hotels in Europe and the US but we want to grow organically.” When looking at potential growth markets, areas where people from this region travel to plays a very important role, Kaddouri says. “Our expansions plans are focused mainly within the region and the next biggest space would be Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Outside of this region Africa is a big focus for us. We are opening a hotel in Dar As Salam, Tanzania and there are so many opportunities in Rowanda, Nairobi, we have signed hotels in Lagos and have four hotels in Turkey as well. We wanted to get a little deeper into India and Pakistan and signed a few hotels in Mumbai but unfortunately they have been put on hold for the time being. We are hopefully close to doing something in Pakistan, however nothing is official yet, so our bread and butter is here. There was a time when we were looking at Asia, Europe, and Australia but came to realise that there is still so much scope here, so let’s make sure we cover our space on our home turf and then get excited about moving out. Turkey and Africa are not too far away and where the regional people travel to is a very important factor for our expansion. “We want people from here to pick up our booking engine and identify where they go to regularly. Turkey is very important and so is Sarajevo, to this market. But this does not mean we will not look further, if today we were to open a hotel in London we would know a lot of our people travel there and would stay

in Rotana but we cannot depend on that because London feeds the world.” With the opening of Saadiyat Rotana Resorts and Villas and the recent signing of a hotel in Sarajevo, the company will also focus on its 3-star brand, Centro, which was a first of its kind when launched in 2006. “I am very proud to say that we were one of the first in the market to come up with a mid-market brand. Centro came in before anyone else. We thought there was a niche in the market and now have 22 Centros operating and under development. It is also good to to see that other companies are taking this route because since the downturn in 2006, everybody wanted to travel to the UAE but did not want to spend $500 on a room night, they wanted to spend $100 or less and we fit that need. Now with the likes of Zabeel house by Jumeirah and Rove, which are lifestyle brands similar to us you can tell there is a huge demand. If you want to make a destination successful you need to reach every market.” The success that this industry has seen in the region has been a combination of key factors which include support from the government and the talent on offer. “We are blessed to have the likes of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai and the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi. As a hospitality industry we are lucky to have this support, people waking up every morning wanting to bring more tourists to the UAE. We work with hotel owners who build and invest in the industry so the more support we get from them the better and although they have done a lot, we need more because there are so many of us,” he says. “People, are another important factor. 40% of the staff at the new Saadiyat Rotana Resorts and Villas came from other Rotana hotels and about a good 80% of that 40% were promoted. There are a lot of internal development programs we have and our colleagues have joined us because they know they can grow with Rotana. We focus a lot on our people because without it you are nothing, and this goes for any company.” Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

The business

Cut to the Future

In the recent weeks, a number of deductions in fees and tax within the hospitality industry has taken the country by storm. The capital reduced the 6% tourism fee previously applicable on hotel rooms and outlets to 3.5 %, halved municipality fees to 2%, and lowered the per room per night hotel fee to AED10 from AED15. In Dubai HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai, ordered to reduce the municipality fees on sales at restaurants and hotels from 10% to 7%. These changes were welcomed by industry professionals and here we find out how this will impact the future of hospitality in the UAE.

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hile announcing the change in municipality fee in Dubai, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai tweeted: “In line with the directives of @HHShkMohd we are announcing a 3% reduction of fees on the sale value for hotel facilities and restaurants in Dubai to enhance its 38

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position as a preferred destination for both investment and tourism. “This decree will expand the series of measures announced days earlier and aimed at supporting companies operating in Dubai, reducing the cost of doing business and attracting new investments. Today, Dubai is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.

Last year we welcomed 16 million visitors & look forward to receiving 20 million in 2020 when we host the Expo. Our goal is to preserve these gains & consolidate our position as a competitive global destination.” The changes have resulted in a positive outlook from both operators as well as guests. www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

The business

Cenk Unverdi

Cluster general manager, Rixos Premium Dubai

Neil Houghton General manager, Intercontinental Abu Dhabi

“ “

After the implementation of VAT, the decision to reduce municipality fee is very much appreciated by us and I believe other hoteliers too. It was the perfect timing as well to implement this change as many hotels in Dubai drop down in occupancy levels during the summer season. As a hotelier, I believe that reduced municipality fee will not only enhance guest experience and give an extra value but will also support further growth and positive change for UAE’s hospitality and the tourism industry itself. From the tourist and guest point of view, I believe that Dubai as a destination would become more attractive and affordable, thus increasing levels of spending in our hotels and restaurants.”

The future of hospitality looks: Bright Issue #002

There are a number of indicators showing that with the reduction of taxation some of our challenges will be reduced due to the fact the accommodation cost for a guest is less. We have reviewed our strategies making sure we have attractive offers and packages in place and that these offers and packages are communicated to the right markets. I expect resilient results for the coming year and our hotel will take part in a number of global exhibitions like World Travel Market, GIBTM, and ATM among others. We will be promoting the hotel with all the new changes along with the destination . Our partners, the Abu Dhabi Department of Tourism and Culture and Etihad Airways are doing an excellent job in promoting tourism and attracting travellers to Abu Dhabi. These new changes along with the attractions we have in Abu Dhabi like the Louvre Museum, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Yas Water World, and Ferrari World, will have a great impact in attracting leisure travellers to Abu Dhabi and turning the capital into a cultural centre and key international tourist destination.”

The future of hospitality looks: Optimistic Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

The business

Ferghal Purcell

Chief operating officer, Hospitality Management Holding

Satish Nambiar General manager, Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai

In an incredibly aggressive worldwide tourism market the governments of both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have shown incredible foresight in maintaining that competitive advantage by ensuring that we remain a desired destination that also offers value for money. From a customer experience and perspective, the new changes establish the foundation for a long-term relationship, wherein they recognise that the government is committed to ensuring that the destination prioritises the needs of travellers, and assure they are receiving value at every level, whilst simultaneously investing in the tourism infrastructure, both of which are the cornerstones of success.”

The future of hospitality looks: Evolutionary 40

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The reduction in the municipality fee and tourism fee is definitely a positive initiative made by the Dubai and Abu Dhabi government. It is a step in the right direction to creating a more affordable platform in which companies within the hospitality industry can thrive with a reduced commitment to mandatory overhead costs. I believe that the UAE government is working towards creating an attractive tourism hub where both travellers and investors will benefit. Considering today’s market, we see that companies and consumers are adopting a discount driven approach and this reduction in fees only helps with the company’s cost and profitability, and the consumer spend.”

The future of hospitality looks: Valuable www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

The business

Jennifer Pettinger Haines Managing director Middle East, Bench Events and founding member of GRIF Society and Dubai Restaurant Industry Think Tank

Patrick Antaki

Complex general manager, Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, and Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort

A visionary government that takes active measures in helping businesses reduce their costs and steps in to encourage tourists recover their VAT must be applauded. With the UAE gearing up for Dubai Expo 2020, the decision to reduce overheads will benefit all stakeholders and in turn encourage more investors and international hospitality brands to consider Dubai as a potential market and destination for future ventures. It is extremely motivating to see these active initiatives that are primarily focused on reducing the burden and encouraging a higher footfall. Combined with the active efforts of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve to conserve and maintain the indigenous flora and fauna of the region and the Department of Tourism and Commercial Marketing activations, this initiative of reducing the municipality and tourism fees will further popularise the destination and certainly benefit tourism in the United Arab Emirates.”

The future of hospitality looks: Successful Issue #002

The recent announcement that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, is cutting municipality fees on sales at hotel facilities from 10% to 7% is great news for the industry, made all the better when we heard that Abu Dhabi was also taking measures to reduce tourism fees from 6% to 3.5% and municipality fees to 2%. These are very positive and significant steps in support of the UAE’s hospitality industry and come at a challenging time for many operators, especially as we head into the summer period. Only time will tell what the true impact will be but it is a very positive gesture which will offer enhanced value to guests.”

The future of hospitality looks: Maturing Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

GM Interview

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www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

GM Interview

In their Shoes

We speak to James Berry, the recently appointed general Manager at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City, on his new role.

Tell us about yourself I started as a waiter 23 years back and fell in love with hospitality. I have been a general manager for 10 years now at five different properties and have been fortunate enough to manage new openings, renovations, managed, franchised and owned businesses with luxury 5-star and 4-star properties across multiple brands including some of the most iconic hotels in central London. How has that influenced your management philosophy? I think the front line experience and the progression path has led me to become an experienced leader of people, simply Issue #002

because I know what it feels like and have been in those front line shoes. I treat people as I expect to be treated and firmly believe you are only as good as your weakest link. Be humble, be personable and remember, the manager is never as important as the newest front line team member. What would you say are the main factors that make a great general manager? I believe it is taking responsibility for the people, guests, owners, and company stakeholders very seriously. A good general manager should demonstrate integrity, consistency, and

fairness while also taking decisions that need to be taken. If you sit behind a desk and take a salary you will fail. Another important factor is to love what you do, I enjoy leading and looking after people. How do you feel the hotel is performing this year? I am very excited to have joined a hotel with such history in a place where everything is new for ten seconds and has little history. Everyone knows Radisson Blu, Media City and everyone loves it. They tell me about the good times they have had here and also how it should be run! Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

GM Interview

Current Hotel Performance Figures Occupancy 75% Average Daily Rate 580 Average length of stay 1.6 Turnover as room revenue 55% Turnover as F&B revenue 40% So far, occupancy is good, we have a well-established business and the bars are doing particularly well because we have a loyal local following. Our guest satisfaction continues to grow which is the main positive for me. What are your targets and expectations for the near future? Given the core of our hotel is the great team, being in a great location and a well-known brand, we have to aim high and stretch ourselves. We need to hit new heights in guest performance and I need to engage my team to do that. What are your thoughts on the current state of the region’s hospitality market? I think it is great that so much development and growth is going on, everyone wants to be here and be a part of this growth. I enjoy competition, it keeps me motivated. Also, it has emerged. Hoteliers need to stop talking about an emerging market, Dubai is now established. This means stable levels of demand which should be reflected in price positioning with clear divisions of brand category, if managed properly. What are the operational priorities for you as a general manager? Loving what I do every day and making sure people see that. I ensure I look after my team as they look after me, the guest, and the business. What are your main target markets? Our core business is the local corporate market, this doesn’t change. We target growth in the leisure periods to better support our core business. 44

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Our core business is the local corporate market, this doesn’t change. We target growth in the leisure periods to better support our core business.” www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

GM Interview

What is the hotel's sales and marketing strategy? We are the heart of Dubai Media City, we serve it and it serves us and have done this for 12 years. We have to engage our clients and look after our guests, both residential and transient, all our strategies are geared around this. Your thoughts on digital strategies in today’s market? It’s important and has to be done right. You can become white noise with too much, and less credible if you are posting something just for the sake of doing so. How does your property fit into the hotel group’s portfolio? Very well, an established stylish business hotel in a prime urban location with high levels of service and a long lasting owner partner, has created many memorable moments for our guests.

ELEGANT LIGHTING SOLUTIONS

sales@DesertRiver.com | +971 4 323 3636

Issue #002

Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

Event Preview

Gulfhost’s expansion highlights industry growth Dubai World Trade Centre serves up four shows in three days with new dedicated zones to amplify business opportunities.

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ith a triumphant 2017 launch under its belt, GulfHost, the hospitality equipment sourcing expo for the Middle East, Africa and Asia returns this October in twice the size with new dedicated zones for Gelato & Bakery, Café & Bar, and HORECA. International, regional, and local suppliers will be part of the GulfHost action after the show’s debut last year turned a searing spotlight on seemingly insatiable regional demand. The 2018 edition, which runs at the Dubai World

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Trade Centre (DWTC) from 30 October to 1 November will feature 2,500 brands and over 8,000 products across six core sectors and is set to draw more than 25,000 buyers. “GulfHost quickly established credentials as the home for hospitality equipment in an expanded region which takes in some of the world’s fastest-growing hotel, restaurant, general and specialist catering, and F&B segments,” Mark Napier, exhibition director, GulfHost said. “Its success is largely due to the vibrancy

of the wider regional market and also Dubai’s ability to serve a region which takes in the world’s biggest populations with dynamic air, transport, and logistics links enabling simple and seamless travel, supply, and distribution. GulfHost is now the destination of choice for Middle Eastern, African, and Asian buyers looking to connect with the world’s biggest hospitality equipment suppliers.” GulfHost 2018 will build on the success of its headline sectors of front of house, back of house, and tableware to unlock www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

Event preview

a slew of opportunities through its new zones which are key to driving a multibillion-dollar combined hospitality market. “The new zones will mirror swiftly changing consumer landscapes in the wider region,” explained Napier. “Whether its technology-driven coffee shops, new artisan gelato and bakery products responding to a health and dietconscious consumer base or demand for ready-to-go bakery snacks, innovation, change, and competitiveness are spurring transformational concepts. The show will be Issue #002

something of a microscope to these trends enabling show-goers to fine-tune their plans and go-to market strategies while seeking out the latest equipment enablers.” Running alongside GulfHost will be DWTC’s trio of food product trade shows, The Speciality Food Festival, yummex Middle East, and SEAFEX Middle East. “The co-location of these shows mean hospitality professionals can get a wide breadth of opportunity, knowledge, and networking opportunities in one visit,” added Napier.

Show floor opportunities will be augmented by a full schedule of on-site features and training initiatives supported by major culinary associations. A focal point will be the GulfHost Restaurant Development Conference, powered by the International Centre for Culinary Arts in Dubai and the Middle East Food Forum. “This conference is an open door, transformative learning platform hosted by the shining stars of the region's F&B professionals,” explained Napier. “Over three days, more than 60 high profile speakers will take to the floor to share proven methods for navigating the latest food service shifts. It’s a valuable opportunity for local and regional professionals to gain insights which will enable them to keep abreast, if not move ahead, of dynamic industry changes.” Another major draw will be the ICCA Electrolux World Chefs Education Theatre hosted in partnership with the World Association of Chefs Societies and the Emirates Culinary Guild. This on-site workspace will serve up certified training to executive chefs seeking next level culinary development. Utilising custom built, kitchen technology on the theatre floor, participants will be guided through workshops covering food preparation techniques and trends, ingredient cost management, food waste reduction, and productivity output. The comprehensive agenda also includes the World Coffee Events certified National Barista & Latte Art Championship, as well as the second GulfHost Innovation Awards which will recognise progressive technologies shaping the future of hospitality equipment solutions across the MENA region. “The programme’s depth ensures that this platform will be a chance to source restaurant equipment and cosmopolitan F&B options, making it a rare opportunity to remain at the cutting edge of food service preparation for the year ahead,” said Napier. For the full list of features, showcases, and industry trends visit https://www. gulfhost.ae/ Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

Market trends

Top 10 Trends Driving Hotel Online Search and Booking Millennials and disruptive technology-led changes are expected to significantly transform the travel industry in the years to come. Luckily, being at the top-of-funnel, metasearch engines get a sense of the upcoming trends for every leg of the customer lifecycle from travel planning to hotel booking. Anna Trushkina, hotel director at Wego, rounds up the top 10 trends impacting the online hotel search and booking consumer behaviour.

by aggregate guest rating is one of the most popular functionalities when our users want to narrow down their search for hotels. This way, hotels with poor reviews are being filtered out, even before travellers get to see rates. Another factor, other than reviews and price, that influences traveller decision making for accommodation, is free rate inclusions. Most popular rate inclusions are free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, pay-at-hotel option, and free cancellation, the latter being of utmost importance to GCC travellers.

1 // Decline in interest for brands and star ratings Unlike the recent past, the selection of hotels preferred by local travellers are no longer restricted to 5-star properties. We now see more and more 3-star and 4-star hotels amongst top properties, popular with Middle Eastern audience. And it is the boutique hotels, individual properties, soft brands, and apartments that are gaining popularity with Wego’s audience. 2 // Trendy hotels The tech-savvy youth of MENA are choosing to frequent trendy hotels, equipped with state-of-art technology and fast, free Wi-Fi. Since Middle Eastern countries top the list of locations with the highest number of active users on YouTube and Instagram, travellers from the region are gravitating towards hotels where they can generate unique content for social media. Therefore, properties such as Zabeel House by Jumeirah and Rove Hotels, are gaining popularity. 3 // Personalisation Hotel booking is a high consideration process. Picking the right hotel to stay, on average, is a more time consuming as compared to a flight ticket purchase. 48

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User preferences help us customise search results to deliver accommodation options best suited to each individual. However, even with the emergence of artificial intelligence, personalisation is quite a difficult task. Yet, the effort tends to pay off. To achieve such levels of customisation, Wego relies on systematic and disciplined data collection and analysis. 4 // Reviews matter User reviews is one of the strongest factors for purchase decision-making along with price. In fact, sort and filter

5 // Alternative Accommodation Vacation rentals, a new accommodation type, is gaining popularity in the region. A quarter of users in Saudi Arabia are searching for more than one room, as they plan trips on Wego. Around 45% of Saudi Arabian travellers look for accommodation for four nights or more. The young techsavvy population of MENA are more likely to choose longer stays, travel with families or in groups, and visit urban destinations. In view of these preferences, alternative accommodations, apartments, and homes for rent are a great alternative to hotels. We find home-inventory to be a great addition to hotel accommodation options, as trips to big cities are usually six nights or longer. www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

Market trends

6 // Conversion rates via mobiles Users are much more comfortable booking on their mobile devices, as compared to three years ago, when travellers used to research on mobile but complete their bookings through other devices. Today, mobile has become mainstream. Even google index has become mobile-first. Advances in technology and mobile experience optimisation has also made customers more comfortable with booking on mobile devices. Additionally, it has also led to a shorter booking window trend, as more travellers are booking last minute on the go, using their smartphones.

UNIQUE MOODS FOR UNIQUE TABLES

7 // Direct hotel website booking growth Having worked with major chains directly for years, we’ve started seeing an increase in acceptance and adoption of meta channels by smaller to mid-sized hotel brands as well as independent properties and brands with regional presence. It is especially easy to extend hotel distribution to meta with the help of third party connectivity or channel management providers. Hence, the task of distribution on meta can be outsourced. Consumer preference is evolving too, we see a 30% higher click-through rate for hotel direct rates when compared to OTAs. 8 // Chatbots Having a lot of insights on how travel is booked online and with the recent evolution of AI and machine learning, chatbots have become a viable technology to make a hotel booking process more seamless for the consumer. This is especially a boon for those who are not fully comfortable with booking online. With Wego’s search results, you may already find hotel merchants successfully using chatbots as a principal funnel in the booking submission process. Chatbots also represent a smart way to promote personalised or fenced hotel rates. 9 // Exclusive rates The hotel booking marketplace is becoming increasingly fragmented. Therefore, more fenced member rates and promotions are being distributed in attempts to gain a bigger share of bookings by OTAs and chains alike. Independent properties that are not implementing closed user group rates, as part of their pricing strategy, may find it difficult to attract direct bookings through paid search or metasearch engines. 10 // New destinations Young Middle Eastern travellers, given that more than 76% of the MENA population is below 40 years old, are becoming more adventurous and open to exploring new destinations. Along with the traditionally popular locations, we are seeing year-on-year growth for hotel bookings in South East Asia and Eastern Europe. The youth is also keen to rediscover off-the-beaten-track hotel locations in the region. Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina) appeared in the leader board of top 20 hotel destinations, searches, by Arabic users, on Wego mobile apps this summer. Such popularity can be attributed to the fact that it is a halal-friendly country with easy visa for GCC nationals, low-cost flights, lush-green scenery, and rich heritage. We are also witnessing a surge in hotel bookings across Saudi Arabia, beyond religious tourism, to destinations such as Taif, Yanbu, and Abha among others. Issue #002

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lookseasy.com Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

Event Preview

A Positive Outlook Industry visionary Gerald Lawless believes the region is on the brink of exciting times as he looks ahead to The Hotel Show Dubai 2018

Former President and CEO of the Jumeirah Group and immediate-past chair of the World Travel and Trade Council Gerald Lawless has previewed The Hotel Show Dubai, due to take place in September, by affirming that he believes the Middle East tourist offering is on the brink of truly exciting times. Often cited as one of the visionaries, under the direction of HH Sheikh 50

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Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who helped make Dubai the tourist showpiece it is today, Lawless dedicated more than 40 years of his life to hotels and constantly improving guest experience, taking the reins of the Jumeirah Group in 1997 before the brand had even launched a property. In less than three years, the group was up and running, with the iconic Burj Al

Arab, the jewel in its crown. The hotel, which is the world’s first 7-star property, captured the imagination of tourists across the globe and stamped the UAE’s passport as a truly global destination, invariably kick-starting two decades of visitordriven expansion across the country that transformed the region entirely and solidified tourism’s role as a long-term revenue alternative away from oil. www.hotelnewsme.com


However, more than 20 years and unrivalled growth later, Lawless believes the Middle East is once again on the cusp of redefining tourism. Speaking ahead of this year’s Hotel Show Dubai, taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre between 16-18 September, the Irishman insisted that anything is possible in the region, now that tourism has proven its worth. Issue #002

“I think we’re on the brink of truly exciting, but also challenging times, he says. “The argument has been won and everyone accepts and understands that travel and tourism is a great benefit to the economy and society. To see what is happening, not just here in the UAE with the likes of the development in Ras Al Khaimah, but with what is happening in Saudi Arabia and the crown prince being truly committed to developing the country as a tourism destination not just for religious tourism but also to show what the country has to offer, is just fantastic. “When you look around the Middle East, particularly the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is the example of a location that really developed its product and itself as a tourist destination. I think Dubai very much stands out as a leader in terms of what has occurred in this region. “It is great to see the understanding that has developed in this part of the world of the importance of tourism and the benefit of travel to the global economy and society. What has been achieved here is nothing short of phenomenal. At this moment in time, I am very excited and believe we truly are at the beginning of a great era for tourism in the Gulf countries and the Middle East generally.” A graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management in Ireland, Lawless stepped down from Jumeirah, with the globally-renowned brand now operating 23 hotels across 12 worldwide destinations and owning in excess of 100 restaurants. Asked where the region can now go having firmly established itself as a key player in global tourism, Lawless says: “We need to ensure what we're doing is done in a sustainable way. Sustainability covers the environment, for sure, but it also covers the social aspects of what travel and tourism can do to a destination. For us in this part of the world, we have to understand, appreciate, and respect the culture of the region. We have to understand the people who live here and what

their aspirations are for the future of their country and how the country can develop with travel and tourism. “It's not just numbers. It's the sustainability of those numbers. It's the sustainability of the whole travel experience for people who are staying here. There are many different levels of a market, but I think the sustainability issue is one that we have to think about and we have to be very considerate about it. “When I first came here in 1978, there was only Dubai Creek, that was it. It was the buildings around the creek that were the major areas. And I still love when guests come for a visit, we have our little tour around Dubai which starts with a visit to Bur Dubai, the Al Fahidi Fort and the museum down through the textile souk, hop on an Abra, go across to the spice souk, walk through the gold souk, and see all the boats pass by. This is the magic of Dubai. “A place like Dubai must never lose that sense of heritage, culture, and the sense of sustainability to continue with that.” The Hotel Show Dubai will gather 30,000 industry professionals to the biggest networking and product sourcing event of its kind in the Middle East. The three-day event will feature more than 600 exhibitors, a packed general manager’s leadership conference, and a host of live features. “The Hotel Show is one of the major events for any hotelier,” Lawless adds. “It is also important for suppliers or anyone with an interest in the business. The Hotel Show is such a great forum that brings everyone in the industry together, and is important for all aspects of hotels. It also has the general manager’s forum, which gives the region’s GMs a chance to get exposure in the market. “The Hotel Show is a true coming together of the industry and one that is eagerly looked forward to by everyone in the business.” To register to attend for free, visit www.thehotelshow.com Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

In profile

From humble beginnings

The history of Moretti Forni, the leading electric pizza oven company, in the words of its CEO, Mario Moretti. Today, Moretti is recognised as a global leader in pizza oven and bakery oven manufacturing. But like many great success stories, this one too has humble beginnings. The seed of the company's success, before there even was a company, was all in the vision and acumen of one man, an electrician named Placido Moretti, who manually built his first electric bakery oven in the basement of his house in Pesaro, the Italian region of Marche. The year was 1946 and soon afterwards, Placido began patenting his inventions and established Brevetti Moretti, an iconic company which was the first in Italy to market electric ovens, at a time when the country relied exclusively on wood-burning methods. In 1965, Placido's son and son-inlaw founded a new company, Moretti, headquartered at a manufacturing plant in the town of Marotta, where they began industrial-scale production of commercial bakery ovens. The exceptional performance of their pizza ovens, as well as their innovative modular concepts quickly made the brand synonymous with quality, and within a few years demand for its commercial bakery ovens and pizzeria ovens grew all over Europe. It was also in this period that the company expanded its offerings with modular gas ovens and a wider range of baking tools and equipment along with the production of ceramic kilns. In the 1990s, the third Moretti generation took hold of the family business, and soon turned it into a joint-stock limited liability corporation Moretti SPA. The last decade of the 20th century was marked by a number of strategic partnerships with leading baking machinery distributors both domestically and abroad. The success of the company's 52

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pizza ovens in the North American region prompted the opening of a new Moretti location near Toronto, Ontario, to better serve the company's many customers in the United States and Canada. Around the same time, the company also opened a third division, dedicated to producing glass-melting furnaces.

In 2005, to meet an ever-growing demand for its commercial pizza ovens and professional restaurant supplies, Moretti relocated to its present location, a 10,000sqm state-of-the-art facility in Mondolfo. The new eco-friendly facility, which serves as both the administrative headquarters and the main manufacturing plant, was conceived to optimise the work process. Today, Moretti Forni is a modern restaurant supplies and bakery equipment manufacturer with over 100 employees, but it remains family-run and retains its original spirit. That first home-made bakery oven built by Placido Moretti in 1946 has been recovered, restored, and placed at the entrance of our new facility, not just in memory of our founder, but also as a reminder of the values which guide us. Now more than ever, we embrace those principles which made us successful in the first place, a steadfast commitment to quality and innovation, the ability to stay ahead of the market, and the will to put the customer above anything else, understanding that their complete satisfaction is the key to our success. www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

Opinion

How to cut costs in the future of hospitality

As a new wave of restaurant entrepreneurs challenge traditional restaurant business models, Sven Sallaerts, co-founder of Netherlands-based Younique Concepts tells us the about their strategy for growth and development, and if their model could work in the Middle East.

To make a statement in the world, you need to keep up with new developments. Eating habits and patterns are changing rapidly. Consumer spend in the food sector is rising and there is growth in the out-of-home channels. To start a new concept, it’s important to understand your market, consumer needs, and to consider current trends such as blurring, convenience, healthy, and sustainable. At Younique Concepts we have a clear goal, the development of sustainable and innovative hospitality concepts that respond to current trends and the needs of tomorrow. We mainly focus on creating new innovative hospitality concepts but also consult existing hospitality companies, reorganising daily operations or one-off events. With Younique Concepts we intend to draw a little outside the lines and have an opinionated look at the hospitality industry. For example, we work with profit sharing and a revolutionary human resource policy. That results in low staff turnover, low absenteeism, and a sense of Issue #002

ownership. In a North-European market where finding experienced and skilled staff is difficult, this is a huge advantage. The classic hospitality industry has changed radically, most notably from chic and traditional to casual and contemporary. The changes provide a positive impulse for food turnover, resulting in economic growth and increasing consumer confidence. How can companies digitise their business model to influence the consumption behaviour of the consumer? One of the ideas from Younique concepts is Pesca or theatre of fish, an example of a casual and contemporary concept where we turned the business model around and eliminated parts of what are often the two highest cost departments of a hospitality organisation, labour and food. When you open the doors of Pesca, don’t expect a traditional restaurant. It is a fish market experience where the guest participates in the experience, they pick up the food when it’s ready and take their own drinks to the table. This creates an informal atmosphere

and a significant reduction in staff cost. It’s a new experience that involves the guest in the concept while changing the industry by its experience, business model, and revenues. Pesca has no set menu, which makes it very flexible regarding product choices, and we use dynamic pricing whereby prices are not fixed and items will lower in price during the evening to steer demand. By doing this, we create a zero waste policy, a maximum revenue gain on certain items, and a fun experience. We believe our approach works in almost every culture worldwide, although adaptations need to be made. The Middle East does not have the same challenges as Northern Europe concerning labour or food costs, but the recruitment of skilled staff is likely to become more challenging in the near future. As the industry becomes saturated, we believe staff will keep making the difference. You could really differentiate yourself with a different human resource strategy combined with profit sharing. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

In focus

Everything you need to know about

French Butter

More than 95% of chefs in Europe claim that butter is essential for cooking and baking, especially due to its flavour. Fragrant, textured, creamy butters in the kitchen tells a story with new uses of butter having emerged, disrupting classic recipes and defining future trends, we take a look at the origin, quality and use of French butter.

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www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

In Focus

This product is more than just an ingredient, it is a flavour enhancer. Used both in elaborate kitchens and simple recipes, the face of butter has changed. No-one hesitates to put it out on the table or highlight it as a noble product. Indispensable to new culinary trends, butter is a source of inspiration that never grows old. Discovering the land of butter Earlier this year, journalists from the region had the chance to discover French butter, its origin and specifics during a trip in France organised by the European Union and the French dairy board. France is a country where residents consume around eight kg of butter a year, the highest per capita figure in the world and twice the EU average. The visit began with a trip to a family farm, Beillevaire, located near the city of Nantes, to learn the techniques of milking, churning, and making butter. With vast facilities containing thousands of cows, Beillevaire farm hosts about 70 and 160 Holstein cows. The cows can graze in the meadows between late March and November, with daily production per animal restricted to about 30 l to maintain high fat content for butter making. Butter production at the Beillevaire plant is characterised by the use of 100-yearold churns made from teak. This churning produces grains of butter that undergo further processing. The next stop was Rennes, the capital of the Brittany region where the visitors had the opportunity to walk around the factory of the famous butter artisan M. Bordier, from the French brand Le Beurre Bordier. Le Beurre Bordier produces about a dozen of flavoured butters, including seaweed butter, buckwheat butter and lemon or olive oil butter. Travelling to the Pays de La Loire region, the group also visited Lactopole in Laval. The dairy museum by Lactalis, the first French dairy exporter, offered an opportunity to make butter from dairy cream, thanks to a simple butter churner. The trip ended in Paris, the international capital of pastry, where pastry chef Yann Couvreur invited the group to his new café in Galeries Lafayette Gourmet Paris, to discover his flagship pastries, the famous KouignAmman and viennoiseries. Issue #002

Expert tips to use butter • To make it easier to spread, remove the butter from the fridge and leave it at room temperature for at least an hour. • To quickly soften butter which is too cold, just cut it into pieces, wrap it in a damp cotton cloth, and knead it for a few seconds. • If the butter has absorbed smells from the fridge, an ice water bath will give it a second youth. Just dry it after the process. This can be done as many times as necessary. • Butter can be frozen for up to two months. • To make a butter sauce, the butter must always be incorporated by whisking it off the heat. • Calm down crackling in the pan by adding a pinch of salt before melting the butter, then a pinch of flour when it is melting. • To prevent the formation of a skin on the surface of bechamel sauce, coat it with a little melted butter.

Tips to flavour butter • Mix unsalted butter with a little horseradish or wasabi from a tube, melt gently and serve with grilled meat. • Cover a fillet of sole with melted unsalted butter mixed with hazelnut powder. • Mix unsalted butter with a piece of camembert and add toasted almonds. Spread on lightly grilled croutons and serve as an aperitif.

How to pick the best French butter in Dubai “In the UAE, butter is mainly imported and the Middle East is the largest export market for European Butter after the United States. The use of butter is gaining popularity and in 2018, the total butter sales are expected to grow by 3.6% and reach $80.6 million according to the World Dairy Federation,” Francois Robin, Cheesemonger and dairy specialist says. Around half a dozen of French brands are on offer for UAE consumers within mass distribution and can be found in Carrefour, Spinneys or Choithrams stores. Robin continues: “You can find PDO (Protected Denomination of Origin) butter, such as Isigny from Normandy along with a host of good quality French butters from a larger production. It's still the same idea of small family run farms with grass feeding.”

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August 2018

New Hotel Opening

Playing It Right

With the city’s first licensed VOX cinema and four movie themed suites, the newly opened Aloft, Deira City Centre is giving affordable, city stay-cations a whole new perspective and Alison MacLeod, cluster director of marketing spills the beans on everything the new property has to offer.

Aloft Deira City Centre

With the tag line, Urban Cool on the Creek, the new design-led brand under Marriott International is looking to bring a fresh aura to one of the city’s oldest areas. Blended with a tech-savvy and millennial-focused approach, the new 56

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Aloft Deira City Centre is looking to tap into one of the fastest growing segments of the hospitality sector, catering to next generation travellers. Alison MacLeod, cluster director of marketing says, “The Dubai hospitality

market is certainly a competitive one, and to stay ahead of the game hotels have to rethink the whole experience. Aloft is the company’s design led brand and we are offering a new experience to our guests by delivering an urban-inspired gathering www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

New Hotel Opening

Top three marketing tips • Stand out from the crowd, find your differentiator and shout about it. • Know your market and invest in it wisely. Each market has different ways of reaching them, you cannot use the same approach for everyone. Therefore know who you want to reach and then know which platforms are the best to reach them rather than blanket spend. • Content. Embrace it, invest in it, and use it to engage your guests and inspire them. place for tech-savvy next-gen travellers and local residents. We focus on the moments, the technology that enhances your stay, the exploration of a different side of Dubai, the social scene with live music, and service approach where we talk Issue #002

about talent rather than staff. “This hotel will grow with its surroundings. There are some fantastic developments coming in the area which will see many sites regenerated and brought to life through activations and

campaigns for travellers and residents to visit the more traditional side of the city. Being situated in the cultural heart of Dubai, we are confident that we will evolve with this regeneration as an increasing number of travellers visit us because they are looking to explore a side of Dubai that they have not seen before.” The success of an establishment is measured both internally and externally, according to the director and that is the how Aloft City Centre Deira will measure its success going forward, “It goes without saying that we review revenues and market placement, but reputation is a whole factor to us. We monitor review sites on a daily basis and have dedicated team members who handle guest feedback on various sites. Guest feedback really helps us grow and celebrate success. Additionally, another factor of our success is our associate satisfaction which we monitor regularly too. With a happy and engaged team we know we can serve our guests better,” she says Competing in a market where there are new options for guests to choose from almost every day means hotels now have to take that one step further with out-ofthe-box offerings to attract their market share and for Aloft City Centre Deira, that would be the licensed VOX cinema and movie themed suites. “We have four high-tech cinema themed suites coming soon to the market, a first in the region,” MacLeod explains. “These suites will allow our guests to experience movies with an in-room cinema screen, surround sound, and ambient lighting all controlled by the latest technology. Guests can choose their favourite theme from Bollywood, Hollywood, Agent House or Superhero. A lot of our campaigns will feature these suites since they offer something different as compared to other hotels in the city, as well as our in house cinema and outstanding views.” Speaking of campaigns, the hotel, like most in today’s market, is taking a digital focused approach, according to MacLeod. “We follow a very digital focused strategy, particularly on social media. Our brand is all about technology and techsavvy travellers, therefore we know that these are the best platforms to reach out Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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New Hotel Opening

to our future guests. We are highlighting our USPs through engaging content with a series of videos which highlight everything we have to offer and will be using these throughout all our key markets to showcase the hotel. We want to present the hotel to our clients in a fun and interactive way rather than a brochure, so we are exploring new techniques to ensure we stand out from the crowd and get clients and guests excited about what we have to offer. Of course, being attached to City Centre Deira and having VOX Cinemas in the hotel presents a great marketing opportunity and we will have various partnerships with both to provide a fully integrated experience when they are staying with us,” she says. “We market both locally and internationally. This is the beauty of digital, we can target our campaigns to reach potential guests in our key markets. With the coming together of all three 58

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Alison MacLeod loyalty programmes within our company, Marriott Rewards, The Ritz Carlton Rewards, and SPG our reach expands and we have one powerful programme that

guests can enjoy when staying with us.” In terms of food and beverage, the hotel is introducing six new dining concepts, two of which are home grown, “Our new dining outlets include Han Shi Fu, a modern Chinese and Asian fusion gastropub, The Canteen which serves bowl meals, and a licensed VOX Cinemas movie experience. The hotel will also feature the Aloft brand’s signature outlets, including W XYZ Bar & Lounge with a resident DJ and shisha on the terrace along with Re:fuel, the brand’s signature 24/7 grab and go venue in the lobby,” MacLeod says. “Our venues create new social spaces for guests, perfect for those looking for a new gathering place on this side of town. Social spaces across the Hotel, particularly in W XYZ Bar & Lounge, will amplify the iconic global Live At Aloft Hotels program that showcases live acoustic performances by up and coming artists. www.hotelnewsme.com


16 - 18 September 2018 Dubai World Trade Centre

Redefining Hospitality Together.

The Hotel Show Dubai, the most prestigious hospitality event in the Middle East is returning for its nineteenth edition this September for the most important date in the calendar, where the entire industry meets to do business. If you are an Owner, General Manager, Head of Procurement, Executive Housekeeper, F&B Manager, Chef, Designer or Architect, The Hotel Show Dubai is where you will discover everything needed to build, develop and maintain a hotel or restaurant in one of the world’s most active markets for hospitality development. By joining over 30,000 visitors between 16-18 September 2018, you will explore the latest trends and unearth the very latest products across Interiors, Lighting & Design, Technology & Security, Operating Equipment, Bathroom & Sanitary Ware and HORECA. With more than 600 international and regional brands to choose from the possibilities are endless. Furthermore, back by popular demand is The Middle East Hospitality Leadership Forum, which will bring together more than 50 industry leaders to discuss latest developments, and The Middle East Housekeepers League of Champions, the only challenge of its kind for the housekeeping division in the world.

REGISTER TODAY FOR FREE ENTRY www.thehotelshow.com/register

JOIN YOUR PEERS


July 2018

Chain Focus

Grand Millennium Business Bay

Millennium Hotels and Resorts Millennium Hotels and Resorts is a global hotel company, which owns, asset manages, and operates over 130 hotels worldwide. With almost 40,000 rooms across the globe, the company is present in all continents with a portfolio of brands which serve different market segments, representing

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quality and value in every class. From a single property in Abu Dhabi, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Middle East and Africa has expanded into various neighbouring destinations and is now recognised as one of the fastest growing hotel management companies in the

region. Along the way, the company has cultivated partnerships with reputable and respected owners. Millennium Hotels and Resorts currently operates 35 hotels, with 10 hotels due to open within the next year and 40 hotels in the pipeline across the region. www.hotelnewsme.com


July 2018

Chain focus

Millenium Madinah Airport

The Pipeline Within 2018, Millennium Hotels and Resorts plan to open 10 hotels spanning the region. Highlights include Millennium Al Naseem and Copthorne Al Naseem Makkah in Saudi Arabia, Grand Millennium Business Bay and Studio M Al Qiyadah Mall in the UAE as well as Millennium Resort Salalah in Oman. Dubai is a key focus with five Dubai properties in the pipeline over the next year, one of which will introduce a new Millennium Hotels and Resorts brand, Studio M. The company is also extending its reach across Saudi Arabia, with 21 hotels planned to open in locations such as Jizan, Madina, Makkah, Tabuk, and Riyadh in the next two years. Following the takeover of two landmark properties, Makkah Millennium Hotel and Makkah Millennium Towers in 2017, the company plans to operate 10,000 keys in the Holy city over the next three years.

Recent openings

Operational properties Hotel

Brand

City

Country

Keys

Bab Al Qasr Hotel

Biltmore

Abu Dhabi

UAE

677

Copthorn Kuwait City The group operates Copthorne Kuwait City, under the global flagship of Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Middle East and Africa. Located close to Kuwait City’s financial and business district and 20 minutes away from Kuwait International Airport, Copthorne Kuwait City accommodates 149 rooms and suites.

Grand Millennium Hotel Muscat

Grand Millennium

Muscat

Oman

328

Grand Millennium Al Wahda Hotel

Grand Millennium

Abu Dhabi

UAE

830

Grand Millennium Hotel Dubai

Millennium

Dubai

UAE

337

Millennium Plaza Hotel Dubai

Millennium

Dubai

UAE

398

Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai

Millennium

Dubai

UAE

341

Millennium Plaza Hotel Doha

Millennium

Doha

Qatar

232

Millennium Resort Mussannah

Millennium

Mussannah

Oman

308

Millennium Executive Apartments-Muscat

Millennium

Muscat

Oman

115

Millennium Hotel & Convention Center Kuwait Millennium

Al Salmiya

Kuwait

295

Millennium Hotel Hail

Millennium

Hail City

KSA

183

Millennium Taiba Hotel

Millennium

Madinah

KSA

208

Millennium Istanbul Golden Horn The first opening in Turkey by Millennium Hotels and Resorts is the 5-star, 127 key Millennium Istanbul Golden Horn Hotel. Named after the nearby Haliç or primary inlet of the famous Bosporus, guests have a front row seat to Istanbul’s world famous urban waterway at this property.

Millennium Al Aqeeq Hotel

Millennium

Madinah

KSA

505

M Hotel Downtown by Millennium

M Hotel

Dubai

UAE

242

M Hotel Makkah by Millennium

M Hotel

Makkah

KSA

783

Copthorne Airport Dubai

Copthorne

Dubai

UAE

TBA

Copthorne Hotel Riyadh

Copthorne

Riyadh

KSA

143

Al Jahra Copthorne Hotel & Resort

Copthorne

Al Jahra

Kuwait

261

Copthorne Hotel Dubai

Copthorne

Dubai

UAE

210

Copthorne Kuwait City

Copthorne

Kuwait

Kuwait

149

Copthorne Hotel Sharjah

Copthorne

Sharjah

UAE

255

Kingsgate Hotel Abu Dhabi

Kingsgate

Abu Dhabi

UAE

108

Kingsgate Hotel Doha

Kingsgate

Doha

Qatar

140

Millennium Madinah Airport Millennium Hotels and Resorts have furthered their expansion in Saudi Arabia with the opening of Millennium Madinah Airport. Designed to provide pilgrims and visitors with a luxurious accommodation in the city, the 5-star property features 227 magnificent rooms and is located at Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport.

Copthorne Hotel Doha

Copthorne

Doha

Qatar

137

Millennium Hotel Doha

Millennium

Doha

Qatar

226

Makkah Millennium Hotel

Millennium

Makkah

KSA

614

Makkah Millennium Towers

Millennium

Makkah

KSA

798

Millennium Golden Horn Istanbul

Millennium

Istanbul

Turkey

127

Millennium Madinah Airport

Millennium

Madinah

KSA

222

The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi

Biltmore

Tbilisi

Georgia

214

Grand Millennium Hotel Amman

Grand Millennium

Amman

Jordan

177

Grand Millennium Hotel Sulaimani

Grand Millennium

Sulaimaniah

Iraq

253

Millennium Kurdistan Hotel and Spa

Millennium

Sulaimaniah

Iraq

135

Copthorne Hotel Baranan

Copthorne

Sulaimaniah

Iraq

78

Millennium Palestine Ramallah

Millennium

Ramallah

Palestine

171

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July 2018

Chain Focus

In conversation With Kevork Deldelian, chief operating officer, Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East & Africa

What were the hotel group’s key achievements and milestones in the past 12 months? The Millennium Hotels and Resorts Group has continued to grow in team strength and portfolio over the past 12 months. With commitment to employ over 4,000 staff by the end of 2018, the group stands strong on its promise and continues to develop departments such as learning and development, operations, and revenue to name a few. In addition to this, the group has also continued to expand their portfolio with announcements of various new projects in the region including the opening of Millennium Golden Horn in Istanbul and Millennium Madinah 62

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Airport in Saudi Arabia as well as the launch of the M Hotels in Dubai and Makkah. Millennium Hotels and Resorts continues its ambitious growth strategy, with 10 hotels due to open in 2018 across the Middle East. What have been the key challenges facing the hotel group and the hospitality sector today? As with any year, hoteliers have been faced with challenges but ones we believe we are well placed to address. There have been some traditional source markets affected by economic conditions, which has impacted the tourism numbers from these markets. In the hospitality sector there is a decline

in the conversion to profit as compared to the previous years and the main driver in that is the drop in the rates. As an occupied room cost stays the same, 1% less in rate is 1% less in profit. We must ensure we adapt our strategy and approach where necessary to cope with the impacted numbers and look to alternative source markets as we have done in the past years. We will continue to tap into source markets such as the Middle East, Europe, and India and also continue to develop seasonal campaigns and promotions to target new markets such as China and South East Asia. Recruiting and retaining talent across the region also presents challenges. At Millennium Hotels and Resorts, we have www.hotelnewsme.com


July 2018

Chain focus

Millennium Resort Salalah

introduced a number of initiatives to attract and retain employees, providing them with the necessary training and work experience so they grow within the company. Our priority is to foster a positive work culture as well as instill a sense of ownership with our team members. What are the hotel group’s key goals? For the immediate future, the group continues to develop in the region. Dubai is a key focus with five Dubai properties in the pipeline over the next year, two of which will introduce a new Millennium Hotels and Resorts brand, Studio M. The group is also looking forward to introducing Grand Millennium Business Bay, Studio M Al Qiyadah Mall, and Studio M Al Barsha to Dubai in 2018 as well as Millennium Deyaar Al Barsha, and Millennium Atria Business Bay. Global events such as Expo 2020 will be key over the next five years as they lift investor confidence and will drive growth beyond 2020. How is technology dictating the way you run your business and liaise with customers? Technology plays a key factor in the hospitality sector and the group is Issue #002

Pipeline Hotel

Brand

City

Country

Opening Year

Keys

Expected Opening

Grand Millennium Business Bay

Grand Millennium

Dubai

UAE

2018

251

July/18

Millennium Resort Salalah

Millennium

Salalah

Oman

2018

286

July/18

Copthorne Makkah Copthorne Al Naseem

Makkah

KSA

2018

502

August/18

Millennium Makkah Millennium Al Naseem

Makkah

KSA

2018

822

August/18

Studio M Al Qiyadah Hotel & Apartments

Studio M

Dubai

UAE

2018

323

August/18

Millennium Tabouk

Millennium

Tabouk

KSA

2018

218

October/18

Millennium Deyaar Atria Residences

Millennium Executive Apartments

Dubai

UAE

2018

347

November/18

Millennium Deyaar Montrose Apartments

Millennium Executive Apartments

Dubai

UAE

2018

198

December/18

M Hotel Makkah Al Aziziyah

M Hotel

Makkah

KSA

2018

611

December/18

Grand Millennium Konya Hotel

Grand Millennium

Konya

Turkey

2018

318

December/18

committed to move and grow with technology. The recently initiated and enhanced loyalty programme, tailormade to suit the local market called You Loyalty and Rewards, has been developed following insights from guests across the Middle East, allowing them

to effortlessly turn points into memories at a broad choice of hotels in the region. The group has spent considerable time listening to guest opinions to better understand their preferences and create a programme that is completely tailored towards them. Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

Out of this world

Indian Cuisine Indian cuisine is arguably one of the most popular cuisines not just in the Middle East but across the globe. This is largely due to its diverse flavour and choice to play around with the ingredients and spices. Here we take an in-depth look at Indian cuisine featuring four of the most popular names in the country.

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August 2018

Out of this world

How popular is Indian cuisine in the Middle East? Himanshu Saini, corporate chef, Passion F&B Management Consultancies: Indian food, since its proliferation, has reached every corner of almost all parts of the world, including the Middle East. With an estimated population of around two million Indians in the UAE, constituting around 42% of the total UAE population, Indian food is among the most prominent cuisine in the region. I would not be wrong to say that Indian cuisine can be considered among the top three cuisines with the highest demand not just in the Middle East, but even some of the most competitive markets across the globe. Rajan Parajuli, assistant culinary manager, India Palace: Indian cuisine has always been very popular in the Middle East, especially with the Emirati population. Indian dishes like chicken biryani and Issue #002

butter chicken as well as desserts like gulab jamun and rasmalai seem to be some of the favourites. Indian cuisine in this region is on par with international cuisines like French, Italian, and Chinese. Rizwan ul Hasan, owner & head chef, Mughal E Azam: Indian cuisine finds a loyal and dedicated audience in the Middle East which is not surprising given its rich flavours and varied textures. The cooking methods invented several centuries ago, also add to the exotic cuisine. One of the factors that works in its favour is the wide range that encompasses spicy, salty, sweet, and sour dishes catering to every palette. Akshay Dosaj, managing director of Purple Honey Group and Tamba: Indian cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the GCC largely due to the majority sub-continental population and also the geographic and cultural proximity of the region to India.

How would you describe authentic Indian cuisine? Saini: Indian cuisine has a history of over 5000 years. This has evolved over time owing to trade interactions, invasions, foreign rule, availability of local ingredients, and climatic conditions. I am not much in favour of using the term authentic, especially when it comes to Indian food. The reason for that is simple, during the centuries of its formation, Indian cuisine was never recorded. Every region has variations of the same dish, which evolved depending on various influences from trade, invasions, transfer of cooking styles, and knowledge from one generation to another. Parajuli: Authentic Indian cuisine is dynamic in variety as well as taste, as it has a wide array of regional cuisines from various parts of India. This has to be attributed to the wide assortment of Hotel & Catering NEWS ME

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August 2018

Out of this world

Himanshu Saini

Rajan Parajuli

dishes and its intricate use of herbs and spices to deliver complex flavours. Hasan: Authentic Indian cuisine is characterised by its cooking style. While the ingredients and recipe might be the same, any deviation from the original cooking style will alter the taste. For example, the use of pressure cookers instead of the traditional handi will give you a dish that may resemble the original but will not be authentic in taste and texture. From start to finish, the cooking method must follow the legacy of the great cooks of yore. Dosaj: India is an amalgamation of many different cultures and has received much recognition for the uniqueness of its cuisine. Among the vastly diverse options in Indian cuisine, North Indian cuisine has reserved its place to be the most preferred and popular one across the world. Authentic Indian cuisine uses the whole spectrum of flavours and textures. What is your hero dish and why? Saini: It is like asking a father to choose between his children. For me the entire 66

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August 2018

Out of this world

menu is special and each dish on the menu is a hero in its own right. Having said that, Birbal ki khichdi is one dish, which I can have many times over. Khichdi is a very popular dish in India, a simple, porridge-like blend of beans and rice, it is often referred as the Indian comfort food. Parajuli: Hyderabadi chicken biryani and murgh makhanwala. These two dishes are the most popular across all demographics with maximum number of portions sold in all our outlets daily. This is attributed to our success in maintaining the same taste for the past 21 years. Hasan: While picking one single dish is extremely difficult, I am biased towards nihari and bhuna gosht. Both dishes have exquisite flavours that are deep rooted in the spices. The medley of contrasting textures with the tender meat in the mix is a culinary delight. In fact, both dishes require an absolute command over recipe and cooking style and are extremely difficult to get right for their complexity. Dosaj: Lamb chops accompanied with pickled carrot and cucumber. The unique combination of harissa chilli, butter,

honey, and lemon juice along with the acidity of the pickeled vegetable provides a wonderful explosion of flavours. Have you adapted Indian cuisine to suit local tastes? Saini: Indian food has evolved from its erstwhile boring, heavy, spicy perception to being more innovative, engaging, and interactive for diners from across cultures and backgrounds. Modernist Indian food is about retaining the original flavours of dishes, while working on incorporating international cooking techniques, using inspiration from various dining cultures from around the world. We adapt to the local market in terms of culinary influences, however the dishes on the menu across our restaurants are inherently Indian, with Indian flavours and there is no negotiation on that. Parajuli: Yes, and very successfully. Our dishes are milder in spices and are less oily as compared to traditional Indian cooking. We also pay more emphasis sourcing premium ingredients and the best meat while focusing on slow cooking to develop flavours.

Hasan: We have made minor changes in our recipes to tailor them for the local market without altering their original composition. We have reduced the oil in the dishes to make it healthier. Since Indian cuisine is spicier than most cuisines, we have also gone easy on the chilli. Dosaj: Other than being mindful in relation to the chilli levels, we have not adapted our dishes for the local taste buds. That said we describe ourselves as Indian inspired cuisine so all our dishes are an adaptation and our interpretation of what Indian cuisine is and can be. What are the key trends emerging in Indian cuisine globally? Saini: One of the biggest trend taking shape in Indian food, with us incorporating it at our restaurants as well, is that of artisanal butchery. Unlike before, where restaurants used simple curry cuts for most of the preparations in Indian food, we work with specific cuts like ossobuco and are now getting meat tailor cut as per preference and requirement of the dish. Another key trend which a few have already started working on, is using sustainable ingredients which are not just healthy but also reduce impact on global warming. Parajuli: Some trends we have noticed are healthy and fusion options with a good mix of regional cuisines adapted to modern taste. Restaurants focusing on experience and not just food alone and a lot more standalone concepts are a few to mention too. Hasan: It would not be wrong to say that Indian cuisine has found a solid foot in most parts of the world, where in some

Rizwan Ul Hasan

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August 2018

Out of this world

cases, it has even touted the local cuisine. As the more traditional and authentic Indian food settles, I see scope for a lot of fusion with other cuisines, especially in the Middle East, which is a global food hub. Dosaj: Combining cooking techniques from other countries with Indian ingredients is the latest trend emerging in the Middle East. Tamba is an example of this and was one of the first in the country to take this step. Where do you source produce for your menu? Saini: With Dubai being an international hub located centrally between the East and West, the finest ingredients and produce are at our disposal. Parajuli: Most of our fresh produce is sourced from local suppliers, our spices and rice are specially imported from India through trusted quality suppliers. Hasan: Getting the right ingredients is of paramount importance especially for us as the entire menu hinges on authenticity. From the foundational spices to the core meat and vegetables, everything must be just right. Hence, after much search, we have been able to find suppliers and outlets that match our level of quality. Dosaj: We source from the most trustworthy organisations in order to get the ingredients of the best quality such as Alaskan king Crab, Chilean seabass or the Australian wagyu. Where possible we try to source from local producers. What products do you find challenging to source? Saini: The challenge comes in sourcing premium quality, fresh meat that isn’t easily available in the region and thus we need to look at importing it from Australia and Japan. Parajuli: Sourcing high-quality meat. It is very difficult to meet our product specifications as we have set a high bench mark for all of our products. Hasan: In a place like Dubai, no product poses a massive problem and we are able to find what we need. However, there are some products that require extensive search. For example, the simple chore of sourcing ground spices can involve major legwork as there may be differing varieties available in the market and we 68

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have to choose the one that best suits our needs. Dosaj: We generally do not face challenges in sourcing. How do you see your menu evolving over the next year? Saini: Innovation is key and at both Trèsind and Carnival by Trèsind. Our aim is to continuously evolve and innovate our culinary as well as mixology offerings. We always try to bring in new elements into our food and drinks every four to five months to keep with the changing times, evolving technology, and most importantly to cater to our guests needs. Parajuli: We are looking forward to include more options in terms of healthy food as we have already partnered with the Ministry of Health and Prevention, UAE on their Be Healthy initiative. As a part of this initiative India Palace offers a special menu with healthy options. Also, the dining menu will see changes in terms of seafood and more creative offerings suiting the local palate. Hasan: Over the next 12 months, I hope to add more varieties from Indian cuisine to the menu. We have to appreciate the fact that Indian cuisine, Mughlai in particular, is massive in its length and breadth. To incorporate all the dishes in one comprehensive menu is virtually impossible. However, I do want to introduce more of the niche and unique Mughal flavours to our menu.

Dosaj: We are always working on new ideas and trying new techniques. We will be launching our 2018 autumn-winter menu in September and there are a lot of innovative dishes in that. We will also release another installment in our bitter sweet dessert tale. What is the future for Indian cuisine in the region? Saini: The growth of numerous restaurants serving contemporary Indian food is proof of the demand for the cuisine in the region. Of course this comes with challenges like dilution of the cuisine when done without any thought given to proper research supporting the menu. Having said that, I think we have just scratched the surface when it comes to modernist Indian food and the future of Indian food is extremely bright in the region. Parajuli: The future of Indian cuisine looks promising with lots of variety and scope for regional cuisines, and also in terms of price, taste, and presentation. Hasan: With the increasing number of Indians in the region, there is already a ready acceptance for the cuisine. I see tremendous potential in the favour of passing to its local and expatriate population. Dosaj: Indian cuisine is part of the cultural tapestry of the region and will always hold a special place in peoples’ hearts. We will see more restaurants following our creative lead but we also expect to see more authentic street food options coming up. www.hotelnewsme.com


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August 2018

Marketplace

Marketplace Elle & Vire

Cathia Sader, senior brand manager, dairy category & Asian Food, Greenhouse, tells us about Elle & Vire

Contact details Website: https://greenhouseuae.com/ Phone: 00971 2 5560970

star restaurants, like Pierre Gagnaire and Christophe Michalak place their confidence in the Excellence Elle & Vire Professionel cream. Elle & Vire is proud of its high quality in terms of taste, ratio, and performance consistency. Have you launched any new products? Based on its French dairy expertise and proximity with chefs, Elle & Vire Professionnel has developed a new UHT Mascarpone with all the qualities of a fresh one. It is easy to work with due to its semi-thick texture, easy to store in the 1L format, and has a longer shelf-life ideal for both sweet and savoury creations.

Which is your best-selling dairy product? Our best-selling product is the Excellence cream. The milk, which comes from Normandy has always been exceptional due to the variety of landscape that surrounds this area. What makes it unique? In Normandy, the cows spend more time outdoors than indoors, and feed on grass. When cows are outdoors, 70

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the milk is better and if the milk is better, then the cream and butter have the best taste. Moreover, the quality of milk and the origin is consistent, and Elle & Vire is proud of the 100% French origin of its raw material and production. Why should businesses purchase dairy products from you? Chefs, from brasseries to Michelin

Tell us about your company. Founded in 1977, Greenhouse stands to be the top player in the foodservice and retail markets in the GCC. Demonstrating excellence across all sectors of the business, Greenhouse’ experience extends to over four decades in building brands, importing, and distributing premium products including dairy, cheese, bakery & pastry ingredients, bakery & pastry finished products, Italian Food, Asian Food, Lebanese Food, grocery, and chef’s equipment. Covering the major markets in the GCC, Greenhouse is present in UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia with further expansion plans. www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

Marketplace

Pritchitts Debic Simon Page, international controller EMEA, Pritchitts, on their best-selling dairy product

Which is your best-selling dairy product? Millac Gold is our best-selling dairy product in the UAE. It is made in Northern Ireland. What makes it unique? Millac Gold has all the benefits of dairy cream but with enhanced functionality which means it can be used in both pastry and hot kitchens. Millac Gold whips up to three times its volume and as the butter fat is reinforced and stabilised, it reduces the risk of over whipping, giving the chef a longer working window. The whipped product remains stable on cake displays for up to two days and is freeze/thaw-stable. When used in cooking, Millac Gold requires less reduction time to reach the perfect cooking cream consistency and does not split, even when mixed with acidic ingredients or cooked at high temperatures. Why should businesses purchase dairy products from you? We are a leading dairy cooperative, which means we have full control over the quality of our products from milk supply to manufacturing. We have unrivalled manufacturing expertise, with sales managers and technical experts based in the market, we understand the needs of local chefs and businesses. Have you launched any new products? Millac High Stability 36% Dairy Whipping Cream was recently launched into the market. A few words about the company. Lakeland Dairies is a farmer owned dairy cooperative with over 100 years of tradition in dairy. Our cows graze outdoors on the lush, green pastures of Ireland, producing high quality milk that we use in a range of dairy products exported to over 70 countries around the world.

Contact details Tel: +44 208290 7020 Email: spage@pritchitts.com Website: www.pritchitts.com

Issue #002

Adil Ehsan, marketing manager, Food Service and Cheese at FrieslandCampina Middle East tells us about Debic Which is your best-selling dairy product? Debic makes cooking creams that perform under the pressures of a professional kitchen. Our best selling product is Stand & Overrun which is a modern pastry cream with 35% fat, providing the perfect marriage between high yield and excellent firmness. What is unique about your products? One of our more unique products however is our Culinaire Original, a superior cream developed solely for cooking applications. It has 70% faster thickening speed compared to single or double cream. Why should businesses purchase dairy products from you? The Debic range has been developed for chefs, by chefs. Our products reduce waste and remove steps, freeing chefs to be creative in even the most testing of environments. We work closely with our member dairy farmers, development teams and culinary advisors to manage the whole process from grass to plate. Only by having full control of the supply chain do we have full control over what goes into our products and hence, we can guarantee that they are of the highest quality. Tell us about your company. FrieslandCampina produces and sells consumer products such as dairybased beverages, infant nutrition, cheese, and desserts in many European countries, Asia, and Africa via its own subsidiaries. FrieslandCampina sells ingredients and half-finished products to manufacturers of infant nutrition, the food industry, and the pharmaceutical sector around the world. We are present in the Middle East through our distributor, MH Enterprises.

Contact details E-mail: debicme@frieslandcampina.com Number: +971 4 455 1800

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August 2018

Marketplace

Isigny Sainte-Mère

Camille Mancelle, head of sales, Isigny Sainte Mère, highlights the best dairy products. Which is your best-selling dairy product? Our best-selling dairy product is the PDO Isigny Butter, especially in 10gr, 25gr and 1kg for pastry butter. What makes it unique? The PDO Isigny Butter is a product of excellence as the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) is equivalent to the French State AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) label. It is an official mark of quality which recognises the unique characteristics of the Isigny PDO butter and cream based on its outstanding terroir. To ensure the best quality butter, our producers and farmers have constantly improved their techniques, while respecting the values of the Isigny terroir. In fact, our cows graze on the succulent and nutritious pasture for more than half of the year. The PDO also ensures the ethical conservation of the Normandy cattle breed. Why should businesses purchase dairy products from you? Isigny Sainte-Mère has a long-standing tradition in the art of making dairy products. With over 300 medals won, Isigny Sainte-Mère is the most awarded dairy company in France. Recently, the Enterprise du Patrimoine Vivant (EPV) label was awarded to us by the French state, in recognition of traditional and industrial expertise, which implies that Isigny Sainte-Mère is officially identified as an ambassador for the promotion of French quality. Have you launched any new products? Isigny Sainte-Mère just launched PDO Isigny Butter in 10gr portion. Both the unsalted and salted butter are available in small 10gr portions, an ideal format for individual consumption. Tell us about your company. Isigny Sainte-Mère is an independent dairy cooperative and our members are milk producers who deliver their production to the cooperative. Isigny Sainte-Mère transforms 220 million l of milk at two of its Normandy sites. Butter, cream, and cheeses included, the company offers a complete range of outstanding products, that are recognised and appreciated.

Contact details Tel: 02.31.51.34.02 Email: camille.mancelle@isysme.com Website: http://www.isigny-ste-mere.com/en

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Arla Pro

Alexander Bartschat, regional foodservice head, Arla Foods on the company’s offerings for the dairy sector. Which is your best-selling dairy product? All our products are produced with premium milk from our 12,000 European farmers. Our creams, cheeses, and butter are all excellent products. Currently our highest selling products are our mozzarella and creams. What makes it unique? These products have been developed incorporating both the decades of dairy experience that Arla has and the knowledge that we have specifically gained, innovated, and expanded in the mozzarella segment through our relationships with some key global players such as Pizza Hut and Dominos. Why should businesses purchase dairy products from you? Arla Pro represents excellent dairy products, a culture of innovation, and outstanding professional service. Now Arla Pro is bringing this same passion to the world of the professional chef. Our role is to be a partner and enabler for our customers. Have you launched any new products? We continuously enlarge our product portfolio and this is one of many steps driving both innovation and renovation in our food service sector. It reflects how we ambitiously listen to our customers’ needs and then incorporate this knowledge into developing products that will enable our customers with the means to better food an business. Arla Pro wants to take the role to enable food service professionals to make their culinary dream a reality. Tell us about your company. As part of a successful Scandinavian dairy farmers’ cooperative, we work in a culture of openness and trust built over 130 years. Today, our relentless passion for quality food goes into products that are enjoyed by people around the world.

Contact details E-mail: Alexander.Bartschat@arlafoods.com Website: www.ArlaPro.com

www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

Marketplace

Marketplace Alshaya Enterprises Ambiance Susann Sonnenberg, regional lead lighting consultant, Alshaya Enterprises Ambiance What are the key factors that should be considered for hotel lighting? Light is the most important building component in architecture as it is considered as the fourth dimension. Light is function, philosophy, aesthetic innovation, and technology. The key factors that have to be looked at are comfort and well-being, achieved by the right light levels and illumination. For example, versatility in an all-day dining restaurants or automated lighting for spa areas and guestrooms. What are the challenges suppliers face in this field? Tight deadlines and budgets can be very challenging, as well as the lack of awareness considering lighting as an added value in the space design. How fierce is the competition in the lighting sector in the region? The hotel market is hard-fought but a few good players stand out. What new products have you launched for the hospitality sector?

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New LED technologies for light fixtures are still the market-leaders and continuously improving. Of course other new tendencies exist such as home automation, with the internet of things, green building requirement, and human centric lighting. Your thoughts on eco-friendly or green lighting. All our projects promote sustainable

solutions. We are striving for the highest standards to give optimal solutions. What are the current projects you are working on in the region and briefly share your expansion plans? We are currently involved in a variety of different hotel and retail projects such as the Hilton hotel in Kuwait city and prestigious car brand showrooms all over the GCC. www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

Marketplace

Dyson Paul Gregory, global specification director, Dyson

What are the key factors that should be considered for hotel lighting? Hotels have a myriad of areas that all require careful consideration & planning for the lighting scheme. As places of work they also have to meet the various requirements of the law, comply with local building regulations and will require emergency lighting. Lighting should be considered as part of the interior decoration, so aesthetics play a key part and they should fit the overall design concept and branding of the hotel. Above all the public areas need to offer flexibility for the primary usage of space. An adjustable colour temperature fixture for example could provide cool lighting during breakfast, whilst in the evening, a warmer

light temperature can create a more relaxed atmosphere. The hallway lighting should be sufficient to get to your room and light the space in an open and welcoming way. The bedroom lighting should serve a multitude of purposes. Controls in the bedroom should be simple with a master switch located by the bed to turn everything off. What are the challenges suppliers face in this field? Maintaining the specification from being replaced by cheaper alternatives, quality fixtures are of upmost importance. How fierce is the competition in the lighting sector in the region? As with most countries, there are masses of lighting manufacturers and importers that will compete on price. It’s important to compare the key specifications for each product to ensure you are getting the right quality of product and light. A poor quality fixture could ruin the overall impression of a hotel interior.

What new products have you launched for the hospitality sector? Dyson are problem solvers with a focus on health and well-being. Our new Airblade Wash+Dry is an automatic tap that incorporates the HEPA filtered Airblade technology in two sleek arms at the side of the tap. It saves space in the washroom whilst preventing water on the floor. The new Dyson Pure Cool Purifier captures 99.95% of allergens and pollutants as small as 0.1 micron and automatically purifies the whole room and finally our CSYS Task Lights offer precise, powerful and long lasting efficient task lighting. Your thoughts on eco-friendly or green lighting. Without a doubt if you think about efficiency, you’re thinking about LEDs. LEDs are now the number one choice for hotels and the energy benefits are clear. LED quality is important with high colour rendering ability.

Moretti Forni: the perfect baking. A complete range of bakery and pastry solutions.

morettiforni.com Issue #002

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August 2018

Marketplace

Lasvit

Tomas Griger, managing director Middle East, Lasvit What are the key factors that should be considered for hotel lighting? Hotels are mainly investing in design lighting for key public areas such as the main lobby, pre-function, and ballroom. The main lobby in particular is a very important space, where the first experience and impression of a hotel guest is crucial. Bespoke light fittings in such areas must be precisely designed and integrated in the overall interior design. What are the challenges suppliers face in this field? The construction sector is constantly under pressure and meeting the schedule and budgets is always a big challenge. We are usually one of the last suppliers on site and if the project is delayed, then all the pressure is on us. Lighting is usually one of the last major packages that has to be procured and many clients are already over the budget at this stage. How fierce is the competition in the lighting sector in the region? There are many companies in the market, however only very few are focused on unique design, constant innovations, and the highest possible quality of the final product and service, like Lasvit. What new products have you launched for the hospitality sector? We fit in our installations special sensors and DMX chips. They are more than just lighting. They can interactively react on sound or movement. Some of them can change colour to millions of possibilities from the RGB spectrum. Clients can control the installation from a mobile device and play with its light and colours to change the mood of the space. The installation can dance according to a preprogrammed choreography designed for a given music, or change its colours and intensities.

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Your thoughts on eco-friendly or green lighting. We definitely are pro eco-friendly and work hard to develop lighting as green as possible. Almost all our lighting collections are fitted with LED sources with energy label A+ or A++. Our chandeliers have great energy ratings and we try to improve energy savings in our lighting installations as well.

What are the current projects you are working on in the region? We were recently honoured to deliver chandeliers to Al Azizia Mosque in Mecca. We have also finished a project with our patented component Twill in Avenues Kuwait Shopping centre. Our most recent project is being installed at the moment in The Dubai Mall. www.hotelnewsme.com


August 2018

Marketplace

Murano Lighting Kush Suneja, business & design development, Murano Lighting.

adjustable track lights, step lights with built in motion, and photo detectors.

What are the key factors that should be considered for hotel lighting? A few would be the hotel theme, hotel standing, design of the space, operator mindset, and location. What are the challenges suppliers face in this field? Time constraints would be a major challenge followed by budget, matching new outlier specs, and weather demands. How fierce is the competition in the lighting sector in the region? It is very competitive and always keeps us on our toes.

Issue #002

Your thoughts on eco-friendly or green lighting. We promote LED all the way, allowing 95% energy saving.

What new products have you launched for the hospitality sector? We offer a range of innovations such as contractor friendly, clean, recessed lighting profile installation, needle thin narrow beam luminaires, remote control

What are the current projects you are working on in the region and briefly share your expansion plans? Some of our recently completed projects and ones under execution include the Gevora Hotel, The Address Fountain View in Downtown, Fairmont Hotel in Abu Dhabi, Marriott Hotel in Abu Dhabi, and the Ritz Carlton in Abu Dhabi.

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August 2018

Marketplace

XO Lighting Reinout Broekers, managing director, XO Lighting

LED filament bulbs. These are very practical products for the hospitality sector as they provide huge energy savings, easy maintenance and a very ambient light effect. Moreover, these bulbs are one of the few in the market that are properly dimmable.

What are the key factors that should be considered for hotel lighting? In hotels, like any project, lighting is a key element in the experience of the guest. Key factors to consider are functionality, the lighting effect, and the design of fixtures. Also, two very important factors that come into play are the durability and the maintainability of the lighting systems. Pricing is also a key factor for the developer and operator as at the end of the day a hotel needs to be a profitable business. What are the challenges suppliers face in this field? As a solution provider or supplier, the challenge is to meet the budget while keeping a reasonable design and specification in place. To keep up with all the possibilities and solutions is a major challenge as this does not always payoff in the short run and does require investment in travelling, visiting fairs and factories sampling, and testing products. This is not always appreciated and understood by clients.

designs and specifications from outside are usually localised which allows a lot of players, also of dubious quality, to enter the projects. The bottom of the market has become a commodity business with very low prices and margins. In the past it was just a matter of changing a lightbulb whereas now a complete fitting or even a complete set of fittings will need to be replaced if an element in the system is not working. This will put considerable pressure on operators in the hotel business if not properly mapped and managed.

How fierce is the competition in the lighting sector in the region? In the Middle East, there are players from every part of the world. Moreover the

What new innovations have you launched for the hospitality sector? At XO Lights we have partnered with Segula, a brand in the top end of the

Your thoughts on eco-friendly or green lighting. By far the majority of our solutions are taking the environment and impact on energy use into account. We try to also convince clients to consider these factors in the complete lifecycle of the projects. This means, from design to supply to implementation, operating, and terminating the facilities. We still see that in operations and the end of life, the ecofriendly side is not considered here in the Middle East. What are the current projects you are working on in the region and briefly share your expansion plans? Current projects we are working on are very diverse, the finishing of the La Mer Lagoon project, renovation of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the start of a restaurant in the Blue Water development, and the lighting up of a number of prominent flags in the UAE.

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Hotel & Catering News ME - August 2018  
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