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Are Middle East hotels ready for the introduction of VAT?

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December 2017



10 | NEWS Dubai on course for record year/ Emaar Hospitality reaches 10,000 room mark/ Millennials go wild for Ras Al Khaimah 20 | TALENT Fairmont Dubai’s rising star Terje Abrams 22 | CHECKING IN Radisson Blu Ajman/ Wyndham Garden Manama/ Bayan Suits by Cristal 24 | OPINION Improving guest satisfaction through automation 28 | COVER STORY Is the Middle East hospitality industry ready for VAT?

10 News

20 Talent

22 Checking in

54 On the spot

December 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



December 2017


CEO Wissam Younane Director Rabih Najm

34 38

Group Publishing Director Diarmuid O'Malley Group Sales Director Fred Dubery

Editor Patrick Ryan Art Director Aaron Sutton Marketing Executive Mark Anthony Monzon

c o n t ribu t o rs Marouane Al Mandri

Photography Hayder Al Zuhairi


44 34 | GM INTERVIEW Millenium Plaza GM Nemo Acimovic 38 | FACE TO FACE Alejandro Bernabé, vice president operations of AVANI Hotels & Resorts 54 | ON THE SPOT Naveena Jayaram, relationship manager food & drinks at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek

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For all commercial enquiries related to Hotel News ME contact T +971 50 55 97339 All rights reserved © 2014. Opinions expressed are solely those of the contributors. Hotel News ME and all subsidiary publications in the MENA region are officially licensed exclusively to BNC Publishing in the MENA region by Hotel 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 Raidy Emirates Printing Group LLC


HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

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VAT’s all folks


patrick ryan Editor

@ThatPaddyRyan Follow us on our social media pages @hotelnewsme /hotelnewsme hotelnewsme


t this stage we are all ready for the introduction of VAT aren’t we? Aren’t we?! It’s no secret that the introduction of value added tax is big news for the region but just how ready is the Middle Eastern hotel industry? That’s the question that we put to a number of the region’s experts for our cover feature this month. The results, as you would expect for one of the world’s leading regions for hospitality, make for interesting reading. It’s clear that the various hotels are clued up on the rules and regulations but the real question seems to be how likely is it that VAT will not creep up to double digits. The results of such a move could have serious implications for the region. It’s a serious concern that deserves a serious study – that’s why we think you will be gripped this month’s cover story. Elsewhere in this issue we speak to Millennium Plaza general manager Nemo Acimovic about his plans for one of Dubai’s leading hotels. We also have time for a chat with Alejandro Bernabé, vice president operations of AVANI Hotels & Resorts, in which he talks about how his brand is being launched with a certain demographic in mind.

HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

It’s one thing to target the millennial market but why stop there, he asks? It is a good question and you will be wondering if Bernabé is onto something with his plans to be a hotel for all age groups – it’s not just about millennials but those of us who are millennially minded. It’s not about how old you are, he suggests, but how young at heart you are feeling. We have a preview of the SIAL event which is taking place in Abu Dhabi later this month. This is a trade show that you will want to pay attention to – believe me! We also shine the spotlight on Terje Abrams who is making waves with the work she is doing to promote Fairmont Dubai. There is no doubt you will find a lot to enjoy in this issue which, as you would expect, is the final issue of the year. Stay with us in 2018 as we will be back bigger and brighter than ever. However you are spending the New Year, the team at Hotel News Middle East hopes you spend it well in the company of friends, and family where possible. Until 2018. Regards, Patrick Ryan

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Regional News


For News, features and more, Visit Follow us on twitter for breaking news: @hotelnewsme Follow us on Instagram to see what we’re up to: @Hotelnewsme Follow us on Facebook for up-to-the-minute breaking news Read the latest issue on:

Dubai is on course for a record year

Dubai is on course to post a record year for tourism according to data released by the emirate’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism). A total of 11.58 million international overnight visitors arrived in Dubai during the first nine months of 2017, reflecting a 7.5% increase over the same period last year, underlining the strength of the emirate’s tourism industry as well as the growing appeal of Dubai as a global tourism destination of choice. His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism, said: “The sustained growth ahead of the global average that we have witnessed so far this year is indicative of the positive impact yielded by our consolidated strategy across regula10

HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

tory measures, promotional efforts, trade initiatives and partner programmes. “Even as we continually work to ensure Dubai’s proposition remains stellar and globally competitive, drawing on the concerted cross-industry efforts of all stakeholders, our priority remains the delivery of the highest levels of visitor satisfaction.” India retained top spot on Dubai’s list of source markets for inbound tourism, with 1,478,000 Indian tourists arriving in the city between January and September, registering a significant 20 per cent rise over the same period in 2016. Meanwhile, China stayed in fifth place with an impressively large 49% year-on-year growth, delivering 573,000 visitors in the first nine months of the year and con-

tinuing to benefit from regulatory changes introduced in late 2016 granting Chinese citizens free visa-on-arrival access to the UAE.” Dubai’s hotel sector, meanwhile, also saw significant growth, with the city’s total number of hotel and hotel apartment keys standing at 106,167 at the end of the third quarter of 2017, spread across 678 establishments, representing an aggregated 6% increase in capacity over a 12-month period versus end of September 2016. Luxury five-star hotels, Dubai’s strongest proposition globally, made up 33% of the emirate’s total inventory, with four-star hotels commanding a 23 per cent share and properties in the one- to three-star categories a share of 21%, reflecting the benefits of a sus-

tained approach to balancing the mix and driving consideration from diverse segments including families. Hotel apartment establishments made up 23% of total inventory, split into deluxe/ superior and standard categories, with 9 and 14% shares respectively. Average occupancy for the hotel sector as a whole stood at 76%, remaining unchanged from the end of Q3 2016, underscoring the industry’s foundational stability and enduring attractiveness despite rising supply. Occupied room nights were up year on year, totalling 21.27 million compared to 20.45 million at the end of September 2016, while guests’ average length of stay decreased very slightly from 3.6 to 3.5 nights, in part due to an increase in stopover travellers.

Regional News

Emaar Hospitality Group reaches 10,000 hotel rooms Emaar Hospitality Group, the hospitality and leisure business of global developer Emaar Properties PJSC, has reached a milestone of 10,000 hotel rooms across its 11 operational hotels and 30 upcoming projects. Of the 10,000 rooms, over 2,500 are already operational at Emaar Hospitality Group’s 11 hotels in Dubai while more than 7,500 rooms are under development in hotel projects in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Turkey and the Maldives. The hotel rooms are spread over three hotel brands – Address Hotels + Resorts, the premium lifestyle hotel and serviced residences brand; Vida Hotels and Resorts, the upscale lifestyle hotel and serviced residences brand; and Rove Hotels, a contemporary midscale hotel brand developed as a joint venture by Meraas and Emaar Properties PJSC, and managed by Emaar Hospitality Group. Olivier Harnisch, chief executive officer of Emaar Hospitality Group, said: “With over 10,000 rooms and counting, Emaar Hospitality Group has underlined its credentials as the region’s fastest growing hospitality provider, delivering three distinctive lifestyle experiences that meet the diverse and shifting preferences of today’s travellers.While we have a strong footprint in the UAE, reflecting the nation’s commitment to promoting tourism and hospitality, we are also expanding our presence in international markets, delivering our homegrown competencies to high-growth markets. “Our vision is to be one of the world’s leading hospitality providers, and we will continue to innovate on the choices we offer. Our growing portfolio is a testament to the vision of the UAE leadership to diversify the economy." Over 2,500 hotel rooms in Dubai are in: Address Boulevard, Address Dubai Mall, Address Dubai Marina, Address Montgomerie, and Palace Downtown – all under Address Hotels + Resorts, as well as at Vida Downtown and Man12

HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

zil Downtown, both under Vida Hotels and Resorts. The four operational Rove Hotels properties are: Rove Downtown, Rove City Centre, Rove Healthcare City and Rove Trade Centre. The upcoming rooms are in the UAE under Address Hotels + Resorts include: Address Downtown, Address Sky View, Address Fountain Views, Address Jumeirah Resort + Spa, Address Fashion Avenue, Address Fujairah Resort + Spa, Address Harbour Point and Palace Fujairah Beach. The international portfolio under Address Hotels + Resorts includes: Jabal Omar Address Makkah in Saudi Arabia; Address Madivaru Maldives Resort + Spa in the Maldives; Address Marassi Golf Resort + Spa and Address Marassi Beach Resort in Egypt; Address Istanbul in Tur-

key; and Address Marassi Al Bahrain. Emaar Hospitality Group is adding a number of hotel rooms under Vida Hotels and Resorts in the UAE including: Vida Za’abeel, Vida Dubai Marina, Vida Dubai Mall, Vida The Hills, Vida Townsquare, Vida Harbour Point – all in Dubai – and Vida Beach Reem Island Abu Dhabi. The international projects under Vida Hotels and Resorts include: Vida Marassi Al Bahrain, Vida Jeddah Gate in Saudi Arabia; and Vida Marassi Marina in Egypt. The upcoming portfolio of Rove Hotels in Dubai include: Rove Dubai Marina, Rove At The Park and Rove Satwa. Rove Hotels will add 3,700 rooms across its 10 properties, all set to open by 2020, and designed to welcome international guests for the Expo 2020 Dubai.

Regional News

Guinness World Record set by Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery

The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery has set a new Guinness World Record for the most nationalities taking place in a single yoga session. A total of 112 nationalities participated in a 30-minute yoga lesson on 18 November. Samir Arora, general manager The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery said: “The entire team was incredibly excited to celebrate the upcoming launch of our highly anticipated property with the Guinness World Record attempt. “It makes me so proud to see how hard the team worked to make the magic happen.

Given The Retreat is the first of its kind wellness destination in the cosmopolitan city that is Dubai, an attempt at the most nationalities in a yoga session, seemed like the ideal challenge for us.” Talal Omar, country manager of the Guinness World Record office in Dubai, said: “As the global authority on record-breaking we are always happy to witness and be a part of events such as this, that not only highlight the diversity of nationalities and cultures here in Dubai and the UAE, but also how they work together hand and hand and promote healthy living.”

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Regional News

Omniyat signs AED445mn deal

Dubai-based developer Omniyat has signed a deal for Islamic financing facilities of AED 445m with Al Hilal Bank. The facilities were structured to meet Omniyat’s financing objectives, with particular focus on its One Palm project, a high-end residential development located on the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. The news follows September’s announcement of One Palm selling the most expensive penthouse in Dubai for AED 102 million. Mahdi Amjad, CEO and executive chairman of Omniyat, said: “Securing these facilities for AED 445 million emphasises the progress Omniyat has made across its project portfolio and the plans ahead as we lead into the completion and handing over of our Opus and Pad 14

HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

projects this year and the One Palm project next year.” Alex Coelho, CEO of Al Hilal Bank, said: “Omniyat’s is distinguished by its unique projects and their huge potential in the sectors of housing, business and retail. We at Al Hilal Bank are please to contribute to the One Palm project.” Established in 2005, Omniyat has a strong track record in delivering high quality projects, with a development portfolio of over $6.2 billion. Due for completion in 2018, One Palm has worked with the best designers in the world to create a truly unique project. Each residence will be a statement of personal taste with owners able to choose their interior and finishes from two of the world’s most esteemed designers to match their individual style.

Hotels need to look at technology as an investment

Hotels in the Middle East need to look at technology as an investment rather than a cost. That is according to Laurent A. Voivenel, senior vice president, operations and development for the Middle East, Africa and India, Swiss-Belhotel International. He was speaking at a panel discussion on the future of PMS and guest-facing technology at the HITEC Dubai event. “We all know investing in technology helps to reduce operation costs, increases efficiency and results in better business conversion and profitability,” he said. “Yet, budget is the biggest constraint and challenge in technology upgrades. In our business technology is taken as a cost rather than an investment. Often hotel owners’ and operators’ technology priorities are not in sync, and in many cases at odds.”

According to industry reports, in the hospitality sector, IT spending in the Middle East is considerably lower than in regions like the USA. “This is mainly due to large number of smaller, independent properties in the Middle East which do not enjoy massive tech budgets like big brands. Until recently PMS has been the single biggest technology investment by hotels,” he said. “However, there are other technology priorities that hotels in the region need to address such as higher internet brand-width for faster speed, seamless integration of mobile technology and upgrades of in-room entertainment systems. Also, Data security is extremely critical, particularly compliance requirements for payment cards in the era of mobile.” He added that the hospitality industry needs software that can keep up with the changes.

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Regional News

Millennials go wild for Ras Al Khaimah Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is proving to be a hit with millennials. That’s according to the CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA). Haitham Mattar was speaking at a BBC panel in London held to coincide with the World Travel Market (WTM). “Ras Al Khaimah has what it takes when it comes to ticking millennial boxes,” said Mattar. 16

HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

“They want authenticity and the emirate has it in spades; they want meaningful, off-the-radar experiences and the ability to connect with culture, which again we excel in; and they have a desire to soak up natural sights, which is a key pillar of our offering.” Mattar revealed millennials are now a prime target for the emirate, which boasts an ancient heritage

and a myriad of landscapes from desert to coastline. “There’s no doubt that millennial travellers played a role in pushing UK arrivals to the emirate up by almost 17% in the first nine months of this year – it’s a growth trajectory we anticipate will continue given the response we are receiving from our WTM promotion from British adventure holiday promoters. Millennials as a grouping will

help us achieve our target of a million visitors by the end of next year and our focus on adventure activity will help pull them in,” said Mattar. “We believe the millennial factor will not only win us more vacationers, but that it will go some way to entice investors into the emirate which has the space and ideal surroundings for signature mountain retreats and activities.”

Regional News

Almost Rate driven 167,000 rooms growth in Jeddah are under contract in the Middle East

STR’s October 2017 pipeline report shows 166,774 rooms in 580 hotel projects under contract in the Middle East. Under contract data includes projects in the in construction, final planning and planning stages but does not include projects in the Unconfirmed stage. The Under contract total in the Middle East represents a 5.1% increase in rooms under contract compared with October 2016. Specifically in the In Construction phase, the Middle East reported 99,790 rooms in 314 projects. Based on number of rooms, that is an 18.1% increase in year-over-year comparisons. A number of key markets in the Middle East region reported more than 4,000 rooms in construction: • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (29,226 rooms in 95 projects) • Makkah, Saudi Arabia (23,791 rooms in 18 projects) • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (6,349 rooms in 29 projects) • Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (4,124 rooms in 12 projects)

Preliminary data released by STR for hotels in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, indicates a rate-driven growth in performance for the month of October. Based on daily data accrued over the month, Jeddah reported the following in year-over-year comparisons: • Supply: +12.5% • Demand: +9.1% • Occupancy: -3.0% to 50.4% • Average daily rate (ADR): +13.5% to SAR871.40 • Revenue per available room (RevPAR): +10.1% to SAR439.60. Significant demand growth year over year was not enough to keep pace with a spike in supply. That imbalance coupled with higher rates led to the lowest October occupancy level in Jeddah since 2004. STR analysts note performance fluctuations have been common in Jeddah this year.

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Trust and belief pays off for Abrams Terje Abrams, public relations manager, Fairmont Dubai opens up to Hotel News Middle East… Describe your first ever role in the hotel industry? When I decided to move to the UAE in October 2013, I joined one of the Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group’s properties in Ajman as a hostess. There wasn’t much hosting as such to be done –instead I was needed to support the beach restaurant’s busy daily operations by the beachfront. Even though it was November, the daily heat went up to 35C under the sun and wearing a dark uniform made it even more challenging. Who is the person who has inspired you most in your career? I have been truly inspired by my previous general manager Kai Schukowski, who has inspired me since the moment I had my first interview with him. The support, trust and belief he placed on me since the beginning has made me what I am today. He took a gamble with me in 2015, when I was still carrying out the hostess duties and said: “We have a vacancy for the public relations position and I was wondering if you are interested.” How do you view the hotel scene in the region? I feel privileged to see Dubai developing ahead of Expo 2020 and to witness the growth in hotel supply – not only in the UAE but overall in the region. It’s an exciting era we’re in, as every hotel is trying to be different – from its food and beverage offerings, to various service touch points. What is the biggest challenge of your role? The intriguing topic revolving around influencers has arose only during the 20

HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

What is your favourite aspect of your role? One of the many aspects I'm passionate about is the success stories of our colleagues. I am keen to learn more about their roles, to be ultimately able to highlight our talents as well in media. If you could work in any hotel in the world which would it be? During my visit to the United States this summer, I fell in love with Fairmont Grand Del Mar, located on the scenic hills of San Diego. The nature, the surroundings and the gigantic hotel premises got me stunned - there’s a long hiking trail, a golf course, horse stables, a lake and even two tennis courts.

Work Experience

April 2017 - present: Public relations manager, Fairmont Dubai April 2016 - Apr 2017: Public relations manager, Kempinski Hotel Ajman March 2015 - Apr 2016: Public relations executive, Kempinski Hotel Ajman Nov 2014 - Mar 2015: Culinary concierge, Kempinski Hotel Ajman past few years, which I consequently feel that is one of the challenges. I tend to be very sceptical about the fancy imagery and increasing numbers - if there is no measurable ROI in the collaboration, I’d rather not tie up with the influencer.

What tip would you share with new staff starting out in the hotel industry in the region? Steve Jobs once said: “Stay humble, stay hungry”. I would also add the importance of patience, which I believe to be one of the most crucial pillars when starting off with anything new. If you could invite any three people around for dinner who would they be? My mentor Kai Schukowski whom I always look up to; my mother who I miss the most from back home in Estonia and Richard Branson, who I find to be one of the most inspiring entrepreneurs. If you had to live on a desert island for a year what would you bring with you? A thick notebook and a supply of pens – I’d love to document everything that’s happening during the remote year.


Director of sales and Major appointment marketing appointed by Carlson Rezidor at Raffles Dubai Hotel Group New executive assistant manager at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort Rajaa Obeid has been appointed as the executive assistant manager of the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort in Oman. Obeid’s career has taken him around the Middle East, with significant experience working in the food and beverage departments at hotels in the Dubai. He cut his teeth as a food and beverage manager across a number of outlets within Jumeirah Resorts & Hotels before moving on to be division manager food and beverage for Al Tayer Hospitality.

Raffles Dubai has announced the appointment of Zeynep Ӧden Ağagil as director of sales & marketing. She joins the team at Raffles Dubai from Ciragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul, where she held the role of director of sales & marketing for the previous two years. Prior to this, she was director of sales at Raffles Istanbul from 2013 to 2015. As part of the Executive Committee team, she played an important role in the successful hotel opening and was instrumental in setting up the sales team in the region. Zeynep began her hospitality career with The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul, joining the pre-opening team in 2001.

The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has announced the appointment of Tim Cordon as the new area senior vice president for the Middle East, Turkey & Africa. Cordon, who is a British national, has been with Carlson Rezidor since 2003 and began his career in the UK, holding leadership positions at Carlson Rezidor’s hotels in Manchester and London. He briefly left the group to become general manager of the Cumberland Hotel in London, before returning as the general manager of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek. In 2015, he was promoted to regional director Middle East & Turkey.


December 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Checking in

World’s largest Wyndham Garden opens in Bahrain

The world’s largest Wyndham Garden Hotel has opened in Bahrain. Wyndham Garden Manama is home to 441 rooms. Wyndham Garden is a brand designed to help guests travel at ease. We are delighted to introduce this exciting brand to Bahrain – the largest Wyndham Garden hotel in the world – by growing our established and important partnership with Mannai Properties,” said Ignace Bauwens, Regional Vice President, Middle East and Africa for Wyndham Hotel Group. “The hotel delivers significant value for guests without compromising on any lifestyle amenity they need for a hassle-free and relaxing stay and is a great addition to our offering in the market. With plans to introduce the brand in more destinations, including Dammam in Saudi Arabia, and Ajman in UAE, Wyndham Garden perfectly complements our growing portfolio of hotels in the wider region.” The opening of the property by the Wyndham Hotel Group is part of a management agreement between the hotel giants and the property owner Mannai Properties. “This is our second property under the contract with Wyndham Hotel Group and along with Ramada Hotel & Suites Amwaj Islands, this new addition sits well within our strategy of targeting family-oriented travellers,” said Anil Nair, chief executive officer of Mannai Holding S.P.C.


HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

First Radisson Blu opens in Ajman Radisson Blu has opened its first hotel in Ajman. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Ajman, has 148 guest rooms and suites. Mark Willis, area senior vice president, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group said: “We are delighted to bring the iconic Radisson Blu brand to Ajman, and increase our presence across the northern Emirates. “The UAE continues to be a key market for the Group, for both inbound and outbound travel. The UAE’s travel and tourism sector as a whole, continues to make an increasing contribution to the country’s GDP. We are pleased to be making our own contribution to this impressive growth with 11 new hotel openings projected in the UAE by 2019.” The hotel will be home to seven different bars and restaurants. Siddhartha Sattanathan, general man-

ager of Radisson Blu Hotel, Ajman said: “We are very proud to start this journey as the first Radisson Blu hotel in Ajman, and to open the first upper- upscale hotel in the city center, in a new and vibrant entertainment district. “We are looking forward to showcasing our legendary ‘Yes I Can!‘ service and a spectacular offering of outlets and experiences that come with it, to the global travelers of Emirates.”

Drift opens at One and Only Royal Mirage

Bespoke beach destination Drift has opened at Dubai’s One and Only Royal Mirage. The property has been described as “a place where the ambience is laid-back, yet vibrant. And when the sun goes down over the Arabian Gulf, the tempo at Drift rises”. “We are indeed delighted to be associated with the management of this exceptional new destination which will be

unlike any other beach facilities in Dubai with its idyllic location offering guests a stylish retreat from the hustle and bustle of exciting Dubai,” said Antonio Gonzalez, CEO, Sunset Hospitality. Olivier Louis, managing director, One&Only Royal Mirage, said: “Drift is a breath of fresh air, a gorgeous retreat where guests will have the opportunity to unwind from the everyday life.”

Checking in

Bayan Suits by Cristal to open in Saudi Arabia Cristal Group has entered into a management agreement with Bayat Company for Hotel Services to operate Bayat Suites by Cristal in Saudi Arabia. The 477-key property is situated in the city of Muhayil and is expected to open next month. Kamal Fakhoury, CEO of Cristal Group, said:“We are very excited to expand our footprint in Saudi Arabia and to diversify our portfolio in the Kingdom. We are glad to partner with a reputable organization like Bayat Company for Hotel Services and truly grateful to them for having given us this wonderful opportunity. “With its excellent location near Hospital Muhayil Al Ahli on King Abdul Aziz Road, Bayat Suites by Cristal will be well placed to meet the needs of modern travelers who want convenient, fuss-free, affordable accommodation. The hotel will offer its guests everything they need and more when it matters most.”

Mutasim Al-Rumayh, general manager of Bayat Company for Hotel Services, said, “Muhayil is growing as a destination pushing the demand for quality accommodations. We believe with its strong track record in the region and in-depth understanding of the needs of local travellers, Cristal Group brings a

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December 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



Improving guest satisfaction through automation


Edward Sum, product manager FCS Engineering at FCS Systems looks at how engineering automation can improve the guest experience

ncreasingly, we are seeing hospitality technology solutions improve efficiency in hotel frontof-house operations such as concierge services and back-of-house operations such as housekeeping. However, in hotel engineering and maintenance management, we are also seeing some great results – with engineering technology solutions providing preventative maintenance systems, tracking requests and producing measurable performance reports. Engineering hospitality technology solutions work because all guest requests and property maintenance requirements are funneled to a single source that creates work orders that factor in priority, location, staff skill-set and staff availability. Engineering jobs and maintenance support can be dispatched immediately upon completion of the call from the guest – with no need for the agent to phone anyone, and instead simply enter the request of the guest, and hitting ‘send’. Jobs are automatically forwarded to the right person, which can then be collected via use of a mobile application. Stock levels, or reallocation of tasks, can also be managed within the system. And, because all jobs are tracked, the high standards that hotel brands aspire to achieve are measurable, and all employees are jointly accountable. A good example of this is that technology allows for any member of staff on the property to take photos of defects to send to engineering teams for fixing and follow-up. With hospitality technology solutions such as FCS Engineering, there is a sig24

HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

nificant level of information produced that can be extracted from the intelligent management system. Hoteliers can look for and readily find operational inefficiencies that enable them to make informed choices, and further enhance the quality of the guest experience. Additionally, being able to view reporting data, allows management full visibility on how effective their team is at meeting targets and standards – thereby supporting a more prudent focus on areas where greater effort is required. Job completion and response data, for example, provide up-to-date information to understand and respond to situations to ensure highest standards are consistently achieved. Automated systems can

also provide a checklist for each type of issue that arises, with a list of actions, to ensure that steps are not missed, and the correct reporting is accomplished. The system also supports multi-language and multi-property needs. Though the automation of processes relating to sensitive commercial and operational information, such as engineering reports and guest complaints, hotels are better equipped to appropriately respond and act, in accordance with complex and ever-changing legislation. Therefore, transparency and integrity of reporting improves compliance and governance. With engineering technology solutions, facility managers can schedule and remotely receive tasks for actual and preventative maintenance checks. Features such as iOS and Android compatibility, as well as the ability to schedule work orders management and push-to-talk messenger integration, means that staff are always contactable. Easy-to-use dashboards offer real time insights on all maintenance activities, and guaranteed superior control over assignments to ensure that tasks were completed in a timely manner. Having visibility of all engineering and maintenance issues allows management to quantify the cost of specific types of requests, and determine an appropriate course of action that helps mitigate reoccurrence. Ultimately, this level of sophisticated automation improves guest satisfaction due to response time to resolve issues and ensure quality hospitality experiences.


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Cover Story

As the Middle East braces itself for the imminent introduction of VAT, Hotel News Middle East speaks to a number of the region’s leading hospitality experts on its potential impact‌


HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

Cover Story


he hotel industry in Dubai has to be careful that VAT, once it is introduced next year, does not creep up to double digits. The results could be catastrophic for the tourism industry in the emirate – according to a number of the region’s leading hospitality experts. “It’s very important for the authorities to understand that for tourism, VAT should never go to double digits,” said Fillipo Sona, director head of hotels – Mena Region at Colliers International. “Otherwise, then it would become a serious, serious issue. It’s very difficult to quantify or give a timeframe but it’s like anything when the government gets additional revenue – it becomes bigger and bigger and bigger.” Sona says the temptation for the government to raise the price of VAT incrementally is all too apparent. Large segments of the GCC are already starting to diversify from oil, says

Sona, and tourism is a very important part of that, especially in the absence of income tax on individuals – hence the necessity that VAT on tourism is kept as a single digit figure. “If it hits double digits it could become dangerous and create discontent among the tourism industry. It is in the hands of the authorities ultimately though,” posits Sona. Jonathan Worsley, co-founder of Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference (AHIC), is also quick to point out the perils of cranking up the rate of VAT for hotels in the Middle East. “The concern from the hospitality industry is that Dubai is already an expensive place to run a business from and with the introduction of tax, experience tells us that what starts at 5% can quickly escalate over time,” he says. “The introduction of VAT could also potentially create a perception among consumers that Dubai, which already holds a position of luxury in the mind

Otherwise, then it would become a serious, serious issue. It’s very difficult to quantify or give a timeframe but it’s like anything when the government gets additional revenue – it becomes bigger and bigger and bigger.” - Fillipo Sona, director head of hotels – Mena Region at Colliers International December 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Cover Story

of travellers, will become even more expensive and aspirational with the addition of the new taxation.” He adds that as a destination without income tax, many expats come to work in the UAE with the promise of higher disposable incomes. With the introduction of VAT, recruitment may be impacted with expats recognising a potential increase in the cost of living. Despite the rising cost of staying in Dubai, Worsley suggests that the midmarket brands could be the ones to benefit most from the introduction of VAT. “I think region-wide this could play out well for the mid-market. This emerging category of hotels offers a lower price point than traditional luxury hotels,” he says. “Therefore, consumers that pay 5% on a mid-market room are still getting a better deal than if they only had the option of a luxury hotel.” Overall, Worsley says, the hotel industry in the region is diversifying well and has steered through much larger challenges in the past, and he expects VAT will be taken in its stride. This is something that Sona and Chris Hewett, associate director at TRI Consulting both agree on. “I think everyone is following the guidelines set by the authorities and upgraded their systems to cope with the extra charge,” says Sona. “It is going to be implemented the same as with service charges and tourism tax. It’s not an issue in that sense.” Hewett says: “The implementation of VAT was announced back in 2016 and from that point hoteliers have been working to understand the complexities about it. “There have been a number of advisors who have been talking hotels through this process. During The Hotel Show there was a panel I chaired which discussed VAT and there was a lot of consensus that hotels were working towards getting it right.” He adds that 5% on top of what guests are already paying, in the general scheme of things, is not something that is going to put tourists off from visiting Dubai or any other part of the Middle East. 30

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Sona concurs that tourists are unlikely to be frightened away by a 5% increase in costs – but it won’t be shrugged off by everyone. “The VAT will be an issue for the people living in Dubai, not for the tourists, this is for who it is going to be a problem,” says Sona. “The cost of living will go up and the salaries won’t be going up as much as 5% with VAT, this is where the problem is. When you are here for five or 10 days, as a tourist, it is not going to make or break you. But if you are here 365 days a year it will make a difference.”

Sona is not quite convinced that the initial charge will be as high as 5% saying the government can charge up to 5% but that doesn’t mean they have to charge quite that much. “There is an assumption the government will be charging the full VAT on food and beverage which I don’t believe to be the case,” he says. One of the key issues, says Sona, is that people have not entirely grasped the fact that the source market is changing across the Middle East. “In my opinon, this is a major problem, people don’t understand we are

Cover Story

shifting from a revenue driven economy to a cost driven economy,” he says. Why? Because Dubai has gone through the last 20 years being an emerging market, now the market is very consolidated, it is very mature from a hotel business point of view. The fact is source market is changing, the cost will be the centre of any forecast. Hotels need to prepare for this and be strategic.” It’s important that Dubai, in particular, does not scare off new markets it has worked hard to attract in recent years, suggests Hewett.

“There is a lot more demand for affordable dining right now, that’s where the market is heading. That is going to put pressure on some outlets,” he says. Worsley agrees that VAT has to be carefully introduced - so it doesn’t tip the fine balance that the hospitality industry has created in the region. “At our recent AHIC Advisory Board meeting in Dubai, senior hotel owners, investors and operators in our community asked questions about the impact of VAT,” he says. “This is because we are in a mature market that has now shifted its focus to

The concern from the hospitality industry is that Dubai is already an expensive place to run a business from and with the introduction of tax, experience tells us that what starts at 5% can quickly escalate over time” - Jonathan Worsley, co-founder of Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference (AHIC) December 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Cover Story

My expectation is that as travel and tourism accounts for a large part of GDP, infrastructure investments made by the public sector will naturally benefit investors and operators with assets in the region.” - Jonathan Worsley, co-founder of Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference (AHIC) cost saving, with VAT certainly a new cost to consider. But it’s about “net VAT impact” for businesses.” Operators will be able to claim back a portion of their spending, says Worsley, and so overall net impact on P&L’s will be manageable. VAT as a cost base will impact all sectors of the hospitality industry fairly evenly, posits Worsley, especially until more information surfaces about what may be zero-rated. 32

HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

“I think what’s more interesting to focus on is how the Government will invest the additional revenue VAT generates,” he says. “My expectation is that as travel and tourism accounts for a large part of GDP, infrastructure investments made by the public sector will naturally benefit investors and operators with assets in the region.” There could be some opportunities that arise from the introduction of VAT,

Worsley says, and he is keen to see that the opportunity is seized by the industry. “What I would like to see personally is some of that investment go into unlocking the fantastic potential the local population has as contributors to the industry,” he says. “We are very keen to see Emiratis and Arabs consider careers in hospitality and I think seeing more public sector investment in this space will not be totally unexpected as we head towards Expo 2020.”

Cover Story

In my opinon, this is a major problem, people don’t understand we are shifting from a revenue driven economy to a cost driven economy,” - Fillipo Sona, director head of hotels – Mena Region at Colliers International

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December 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Regional News


HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

GM Interview


Millennium Man

Hotel News Middle East speaks to Nemo Acimovic, general manager, Millennium Plaza Dubai about the secret to his success‌ Tell us a little about your professional experience and history? My early days of my career in the hospitality industry started in London, UK, back in 1990. I worked in famous concept restaurant called Tall Orders, on Fulham Road. I then had the opportunity to learn the bar trade and became a cocktail bartender, before migrating to Australia in 1992, where I continued working in Sydney Hilton as bar manager. In 1995, I was part of the opening team of the first Sydney Casino, now known as the Star, where I stayed for seven years. In 2002, I joined Conrad Treasury in Brisbane, as GM for F&B and in 2006 I moved to Abu Dhabi and joined Hilton Abu Dhabi. In 2008 I joined Starwood and was a deputy GM of Le Royal Meridien in Abu Dhabi and in 2010 I went to Kuwait, where I was complex GM for two Le Meridiens, it was here that I managed the deflagging process and I returned back to Abu Dhabi as a GM of Le Meridien Abu Dhabi. In 2015, I joined Millennium and Copthorne Hotels at their flagship property as GM of Millennium Corniche Abu Dhabi and as I have spent almost 10 years in Abu Dhabi, working in various hotels there, Dubai was always on my radar. With Dubai Expo 2020, looming so close, and the continuous growth and confidence coming back in the hotel market, I felt that it was the right time to come to Dubai and I joined Millennium Plaza Hotel, Dubai, in January of this year. July 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Gm Interview

How has that influenced your management philosophy? You have to be born with a never-ending curiosity and desire to learn. You have to possess an ability to communicate your vision and inspire others to follow it. But that is just the foundation. Beyond that necessary foundation, the skills required to handle the job today must come from exposure to experienced mentors who believe deeply in the need to develop a next generation of talent. We owe this to our future generations of GMs. Leadership is a quality associated with an innate talent for influencing a group of individuals to pull together, toward a common goal. What would you say are the main factors that make a great GM? My success, so far, was built on being able to foster a positive working environment, conducive to delivering great teamwork and productivity and that was always to be first and foremost of my priorities. It goes without saying, that if you look after your fellow team members, they will look after your customers. My motto is, that I am only as good as the team is! It sounds like a simple formula, but it takes great 36

HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

amount of tolerance, inclusion, empowerment, diversity, agility and dedication that has to be infectious and ongoing. How do you feel the hotel is performing this year? The key driver of our performance for this year was the additional supply of inventory on the market, as well as the ongoing instability in the region. ADR was down by almost 4-5% across the market with a very stiff competition seen during the summer period and further rate resistance. We look forward to business coming back in the last quarter of this year assisting us to catch up with some of the deficit we have seen and hopefully allowing us to deliver on our desired expectations. What are your targets and expectations for next year? We are currently undergoing improvements in our lobby area, which will also deliver two new, outsourced, F&B concepts. We have also started works on our Presidential Suite, on the 60th floor, which we feel will give us the edge next year, with ever growing competition around us. Although we are seeing signs of recovery on the market, the ever growing supply over a demand, in the ramp up to 2020 Expo,

continues to impact on desired expectations, however the interest for the region is continuing to grow and we are hoping to somewhat capitalise on that, with our favourable position on Sheikh Zayed Road and close to Emirates Towers metro station. What are your thoughts on the current state of the region’s hospitality market? Dubai is benefitting from increasing numbers of both tourist and business travellers who are seeking out stable destinations. Owners and operators are pressed to achieve profitable growth and capitalise on the improved environment and the new opportunities in a changing world of offers. There is plenty of room to grow on many fronts including traveller volumes, new hotels and brands coming into the region and investment opportunities. Megatrends that are transforming today’s businesses include shifts in global economic power, innovation in technology and demographic change. Within the region, hotels need to be nimble and understand the issues and their implications for business. The mobile and digital revolution is taking hotels into a whole new world, as they battle to stay relevant to customers.


Regional News


HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

Face to face

Young at heart

In an exclusive interview Alejandro Bernabé, vice president operations of AVANI Hotels & Resorts, reveals his plans for the Middle East... There’s no question that the world of tourism is changing all the time. It’s even less of a secret that Dubai, and the rest of the Middle East, has been very much at the forefront of those changes. It was not that long ago, as Alejandro Bernabé, vice president operations of Avani Hotels & Resorts, reminds Hotel News Middle East, that the region was synonymous with super luxury properties and the last word in gilded glamour. “I think the world is changing. You have a lot of people who don’t want to pay too much for a room, especially one that’s only 50/60/70 sq m,” says Bernabé. “They want to use that money for going to explore the city and having different kinds of experiences.” This, Bernabé says, is where Avani

comes in. He says that while his company’s rooms are smaller than those of sister brand Anantara, their public areas are not. “We want to encourage people to come down, meet and socialise in our public areas before they go to explore the city,” he says. “That is why we will not have three, four or five restaurants. We probably will have one good one and then we expect people to explore. We want people who are visitors to Dubai to try the Emirati food and visit the local restaurants.” That might fly in the face of the established business model of encouraging people to stay on property and, perhaps more crucially, spend as much money as possible while there.

But Bernabé is keen to explain the method to his madness. It’s all about targeting the millennial market or, as he puts it, the millennial-minded. “It’s about a new market which we call the millennial-minded - millennials have certain ages, we are not restricted to age,” he says. “We are not restricted in the way we think. You have many people aged 50 years and above and you see them all using three gadgets at the same time.” Just like the famed millennials, Bernabé says, they care about their health and fitness and don’t want to travel business class. “They prefer to travel in economy, they are okay with that but then they want to make more excursions… they December 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Face to face

AVANI Metropolis Auckland Residences

There is also a push now towards a lot of healthier options. Having regional food in the Middle East is a little difficult because of the climate” - Alejandro Bernabé, vice president operations of Avani Hotels & Resorts want to do more things, for us that’s our target market,” he says. Bernabé is upfront about the market his company is targeting, as you would expect, and he is equally upfront about how he’s going to do it. “You have a lot of luxury hotels in the region and then you have budget hotels and there was a big gap in between,” he says. “There was especially a big gap for hotels which had a little bit of a personal40

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Fares Island, Maldives

ity. I think that’s our way into the market, until now the wealthy people in the region were only looking for luxury.” He says the days of going through tour operators for the ‘classic’ way of travelling are becoming less frequent. “I think younger people are looking at different ways of travelling. You can see that in Dubai as well as Jeddah, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi,” he says. Bernabé was in Dubai to talk about Avani’s plans for the region.

“It’s an extremely important market for us,” he says. “From Europe, Eastern Europe and also outbound – a lot of Middle Eastern clients are potential guests for us in our different destinations, all over the world, so we need to have a presence here. I think if you do not have a property in Dubai you cannot call yourself an international brand.” Avani currently only has one hotel in Dubai, situated in Deira, but that is going to change with the forthcom-

18 - 22 February 2018 Dubai World Trade Centre







Face to face

AVANI Bel-Ombre Mauritius Resort

ing opening of properties in the emirate’s IBN Battuta area, Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi. “Our long-term strategy in the Middle East is to be present in the region. I strongly believe once we have properties in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi we will be able to showcase new properties – this will help convince other owners about what Avani can bring to the table,” he says. “So eventually we are targeting to be in Muscat, Jeddah, Riyadh and more destinations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi – this is only the entry point.” While parent company Minor Hotels is renowned for its Anantara brands – he believes that being part of that stable will only help to strengthen his brand’s position in the region. “Each brand complements each other. I think that Anantara is aimed at people who have more funds, quite often that means older people, and then Avani comes one step beyond and is for people who want to explore and have fun,” he says. Keeping up with trends in the industry is a key requirement for a company with Avani’s remit – and that’s something that Bernabé is eager to speak about. “There is also a push now towards a lot of healthier options. Having regional food in the Middle East is a little difficult because of the climate,” he says. 42

HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

AVANI Gammarth Tunis Resort & Spa

“But it is coming as well – the rise of hydrophonic farms, for example, allow you to do this.” One trend which has already been witnessed in this region is the increase in the use of food trucks, Bernabé believes this is a simply a case of the market adapting to meet the needs of the people. “All the young people who can’t find a job in Jeddah and Riyadh are starting to do food trucks around the city,” he says. “Dubai has had this for a few years

but now it is moving towards the rest of the region.” Sustainability is another issue that is high on the lists of the millennial-minded. “One example is that in south east Asia, none of our properties will use straws, we have them in case someone asks but we will not offer them straightaway,” he says. Something tells Hotel News Middle East this won’t be the final straw when it comes to Avani’s plans either.

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Event preview

Per k i ng up ahead of S IAL Middle E a st Sial Middle East is taking place from December 12-14 in Abu Dhabi. We look at some of the highlights...


Baristas and coffee professionals are welcome to register to compete in one or all three competitions. Registration forms, competition rules and regulations can be accessed by emailing


HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

Event preview

E ve n ts National Cezve/Ibrik Championship

One of the oldest forms of coffee preparation that have existed throughout history in the Middle East, the Cezve/Ibrik employs traditional heated sand or a modern burner to heat a small pot with a distinct elongated handle to brew coffee. The UAE National Cezve/Ibrik Championship competition highlights the skills and talents of the barista to showcase this traditional coffee preparation technique to produce an amazing cup of specialty coffee.

National Brewers Cup Championship

The UAE National Brewers Cup Championship competition showcases coffee preparation in its purist form as baristas demonstrate their high level of skill through filter coffee brewing, done entirely by hand. In this exciting competition the competitors are tasked with preparing and serving three individual coffee beverages for a panel of judges.


IAL Middle East, one of the region’s fastest growing professional exhibitions for the food and beverage industry, has announced details of the 2017 UAE National Coffee Championships, taking place at the eighth edition of the exhibition from December 12-14 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). A testament to the incredible growth of the specialty coffee scene in the Middle East, three official competitions, certified by World Coffee Events (WCE) and sanctioned by the Specialty Coffee Association will take centre stage at the championships, bringing together the region’s most passionate and talented baristas. Joanne Cook, managing director of SIAL Middle East, says: “We are delighted to host

the 2017 UAE National Coffee Championships at our exhibition in Abu Dhabi. The specialty coffee industry is a key part of the region’s rapidly expanding food and beverage industry, and hosting the competition is a natural partnership between SIAL Middle East and the Specialty Coffee Association.” Khalid Al Mulla, National Coordinator of the SCA’s UAE Chapter, agrees: “Bringing the region’s most exceptional baristas together and showcasing their talents to 16,000+ trade visitors is an incredible step towards increased awareness and knowledge of the specialty coffee industry. SIAL Middle East is now a key partner for the Specialty Coffee Association and the UAE Chapter, and we’re very excited to see this partnership grow.”

National Cup Tasters Championship

An expert at tasting and distinguishing levels of quality and flavour differences in specialty coffee is called a cupper. By far the most exciting of all coffee competitions, the UAE National Cup Tasters Championship judges’ cuppers on their ability to exhibit accuracy and speed when drawing on their superior palate, sense of smell, attention to detail, and experience in choosing the cup of coffee that has an almost imperceptible difference in taste, out of three cups of almost identical coffees.

December 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


In Focus

Ki tted o ut fo r success

InSinkErator, the business unit of Emerson, has just kitted out the new wing of the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA). Hotel News Middle East finds out exactly what this dynamic partnership means for the industry… nSinkErator, a business unit of Emerson, the inventor and manufacturer of food waste disposers for home and commercial use, has equipped the new wing of Dubai’s International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) with its latest innovations, as part of its efforts to drive sustainable practices within the industry. Supporting Dubai’s zero waste vision and the environmental objectives of the UAE Vision 2021 InSinkErator’s innovations will boost the centre’s kitchen efficiency while reducing bulk waste. Among the solutions installed, The WasteXpress system takes performance to the next level by helping foodservice operations process organic waste for compost or a mixture of food waste and disposable items with maximum efficiency while Increase kitchen productivity and profitability by reducing food waste by up to 85%. The PowerRinse Waste Collection System, scrapping and pre-rinsing can be accomplished in one step prior to dishwashing. Solid waste is collected in a scrap basket. With the smallest screen size in the industry, PowerRinse ensures that most waste is captured, and less ends up down the drain. The system also consumes 50% less fresh water per hour than other collector systems on the market. InSinkErator hot water dispensers deliver up to 100 cups of near-boiling water per hour. Hot water on demand is an indispensable feature for hospitality and foodservice sector. Our dispensers improve staff efficiencies, reduce serving 46

HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

In focus

time, require no expensive pipe runs, and are easy to install. Mohamed Karam, senior business development manager, InSinkErator Middle East and Africa said, “It is important to instill sustainable practices in the sector right from the grassroots. The hospitality sector will experience an exponential growth in the lead up to Expo2020, and it is important that we have in place systems to manage food waste to prepare for the mega event. “The use of digester and disposers can divert considerable food waste from landfills. Waste captured can be converted for biogas production. This also supports UAE

2050 strategy that seeks to adopt as much as 50% of sources of power generation as green sources.” ICAA is an industry centered vocational education training (VET) center and has been featured amongst the top 10 culinary institutes in the world, also awarded the “Recognition of Quality Culinary Education” by the World Chefs. Karam added: “Individuals and institutions are starting to recognise the importance of the environmental dimension for their operation and how it is going to affect not only their performance but also their profits.”

Sunjeh Raja, ICCA CEO

Mohamed Karam, senior business development manager, InSinkerator Middle East & Africa

December 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



800 999 999 I



Introducing the ML5 Constromech is the official supplier for Menikini in the region. A spokesperson for Constromech reveals to Hotel News Middle East about why the company is excited about the launch of the ML5…

Menikini has has been manufacturing high-quality electrical appliances since 1973. The ML5 steam generator steam jet is effective wherever you need a high cleanliness and sanitation level. Thanks to its lightness and small size; the ML5 is perfect for all types of environments like bathroom, living, kitchen and bedroom. The ML5 is perfect for: • Elimination of viruses, bacteria and fungi • Sanitising of contact surfacescleaning of glass, mirrors and parquet, saunas and Turkish baths, hydromassages, wellbeing and massage parlours, 50

HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

swimming pool edges, showers and changing rooms • Hotels, spas and resorts with particular requirements, with a daily flow of customers and damp environments at high temperatures that favour the development and proliferation of bacteria and moulds. The temperatures reached by the Menikini industrial steam machines guarantee the complete sanitizing of these environments. They are unbeatable for the removal of dirt from tiles and majolica. The exclusive use of steam for sanitizing translates into savings and is more environmentalfriendly than other methods which are

based on the extensive use of disinfectants and chemical agents. Constromech FZCO, established in 2003, is an ISO 9001-2015 quality Management certified company. Constromech have been graded “A” by the DUBAI SME Rate Framework & amongst the top 100 performing SME’s in Dubai. We believe in innovative products, solutions and customer service. Therefore we choose our partners based on these criteria. Our partners/suppliers are specialists in their field. We offer excellent after sales support & provide operator training. Visit for more details.



Hyla is an all in one multipurpose air and room cleaning system. The Hyla machines have been on the market for14 years and are now found in over 200 hotels in the region. Hyla is a German multipurpose top quality, heavy duty, environmentally friendly cleaning system, using only water as a filter.

The machines do not use filters and dust bags or chemicals, thus no further expenses are required. Applications of Hyla EST : • Air cleaning, purifying and deodorizing • Dry vacuuming • Blowing • Deep vacuuming of mattresses, carpets and

upholstery using electro and turbo brushes • Wet vacuuming • Wet cleaning of hard floors • Shampooing of carpeted floors and upholstery Hyla Air & Room Cleaning System is the perfect solution to different services for any busy hotel, easy to handle and most importantly it is maintenance free.

December 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



Duni echoes excellence Marcus Toft, area manager Middle East and Africa, Duni talks to Hotel News Middle East about his company’s tableware products…

What is your best-selling product? Even though Duni supply many different products for your eating and drinking occasion our biggest selling product is still the high quality textile-like napkin. Here in the Middle East our premium napkin alternative is made out of Dunilin material. What is unique about it? The Dunilin napkin comes in two sizes, 40 cm and 48 cm, as well as a pre folded cutlery pocket and is available in many wonderful colors. Dunilin is a heavy material and the napkin will last through a multiple course menu and will stay on the lap as protection throughout the entire meal. In addition, the Dunilin napkins are compostable, which makes them a good choice for anybody that wants to reduce the impact on our planet. 52

HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

What is the most important feature of the products and service you provide? I would say hygiene, convenience and flexibility. Our napkins are produced in Germany in fully automated machines that ensure an extremely high level of hygiene. Also, since they are single-use you do not have to send them back and forth to the laundry and you can change the color at any time depending on what atmosphere you want in your restaurant. What are the latest trends in your sector? Duni has a history of leading the way in our industry. Even though we have been focusing on the environmental aspect of our products for several years we now see that the HORECA industry in Europe is taking this challenge seriously. We call it Ecoecho – Lead the Way. With this in mind, we have developed the ecoecho

range, which is ideal for HORECA managers who prioritize respect for nature. After all, the decisions we take today can help shape a better tomorrow. Designed for professional use, ecoecho products are created using some of the finest mindful materials available. Reflecting this, they let you lead the way when it comes to combining sustainability, quality and style. All ecoecho products comply with food contact regulations and have a raw, natural look which matches their eco-conscious profile. They come in a choice of qualities from tissue to premium Dunisoft. What type of hotel operation do you cater for? Mainly you can find our products in the F&B outlets, but also in the rooms as well as in the kitchen. Website:


Fonterra in the spotlight

Alastair Bruce - General Manager - Fonterra (GCC) speaks to Hotel News Middle East about what’s new for his company…

What is your latest product launch? Anchor Food Professionals Soft Style Cream Cheese What makes it unique? Full dairy ingredients from New Zealand processed in Saudi Arabia to formulate as per Middle East chefs’ demand. Globally trusted dairy, customized and made available locally. Why should businesses purchase your product? The new Anchor Food Professionals Soft Style Cream Cheese is the only cream cheese you will need - blends in perfectly with a wide range of sweet and savoury flavours, in both hot and cold applications. The soft, creamy texture allows fast mixing and together with its delicious, rich cream cheese flavour, consistently produces

the perfectly finished creation. It is designed for convenience - ready to use whenever needed, straight out of the refrigerator without the need for tempering, significantly reducing preparation times. Its outstanding bake stability and moisture retention assures a velvety texture and an appetizing glossy sheen. All these, for a much affordable price than other brands. What’s next for your company in 2018 and onwards? We continually find ways to drive performance to our customers’ businesses through new product development. We’ve also just recently launched another type of shredded mozzarella from Europe and few more new products underway. We also have trainings and workshops scheduled for our customers in our Innovation Centre. December 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


On the spot

A passion for hospitality

Naveena Jayaram, relationship manager food & drinks at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, is under the spotlight this month… What's the best thing about your job?

What would you say to anyone who is starting out in your sector?

The best thing about my job is that you get to know different kind of people and different ways to expose our presence in the market.

Be passionate in what you are doing and give it 100%

What made you choose this role?

I don’t say it necessarily as a bad thing but the role is very demanding. The guests expect a reply immediately... You are expected to know everything immediately and always be on your toes.

I had a passion for food and beverage since a young age.

What do you do when you're not working?

What's the worst thing about your job?

Cooking… which is also related to food and beverage. I love to cook and serve to my loved ones and to anyone who relishes my cooking.

What's the best bit of advice you've ever received in the workplace? The best advice I ever got and I always remember is ‘Be the person who you are, no matter what the situation is’ … this way I don’t have to struggle to be someone I’m not.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I really love what I am doing currently, perhaps in next five years I will choose a field like sales or marketing where I can still continue my passion.

Tell us something that none of your colleagues know about you? They don’t know that I am a very fun-loving person.

If you could stay in any hotel in the world right now, where would you go? Vivanta by Taj in Kashmir, India… it’s another Switzerland by the way.

Can you tell us why you wanted to join this industry? As mentioned earlier I have a passion for food & beverage.

BIN EID EXECUTIVE SEARCH & SELECTION (Specialised in 5* Hotel Sector) TWENTY (20) Years of Celebration *** TWENTY YEARS*** in Talent Sourcing in Hospitality segment BIN EID Executive Search is celebrating 20 years of existence. We thank our clients, candidates, well-wishers who directly and indirectly helped us in our wonderful & blissful journey. We also thank the Almighty, Bin Eid team members, ex-employees, associates and numerous unseen souls who supported us to navigate in our venture. We have touched and transformed thousands of individuals in our 20 years of spectacular journey. Thank you for the trust and confidence placed on us.

Our clients are currently recruiting for the following roles: VP-Operations-Asia, GM-hotels-UAE and Saudi Arabia, Corporate DOSM, DOSM, Sales Managers, Corporate Chief Engineer, CFO Please visit: to view the current jobs.


HOTEL NEWS ME December 2017

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Hotel News ME - December 2017  
Hotel News ME - December 2017