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Qatar calling Doha GMs share their insight

Leaders in Hospitality All the action from the inaugural awards THE professional perspective for the hospitality industry May 2016 | WWW.HOTELNEWSME.COM

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Contents

hot topics 08 | NEWS

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28 | Leaders in Hospitality All the action from the star-studded industry awards 42 | Cover story Looking at the changing role of the hotel GM 52 | ATM: The post show round-up All the news from the 2016 exhibition 58 | AHIC 2016 Ten stories that shaped the show

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22 May 2016 HOTEL NEWS ME

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18 Managing Director Walid Zok Walid@bncpublishing.net Director Rabih Najm Rabih@bncpublishing.net Director Wissam Younane Wissam@bncpublishing.net Group Publishing Director Diarmuid O'Malley dom@bncpublishing.net Group Editor Melanie Mingas Melanie@bncpublishing.net Editor Sophia Soltani Sophia@bncpublishing.net

FEATURES

Art Director Aaron Sutton Aaron@bncpublishing.net

18 | Face to Face Al Ruwad MD Ismail Al Hammadi talks development hot spots

Marketing Executive Mark Anthony Monzon

c o n t ribu t o rs Gemma Greenwood

22 | The Panel Everything you need to know about Qatar’s hotels 48 | Country Focus Analysing the UAE’s hotel stock

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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 www.raidy.com


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Showtime

After this month’s show frenzy, the Middle East is showing no signs of slowing down It has been one of the busiest months of the year for our industry, with both Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) and Arabian Travel Market (ATM) running alongside each other. The team and I have been busy rubbing shoulders with top-notch hoteliers and investors, seeing a flurry of signings, newly formed partnerships and tourism authority rebrands at both events. And so, as I sulk over my sore feet following the extensive ground covered at both shows, it would appear that the aches and pains have most certainly been worth the complaints. The hard-drive in my mind is now backed up with exciting new industry trends, regional investment developments, markets to look out for and the ones to steer clear of. Along my travels of the halls of Dubai World Trade Centre, the echoes of mid-market travel resonated throughout, seeing the likes of TIME Hotels, Al Khoory Hotels, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Starwood Hotels and Resorts fall in line to ink new deals and push forward for mid-scale properties; a topic that has been hot on the agenda, with 51% of all hotels in Dubai now in the mid-market segment. A reoccurring note, on both the investment and development fronts, has been that of Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom gears up to become a destination in its own right outside of the religious tourism market, following the announcement of a new Green Card visa system, aimed at attracting more foreign investment. With relaxed visa restrictions the Kingdom aims to explore non-oil revenue

streams which will essentially further open doors for the hospitality industry in Saudi. In tandem with positive developments in the Middle East, we celebrated our first Leaders in Hospitality Awards at the St. Regis Dubai on April 19. An extravagant affair, the industry came out in force to acknowledge an admirable set of industry categories, ranging from Best New Mid-Market Hotel to Best Room Refurb. We also celebrated the people who dedicate their services and commitment to the industry. A variety of colourful winners, ranging from the leaders at the top, to the back of house, unsung heroes were given prize of place and the recognition they deserve at the Awards. Leading on from this, we head into May on another high-note, looking forward to our second GM Leaders Conference, set to take place on the 16 May 2016, at the St. Regis Dubai. Here we will see a stellar line-up of panelists, industry experts and DTCM come together for a day of lively industry debate, key-note presentations and prime networking opportunities – I’ll see you there!

Sophia Soltani Editor

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HOTEL NEWS ME May 2016

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Regional News

NEWS

WHO SAID THAT?

Riyadh at night

Saudi sees “significant shift” to mid-market brands The hospitality industry in Saudi growth potential and we are com- open (2,281 rooms) and in 2015, Arabia is witnessing a significant mitted to the development of the IHG opened two new Holiday shift towards the development of Kingdom, which is underpinned Inn hotels, and also signed two mid-range hotels in 2016, with an by a genuine focus on economic new hotels including the world’s estimated 60% of properties cur- diversification by the Govern- largest, Holiday Inn Makkah – rently under developments now in ment. We have a very ambitious Abraaj Al Tayseer. the 3- and 4-star bracket, accord- growth plan in Saudi Arabia, with Continued development of leiing to a new report from TOPHO- a pipeline of 17 hotels and 3,780 sure and commercial areas as well TELPROJECTS commissioned rooms over the next five years.” as massive investment in tourism by The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia. Further adding to the mid- infrastructure in key cities like The brands dominating this new market pipeline, Accor’s 4-star Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah and Matrend include: Park Inn by Radis- Novotel (450 rooms) and Adagio dinah, is fuelling the demand for son (1,433 rooms); affordable accomHilton Garden Inn modation. The mid(1,155 rooms); Four “We have a very ambitious growth market segment is plan in KSA, with a pipeline of 17 currently under-supPoints by Sheraton (1,890 rooms); hotels and 3,780 rooms over the plied, pushing the Aloft Hotels (627 demand for quality next five years” rooms); Mercure serviced apartments (528 rooms); and as well as 3-and Staybridge Suites (538 rooms). Aparthotel (77 rooms) and 3-star 4-star properties. The authoriWith Carlson Rezidor set to ibis and ibis Styles (463 rooms) ties are working on a long-term open two Park Inn by Radisson will open in Saudi Arabia in 2016 strategy, focused on encouraging hotels in Makkah by 2017, Basel and 2017. The Holiday Inn, business travel as well as economTalal, district director of The Rezi- part of InterContinental Ho- ic diversification that in turn will dor Hotel Group, said: “Saudi- tels Group (IHG), is one of the contribute to the development of Arabia is a key focus country for group’s largest brands in Saudi the hospitality sector, catering to our group offering considerable Arabia with 11 hotels currently all segments of the market.

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HOTEL NEWS ME May 2016

“The current oil prices do impose pressure on the Middle East’s trade and economy, however, the medium to long-term prospects for the hotel industry remain good. Moreover, the strength of our business model gives us the confidence to continue as planned on our Middle East pipeline.” Taras Ettl, vice president of development, MENA region, IHG

GO FIGURE The Middle East reported

80,423 251 rooms in

hotels under construction for the month of March 2016 Representing a

40.9% increase in rooms under contract compared with March 2015 and a

42.7% YoY increase (SOURCE: STR)


— Ask us how!


Regional News

“Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts plans to increase its Saudi Arabia footprint from a current 10 properties ,3,907 keys to 15, 5,204 keys by 2018. Upcoming projects include Mövenpick Hotel City Star Jeddah, opening this year, Mövenpick Residences Al Khobar in 2017, Mövenpick Hotel Financial District Riyadh in 2017 and Mövenpick Hotel Heraa Jeddah in 2018.”

WHO SAID THAT?

-

“Demonstrating the very latest in design, technology and an exceptional level of service, the Aspen Chalets will provide a unique, authentic experience of an Aspen ski lodge in the heart of Dubai.” -

- Andreas Mattmüller, COO, Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts Middle East and South Asia.

Grant Ruddiman, general manager at the Kempinski

GO FIGURE

bringing Khyber to

Typical luxury hotel

Dubai for the first

revenue mix in hotels in

time and are positive

Abu Dhabi

that its blend of

4% 42% 52% 2% comes from spa

from room revenues

from F&B And

from other

traditional, high-end cuisine served in a vibrant atmosphere will make a stand out addition to the emirate’s dining scene. We are working closely with the Khyber family to ensure the new restaurant captures the true essence of the concept.” Abdulla Bin Sulayem, CEO of Seven Tides

Hotel Mall of the Emirates

“We are thrilled to be

(SOURCE: KNIGHT FRANK)

International

Passenger traffic at DXB International tops 6.3 million

The latest report from Dubai International Airport has revealed that passenger traffic has continued to grow steadily with over 6.3 million passengers registered in February 2016. The traffic report detailed that passenger traffic reached 6,383,544 in February 2016, up 6.9% from 5,973,727 reg10

HOTEL NEWS ME May 2016

istered during the same month in 2015. This brings the total year to date passenger traffic at DXB to 13,711,181, an increase of 6.5% from the first two months of 2015. Eastern Europe was the fastest expanding market in terms of percentage growth +14.6%, followed by the Indian subcontinent +11.5%, North America +10.7% and the GCC +7.9%. India remained the top destination country in February with a total of 885,298 passengers, followed by Saudi Arabia

485,570 passengers and the UK 460,279 passengers. London topped the list of destination cities, followed by Doha and Mumbai. Aircraft movements at DXB totalled 32,975 during the month under review, compared to 31,012 movements recorded in February 2015, up 6.3%. Freight volumes at DXB increased from 191,002 tonnes in February 2015 to 196,730 in February 2016, up 3%. Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said: “This steady growth in passenger numbers has coincided with the opening of Concourse D in February,

which increased DXB’s capacity to 90 million passengers a year. Not only are we able to accommodate the rising passenger numbers, we have also boosted our service levels considerably.” He added: “This month, we were deemed the third busiest airport in the world by ACI, moving up three places from last year’s ranking. Considering that we do not have domestic traffic, this is an important milestone. The continued rise in traffic at DXB is underpinned by our heavy investment in the infrastructure needed to facilitate growth for the 100 airlines that operate at our airport.”


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Regional News

European hotel giant Louvre to roll out 11 budget hotels in Middle East

WHO SAID THAT?

“While Saudi Arabia traditionally boasts a luxury hospitality offering, we are now welcoming an increasingly diversified pool of guests from domestic and international markets – and it’s important that we evolve our proposition to match their mixed demands.” Carlos Khneisser, Vice President of Development, Hilton Worldwide Middle East and North Africa

GO FIGURE AccorHotels sustains around

880,000

Louvre Hotels Group has cemented its position as a major player in the MENA hospitality market with the announcement that the group will open 11 new hotels in the region this year, including six hotels in the GCC. The move forms part of an aggressive expansion plan that will see one of Europe’s largest hotel groups greatly increase its operational footprint in the MENA region to have 95 hotels and over 15,000 guest rooms under its regional portfolio by 2020. The new openings in 2016 – set to add no less than 1,500 keys to the group’s existing inventory in the region – include three hotels in Saudi Arabia and two in the UAE and Lebanon. The group will also open properties in Qatar, Algeria, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Tunisia this year. As Louvre Hotels were the spotlight sponsor for ATM 2016, which focused on the theme of mid-market travel, a segment where the Paris-headquartered group has established itself as a key player – in Europe, Asia and the MENA region. Commenting on the expan-

jobs globally Close to

6,350 jobs between the UAE and Saudi Contributing

€22bN to the global GDB (SOURCE: AccorHotels Socio-economic footprint study)

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HOTEL NEWS ME May 2016

sion plans, Amine E. Moukarzel, president, Louvre Hotels Group MENA said: “Increasingly, we are seeing that growth in the MENA hospitality market is being driven not by luxury or premium hotels, but instead by midscale and budget hotels that offer the full spectrum of services at an affordable price. This presents an enormous window of opportunity for international players like Louvre Hotels to bring our global reputation and high standards to the table and combine these with a superior customer

value proposition to reshape the dynamics of the regional hospitality industry. “The Middle East and North Africa is an important market for Louvre Hotels and remains central to our global expansion. As the largest event for the region’s travel and hospitality industry, ATM represents the perfect platform for us to connect with the travel trade community and seek out new alliances that will help provide further impetus to our expansion in the region,” he added.

Louvre Hotel properties opening in the region in 2016 include: • Golden Tulip Oran, Algeria – 110 rooms and suites, Opened in Q1 2016 • Golden Tulip Taj Sultan Resort Hammamat, Tunisia – 250 rooms, Opened Q2 2016 • Golden Tulip Sharma Resort, KSA – 103 rooms and villas, Q2 2016 • Royal Tulip Achrafieh, Lebanon – 76 rooms, Q2 2016 • Golden Tulip Doha, Qatar – 195 rooms, Q2 2016 • Tulip Inn Ras Al Khaimah, UAE – 104 rooms, Q2 2016 • Golden Tulip Al Khobar, KSA – 100 rooms, Q2 2016 • Tulip Inn Modon Jeddah, KSA – 122 rooms, Q3 2016 • Golden Tulip Deira City Centre, UAE – 125 rooms , Q4 2016 • Golden Tulip Jounieh, Lebanon – 60 rooms, Q4 2016 • Royal Tulip Korbus Tunisia- 138 rooms, Q4 2016


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Regional News

Kuwait to invest $1 billion into tourism sector The travel and tourism sector in Kuwait is forecasted to grow by 4.3% per year over the next 10 years through to 2025, with an anticipated total investment figure of just under $1bn. Kuwait’s strategy for long-term tourism growth received a boost in 2015, with airport passenger volume growing from around 10 million travellers in 2014 to just over 10.2 million last year as the Gulf state ploughs ahead with plans to expand its transportation infrastructure. According to a World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report entitled Kuwait Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2015, tourism accounted for 1.5% of total GDP in 2015, and is set to rise

by 0.3% by 2025, although this is being revisited given the current low oil prices scenario. This would take total GDP contribution to 1.8%, or $ 5.3bn in 2025. The report also highlighted potential gains in leisure spend, which is expected to grow by 6.2% per annum to KWD 2.4 billion in 2025, while business travel is expected to grow by 5.6% per annum to KWD457.3 million in 2025. WTTC predictions put tourist arrivals at 440,000 by 2024 – up from 270,000 in 2014 – and increased capacity will be the catalyst for sector gains moving forward with leisure travel spending set to rise by 6.2% per annum through to 2025, and business travel, which saw a dip in 2015,

forecast to pick up in the next 10 years with annual growth of 5.6%. Kuwait also has a high domestic travel spend component, which generated 88.1% of direct travel and tourism GDP in 2014, and is expected to increase by 6.4% per annum through to 2025. The country’s hotel pipeline is also adding new value to the tourism mix with an under-development collection of new luxury and more affordable accommodation options. High-end brands such as Four Seasons, which will open its first 263-key Kuwait property at Burj Alshaya at the end of 2016, will be joined by the Mercure Kuwait (2017) and Hilton Olympia.

Cairo sub-market performance indicators Year-on-year change in occupancy and average daily rate by sub-market

Source: STR Global, Colliers International, 2016 14

HOTEL NEWS ME May 2016


Event preview

GM Leaders conference In association with

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Sponsored by

Hotel News ME is gearing up to host its GM Leaders Conference for the second year running with a day of lively panel discussions, expert sessions, key-note presentations and workshops. The event will be moderated by broadcaster, presenter and journalist Stephen Marney and will involve prime networking opportunities and open Q&A sessions for delegates in attendance. The one-day conference will touch upon key issues that are currently being faced in the hospitality industry, including declining occupancy rates and the current rate-war that hoteliers are engaged in as they try to maintain strong room rates in an ever competitive market. Speakers for this panel include hospitality veteran, Rupprecht Queitsch, CEO, INHOCO Group; Naim Maadad, CEO, Gates Hospitality; Russel Sharpe, COO, Citymax

Knowledge partner

Hotels; and Rabih Feghali, director at Roya International. Guest satisfaction and its impact on the bottom line will also be explored in a panel session with Colliers International who recently partnered with Dutch startup Olery to develop a software that combines data sets to create the ultimate performance rating tool, the Guest Experience Index. This panel will explore its use for the industry and what it could mean for the future of hotel performance ratings. Speakers on this panel include recently awarded GM Leader of the Year winner, from the Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2016, David Allan, general manager at the Radisson Blu, Dubai Media City; Filipo Sona, director hospitality, Colliers International; Kai Schukowski, general manager, Kempinski Ajman, another Award winner from the Leaders in Hospitality Awards; and

Christopher Gregory, display sales manager, Trip Advisor MEAI. Additionally, following on from the highly popular cover story, “Under Attack” an expert session has been designed to cover why hotels are a cybercrime target, highlighting the dangers and vulnerabilities of hotel systems and advising on how to handle a cybercrime emergency. The conference will also see a session from Mike Hoff, founder and CEO, Mike Hoff Consulting, titled: ‘Retain Your A-Team.’ Offering hoteliers an insight on how to quantify leadership abilities in 80 plus business related areas. The session will also offer a set of management tips for teams in high performance environments Female leaders in hospitality will also take the stage with a panel discussion debating how the industry can increase the number

Hotel Industry Insights Survey 2016 16

HOTEL NEWS ME May 2016


Event preview

Confirmed speakers Marc Bennett SVP international operations, DTCM David Allan GM, Radisson Blu, Media City Filipo Sona Director Hospitality, Colliers International Rupprecht Queitsch CEO, INHOCO Group, Kim van den Wijngaard CEO, Olery Naim Maadad CEO, Gates Hospitality Maria Tullberg GM, Radisson Blu, Dubai Deira Creek Russel Sharpe COO, Citymax Hotels Rabih Feghali director at Roya International Christopher Gregory display sales manager, Trip Advisor MEAI Kai Schukowski general manager Kempinski Ajman Vivien Ivanyi corporate director of marketing, Emaar Hospitality

of women in senior management roles. Supporting the event, Rikan General Trading, has confirmed its participation as the Presenting Sponsor for the second year. Riaz Khimani, managing director, Rikan General Trading said: “Rikan is an established brand in the hotel industry, but we strongly believe in staying in touch with the industry at every level. Right from the grass roots to the top leadership. This conference offers the right platform to be in touch with the leaders. We as a company are always very keen to learn from our clients and study the ever changing trends in the market. We solely sponsored the same event in 2015 at the Four Seasons Jumeirah and would love to be associated with this event this year and every year.” Also commenting on the second edition of the GM Leaders Conference, Diarmuid O’Malley, group publishing director for BNC

Publishing said: “Following on from the huge success of last year’s conference, I am confident that the second edition will bring even more value to the industry, with great partners and speakers we aim to bring valuable information to the hoteliers. It is vital as an industry we work together and collaborate on new ideas and ways to overcome existing challenges. I have no doubt that we will exceed last year’s delegate number of 150.” Hospitality Security solutions provider, ASSA ABLOY will also be joining the line-up of sponsors. Commenting on the latest trends in the industry Manit Narang, vice president MEAI, Vingcard Elsafe said: “Much of the industry has been affected by the increasing trend of guests demanding faster and more convenient services. As other industries have adapted to include self-service options as a solution to providing customers with instant

satisfaction, hotel guests are increasingly being greeted with alternative ways of interacting with traditional hotel services that ensure faster results. Guests today are finding services such as self check-in or check-out to be more commonplace, and now view them more as a required option as opposed to a mere add-on service. The overwhelming rise in smart device usage has also seen properties provide guests with even greater control over their hotel stay experience. By simply downloading a property’s app, guests can now gain instant access to an array of convenience enhancing abilities such as room service, making restaurant reservations or even using a smart device to unlock and enter certain areas within a hotel.” Other sponsors at the second edition of the conference include: Unique Precise International, TSSC, ASSA ABLOY and Emirates Academy of Hospitality.

During the GM Leaders Conference the results of the Hotel Industry Insights Survey will be published. If you are a hotel GM or a member of senior management, you can access the survey via: http://tinyurl.com/gmyy2yz or by visiting www.HotelNewsME.com May 2016 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Face to Face

The

realty perspective Managing director of Al Ruwad Real Estate, Ismail Al Hammadi, talks about the Development prospects of untouched locations of Dubai and the opportunities for hotel projects in Dubai’s Al Jaddaf area

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HOTEL NEWS ME May 2016


Face to Face

A

s managing director of Al Ruwad Real Estate, Ismail Al Hammadi knows a thing or two about property investment, including where and what to develop. According to his observations, there are areas of Dubai which are “ignored” by investors. Without surprise these are the submarkets, generally on the outskirts of the city that are not served by a metro line and do not boast water-side views. In a horizontally-planned city that has been known to create additional coastline on a whim in order to boost property development and values, where the proximity to a metro line can add between 20 and 30% to the value of the plot, these are important points. Explaining that Dubai’s investment market is based on identifying and seizing upon the “next big thing” Hammadi explains: “Dubai is about chapters. A new chapter is now open in Mohammed Bin Rashid City, a new chapter is open in Jumeirah Village Circle and Jumeirah Village Triangle, Sports City and Dubai South is taking part because it is linked with Expo.” But there is one up and coming area that Hammadi’s real estate firm is focused on, Al Jaddaf. Already home to the Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf and in close proximity to the recently opened Palazzo Versace, the area is fertile with opportunities in hotel development. “You can compare Jaddaf to Barsha, it’s the heart of Dubai, it is linked with Sharjah and New Dubai, it is four minutes to the airport, seven minutes to Burj Khalifa, you have access to everywhere, infrastructure is 100% ready and even the metro stations are there. But it is not being utilized because the area is not on the agenda for development.” Why? “I don’t see any reason. The main reason for Dubai is that the investors, who are GCC nationals or foreigners, are following a scenario, but you need to have someone who is proactive to take risk and build, and then you will find people who follow these investments. “We need to educate people more on these areas and become less reactive. At the end of the day I have a regulation for each zone. You can go right now and see that there is a huge investment in Jaddaf and I can see the role that area can play in the greater Dubai story. Once that is clear people will be moving fast into that location,” he continues. Al Ruwad holds hotel plots in the area, some of which were sold over recent months, but plans remain to develop a 3-star hotel that will be independently branded by Al Ruwad itself, currently planned to be a 16 storey property accommodating around 500 keys, although plans are subject to change, with an estimated completion date of Q4, 2017. Jaddaf joins the likes of International City Phase 3, Al Ain Road – where Al Ruwad has “huge plots” listed in its inventory for real estate development – and the area surrounding Global Village. It’s one of many similar planned properties that has benefitted from DTCM’s financial incentive for mid-market hotel developments. In 2013 DTCM announced a concession on the 10% municipality fees levied on room rates for each night of occupancy for four years from the date of issue of the construction permit. The announcement was designed to spur mid-market hotel development and bring forward construction time lines for new properties. May 2016 HOTEL NEWS ME

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First look

“Dubai is about chapters. A new chapter is now open in Mohammed Bin Rashid City, a new chapter is open in Jumeirah Village Circle and Jumeirah Village Triangle, Sports City and Dubai South is taking part because it is linked with Expo.” “This is one of the attractive initiatives, along with the government of Dubai allowing people to convert their land use from commercial or residential to hotel without paying any fees,” Hammadi explains. “From the license perspective DTCM and Dubai Municipality collaborated to reduce the building permit time from six months to two months, expanding the window of time during which this fee waiver can be enjoyed. They have kept hotels on the fast track to encourage people to invest in and build those 80,000 rooms Dubai needs.” Citing the major Dubai-based players as Habtoor Group, with its new Sheikh Zayed Road mega-project, which will become a flagship of the new Dubai Creek development; Al Futtaim and wasl Asset Management Group, which currently counts almost 20 brands in its portfolio, Hammadi says the level of opportunity in the market currently is high with almost 70 projects planned, with established and new operators. While things are busy in the market he has only one message to the operators if they want to capitalize on the opportunities available and it’s all about new locations; and his comments also apply to Dubai South, where Dubai Expo 2020 will be hosted. “We need almost 80,000 rooms for Expo and we have very attractive government initiatives to support that in order to bring new operators to Dubai, but I’m not advising people who have no experience in hospitality just to build a hotel because a hotel will not be built in this way.” It’s advice which is applicable to the owners and developers also, with Hammadi continuing to say: “It isn’t advisable to complete a development in 2018 with the 20

HOTEL NEWS ME May 2016

goal of attracting an operator because then the operator will say that their rooms are different sizes, types than what you offer.” Returning to the development of Dubai’s secondary locations, Hammadi believes there are a number of infrastructure developments that could help in speeding up the process, including the planned expansion

of Dubai Metro. But as far as the gaps to be filled in the development of hotels go, he has only one message: “Look at the location you want to be in rather than going with what the market supplies. “Look at an area’s location, the facilities it offers and the future plans for its development.”


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The Panel

Nicolas Cedro, assistant general manager, Melia Doha

Ahmad Anis, general manager, Pullman Doha West Bay

Gianrico Esposito, general manager, Westin Doha

Adham El Sebaey, general manager, Hilton Doha

Tufan Kobanbay, executive assistant manager, Grand Hyatt Doha

The road to 2030

In 2015 Qatar saw 11 new hotel openings, which added 1,400 rooms to Doha’s hotel stock and, with focus fixed on the country’s 2030 development strategy, there are many more to come. Hotel News ME travelled to Doha to speak to GMs on the ground about their experience and observations of the market From your perspective as a hotelier, how true is the notion that Qatar is experiencing a “gold rush”? Sebaey: In our second year of operations, 2014, the market was extremely active and there were many projects and initiatives. When it comes to 2015, this pace declined a little and we can see that all the projects in the pipeline are slower and 2016 is now a different ball game. I would say that we are enjoying the supply and demand balance because right now it is weighted in the favour of the hotelier, even though so many factors

22

HOTEL NEWS ME May 2016

are changing on a regular basis. Esposito: There are cycles. It is true that given the economic environment across the region, Qatar too is seeing a slowdown compared to last year. The country is doing well and occupancy in upper upscale and luxury market is over 70% with some pressure on rates, but in other countries that performance wouldn’t be achieved. Qatar is an amazing country and with the continued development of new infrastructure, as well as the visibility of the country on the world stage, it is a good time to be

here for the hotel industry. Kobanbay: With so much development and support for business, including many people visiting, the locals have also benefitted and there is a synergy which showed people that Qatar is much more happening now and for that reason you can call it a “goldrush”. When I arrived here the reality matched the expectation – many new hotels opening, a lot of projects underway in the country and a business environment with strong performance. Anis: The focus here is on the 2030 plan,


The panel

which also incorporates 2022, but the strategy is very long term. The plan is to develop infrastructure, hotels and other things in order to reach the 60,000 unit target for rooms. Last year we have 20,000 rooms and 2,000 were added recently. Another 35,000 are expected and this will create an oversupply so the issue is how the country can create the demand to prevent oversupply. This is very important and we as hoteliers, along with the government, need to find different ways to boost the visitor numbers. What needs to be remembered is that Doha is not Dubai and it will continue to be built around sports and culture. We cannot diversify from what has been strategically planned for this country, but we do need to fill the gaps. First we must develop the existing product, attract more MICE business and new exhibitions to create a full calendar to drive demand year round. Secondly, develop new things in line with the strategic ambitions. There is a little flexibility in terms of entertainment activity and last year there was a music festival showcasing Middle East artists. There is potential for traditional Arabic singers, conservative figures who have huge fan bases and will drive people here for concerts. So the same line of focus, but slightly different events. The economic part and corporate business is out of our hands because the stronger the economy is the more corporate business will come naturally. There are definitely some challenges to 2022 and the supply is coming. My hotel is 468 rooms coming in Q1 next year and there are around 10 more hotels, so that’s 3,000 rooms in 2017. Let’s say rooms will double in the next four years. Can we foresee a double in demand? Cedro: For Melia, it was very exciting to come into Doha as we had only one property in Dubai so yes, we think it is the place to be. The data we have from QTA is the 4-star and 5-star occupancy is 70% and of course we do keep a close eye on the new inventory coming into the market and we need to position our products accordingly. The pressure is high. But Melia also signed a new 4-star business hotel, opening in around six months, and two more hotels in Dubai. Our CEO wants to be involved in the GCC and we all strongly believe in the market here. We need to position in the market and work with the government

“We cannot diversify from what has been strategically planned for this country, but we do need to fill the gaps.” - Ahmad Anis -

“It is very easy to turn into Dubai but if that was the answer I think it would have been done a long time ago. What is happening here is different. ” - Adham El Sebaey -

to help develop the leisure market. It is the place to be. How are your preparing for potential oversupply and how are you planning to protect your performance? Esposito: To compete in a market like this, where most important international brands are represented, the first thing is to provide quality to the guest and deliver on customer expectation. That is always best to keep

market share. On the other side, manage efficiency internally in the organisation. We have experienced pressure on rates and that erodes our profitability, so more attention is required to manage costs protect quality. Sebaey: It’s a dual responsibility between us as hoteliers and the authorities. We as hoteliers cannot just drop a rate, I think that’s really very damaging to business overall because you cannot increase rates easily afterwards. We have to be professional enough to maintain the rates but if there is oversupply we must be flexible in the approach. As international chains we have a responsibility to bring business to the market and to develop and attract more business. Revenue streams inside the hotel are also very important and that means you don’t have to focus on a single thing because there is a mix of revenue centres. We also have cycles, if 2015 was a gold rush perhaps 2017 will be slower and the pace will increase again in 2020. Anis: Again, the quality is very important and also attracting new markets, especially in tourism and not just business. It’s about developing a real marketing plan for the country to develop tourism and leisure. Each individual hotel will have its own way to attract leisure business so that is the starting point, and again we cannot drop rates to take a greater share of the same arrival numbers – it’s unsustainable and it’s damaging to the brand. According to the Qatar Tourism Authority 3 million visitors arrived in 2015, and Doha targets 4 million by 2020. Looking at the current and planned infrastructure, what else is needed to support achieving this? Anis: Having the proper infrastructure in a city is very important, but we also need to be more creativity for the leisure market – theme parks, water parks – and this will add a lot of opportunity for us and the neighbouring GCC countries, to attract more visitors. I think Qatar is really unique in what it offers and the focus on culture, sport and education will be very important in reaching those figures. Kobanbay: We also have to have to a number of hotel brands in order to meet the needs of a diversified guest profile; we are planning to open a Park Hyatt, for example. Esposito: We need to diversify the offering May 2016 HOTEL NEWS ME

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The Panel

The Kempinski Marsa Malaz in Doha, where the discussion was held

to move into other segments for tourism. Now in Qatar we are well placed in upper upscale and luxury and there is plenty of space for mid-scale. Cedro: The market undoubtedly needs developing and there are plans for this but also the country needs to be a little more open in terms of the restaurants and bars on offer as well as the licensing laws. Doha isn’t Dubai, but it is getting close in some respects, and the normal way to achieve this is to become a little more open in order to attract those extra guests. Sebaey: It is very easy to turn into Dubai but if that was the answer I think it would have been done a long time ago. What is happening here is different. Esposito: Doha’s success is built on identity and traditions so building on this we can build more tourism. It brings the authentic 24

HOTEL NEWS ME May 2016

Middle East experience with modernity and culture. There is modern infrastructure with shopping malls and leisure facilities. We have to adapt our offers to the strategy of the country. It’s the way to go I think. Cedro: If we want to progress the market and attract a wider gust profile I think the country will also need to relax a few rules.

“I know Qatar Airways flies to many destinations but nobody stays here; from Europe to Asia, they just pass through.” - Tufan Kobanbay -

There is an opinion that the Olympics would have been a better fit with “Brand Qatar” when it comes to the country’s world stage debut for hosting global sporting events. What is the sentiment on the ground? Esposito: The strategy for Qatar runs to 2030 and the country isn’t changing its strategy based on the FIFA World Cup. Cedro: They plan to build the stadia outside of the centre and then the licenses


The panel

“We need to position in the market and work with the government to help develop the leisure market. It is the place to be.” - Nicolas Cedro -

The GCC is a potential market with school and public holidays and geographical proximity. Entertainment for children poses huge opportunity and with the existing focus of Doha, there is scope here to attract tourists. Sebaey: It is a truly global focus here and this is really what is happening by launching many things at the same time. Many things have to happen over the coming few years to broaden the attraction for visitors beyond the GCC. Kobanbay: You have to give them a reason to come here first of all. I know Qatar Airways flies to many destinations but nobody stays here; from Europe to Asia, they just pass through. If the country can give something worthwhile to experience here for a couple of days in order to attract people to stay, that would also help. That reason needs to be created.

How should destination Qatar be promoted and who should the target market be? Anis: It’s a matter of points of attraction.

What is the greatest threat to your business at this point and how is that being managed? Sebaey: Everybody is affected by the oil price and it isn’t something we have

for shisha and alcohol need to be considered. At the same time the pressure of the oil price crisis means that we need more business from tourists. I don’t think it will be as open as Dubai any time soon but they do need to consider this for concerts, beach parties and other such events. The international operators are heavily invested in Qatar Tourism’s ambitions, but how are the unbranded properties contributing and how do government incentives support the unbranded market? Esposito: We cannot discuss this without talking about Brand Qatar because this is what brings people to the country and, like I said before this is all part of what feeds into that brand. If we have space for diversification in the hospitality industry there is space for the independent segment to take niches within the city of Doha. The independent, as well as our internationally branded hotels, are all together feeding into the greater Brand Qatar.

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The view from the grand stairway

experienced before so that is number one. The other thing is the supply and demand balance, which is crucial to get right. Esposito: I think everybody agrees that those are the largest two threats to our industry and most of it is beyond our control. Kobanbay: And the traffic! What percentage of revenue generated by the hotel is through rooms and how much is generated by F&B? Sebaey: We have many international brands coming to Qatar and the tourists coming 26

HOTEL NEWS ME May 2016

to the city want to enjoy the international restaurant, lounge and club brands. You also have developments like The Pearl, which are a threat to the hotel F&B outlet as this takes market share from us. Esposito: The F&B is even more competitive here in Doha. That is the common thing and overall in the hotel more than 50% comes from F&B over rooms, so many hotels need to create unique concepts. On average you would expect up to seven outlets per hotel. Sebaey: If 50% of your revenue comes from F&B you need that multiple outlet

approach. Still, another major point that threatens our business is that if you’re depending on F&B for more than 50% of your revenue, you need to stay ahead. The demand is for lounges, international, Asian themes and fusion cuisines. Cedro: Arabic is very popular, as is Indian, banquets; large events can be 20% of revenue. Outside catering is a very large market. Anis: There is huge competition from standalone restaurants and the only USP hotels have is the ability to serve alcohol.


The panel

As the market grows, how competitive is the search for staff? Esposito: There is a lot of competition. On our recruitment trips we saw that we were not the only ones there and we knew that other hotels from around the Middle East would be going to the same places for associates and we have to consider this in our salary and benefits packages. As well, there is the need to diversify the nationalities to provide our guests with a diversified experience and every hotel is trying to do that. Sebaey: Everybody is recruiting from the same places and the agencies are working with all the hotels, so we need to be fast and efficient. There are restrictions to moving between employers here in Qatar with the NOC, which prevents us from facing the same issues as the UAE, where people can and do move for even a small increase in salary or benefits. You know you will retain your team here for some time and it is working to the benefit of the hotel manager Cedro: Visa applications also require a good PRO in every hotel because not ever nationality can easily obtain a visa. Esposito: We have to be organised and communicate directly with the authorities to explain why certain nationalities are important to our business, for example Arabic speaking associates. On the other side we face limitations in some markets. It takes time and work to get approval on certain nationalities. We see a huge demand for Arabic speaking staff in order to communicate with a predominantly GCC clientele. Is there interest from Qatari nationals to work in the hospitality sector and how do nationalization policies affect your hiring? Esposito: I know there is a plan to promote the employment of Qatari nationals in certain industries. I know it is something we haven’t experience so far in hospitality but also, I very rarely hear about a Qatari national applying for a job in a hotel. Kobanbay: As everywhere, there is still the perception that hospitality isn’t an attractive career choice. Sebaey: The hospitality sector is quite new here and before seven or eight years ago there were very few hotels. I do believe that it will come in future, but even in the UAE you don’t see that many nationals. Esposito: I agree. Young Qataris need to know more about the industry. There are

What do you predict will be the most significant trends to impact performance between now and 2022? »» Oil prices »» Market oversupply »» Global economy »» Sporting events

“Young Qataris need to know more about the industry. There are good schools in this country and when they understand the opportunities I believe the current situation will change.” - Gianrico Esposito -

good schools in this country and when they understand the opportunities and growth this industry can offer I believe the current situation will change. Another important thing is that they need positive role models to aspire to. Hospitality draws on many disciplines and gives many opportunities in an interesting environment. It’s very fulfilling and a young manager who wishes to make a career can do well. Cedro: The salary expectation needs to be addressed.

»» Cultural authenticity »» Global visibility of the country »» Diversification of hospitality industry »» Airlift

Kobanbay: And government needs to market the industry more and promote the opportunities. Saudi and Oman have laws in place and while we can’t be that strict in Qatar something similar would help. Esposito: In terms of population and the ratio of expatriates to nationals, it is much easier to find local talent. Qatar is not so big so there are many opportunities in many industries, but there aren’t enough people. With thanks to Marsa Malaz Kempinski The Pearl for hosting the roundtable in Doha May 2016 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2016

I n ass o c i at i on w i t h

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Hotel News ME, in association with Rikan General Trading, hosted the inaugural Leaders in Hospitality Awards on April 19 2016, at St. Regis Dubai. A glamorous affair, the evening celebrated the best of the industry’s talent, properties and concepts. Covering the entire industry the Leaders in Hospitality Awards was devised to ensure the brands and team members who make a difference, are recognised and appreciated for their work, capturing the outstanding elements of properties, campaigns and people across 19 categories. After months of preparations and hundreds of nominations, the evening hosted a variety of international, regional and local hospitality brands, with individuals from across the Middle East, recognised alongside a number of outstanding hospitality professionals for their contributions to and achievements within, the Middle East’s vibrant and exciting hospitality industry.


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WISSAM YOUNANE, MANAGING PARTNER, BNC PUBLISHING

THE JUDGES Rupprecht Queitsch CEO and founder, INHOCO Group Rabih Feghali Director at Ròya International Hospitality Ali Manzoor Associate partner, Knight Frank

His Excellency Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, CEO of wasl Asset Management Group

Marianne Saulwick Director of industry liaison at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management Daniel During Principal and managing director, Thomas Klein International (TKI) Filippo Sona Director, head of hotels, MENA region, Colliers International Gaurav Sinha Founder and CEO of INSIGNIA Worldwide who hold experience within the hospitality industry.

TEAM FROM WASL ASSET MANAGEMENT Guests networking before the event Guests ENJOYING THE EVENT AT ST. REGIS DUBAI

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Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2016

Category

Hospitality Visionary Winner: His Excellency Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, CEO of wasl Asset Management Group The first award of the evening was presented in recognition of a person the team at Hotel News ME believes to be a true Hospitality Visionary, CEO of wasl Asset Management Group, His Excellency Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim. Al Qassim has led the strategic direction of one of the UAE’s leading hospitality and leisure brands and under his guidance, the company has grown from strength to strength, currently managing a portfolio of 14 hotels with over 5,500 rooms, working with partners like Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt International and Hilton Worldwide. His Excellency drives and oversees the growth of the brand through the launch of 15 new projects that are supporting the tourism industry in Dubai. This strategy places a focus on hotels in the 3-and 4-star categories, with four such mid-range hotels launched during the last year alone and an additional mid-range hotel to be introduced next year.

Category

Leading New Hotel

Sponsored by

Winner: Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay, Dubai Presented by UPI assistant manager of new business development Claudia Barua, the winning hotel brings a new kind of hospitality to Dubai. Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay is located in the heart of the emirate, close to Burj Khalifa and the bustling business centre of the city. A brand new luxury 5-star hotel and the first of this chain in the region.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Auris Inn Al Muhanna Hotel

Wyndham Dubai Marina

Gemini

Category sponsors

Now quality has a number.

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Category

Best New Mid-Market Hotel Winner: Hilton Garden Inn, Al Mina The winning hotel is owned by Wasl Properties, it offers easy access to both business and leisure guests, with close proximity to some of Dubai’s most iconic attractions. Having opened at the end of 2015 it is already an established property in a thriving area and this award was presented by Sophia Soltani, editor of Hotel News ME.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Four Seasons Dubai DIFC

Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl

Category

Leading Hotel F&B Outlet

Sponsored by

Winner: El Faro at Marsa Malaz Kempinski Doha A category which was inundated with nominations, the standard of the competition was incredibly high. Capturing the spirit of Spain through food, art, bespoke tableware and live entertainment, El Faro at Marsa Malaz, Kempinski Doha uses traditional recipes from culinary hotspots across the Iberian Peninsula and this is its third award since opening in March 2015, presented by category sponsor HORECA Trade by Hala Jaber, category manager for beverages.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Tong Thai - JW Marriott

Pierchic, Madinat Jumeirah

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Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2016

Category

Best Hotel Spa Winner: Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray boasts more than 42 individual treatment rooms and facilities across two floors, offering over 50 treatments including a selection of culturally inspired experiences, spa packages and a collection of treatments designed for couples. The spa is also home to three spectacular traditional Turkish Hammams This award was presented by Melanie Mingas, group editor, BNC Publishing.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Six Senses Spa, Al Bustan Palace, Ritz-Carlton

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah

Category

Best fitness and health facility

Sponsored by

Winner: Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara offers 14 dedicated treatment rooms, designated relaxation areas for men and women, detox, fitness, weight management, yoga and alternative therapy and consultation which are complemented by a wide range of motivational fitness classes and activities. The award was presented by category sponsor, RS Fitness in conjunction with Precor Middle East by managing partner, Raymond Kelly.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas - Jaula Club

St. Regis Hotel Doha

Gemini

Category sponsors

Now quality has a number.

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Category

Best Hotel Technology

Sponsored by

Winner: Jannah Burj Al Sarab, Abu Dhabi Jannah Burj Al Sarab, is a smart hotel in Abu Dhabi, that doesn’t just use technology to enhance the guest experience but also to make the hotel more sustainable through building management systems and efficient housekeeping practices. Jannah Burj Al Sarab offers guests 1.2gigabyte WiFi and, presenting the award was category sponsor, RS Fitness in conjunction with Precor, managing partner Raymond Kelly.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates

The Torch Doha

Category

Best Hotel Interior

Sponsored by

BAHRAJA General Trading L.L.C. Since 1995

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Winner: Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay Opened just over a year ago, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, is a 68 storey hotel, on its own island with dramatic yet serene interior spaces designed by Pierre-Rochon. Inspiration came from the glamorous ocean liners of the 1930s and particular attention has been paid to lighting design, transforming spaces from day to night and taking full advantage of the hotel’s abundant natural light. Presenting the award to the hotelwas category sponsor, Baharaja General Trading’s managing director, Paresh Shah.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl

The Regency Kuwait

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Water sponsor

Knowledge partner

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Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2016

Sponsored by

Category

Best Room Refurbishment

BAHRAJA General Trading L.L.C. Since 1995

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Winner: Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates

Kempinski Mall of the Emirates has updated the guest room through design, technology, accessibility and function, through a project which began in 2012 and cost $100 million. The refurbished rooms at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates marry Arabian traditions with a winter wonderland and the award was presented by category sponsor, Baharaja General Trading’s managing director, Paresh Shah.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Desert Palm Per Aquum

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Category

CSR Project of the Year

Sponsored by

Winner: TIME Hotels TIME Hotels, is the first hospitality chain in the Middle East to launch a carbon-offsetting programme and has seen 368 tons of carbon emissions offset over 12 months from April 2014 to March 2015. TIME was also named a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Dubai Chamber’s CSR Label Award; the only hospitality company to receive such an acknowledgement. The Award was presented by Stephen Bennett, general manager, PulsarFoodstuff Trading and Ross Hassard, brand manager, The Gourmet Olive Market.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Carlson Rezidor

Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan By Rotana

Gemini

Category sponsors

Now quality has a number.

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Category

Marketing Campaign of the Year

Sponsored by

Winner: Atlantis The Palm, “You’re Different in Water” “You’re Different in Water” has been covered in the cinema, on TV, the radio, outdoors and on social media. The campaign explores a fundamental human truth that water has the power to transform us and it has campaign increased revenue to Aquaventure Waterpark 10% over a set period and admissions by 8%. The Award was presented by Stephen Bennett, general manager, PulsarFoodstuff Trading and Ross Hassard, brand manager, The Gourmet Olive Market.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

The Palace Downtown

Le Meridien Mina Seyahi - Barasti Summer Tent

Category

Sponsored by

Gemini

Best New General Manager

Now quality has a number.

Winner: Kai Schukowski, Kempinski Hotel Ajman Kai Schukowski, Kempinski Hotel Ajman is the youngest general manager in the history of Kempinski Hotels . During a mystery visit by Leading Quality Assurance, his team achieved the highest score in the region, which is probably why he has dealt with the largest number of VIP guests in the history of the group. The Award was presented by Martin Koebke Managing Directory of 1765 Gemini and John Massey Sales Director Churchill China.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Katrin Herz – AL Bustan Ritz-Carlton

Oliver Kesseler – Hilton Worldwide

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Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2016

Sponsored by

Gastronomic Superstar

Gemini

Category

Now quality has a number.

Winner: Clive Pereira, West 14th DUKES Dubai Clive Pereira from West 14th has worked closely with Michelin starred Chef Gary Rhodes in Dubai for eight years and, importantly, is also a huge hit with guests, increasing covers significantly across a number of promotions since joining the team. The Award was presented by Martin Koebke Managing Directory of 1765 Gemini and John Massey Sales Director Churchill China.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Suzi Massetti – The Palace Boutique Hotel Bahrain

Ryan Wadell – The Black Lion

Category

Housekeeper of the Year

Sponsored by

Winner: Sreedhar Suresh, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa Sreedhar Suresh, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa is a team leader with a deep understanding of how the success of the housekeeping department underlines the success of the hotel. Described by the hotel’s general manager as “a pillar of the resort”, the Award was presented by key accounts manager, UPI and Standard Textile, Jeet Jacob.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Pamini Hemaprabha – Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi

Nithya Mehrotra – Rose Rayhaan by Rotana

Gemini

Category sponsors

Now quality has a number.

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Category

GM Leader Award

Sponsored by

Winner: David Allan, Radisson Blu, Dubai Media City David Allan, GM, Radisson Blu, Dubai Media City, achieved the highest score of any winner at the Leaders in Hospitality Awards. Throughout his career he has carved a reputation as a team leader who is there to give a helping hand, by officially mentoring colleagues and unofficially supporting new GMs in the group. As well as his firm focus on cultivating talent he has also driven both revenue and footfall at the hotel’s F&B outlets since his arrival at the property. The Award was presented to Allan by manager of new business development, Usman Ghani, UPI.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Samir Arora – Ramada Downtown Dubai

Christian Gerart – Anantara Hotels Resorts & Spas - Abu Dhabi

Category

Young National Award

Sponsored by

Winner: Abeer Fakeerh, Makkah Hilton Hotel and Towers Abeer Fakeerh, Makkah Hilton Hotel and Towers, is not only a hospitality professional but an advocate for pursuing the economic and social progression of the nation. Fakeerh has worked tirelessly to increase the hotel’s CSR engagement, has introduced new ways to recognise staff and has diversified the hotel team more than ever before. She is also a trailblaser for the prominence of women in the industry and was the first woman to take a senior role in any HR department across Hilton Worldwide hotels in Saudi Arabia. Fakeerh was presented with her Award by Gavin Dodd, managing director, Ronai.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Murad Ahmad Mohammed Abdulrahim – JA Resorts and Hotels

Natashia Hajee – Shangri-la Hotel Dubai

Tit le sponsor

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Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2016

Category

Tomorrow’s Leader

Sponsored by

Winner: Felix Hartmann, director of operations, Media One Hotel Felix Hartmann, director of operations, Media One Hotel has enjoyed a rapid rise to the top since joining the property less than one year ago. Hartmann’s focus isn’t just on the material success of the property, but the happiness and ability of his team. A leader who has already demonstrated original and creative thinking, Hartmann was presented his award by Gavin Dodd, managing director, Ronai.

The other shortlisted nominations were: •

Nehme Imad Darwiche – Jannah Hotels and Resorts

Daria Novikova – JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

Category

Outstanding contribution to the industry Winner: Gerald Lawless, Dubai Holding This hotel was directly given by Hotel News ME to Gerald Lawless. An industry figure who has been instrumental to the growth of Dubai’s original homegrown hospitality brand Jumeirah, as well as the growth of the emirate as a global tourism hot spot. Since joining Jumeirah in 1997, he has built the company into one of the best known luxury hospitality brands in the world and has spearheaded its runaway expansion to today comprise 23 hotels in 12 destinations. In January this year it was announced that he would leave the Jumeriah Group to take on a new position at Dubai Holding where he will be responsible for tourism and hospitality.

Gemini

Category sponsors

Now quality has a number.

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Category

Lifetime Achievement

Winner: Rudi Jagersbacher, president, Middle East, Africa and Turkey, for Hilton Worldwide Unlike other lifetime achievement awards, this Award was not reserved for the longest serving senior managers, and Hotel News ME was warmed to see that many of the recognised hoteliers in this category were nominated by the associates for their dedication, length of service, and notable achievements that haven’t needed a boardroom in order to be realised. Rudi Jagersbacher, the larger than life Austrian hotelier with a quick wit and charismatic charm, began his career in the hospitality industry over 40 years ago. Having joined Hilton Worldwide back in 1974 as a corporate trainee to then move on and become the youngest general manager to date of Hilton Park Lane, Jagersbacher remains as humble as ever, despite his remarkable achievements within the industry.

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Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2016

Gallery

Happy Snaps

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Roundup

A few words from our guests “Congratulations on a well done event. We had a great evening, all of our winners were delighted. It was great!” Dan Corfield, senior manager, corporate communications, Hilton Worldwide Middle East and Africa

“Very impressed with the arrangement and professional approach. I must say your hard work has taken Hotel News ME to even greater heights in such a short space of time.” M.D Warrier, managing director, Bin Eid Executive Search and Selection

“Thank you so much for hosting us at the Leaders in Hospitality Awards. Congratulations on your excellent event it was very well organized and great crowd turnout.” Rizwan Mustafa, group marketing director, SIAL Middle East

“The work done by BNC Publishing and the team at St. Regis was a credit to all that is good about hospitality and the industry’s ability to continually deliver excellence and exciting experiences. What a great night!” David Allan, GM, Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Media City

“What an evening, event and celebration and I congratulate you on organising such a spectacular award presentation and event! It was so well organised, such an elegant, special setting, great attendance both in number and talent, great suspension from the finalists, and a very well-orchestrated award celebration.” Rupprecht Queitsch, CEO, senior partner, INHOCO Group

“We are thankful to the Hotel News ME for this great recognition and for a memorable award ceremony." Greg Pirkle, GM, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay

“From star to end it was an extremely entertaining, smooth and enjoyable evening attended by the who’s who of the hospitality industry. Set at the stunning new St. Regis Dubai, it was a night to remember and I am humbled to have won one of the prestigious awards.” Kai Schukowski, GM, Kempinski Hotel Ajman

“Thank you so much for the event. It was amazing. Everyone I know who attended it, loved it and I’m looking forward to the next big thing we do together.” Rabih Feghali, director, Roya International

“The entire BNC team deserves sincere congratulations for the event. I go to a lot of awards and I mean it when I say that this was the best I have been to and everyone I spoke to said the same thing!” Marianne Saulwick, director of industry liaison, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management

“Overall this was a terrific evening and we are already looking forward to 2017!” Roddy Gordon, VP sales and marketing, TIME Hotels

“The event was very nice and St. Regis Hotel was an amazing venue. We would like to come next year to collect the same award again! Thank you so much.” Lucia Peris, director of spa, Talise Ottoman Spa, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

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From lobby−roaming host to desk−bound number cruncher, Gemma Greenwood finds out how the general manager role as morphed over the past decade

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T

he role of the general manager has never been static. The ability to multi-task and be quick to adapt has always been a prerequisite, such is the nature of the fast-paced hospitality business. General managers need to be jacks of all trades and preferably, a master of some. From checking the balance sheets to dealing with staff and guest disputes, their role is multi-functional, but today, GMs work much more ‘behind the scenes’ than in the past. Not so much the lobby-swanning host, they are business managers first and foremost. Yet personality and people skills remain essential when it comes to keeping staff and guests happy. Hotel News Middle East asks industry consultants, hospitality group leaders and GMs past and present how the role has evolved and what is expected of the modern-day general manager. How do they get the balance right, knowing when to take care of their guests and when to report to the board? The veterans Who better to ask than industry veterans who have ‘been there, done that and got the T-Shirt?’ They include Rupprecht Queitsch, who boasts more than 40 years of hotel industry experience across three continents and dozens of brands. He took his first GM role at the tender age of 26 and has opened seven properties, most recently, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. Today he is putting this vast experience to good use as CEO and senior partner of Dubai-based International Hospitality Consulting Group (INHOCO) and says he believes hotels have become “less GM-centric”. “In the past, the GM would call most shots, but today, because of the increasing complexities across all areas of responsibility, from sales, marketing and revenue to technical, operational and financial, GMs must surround themselves with strong leaders – those who are experts in their field and good leaders,” he says. With direct reports given more power, GMs must get the balance right between staying “connected” to details and technicalities, while empowering the team do their jobs and make decisions.

What the decision makers say Mohamed Awadalla, CEO, TIME Hotels

Guy Hutchinson, COO, Rotana

“In the past, the GM was always present in the lobby and particularly in the luxury market, the role was all about interacting with guests. This has evolved over the years because there are so many other demands of a business nature that have been placed on the GM’s shoulders, which makes it more difficult for them to be as visible as they would like. One of the biggest challenges today is the immediacy and visibility of feedback. Now that guests can publish their reviews online anywhere, at any time, a GM offering an inferior service doesn't have anywhere to hide. We have to be prepared to monitor and manage social media crises. Further to this, the GM is responsible for managing the hotel staff, who are younger and more transient. Here, inspiring motivation levels can be a challenge. The personality of the GM is still crucial to the success of the hotel, in addition to possessing a certain set of competencies that will naturally make them a great fit for the role.”

“The successful GM of today is definitely more technology-savvy and must keep up-to-date with industry trends, and consumer behaviour and needs, without forgetting the basics of our business; being a great host. The ones that review online pricing or social media on a weekly basis only, or through heads of department, are GMs of the past. Today, they are required to be personally up to speed as well as significantly more knowledgeable and engaged with their customers – online and offline - and to act accordingly. What hasn’t changed is that GMs must still be inspirational leaders of people, and in today’s world, engagement is a key component. The days of leading purely by discipline and fear are gone. The successful leader of today works through a more consultative process. They must be willing to not only share their knowledge and experience with their colleagues, but also to listen to them and work with them to resolve issues, and to identify opportunities.”

However, finding the right leaders to support you as a GM is no easy task. “It’s increasingly difficult to find direct reports who have both technical and leadership skills,” argues Queitsch. Technology has been a key driver of change given the digital world in which we live means guests and owners expect “immediate” responses to requests or issues. The GM role is even more of a circus juggling act than it used to be, he says. Queitsch says the five ‘juggling balls’ are the owner, the brand/management company, the guest, the staff and the GM’s own private life. “Juggling all five without over-playing one, under-satisfying the other, and underestimating the changing circumstances in

today’s service-driven hotel world are, and always will be, the challenge – and the opportunity – for a GM,” he says. “I always liked being a hotel GM above any other role in the hospitality industry because it allowed me to be the master of my own destiny, making a hotel a great place at which to stay and to work. “I enjoyed trying to exceed the goals and expectations of the companies and owners I worked for and I liked the engagement with the local community – meeting and working with all kinds of people.” Queitsch says the key to finding good GMs is to not only identify and incentivise future leaders from within the industry, but to also hire from outside of the sector “In my opinion, someone with great May 2016 HOTEL NEWS ME

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What the decision makers say Abdullah Bin Sulayem, CEO, Seven Tides International

“A GM is the true innkeeper of the building and their core responsibilities always remain the same: attention to detail, great service delivery, championing staff retention and managing health and safety within the business. However, today’s GMs need to be much more commercially aware in order to work successfully with owners and operators. A good GM must be a leader and a driver of business at all times. From a CEO’s point of view, I must feel comfortable enough to trust the person. They must be willing to take ownership and lead the business without putting owners or operators at risk. Above all, they must maintain a positive personality and approach and be entrepreneurial in their skill set.”

leadership skills, even if not practised in the hotel industry, can surely make a good GM,” he says. “Despite our business getting a bit more complex within the different disciplines and functions, the hotel business is not rocket science because it is based on working with people. Leadership skills are the basis for a good GM, regardless of his or her previous experience.” Expertise counts Another industry stalwart with more than 30 years’ of hotel experience, many of which were spent as a GM, is Mike Scully, founder of family-friendly hotel concept First and Foremost Hospitality. He says the role of a GM alters as eco44

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Tim Cordon, regional director UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Oman, The Rezidor Hotel Group

“Like most industries the expansion and universal adoption of technology has been the biggest driver of change, coupled with the change in expectation from our guests that this technology brings. Just look at how social media has changed the way we respond to guest comments and feedback. Today it is all about immediacy and instantaneous service response. There are opportunities to use the tools we now have available, but we must not forget why we are here – to look after our guests and make sure they have a superb experience every minute they spend with us. I think a good GM is the right GM for that specific hotel at that specific time and of course, leadership skills are critical; the ability to lead rather than manage is what tends to make the difference. Hotels are a complex 24-hour operation and it is obviously not possible for one person to be there at every moment so it’s all about the people. The days of screaming across the room at people and micro-managing every situation are gone and have been replaced by real measured feedback and a level of empowerment in good people that fosters growth and additional responsibility.”

nomic conditions change, particularly in terms of managing international branded properties. “When times are good and hotels are full, you generally find the experience and responsibility of the GM tends to be downgraded in order to save costs with the often mistaken belief that the ‘brand’ is responsible for the success of the property at that particular time in the economic cycle, when often it is due to infrastructure, government initiatives or location in respect to safety and accessibility that could be driving business to that particular destination,” he says. “The obvious danger with this philosophy is that when times are tougher due to greater supply or insecurity, management does not necessarily have the experience, innovation

or resources to drive additional business to properties. We see time and again those properties that do have GMs with experience and contacts greatly outperforming competitor hotels where they are not in a position to leverage suppliers or adjust their product or offering.” Today’s outsourcing trend, whereby a large number of operations or activities are managed by third parties, is the result of inexperienced GMs lacking expertise or know how in these areas, he argues. “I am referring in particular to F&B outlets being outsourced to restaurant and bar professionals, very often at great expense to the owners in lost potential profits,” he adds. Scully says today, owners and developers are looking for operators who empower their management as opposed to restricting in the decision making process. “Those who are able to source new direct business (as opposed to recruiting third parties), are innovative, and have experience across aspects of the properties they run including rooms, restaurants and bars.” The new masters of data Martin Kubler, a hotel GM turned hospitality and service industries consultant with 20-plus years of executive-level management experience in hotels across Europe and the Middle East, says today’s general managers face a much more “multi-faceted operating environment” than 10 years ago, driven by the digital world in which we live. “The Internet has made business faster, lead times have dropped dramatically, and competition has increased considerably in many markets,” he says. “Today GMs today don’t just have to deal with competition from other hotels, but also peer-to-peer services such as Airbnb. “At the same time, electronic word of mouth, online reviews, price comparison websites, and multi-channel communication options, have led to guests being better informed and expecting more customised experiences - and they’re also less loyal than they used to be.” He says the new breed of digitally-native and highly individualistic travellers, Millennials and Gen Ys, and Zs, have grown up being able to “customise just about everything (think Starbucks coffee options versus coffee options in a café 20 years ago)” and know that they’ve relinquished a large


Cover Story

Mike Scully, founder, First and Foremost Hospitality

Martin Kubler CEO, Iconsult Hotels

Rupprecht Queitsch, CEO and senior partner, INHOCO

part of their privacy to the Internet. “By and large, they’re fine with that, but in return expect hotels to use data available online to customise their stays. They also don’t fit into boxes and segments as easily anymore as they used to do,” says Kubler. The biggest opportunity for today’s GMs is to embrace this trend by analysing user data and using it to deliver “better experiences for all stakeholders”, he argues. “Tap into the big data stream generated by your guests, staff, suppliers, owners, visitors, etc. and you’re tapping into a gold

mine,” he says. “GMs need to be able to answer today’s travellers key questions ‘What’s in it for me?’ and ‘Why should I stay with you?’ with more than just price and location. You can achieve higher room rates and generally increase revenues even in very competitive markets if you harness the power of data.” While the world in which we live has changed beyond recognition, the internal structures of hotels haven’t really changed at all, Kubler notes. “Hotels are still fairly hierarchical

organisations with GMs in overall charge and information cascading down to other departments,” he says. This needs to change if hotels are to meet the needs of today’s travellers and employees. “In 2016, GMs must be business managers, hosts, and sales and marketing experts to succeed,” Kubler notes. “They also need to be approachable and visionary leaders, because not only has business changed, but so too have employees - they expect more from working in hotels than a decade ago.”

The art of great cooking

MKN Middle East & Africa Phone: +97 150 5 58 74 77 E-Mail: rac@mkn-middle-east.com

The german specialist in professional cooking technology

www.mkn.eu May 2016 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Cover Story

GMs speak out How has the GM role changed? Mathieu van Alphen Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi Time in current role: 8 months GM experience: 4 previous roles He says: “In the past, the GM was expected to be in the public eye and be the social leader in the community; this evolved into being an asset manager, with more focus on shareholder value than guest experience. This has now morphed again into a more well-rounded approach, which includes shareholder value, but more so through the smart management of people, assets, individualising guest experiences and relationships, and being a change manager. The guest profile is diverse and ever changing - as is the employment talent pool- and this, along with increasing competition, requires a GM to be able to quickly and smartly identify opportunity and adapt/modify processes needed to facilitate continued success.” David Allan. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City Time in current role: 1 year, 9 months GM experience: 4 previous roles He says: “The changes in my eight years as a GM have been enormous, from the requirement to develop skills sets in digital media, marketing, revenue management to the expectation to report in detail at a corporate level.” Desmond Hatton Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi Time in current role: 11 months 46

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GM experience: 7 previous roles He says: “The GM’s role has become more versatile and multi-faceted. It is not just about taking quick decisions when problems arise. Rather it is pertinent for GMs of today to possess a knack of swiftly anticipating any challenge and taking the corrective action right away. Now GMs have to deal with many more reports, numbers and statistics. Keeping the corporate office and owners informed and up to date at all times has become extremely crucial.” Marc de Beer Park Rotana and Park Arjaan by Rotana, Abu Dhabi Time in current role: 7 months GM experience: 3 previous roles He says: “I first became a GM eight years ago, and at that time the role was very much a ‘chief protocol officer’, checking minute operational details and being the face of the hotel, without whom nothing would happen. I think the role has changed, although I have evolved too. As a first-time GM it is sometimes hard to let go of the details, as these represent your comfort zone. Now I find the role of a GM more of a strategist, a facilitator and mentor. Instead of checking everything there is more direction setting, delegating and guiding and coaching of people. The role has also shifted from largely operationally focused to a much more commercial focus. Our business has become much more complicated with the evolution of technology, and being business savvy is now at least as important as establishing and maintaining service standards and product quality.”

What makes a good GM? Axel Jarosch Banyan Tree Al Wadi and Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort Time in current role: 1 year, 6 months GM experience: 4 previous roles He says: “Only if I, as a GM, listen to the needs of the associates and the guests will I be able to make sound decisions on operations and experiences. I also believe humility is an important trait in order to develop the team around you and to become a good leader. GMs should lead by example. I can only expect an associate to do a job if I am willing to do it myself.” Darren Darwin Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Time in current role: 1 year GM experience: 5 previous roles He says: “A good GM must believe in their team, empowering them to be creative and to develop. It is also important to have the trust and confidence of your team if you want to shape them with your own vision and values. But most importantly, GMs must be passionate. We work long and often unsociable hours so it’s vital we love what we do and believe in our hotel or resort. Someone who leads with passion inspires their team and helps their property to thrive. My current project has been a labour of love and I hope this is reflected once we’re ready to welcome guests.” Richard Alexander
 Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah
 Time in current role: 4 months GM experience:


Cover Story

4 previous roles He says: “If a GM can recognise by name and face, most guests in the resort and all of the colleagues, it makes for a brilliant leader. Obviously, in some cases it’s not possible based on the scale of the property, but a good GM is a visionary who inspires, engages, challenges, develops and empowers his team to exceed expectations and to achieve their full potential. Good management and trained personnel are the most important factors in our business; when you take care of our colleagues, the guests are naturally more than taken care of.”

Time in current role: 2 years and 6 months GM experience: 6 previous roles He says: “A good GM is a people person who respects and connects with others taking into consideration their opinions and suggestions. They should be a good leader, dynamic and flexible, presentable and a good speaker. The way you interact with your staff, owners and guests is crucial to your ability to be an awesome GM!”

James Hewitson Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara Time in current role: 18 months GM experience: First GM role He says: “We are responsible for the team, our guests and the asset, which brings great pressure, and anyone who can manage all these demands and at the same time, keep a positive and professional image while inspiring the team to deliver the highest standards, is a talented and unique individual.”

Sven Wledenhaupt Jumeirah Emirates Towers Time in current role: 1 year, 4 months GM experience: 2 previous roles Biggest challenge: Competing in the Dubai market where there are so many new hotels. Biggest opportunity: Training and developing our talent to become future industry leaders. What would you like to do more of? I would like more time with the guests and more time mentoring the many superstars in the team. What would you like to do less of? I love it all, but maybe those 2am phone calls regarding a burst pipe?

Fernando Gibaja Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Time in current role: 20 months GM experience: 2 previous roles He says: “If you are a humble person, your colleagues will trust you and count on you. I think a good leader is one that drives excellence in product and service delivery and is able to lead the team to new highs. An excellent GM is the one that works on a continuous growth for his team and looks after their stakeholders /owners to ensure the correct value for their investments.” Pic: to come Timur Ilgaz Al Ghurair Rayhaan and Arjaan by Rotana

Challenges and opportunities

Saurabh Tiwari Melia Dubai Time in current role: 1 year GM experience: First GM role Biggest challenge: The market is currently volatile and supply far exceeds demand, which makes for a competitive environment. Biggest opportunity: To meet the best people in the business and share market

intelligence, as well as playing an active role in staff development. What would you like to do more of? Team and guest contact. Sometimes GMs lose connections due to paperwork responsibilities, but interaction is fundamental to the hospitality business. What would you like to do less of? Administrative tasks that detract from bigger strategic responsibilities. Glenn Nobbs Copthorne Hotel Dubai Time in current role 1.5 years GM experience: Various interim and task force roles Biggest challenge: Market conditions, keeping pace with technology and nurturing talent. Biggest opportunity: Leveraging social media and public review sites for guest feedback and communication. What would like to do more of? Sit and talk with the guests to get insights and suggestions. The more we listen to our guests the better chance we have of ‘getting it right’ for them. What would you like to do less of? Emails – need I say more? Michael Kasch Centro Sharjah by Rotana Time in role: 2.5 years. GM experience: First GM role. Biggest challenge: Achieving financial targets in current economic climate. Biggest opportunity: Shaping the future of young and upcoming hoteliers. Their development is my biggest reward and complement. What would you like to do more of: I’ve managed to find a good balance; some days I am more involved in an engineering project and other days there is more guest interaction. What would you prefer to do less of? I don’t enjoy the stern disciplinarian approach to addressing issues, where for example a colleague has made a mistake that has impacted a guest’s satisfaction with possible future business repercussions. Luckily I don’t have to deal with issues of that nature very often. May 2016 HOTEL NEWS ME

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The

seven emirates

The tourism and hospitality industry is a major pillar of the UAE economy, contributing 8% of GDP in 2015. With the country forecasted to register 4% growth this year Sophia Soltani reports on the growing tourist arrivals and their impact on the economic outlook

W

ith the performance of the UAE’s hospitality sector weakened by a surge in new supply, macroeconomic factors have put pressure on room rates and occupancy levels and recent reports from the likes of STR, Colliers International and Knight Frank also highlight a decline in RevPar and ADR due to the knock-on effect of the Russian Ruble, weakened oil prices and political instability in neighbouring countries. But all is not lost, with tourism in the UAE growing rapidly, benefiting from an expanding range of regional and global air travel connections and improved accessibility for foreign visitors. The 2016 Q1 Tourism Report from BMI states tourism arrivals are expected to show healthy growth throughout the forecasted pe48

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riod until 2019, providing a valuable boost to other key markets. Unlike many of its neighbours, the UAE boasts a stable political and economic environment with no shortage of international and domestic investor interest, and the hospitality sector continues to strive supported by extensive government investment in transport infrastructure, construction incentives and other tourism related infrastructures. A Competitive Market Dubai and Abu Dhabi are undoubtedly the two most developed areas in terms of international tourism and hotel developments in the UAE, but overall the country is looking to expand the success of these two leading emirates into other areas, such as Sharjah and Ajman, in order for

the whole country to benefit. Both international and domestic hotel groups have invested significantly in the country over the past few years, and we have seen the entry of a number of major brands such as Hyatt and Carlson Rezidor to the market, attracted by both the potential performance of the country and government incentives such as the decision in 2013 to waive the 10% municipality fee for new 3- and 4-star properties in Dubai, whose construction will complete in 2017. Abu Dhabi in particular is set to enjoy a prosperous few years as the city has started to broaden its hotel base in the same manner as the rest of the country. Investment in business infrastructure, such as the Abu Dhabi World Trade Centre and the National Exhibition Centre, is aimed at attract-


Country report

ing further business tourism, and numerous museums have been developed to attract cultural visitors. Sporting events are also being actively encouraged such as Formula 1, and overall the city is in a promising place for growth. One of the major trends being seen in the UAE in terms of hotel development is the expansion of the rather neglected budget and midrange sectors. Accor opened the largest budget hotel in the Middle East in Q1 2016, the ibis One Central in the Dubai World Trade Centre District, aimed at business and leisure travellers, which signals a change in things to come. Historically seen as a luxury destination, the introduction of more affordable hotels has opened up the UAE tourism industry to a much wider demographic and this has gone hand in hand with the development of family-friendly activities such as theme and water parks, which helps to draw in a target audience not previously focused on by the country. This diversification has not come at the cost of the luxury sector, which is still very much important to the country, but has helped the industry expand to become a truly global and well-diversified holiday destination. The expan-

sion of this sector has also brought additional benefits to the UAE, including the mid-market hotel sector which is less seasonal than the luxury sector, boosting the hotel market and the wider tourism industry throughout the year. It has also allowed the country to attract a younger target audience than previously eluded it. Reports indicate that hotel expansion is set to consolidate by 2016 end, with little growth expected until 2019 according to STR, but the total number of overnight stays will however continue to increase as visitor numbers rise. The UAE is also expected to see a slight improvement in the average length of stay - though for many visitors the region will remain a shortbreak destination, either on its own or as part of transit to further destinations according to Knight Frank’s 2015 overview report. Eyes on Ajman As Ajman is perhaps classed as one of the less prominent emirates, recent figures released by Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD) revealed that total tourism revenues for 2015 reached AED359 million, an increase of 19% compared to 2014. The report high-

lights that total guests in Ajman in 2015 reached 509,658 while total guest nights reached 1,392,406 with the majority of the guests booking their stay in a hotel or hotel apartments indicating a rise in average occupancy for hotels in Ajman. Last year the emirate reported an average room rate of AED514, while hotel apartments recorded average occupancy of 68%. Figures also reveal that guests from the UAE remain the strongest contributor with 132,455 guests in 2015 followed by GCC nationals, Asians and Africans coming in third place with 89,113. Other nationalities who visited the emirate came from Europe, America, Russia, CIS countries, New Zealand, Australia and other Arab countries; showing not just domestic appeal but international interest too. In 2015, Ajman saw five new establishments added onto the inventory, bringing the total number of hotels to 36, equating to 3,354 hotel rooms. With a promising outlook, HE Faisal Al Nuaimi, general manager of ATDD says: “The report is extremely encouraging knowing that the tourism industry in the UAE has been affected by the drop in the influx of holidaymakers from key markets coupled with low oil pric-

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Country report

The UAE’s Strengths • New financial incentives to build midrange hotels are starting to strengthen this previously under-represented area of the market • Dubai International has replaced Heathrow as the world's busiest airport. During 2014, 71mn international travelers passed through the airport • There is a diverse range of source markets that protect the country against asymmetric country issues that may affect international travel • The UAE has a reputation as one of the safest destinations in the Middle East • There is strong government support for the tourism sector. Dubai's Vision 2020 policy, announced in May 2013, aims for the emirate to receive 20mn tourists and AED300bn in tourism revenues by 2020

es, currency fluctuations and regional unrest. We anticipate continued growth this year after the launch of Ajman’s new destination brand which will help position the emirate as a leisure and investment destination.” Sharjah bound After a testing time in 2015, Sharjah’s hospitality market is set to bounce back after the number of hotel and hotel apartment guests fell in 2015, according to Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). SCTDA released data in early January detailing that the emirate expects the number of guests in to grow by 3.5% in 2016 from the 1.79 million seen in 2015, as a result of the authority’s focus on attracting tourists from the GCC and growing tourism source markets such as China, India and Europe through promotional campaigns. As Sharjah’s guest numbers fell last year due to the weaker Ruble against the US Dollar, which the UAE dirham is pegged to, it made a holiday in the country more expensive for Russian visitors, and the slump in the Euro made Europe a cheaper and more attractive holiday destination for travellers from the GCC, but despite the slump, the SCTDA is still promoting the emirate to visitors from Russia and CIS countries, as the Authority believes that the reduction in numbers is “temporary.” 50

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“The number of guests in Sharjah fell 13% last year from 2.06 million in 2014”, explains Gurdish Singh Bassi, project director at GRMC Advisory Services. “The number of visitors from Russia declined 75% but hotel and hotel apartment revenues reached AED670 million last year. I expect the market to start turning positive by the fourth quarter of 2016 as the appreciation of the US Dollar subsides and the oil prices start picking up,” adds Bassi. Also anticipating the return of Russian visitors to start returning to Sharjah by the end of this year, he adds: “I don’t expect the Russian tourists to contribute as much as they did. They contributed over 25% of visitors five years ago and now they contribute only 9%.” Sharjah announced its tourism vision last year to nearly double the number of tourists in the next five years from 5.6 million in 2014 to 10 million and there are 53 hotels and 52 hotel apartments currently in Sharjah. RAK on the map Ras Al Khaimah could arguably have the most ambitious plans amongst the emirates having announced its Vision for 2018 in aiming to attract one million visitors by the end of 2018. The 2018 Vision is set to provide a strategic roadmap for Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism sector,

• RAK recently increased its promotional budget by 85% in an effort to increase tourism numbers • RAK currently has 3,660 hotel rooms in the pipeline • Abu Dhabi boasts some of the emirates most iconic attractions such as, Ferrari World, Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Yas Island Marina Circuit and Yas Water world

encouraging growth and diversification across the accommodation portfolio, its tourism offering for both business and leisure travellers, the events sector and supporting infrastructure as well as the investment into destination marketing campaigns. Other targets include increasing the average length of stay from 3.1 days to 3.6 days and encouraging repeat visits. With three key areas of the 2018 vision, Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority says: “Ras Al Khaimah has already been recognised as the fastest growing emirate in terms of tourism. Under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, the emirate has seen impressive growth in visitor numbers across all of our top source markets, and we have laid out the Vision for 2018 to further build on this success.”


Post show: ATM

Show highlights: ATM 2016

Having partnered with this year’s Arabian Travel Market, Hotel News ME profiles some of the biggest announcements and signings from the 23rd edition of the show

Crown Prince of Dubai opens ATM 2016

Market to recover by 2018 With occupancy rates down and more supply set to join the UAE market, a presentation session organised by Hotel News ME, delivered by Rupprecht Queitsch, senior partner and CEO of INHOCO Group, provided hoteliers with the tools and tricks they need to use in order to increase market share as he discussed boosting business in trying times at this year’s Arabian Travel Market in the Showcase Theatre. Beginning his session, Queitsch, emphasised the importance of each hotel fully understanding its desired target market and also identifying trends in their field, he said: “Market knowledge is power – you have to be able to focus on the numbers – guests arrivals coming in, source markets, number of new hotels in the pipleline, number of competitor chains in your area and so on.” Touching upon recent concerns in the industry regarding the decline in occupancy levels, he added:

Rupprecht Queitsch delivering his session

“You have to be able to scale the inventory – it’s no secret that we have seen a slight economic downturn, but we are advising people on the positives, 2016-2017 will be seen as a market stabiliser in many ways and by 2018 the pace will pick back up again.” With the Middle East and Africa showing no sign of slowing in terms of projects in the pipeline, airing his concerns on supply and demand, he said: “There is more new inventory coming in at the moment, especial-

ly in the UAE – Dubai in particular, than the demand is growing – you have to be able to find a way survive, but dropping rates is not the answer.” Stressing the importance of “maintaining” rates, he added: “Surviving in today’s testing market isn’t about dumping rates to secure market-share, you need to firstly look into what waters you are fishing in for business – especially when people in this industry are notorious for travelling and moving around. You cannot apply the same formulas in one marketplace to another, this all comes back to market-place knowledge.” He added: “I caution all hoteliers and hotels, that as soon as you start cutting rates it becomes a downward spiral, you enter a dangerous game of charging 3-and-4star prices for 5-and-6-star property facilities, how do you propose to break even that way?”

Travel booking trends from Yougov

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai inaugurates the 23rd edition of Arabian Travel Market. He was joined by dignitaries including His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairperson of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairperson of Emirates Group and Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) and Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) who embarked on a tour of the exhibition as the four-day industry showcase got underway. GO FIGURE This year’s ATM took place At Dubai World Trade Centre From 25-28 April 2016 And welcomed

423 86 main stand holders Representing

countries

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Post show: ATM

Damac showcases hospitality projects DAMAC Hotels and Resorts is to launch 15,000 keys by 2021, over four brands: AYKON Hotels and Resorts, DAMAC Maison Royale, DAMAC Maison and DAMAC Maison De Ville All brands will operate under four service pillars, including 24-hour check-in; free stays for children, with child-friendly facilities and entertainment; a “no-tipping” policy; and “personalised services”, such as limousine booking, preferred food inside suites and required set temperature prior to arrival. Also announced during ATM, façade work on the $1.3bn four-tower complex DAMAC Towers by Paramount Hotels and Resorts Dubai, is at 60% completion.

AYKON City features the first AYKON Hotel

AYKON City - Lobby

AYKON Hotel - Lobby

RAK hotels lead GCC growth Hotel performance in RAK has shown positive growth with occupancy at 71.3% in Q1 this year, an increase of 17.7% YoY. Coupled with a 9.2% year-on-year increase in Rev PAR, this demonstrates the highest growth across the GCC. Visitor numbers to Ras Al Khaimah in March 2016 were up 7% on March 2015. Furthermore, the emirate’s hotels reported an occupancy rate of 80.3%, up by 13.3% on March 2015. Rev PAR for March 2016 also increased by 14.1%compared to the same period last year. On a mission to attract one million visitors by 2018, Ras Al Khaimah TDA has signed partnerships with tourism firms Thomas Cook, FTI, Emirates, Flydubai, Air Arabia, Qatar Airways and Air India Express and opened new representation offices in India, Russia and the UK, with more offices planned for China and Saudi Arabia. Haitham Mattar, RAK TDA

TIME enters Saudi Arabia through Al Fahd JV TIME Hotels Management has signed a joint venture agreement with Saudi-based Al Fahd Investments, under the terms of which TIME will be given two properties to manage in Riyadh and the northern city of Al Mohammed Awadalla, Mohammed Harib Al Mazrooei Qurrayat, Saudi Arabia. and Ahmed Ibn Al Fahd TIME will also be tasked with providing consultancy services on behalf of the new hospitality entity of the joint venture. “Al Fahd Hospitality has a budget of over $600 million, to fund its present and future pipeline of properties which currently consists of seven mainly mid-market hotels, which are all due to open within the next two years,” said Mohamed Awadalla, CEO, TIME Hotels. The 26-storey, 3-star King Fahd Road project in Riyadh has 96 rooms and suites, an all-day restaurant, indoor/outdoor café, three meeting rooms and a health club. The hotel is expected to open in June 2017. The second hotel in Al Qurrayat, Al Jawf Province, is situated 15 kilometres from the Jordanian border. The 4-star property, due to open later this year, consists of 137 rooms and suites, an all-day restaurant, Café, health club and two meeting rooms. Al Fahd has a strong background in development, construction and contracting in Saudi Arabia, pioneering some 500 projects over the past 30 years and completing more than 300 properties during the past decade. May 2016 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Ajman Tourism Development Department launches new website His Highness Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, chair of Ajman Tourism Development Department (ATDD) unveiled www.ajman. travel as part of the new “Sincerely Emirati” marketing campaign for the emirate.

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts announces Qatar and Dubai hotels Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts (MHR) has confirmed its third property in Qatar, the upscale 139-room Mövenpick Hotel Al Aziziyah Doha, located in the city’s internationally-renowned Aspire Zone, Doha Sports City. Opening its doors on 1 May, the hotel takes over the luxurious Victorian-style building currently occupied by Grand Heritage Hotel Doha. The news came as the group announced a management agreement with Richreit Real Estate Development LLC for one of its most high-profile projects yet – Mövenpick Hotel Apartments Al Burj Business Bay, located in Dubai’s Business Bay district.

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Rotana confirms 18 openings by 2017-end The new hotels, will see 4,354 keys added to the company’s existing inventory by 2017, helping Rotana grow its portfolio to 75 operating hotels and 19,935 keys, scheduled as follows: • Amman Rotana, Jordan – Q2 2016 • Vazo Residences by Rotana, Istanbul, Turkey – Q2 2016 • Kin Plaza Arjaan by Rotana, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo – Q2 2016 • Centro Shaheen, Jeddah, KSA – Q3 2016 • Centro Waha, Riyadh, KSA – Q4 2016 • Centro Olaya, Riyadh, KSA – Q1 2017 • The Cove Rotana Resort (Extension), Ras Al Khaimah, UAE – Q2 2017 • Centro Corniche, Al Khobar, KSA – Q2 2017 • Erbil Arjaan by Rotana, Kurdistan, Iraq – Q2 2017 • Sundus Rotana, Muscat, Oman – Q2 2017 • Slemani Rotana, Kurdistan, Iraq – Q3 2017 • Centro Salama, Jeddah, KSA – Q3 2017 • Beach Arjaan by Rotana, Abu Dhabi, UAE – Q3 2017 • Creek Rotana and Creek Arjaan by Rotana, Dubai, UAE – Q3 2017 • Saadiyat Rotana Resort, Abu Dhabi, UAE – Q3 2017 • Rayhaan Imam Reza, Mashhad, Iran – Q3 2017 • Capital Centre Rotana, Abu Dhabi UAE – Q4 2017 • Centro Istanbul, Turkey – Q4 2017

Centro Corniche - Khobar - Exterior

Bahrain Unveils New IHG eyes 40% Tourism Identity growth by 2021 The Kingdom of Bahrain has launched its new tourism identity under the slogan of ‘Ours. Yours’ in a step to further develop the tourism sector as a main contributor to the national economy. The Kingdom plans to revamp its access points for foreign visitors including the modernization program for the Bahrain International Airport which result in increasing the capacity to 14 million visitors annually and port facilities for yachts that arrive in Bahrain from other countries. The tourism sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain direct contribution to the GDP is around $700m in 2015, up 9% on the previous year.

GO FIGURE

With more than

26,000 visitors Boasting an extra hall, ATM 2016 Had more than

Pascal GauvinCOO IMEA - IHG

InterContinental Hotels Group is expecting to record more than 40% growth across the Middle East in the next three to five years, with 25 new hotels in the pipeline and a focus on mid-market hotels. “With around 9,658 rooms in the pipeline, we are in a good position to support the commercial and tourism industries across the region, specifically at midmarket level, which is a key area of focus for GCC countries,” said Pascal Gauvin, COO, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG.

2,800 exhibiting countries And

64

national pavilions With

100

new exhibitors making their debut at the trade event


Post show: ATM

Al Khoory Hotels adds to add 1,000 rooms to portfolio Al Khoory Hotels announces the launch of the 227-room Al Khoory Atrium Hotel Al Barsha, due to open in July 2016 with the group set to add 1,100 rooms in Dubai by end of 2019. Mohammed M T Khoory, managing director, Al Khoory Group, said: “Our hospitality division is in a steady proposition, and with our pipeline of new openings, we plan to offer 1,100 rooms in Dubai by end of 2019. During this time, we will also start to explore opportunities internationally and foresee to create management contracts with stand-alone properties in the UAE and GCC market, where we see long term growth opportunities.”

Karata Hospitality unveils Qatari F&B initiative

Qatari hotel owner, developer and operator, Katara Hospitality, has introduced “Katara Specialties”, an initiative that highlights the evolution of the organisation’s food and beverage concepts. Katara Specialties, introduced at ATM, is characterised by dishes that showcase Qatari hospitality and heritage. Hamad Abdulla Al Mulla, chief executive officer of Katara Hospitality said: “We are pleased to introduce Katara Specialities at ATM 2016, as we aim to offer our distinguished guests unique culinary experiences that are reminiscent of the authenticity of Qatari heritage and Arabic culture. “Katara Hospitality places high importance on initiatives that enhance our combined product offering while highlighting our passion for creating the ultimate guest experiences across our worldwide portfolio of hotels.” The dishes will be rolled out in all-day dining restaurants and room service menu offerings across 23 operational Katara Hospitality hotels in 11 countries.

Millennium and Copthorne to debut Biltmore Collection in Middle East

Around ATM Middle East traveller mobile transactions hit double digits 51% of all Dubai hotels in midmarket segment versus 89% in New York 98% Of International Respondents Rate Their Dubai Travel Experience In 2015 At A 7 Or Higher

Oman Tourism reveals luxury pipeline Senior representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, Oman, have outlined details of the anticipated 2,000 new hotel rooms to open in the coming year. Anantara Group will open two 5-star resorts in the mountains of Jebel Akhdar and the south of the country at Salalah; Kempinski and Fairmont hotels will open near the Almouj golf course and Wave development on the waterfront in Muscat; a refurbished Sheraton Hotel in the capital’s central business district will also follow. In Muscat construction is underway for the country’s first W and Westin hotel properties near the Intercontinental Hotel, with a planned Louis Vuitton property also planned for the capital. The new Al Fanar Hotel and Residences has recently opened to boost hotel capacity in the increasingly popular Dhofar governate in the south of Oman and other projects underway include the Saraya Bandar Jissah project in a beautiful secluded bay at Qantab on the outskirts of Muscat.

Dusit launches Manila hospitality school and fully integrated hotel

Millennium and Copthorne Middle East and Africa has unveiled plans to introduce The Biltmore Collection to the Middle East. Millennium and Copthorne will debut the Biltmore collection in Abu Dhabi, naming two properties: Bab Al Qasr and Biltomore Bateen Marina Abu Dhabi with an additional property to follow in Saudi Arabia, namely the Biltmore Riyadh. All are scheduled to open in the next three years. The Biltmore collection draws inspiration from the original Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, which first opened in 1923, and the three new properties set to debut in the Middle East have been reinvented to suit the modern day traveller with contemporary interpretations of the original property. Introducing the new brand, Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi, president and CEO Millennium and Copthorne Hotels said: “We are thrilled to launch the Biltmore Collection with such a distinguished group of hotels. The original Biltmore is incredibly iconic and we are looking forward to fusing its enduring legacy with regional inspiration to deliver exceptional hotels for generations to come. Ultimately, it’s all about creating rich stories and exceptional experiences to define and differentiate, whether it be from a fascinating past or exclusive location.”

“Culinary Discoveries” launched on new Four Seasons private jet Dubai on schedule to hit 100,000 rooms milestone, May 2016 Private Dubai homeowners can now apply for holiday home license, without partnering with operator RAK Hospitality Asset Management posts record 16.4% in Q1 RevPAR Wyndham Dubai Marina, marks first Wyndham Hotels and Resorts hotel in the UAE Middle East “should continue to invest in tourism”, WTTC CEO

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Carlson Rezidor calls on ATM crowd to #GrowOurTree

Diving in Dhofar

Oman targets 70% nationalization in tourism sector

Under a new strategy The Ministry of Tourism, Oman is aiming to employ over 500,000 people by 2040, with an estimated 75% of those being Omani nationals, and the added benefit of making the Sultanate of Oman a role model for responsible tourism in the future. Commenting on the impact of the new strategy, Director General of Tourism Promotion Salim Al Mamari said: “The announcement of the 2040 tourism strategy for Oman provides us with a clearly defined and structured road map for future growth and expansion ensuring that tourism becomes one of the most important economic pillars for the country’s future.” Supporting the goal, the country wants to attract over 5 million international visitors by 2040, in addition to the same-day visitors and domestic tourists, making the tourism business one of the most significant in the Sultanate and generating over 6% of annual GDP.

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To grow the community of responsible business enthusiasts beyond hotels, Carlson Rezidor has created a digital tree that launched at the company’s stand at this year’s Arabian Travel Market. The unusual-looking tree is populated by social media images enabling it to grow as images are added to the tree using the hashtag #GrowOurTree. “The #GrowOurTree project is a highly engaging visual platform that allows us to engage our guests and stakeholders in Responsible Business during and after ATM,” said Inge Huijbrechts, vice president, responsible business Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “A key focus for us is our Meetings Minus Carbon by Club Carlson for Planners initiative, a unique and free service for meeting planners which is managed through Carlson Rezidor’s partner, Carbon Footprint Ltd. It is the first and only global loyalty programme which offsets the estimated carbon footprint of every meeting or event held at a Carlson Rezidor property. Carbon credits are purchased and invested in projects in India, Brazil and Kenya.” Responsible Business has a long tradition at Carlson Rezidor. The company was one of first international hotel companies to introduce a group-wide Responsible Business programme which is based on three core components: • Think Planet – minimising the company’s environmental footprint • Think People – taking care of the health and safety of guests and employees • Think Together – community action and business ethics.

“Common Visa Process” required Commenting on challenges to future tourism growth, Gerald Lawless, head of tourism, Dubai Holding, and newly appointed chairperson of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), said: “It is important for all governments to look at the facilitation of travel. We want to make it more secure by having a common visa process. It’s not about which country a person is coming from, but the individual. For all of us in the tourism industry, this would facilitate travel in a very secure manner for the future.”

Hyatt targets UAE and Saudi Hyatt Hotels will focus its Middle East expansion efforts on the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The company has four properties in the pipeline for Saudi Arabia, and two in the UAE. Tareq Daoud, regional vice president, Hyatt sales force, Middle East and Africa, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, South West Asia explains: “The Middle East provides a unique and diverse arena for us to evolve our brand portfolio and we continue to make a strong impact in this region. “We currently operate twelve full service hotels across the GCC and continue to recognise the benefits of expansion in this critically strategic market.” The four Saudi properties confirmed are Hyatt Regency Riyadh Olaya, Hyatt Place Riyadh Sulaimania, Hyatt House Jeddah/Sari Street and Hyatt Place Jeddah/Medina Road. The Chicago-based company opened 49 hotels in 2015 and in 2016 it is targeting another 60 openings. Of the hotels planned to open this year, over half will be select service hotels under the Hyatt Place and Hyatt House brands. In Dubai, Hyatt Place Dubai Al Rigga and Hyatt Place Dubai Baniyas Square opened in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Daoud adds: “We firmly believe that with the current economic status there will be more call than ever for mid-market propositions, which is where we look to further enhance our Hyatt Place portfolio as well as continuing to expand our premium offerings in order to cater to the different needs of our loyal guests.”


Post show: ATM

Gender balance vital to management Speaking on the ATM panel, Women in Travel, DUKES Dubai MD Debrah Dhugga, said: “I prefer having a mixed executive team as it provides a more creative dynamic, but we would like more female F&B applicants – we rarely get CVs from female chefs, for example, even though that trend is positive in the UK and debrah dhugga at atm 2016 the US.”

Al Khozama announces global partnerships Saudi property development, management and investment company, Al Khozama, will assume exclusive rights for skincare and spa operator ESPA and has joined independent hotel collection, Ultratravel Collection. The company first opened an ESPA spa in AL Faisaliah Hotel and two new spas are due to open at Al Faisaliah Resort & Spa at Durrat Arriyadh which opens later this year, and the Al Khozama Lifestyle Club DUR North Wing at Cascade and Spa – a private men’s club and spa located in the new upscale Hotel Al Khozama in Riyadh. The agreement with Ultratravel Collection will allow Al Khozama to offer its guest loyalty programme in two Riyadh properties– Al Faisaliah Riyadh, and the Al Faisaliah.

Occupancy “down 20%” following terror attacks in Turkey Hotel performance has witnessed a steep decline in Istanbul following recent terror attacks, according to the newly appointed GM of Raffles Istanbul, Christian Hirt. Located within the Zorlu Centre, Hirt says that security at Raffles Istanbul, as well in the surrounding area, has increased over recent months but that the market will need time to recover. “I would say the market has dropped by around 20% in occupancy since the most recent attacks. We are also feeling the impact from the oil price as around 70% of our guests are from the GCC. Nevertheless we are very confident that the situation will improve and we believe the market will recover quickly.” He added: “If there is no repeat of the tragic events we have seen over recent months I believe the market will recover very quickly and we will have a good 2016 overall. I believe occupancy will improve and I believe the confidence returning to the market will also see the meetings segment pick up.” Additional security measures at Raffles Istanbul include x-ray screening on all entrances and larger security teams, with addition security measures around the wider Zorlu Centre area. “The security levels are high in Istanbul but it is very discreet. I feel very safe there because the security is present,” he continued. FRHI has a number of hotels planned for Istanbul, across all brands, and Raffles Istanbul is also due to open its residences in October this year, comprising 67 keys of one and two bedroom Beach at Antalya, Turkey apartments.

Viceroy Hotel Group to open hotel in Istanbul Viceroy in Istanbul

Viceroy hotel Group unveils plans to open Viceroy Princes’ Islands Istanbul, a modern resort located on the island of Büyükada. Upon completion in summer 2016, Viceroy Hotel Group will open the doors to its first property in Turkey. Situated in Büyükada, a natural heritage and protection area, features of the resort will include ESPA spa and wellness centre, complete with indoor pool and a Turkish bath house. Additional features include 1,340 square metres of indoor and outdoor event space, a ballroom, along with an outdoor terrace; rooftop terraces and gardens; two pools and private sea lagoon. Food and beverage offerings include two restaurants, an Ice Bar, and a Resort Club Bar. The resort’s registered cultural heritage Grand Mansion has been fully restored to its former grandeur by local artisan craftsmen. The 1,926 square metre mansion includes a baroque entryway, six suites, a private pool, numerous social spaces for private dining and entertaining, and an expansive terrace surrounded by sweeping sea views and the distant city lights of Istanbul. “Viceroy Hotel Group is thrilled to enter Turkey with this remarkable project,” said Bill Walshe, CEO. “The rich history of Büyükada gives Viceroy Princes’ Islands Istanbul a true sense of place through its exciting blend of antiquity, modernity, tradition, and an infusion of the Viceroy vibe.” May 2016 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2016

With a flurry of signings, investor interest and Emiratisation hot on the agenda, Hotel News ME profiles the highlights from this year’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

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his year’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) marked the 12th edition of the show and took place from 2628 April at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai under the patronage of His Highness, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairperson of Dubai Airports. With the spotlight theme throughout the gathering, titled:

Key speakers Christof Rühl global head of research, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) H.E. Maithripala Sirisena president of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Arne Sorenson president and CEO, Marriott International Geoff Ballotti president and CEO, Wyndham Hotel Group Mustafa Al Hashimi chief hospitality and leisure officer, Wasl Group David Scowsill president and CEO, World Travel and Tourism Council

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“Eye on the Future – Vision for Success.” True to its theme, the conference delivered an accurate reflection of the hospitality investment scene – with investors and operators alike tackling industry challenges head-on through a series of panel sessions, debates and presentations. Attracting attendees from around the world, AHIC 2016 saw six business brief-

ing events prior to the conference in Egypt, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to shape up the discussion programme which included five hot topic talking points during the three-day event: The drop in oil prices and its effect on investment and tourism; A new era of supply and demand; Security issues in neighbouring countries; Emiratisation; and putting Iran on the map.

Bahrain expects 15 million visitors by 2018 Bahrain is seeing increased demand from both regional and international travellers, with the Kingdom’s tourism market, which currently comprises approximately 6% of GDP, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.8%, reaching $1 billion by 2020. The hotels and restaurants sector was the fastest growing sector in the Kingdom for the past two years, expanding by 10% in 2014 and by 7.3% in 2015. Bahrain attracted a total of 11.6 million tourists in 2015, up 11% from the previous year. Speaking at AHIC, Jerad Bachar, executive director of tourism and leisure at the EDB said: “There is strong investment currently underway in Bahrain’s tourism sector, stemming from both private and public sector sources. There is investment throughout the tourism ecosystem including accommodation, technology, ground transportation, airport infrastructure, and retail centres. The recently launched tourism brand identity “Ours. Yours. Bahrain” has been launched to build the overall awareness of Bahrain as a tourism destination. Through collaboration with the greater tourism community, we aim to increase the country’s competitiveness and increase the economic contribution from tourism to the GDP.” Bahrain is home to 120 hotels including high quality brands such as the Four Seasons, the Ritz Carlton, Sofitel, ART Rotana, Marriott, Le Méridien and the Westin. More than ten 5-star and 4-star hotels are under development and one of the major elements in the region’s plans to further diversify its economy Bahrain is investing heavily in large infrastructure projects which will have direct benefits to the sector, including the $1 billion Bahrain International Airport Modernisation Programme. Other development projects driven by recent investment include the Avenues Mall and the One and Only Resort and Spa, both currently under construction.

AHIC At a Glance

38 600 sponsors

plus pre-registered delegates From

41

countries Delegates included

269 senior level individuals

540 minutes of

networking time

120

plus speakers


Post show: AHIC

Top 10 from Ahic Emirati youths encouraged to enter the hospitality industry Ròya International’s founder, Ahmed Ramdan spearheaded a unique outreach to Emirati students who are under the care and guidance of Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF). The career seminar which was also supported by the Dubai Government Department responsible for Emirati youths who have lost one or both parents focused on the importance of encouraging young locals to join the industry, and how hoteliers and schools must make more effort in changing the “typical perception” that the industry is unattractive to work in. “Here in the UAE, particularly Dubai, the importance of hospitality is clear and growing. The hotel and tourism sector plus the airline industry account for a very significant percentage of our GDP. We are located at the heart of the East and West, and presenting the benefits of hospitality are important factors for our young people as they begin their career planning.”

Hot destinations With the region’s hotel industry subject to impact from numerous factors, the past year has seen huge variations in performance. Here, MEED tracks key performance metrics in the region's major cities.

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World’s largest property company, Wanda Group participates at AHIC

The group’s Wanda Plaza is a 5-star hospitality development in Beijing

The Chinese giant attended the show to promote and introduce Wanda Hotels and Resorts’ management capabilities to key industry contacts. Whilst its services and competitiveness is well known in Europe, the US and Asia Pacific, the organisation was keen to raise its overall profile in the Middle East. Primarily, Wanda Hotels and Resorts is known as an operator, however the company is now looking to enter new markets. “We know that the Middle East guest profile closely matches that of our Asian guest profiles in terms of their expectation from luxury properties and service standards and attending AHIC has given us an opportunity to showcase our strengths and products in a market where we can draw many synergies,” explained the group president.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts inks five new properties The hotel group reveals that it is on track to grow its portfolio in the Middle East to 100 hotels by 2020. This follows five new deal signings that will add over 1,200 rooms in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Starwood will also open five hotels in 2016 across the three countries. “The Middle East continues to be one of Starwood’s fastest growing markets and we are immensely committed to the trust that owners have in our brands,” explained Michael Wale, president of Starwood, EMEA. “We continue to strengthen Starwood's leadership position in the Middle East through an aggressive growth strategy that will increase our footprint by 75% in the next five years," said Simon Turner, president of Global Development for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Wyndham Hotel Group to expand in Africa Wyndham Hotel Group signs three new hotels in Ethiopia following last year’s opening of its first Ramada in the country, the Ramada Addis Ababa, as part of a strategic decision to expand its management services in the African market. Construction of the 4-star TRYP by Wyndham Addis Ababa Bole Road is due to begin later this year, co-located with the 5-star Wyndham Addis Ababa Bole Road, which is already under development. Initial work on the 4-star Wyndham Garden Langano has also begun at its lakefront location 180km south of Addis. The properties are owned by Santa Maria Real Estate and Hotels Plc of Addis Ababa.

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Two new hotels for Ramada in Oman Wyndham Hotel Group signs two new properties in Muscat, Oman, under the umbrella of two of its globally recognised brands, Ramada Encore and Ramada Hotel and Suites. Connected by a footbridge, the 3-star Ramada Encore Muscat Al Ghubra and 4-star Ramada Hotel and Suites Muscat Al Ghubra will be situated along Sultan Qaboos street; a short distance from Muscat International Airport, nearby shopping centres and Oman’s Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Both properties are owned by the Al Khaleel Group. Dan Ruff, Wyndham Hotel Group’s president and managing director for EMEA, explained: “Oman’s unrivalled natural beauty spans spectacular mountains to beautiful coastal regions, attracting many types of travellers with 12 million expected in 2020. It’s clear there’s a demand for the international quality of accommodation.”

Dur Hospitality inks deal with Marriott International Dur Hospitality and Marriott International sign a franchise agreement to open the first Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott properties in Yanbu, on a 7,467 sqm land with an SAR87 million investment. This project will be Marriott International’s first franchise agreement in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Badr Al Badr, CEO Dur Hospitality said: “We value our relationship with Marriott International and constantly seek opportunities to take it to the next level and this comes in line with our fruitful strategy that recognises the importance of building strategic partnerships with international hotel operators. As a leading hospitality company that has been operating in the Saudi market for over 40 years, we aim to share our extended hotel operation experience in the Saudi Market with regional and international companies.”

Travel and tourism needs the support of government incentives David Scowsill, president and CEO, World Travel and Tourism Council, said that travel and tourism needs more “togetherness” between public and private sector and that particular attention should be paid to visa policies as currently 63% of the world’s travellers need a visa stamp in their passport. He commented that the freedom of travel is under threat and this must be addressed by all stakeholders in the industry and beyond. He also said that data shows traveller numbers will double by 2025, that the tourism sector supports 284million jobs worldwide, and that “no travel equals no life.”

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AHIC Awards On the final day of the conference, the patron, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairperson of Dubai Airports, president of Dubai Department for Civil Aviation and chairperson and group CEO of Emirates Airlines presented two special awards to tourism and hospitality leaders. Ron Hilvert, the founder and former managing director, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, was awarded Outstanding Service to the Industry, and Ahmed Ramdan, group CO, Roya International, was awarded the AHIC 2016 Leadership Award.

FRHI to open hotels in Saudi Arabia and Morocco Fairmont Hotels and Resorts signed two new luxury hotel developments in Morocco and Saudi Arabia at this year’s AHIC. The two new projects include Fairmont Taghazout Bay, Morocco and Fairmont Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, which are both scheduled to open before 2020.The development of these properties will see Fairmont’s luxury hotel portfolio in the Middle East, Africa and India region increase to 20 hotels by 2020, more than doubling the regional pipeline and boosting the brand’s presence within two major economic and tourist hubs. Speaking at AHIC, Sami Nasser, senior vice president of operations for FRHI in the MEAI, said: “The market for luxury accommodations in Morocco and Saudi Arabia is growing at a rapid pace with an excellent outlook for investment performance. We are happy to increase our presence and our commitment to these dynamic regions and look forward to successfully launching these new hotels while continuing to explore future development opportunities throughout the region and globally.”

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Interview

Dream big With expansion into Saudi Arabia underway and the possibility of a second manufacturing facility in India, CEO of Dubai Furniture Manufacturing Co, S. Sundar Rajan, talks new business strategies and signature sleeps

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hile hotels promote the all bells and whistles approach to hospitality, with as much focus outside the room as in, the promise of a good night’s sleep remains at the forefront of a guest’s mind. With a rise in demand for signature beds and innovations driven by the retail sector, this central pillar in the industry is taking on a new lease of life. Regional manufacturer and distributor of King Koil and Serta mattresses, Dubai Furniture Manufacturing Co (DFMC), is spearheading the personalisation of mattresses through new manufacturing techniques for dozens of hotel clients. CEO S. Sundar Rajan, says: “It is common for each brand to select their own signature mattress, and we do that by creating products to their specifications, giving them time to test these with guests, amending the specifications and fine tuning the product. We are very keen to understand what the guest wants for that hotel and the guest. We make three or four products and give them to the hotel for testing to find out what they prefer and based on the brief we develop.” Counting 40% of total business derived 64

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from the hospitality industry, with a 60% market share across hospitality and retail in the premium segment, DFMC is currently expanding operations with a new manufacturing and retail facility in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – producing 400 mattresses a day – to keep up with the growing demand for branded products, which can provide warranty and added aftersales customer care, including maintenance training. Year to date performance across all sectors in 2016 has been affected by the crash in oil prices and regional instability, but DFMC is also looking at the potential to expand its regional network by opening a second manufacturing facility in India, near Bombay, by year end, where a distribution network is currently being established. Rajan explains: “In the Middle East premium segment we have 60% market share. In Saudi Arabia hospitality we have majority market share and in retail King Koil and Serta combined has more than 60% market share. We are a dominant player in retail and hospitality.” Revealing that there are more than 350

individual products in the portfolio, Rajan adds: “Whatever new technology is coming up in the market is associated with a premium; this is the area in which we have an edge on the competition.” New technology While there is much research into the role of mattresses in orthopedic health, with a range of new mattress technologies incorporated in products, Rajan has witnessed a rise in demand for gel-infused products, specifically due to the temperature control benefits offered to users. Whereas traditional foam fillings would generate heat and contribute towards potential discomfort, research and development processes identified the role that gel infused mattresses could play in combating this. Rajan explains: “Gel infused foam products are the remedy and it dissipates the heat to maintain a particular temperature. The customer sleeping on the mattress will be comfortable always because there is no heat generation from the surface.” As with all innovation, the process is an


Interview

ongoing one. Looking ahead to the mattress of the future, Rajan continues: “The housekeeping department and hotels prefer mattresses that are not only user friendly for them but also comfortable for their guests. The trend in around five years, or maybe 10 years, will be mattresses that can be adjusted to any shape and comfort level at the touch of a button.” Another innovation the CEO is keeping an eye on is that of foam and slow recovery spring technology, which is yet to come to the regional market. However, DFMC hopes to be integrating the slow recovery spring in its products by year end. “Serta has come up with a slow recovery spring that is yet to be released in the regional market here. It is popular in the US and will be launched here by the end of the year. It’s a totally different feel and comfort level.” It isn’t just what goes into the mattress that catches a client’s attention, it is what is taken out. With increasing focus on health, wellbeing, and the impact of hidden toxins in everyday products, DFMC has worked to

remove all such substances from the foam in its products. This includes dichloromethane, or methylene chloride, an organic compound that has been banned from use in mattresses across the US, Europe and UK. It has yet to be banned here in the Middle East but since DFMC began manufacturing its own mattress foam back in 2005, it has eliminated this from its products and supply chain. Calling for a regional ban, Rajan explains: “Our mattresses use raw materials that do not have hazardous chemicals. Methylene chloride is a banned, o-zone depleting material, and while we are confident it will in future be banned from use in the Middle East, we have moved to ban it in our products as a matter of best practice.” In order to achieve this, DFMC invested in German machinery and uses vacuum technology to form foam, in order to completely avoid the use of methylene chloride. “It was our decision to do this and when we took the decision to manufacture our own foam, we wanted to do this without any hazardous chemical,” he continues.

Buying power While hotels face the same budget constraints as any other business, especially given the recent disconnect between supply and demand regionally and what this means for performance, the cost of products does not fall in response. The focus for DFMC is to add value to the purchase for hospitality– and retail – clients by adding support through maintenance, training and extended warranty periods. Rajan elaborates: “If price was the only criteria, then we should have been out of business by this time, but there are many more things which are considered. When looking for a quality product you need the guest satisfaction, durability, returns, customer service; so many parameters before a client decides to buy. “A warranty of 10 years is a standard for our competitors but it’s a minimum for us. There are projects here in Dubai where we have supplied our products, and even after 15 years it is still performing well, because of the quality and also the housekeeping department.” DFMC works with housekeeping departments, for no additional cost, to train on how to maintan products and safeguard their performance. “Hotels are making a huge investment so we train them on how to look after that investment,” he says. This is supported by regular visits to check the performance of products and assistance on how to correct any unlikely faults.” Looking ahead, the focus remains on the new Riyadh factory and showroom, where operations are expected to begin within a few months. “There are a lot of hospitality properties there and there is also a shift in how that market is looking to buy mattresses. Clients have realised the importance of a quality brand and the impact this can have on things like durability, warranty, customer care and so on. “Hospitality customers are changing and even in retail, apart from the price factor, they demand known brands,” he concludes.

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Supplier focus: security

Security in focus With global security challenges not an un−noticed challenge in the Middle East, travellers demand safe and secure hotel accommodations and responsive and friendly customer service. Hotel News ME finds out how hoteliers can ensure that their property provides as secure an environment as possible

The Experts

Manit Narang, vice president, MEAI, Vingcard Elsafe

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Tim Mundell, Chief Security Officer, Transguard

I

t can take up to 20 years to build a reputation and only five minutes to ruin it. A single act of crime or security breech at a property runs the risk of diminishing a brand. Hotels are now required to partner with experienced physical security providers to ensure that the entire staff understands the need to keep security a top priority. In the eventuality of a crisis, how should hotels approach their planning strategy? Narang: Each hotel should have a plan in place that is well understood by all property staff. Training should be conducted on a regular basis to ensure familiarity with procedures, and enhanced effectiveness dur-


Supplier Focus: Security

ing any particular situation. With a number of factors making some crisis scenarios more likely than others or changing the way that some may develop, hoteliers need to keep a vigilant eye on what the latest and most appropriate strategies are. To further maximise a plan’s effectiveness and minimise any harm, properties should also leverage any security solutions that are in place and integrate their use into planning strategies. Hoteliers should check with their respective security solution providers on how to best go about implementation. Mundell: More than ever hotels and leisure facilities should as a basic rule of operation have in place reference to a master security plan. This must be evaluated and tested at least once a year or as the operating environment evolves. The plan is designed not only to document the key threats and risks potentially facing the facility, but it will provide the security framework for the hotel’s safe operation, whilst helping mitigate the risks they face on a daily basis.

the most game-changing innovations to revolutionise hotel operations in recent years, with security being no exception. Features such as superior anti-cloning technology ensures that only authorised users obtain entry to respective areas by preventing attempts at key copying, an issue which can be very common with older technologies. Online access control systems have also significantly enhanced abilities to maintain a secure and safe hotel environment, by providing far greater control and tracking of all property access areas. By using such a platform, the ability to remotely cancel keycards and prevent access to certain areas can be vital during an emergency, either by blocking access to hazardous areas or by preventing unauthorised threats to security from gaining access. Should a security-related situation take place, the ability to remotely access individual door lock audit trails can assist greatly with discovering whether a breach actually took place, and can provide insight into preventing similar circumstances from recurring in the future.

scanners are placed out of sight from the ever constant flow of guests. Ultimately, security technology is enabling hotels to continue to be customer focused while ensuring they can meet their duty of care to their guests by providing the safest possible environment. What are the current trends being seen in the Middle East regarding the security within a hotel? Narang: As with other hospitality markets around the globe, security is among the top priorities for hoteliers at all levels of property operations within the Middle East. Issues such as identity and sensitive data theft are becoming a growing concern as they increase in frequency. Hotels as a result must ensure that effective solutions and procedures are in place to offset any attempts to undermine guest safety and peace-of-mind. What elements of hotel security should be outsourced and why? Narang: The decision to outsource any particular security element largely depends on individual environmental factors of a given property. This may also be determined by regional or national circumstances or requirements. Hotels considering outsourcing any aspect of security must fully understand all implications of the decision in order to determine the best course of action, and maintain the highest level of guest security possible.

“Features such as superior anticloning technology ensures that only authorised users obtain entry to respective areas by preventing attempts at key copying, an issue which can be very common with older technologies.”

What are the top pointers to ensure that a hotel is secure against a crisis or a threat? Narang: To ensure the best results, hotels must put strategies to the test by creating artificial crisis scenarios, in order to gauge the effectiveness of a particular plan. This not only provides hotel staff with an opportunity to rehearse and improve their crisishandling skills, but also allows management to observe which parts of a plan require adjustment or additional training. Mundell: Being prepared and understanding in detail the specific threats and the implications of these threats to the hotel is critical. It is only then that measures can be put in place that will assist in mitigating the threats that any strong security survey would identify. Once in place the need to brief, train and exercise staff against potential scenarios is key to any such plan having the desired affect for the hotel, its guests and staff. What are some of the latest technologies available on the market for the hospitality industry, and what new advancements do you expect to see in the near future? Narang: RFID technology has been one of

Manit Narang Mundell: Security technology is constantly evolving, as is the threat faced by the hospitality and hotel industry. Whilst CCTV and standard access control systems are common place, solutions providers are now stepping in to design a single system solution where the data from multiple standalone systems is received and managed back in the central control room. The global industry has seen an increase in the use of crash gate barriers, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems and vehicle scanning devices, with the sole aim to detect and prevent threats before they even get close to the hotel facility. Inside the hotel, yet further developments in the use of technology for the leisure industry are designed to make security more effective, whilst being less intrusive, so the automatic scanning of people and their luggage requires no effort on the part of the guest as

Mundell: We get lots of requests for implementing security technologies such as access control, perimeter fencing, command and control centers, Detection Systems, CCTV, Video Analytics, Social Media monitoring, under vehicle scanning, intrusion detection and biometrics to name just a few. Our biggest clients are requesting a fully integrated life-cycle security model where technology is developed with the whole system in mind, ensuring whatever technology is invested in will be cost effective and secure in the long term. Hotels are working in partnership with outsourced security experts to plan and implement their whole security requirement. This could include security risk management models, conceptualisation and design of security infrastructure, operations and management right through to manguarding and training or all of the above. May 2016 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Supplier focus: Security

Products you should know

Hotel News ME round up the hottest items on the market

VingCard Allure

This invisible door lock, the ultimate in minimalistic locking solutions is an entirely new concept in locking design and technology, patent pending. Essence takes minimalism to the extreme, eliminating all lock hardware on the door by encasing all electronic components inside the door itself and making security virtually invisible to hotel guests.

With VingCard Allure, all external hardware on the door has now been completely eliminated through the use of a futuristic signage panel that adds a host of additional benefits and functionality to the locking system. These include a higher degree of flexibility in design, as well as the ability to add guest-facing in-room features such as “Do Not Disturb (DND) and “Make Up Room” (MUR) notifications to hotel staff. This is accomplished through an interactive touch panel located inside the room, An LED light on the door lock alerts staff of the request, so that guests are not disturbed unnecessarily.

vingcardelsafe.com info@vcegroup.com

vingcardelsafe.com info@vcegroup.com

ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access With this revolutionary new ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access, your guests can skip the front desk, using their smartphone or watch as a secure key. This award-winning Seos technology from ASSA ABLOY maximises operational efficiency, guest loyalty and convenience, while reducing costs. As the technology and market leader in mobile access, we have already installed more than 30,000 mobile-operated VingCard hotel locks all over the world. vingcardelsafe.com info@vcegroup.com

VingCard Essence

SurroundVideo Omni Camera

The AV1145 MegaBall

The AV1145 MegaBall 1.3-megapixel network camera is part of Arecont Vision’s full line of H.264 MegaBall™ cameras. This fully-compliant implementation of H.264 (MPEG-4, Part 10) provides full 1280 x 1024 megapixel resolution at full video frame rates of 42 frames per second (fps). The AV1145 camera line provides an all-in-one indoor 3" ball shape solution with integrated 1.3-megapixel camera, 4mm or 3.3-10mm IR corrected lens, wall mount or dome enclosure options. arecontvision.com ttazey@arecontvision.com

Arecont Vision’s SurroundVideo Omni Cameras feature four multi-megapixel sensors that can be individually adjusted to capture different fields of view within a full 360° range. This allows a single camera to provide detailed coverage of a wide area including the ability to provide views directly under the camera or multiple fields of view using a variety of lens options. The cameras are available in 5 MP, 8MP, 12MP and 20MP configurations and feature Arecont Vision’s WDR technology in the 12MP configuration, which delivers a dynamic range of up to 100dB at full resolution without lowering the frame rates. arecontvision.com ttazey@arecontvision.com

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GM Leaders conference In ass ociation with

An ISO 9001: 2008 & ISO 14001:2004 Certified Green Company

Returning in 2016, Hotel News ME’s GM Leaders Conference, presented by Rikan General Trading will bring together professionals from the hospitality sector across the MENA region to discuss guest satisfaction, the regional pipeline, and gender balance in the workplace.

Regio nal managers hotel , general managers atte nd for free

For Sponsorship opportunities: diarmuid o’malley Mobile: +971 50 5597 339 dom@bncpublishing.net

For attendance: Mark Monzon Mobile: +971 56 415 5243 Mark@bncpublishing.net

For Speaking opportunities: Sophia Soltani Mobile:+971 50 381 3148 Sophia@bncpublishing.net

For Speaking opportunities: melanie mingas Mobile:+971 56 758 7834 melanie@bncpublishing.net

Sponsored by

Knowledge partner


Market place The supplier and buyer roundup of news, products and services

Vishaal Shah CEO and founder, Panache International

Chocolate time

Chocolatier Cocosia has launched its first Gourmet Collection. The variety includes an infusion of flavours from the aptly named Almond Ectasy – an immersion of marzipan in milk chocolate, and the Arabian Safari – camel milk caramel plus Turkish Coffee – which uses couvertures blended into an intense Turkish coffee to name a few. cocosia.ae

Can you share some details about the company history? Panache international started its operations in 2005 in Fujairah with a team of 12 people and over the years it has grown drastically. We now have 200 plus employees producing over 400 tons per month and also distributing the entire range of disposable products for the hospitality industry.

What does your company offer that other suppliers do not? With a dynamic team at Panache and the clear vision of obtaining customers for life, we approach our customers in a different manner compared to many of our competitors. We look at what solutions we can give to the customers rather than just delivering a product. We have an in-house tooling facility that allows us to give flexibility to our customers and fulfil their personal needs. Additionally, we are the exclusive representatives of Sabert, which is the world’s leading manufacturer of high end disposable tableware which can replace stainless steel, glass and ceramic.

Artesano

Villeroy and Boch has extended its Artesano 2016 range for the hospitality industry. The extended range includes, Artesano Professional and Artesano Barista and comes in a series of stackable cups of various sizes. villeroy-boch.com

What is the most popular product that you supply to the industry and why? Our most popular product currently is our Red White Frat cup as well as our Jager Bomb cup. These products being exported to the UK and Canada as well as locally. We have been the first company to develop the Jager Bomb disposable cup and Frat cup in the region.

What growth do you anticipate to see over the course of the next 12 months? We have seen rapid growth over the past few years and we should continue to see the same growth over the next 12 months by at least 45%. We have added a lot of new products to our portfolio and we are continuing to add more team members to our sales department as well as other support roles to ensure we can maintain the best possible service levels to our clients as well as retain them for life.

What new products and announcements should we know about? We shall be launching a new range of Pulp products which are environmentally friendly over the next few weeks. In addition to that a new range of baking products also shall join the Panache family. 70

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Dyson Pure Cool

Dyson has launched a new air purifier fan technology in the UAE which removes 99.95% of potentially harmful ultrafine particles. Air purifiers can help capture pollutants, bacteria, viruses, pollen, allergens and odours. The Dyson Pure Cool purifier fan uses Dyson’s 360° Glass HEPA filter. This technology captures 99.95% of particles as small as 0.1 microns – trapping them in the filter, and projecting cleaner, purified air around the room evenly and quietly. dyson.ae


Marketplace

Intercoil receives International OEKO TEX Standard 100 certification Intercoil International mattresses have been certified free from chemicals that are hazardous to both humans and the environment. The first and only foam manufacturer in the MENA region to receive the ‘OEKO-TEX Standard 100’ certification. The OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is an international, independent testing and certification standard for manufacturers in the textile and clothing industry. Available in 23 countries throughout the MENA region and the Levant, Intercoil’s foam products meet

Tobin Elis Signature Cocktail Station Engineered for speed and built for comfort, Perlick’s new Tobin Ellis Signature Cocktail Station consists of innovative product solutions that have been specifically designed to be more ergonomic for bartenders and to better accommodate their needs when making craft cocktails. Refrigerated Drawers: The low temperature refrigerated drawers boast the industry’s only NSF rating for open food storage muddle-me.com / info@muddle-me.com

a wide range of customer specifications, preferences and requirements. Intercoil is the exclusive licensee in the Middle East for leading US bedding company, Simmons.

intercoil.com

Top 5 flooring considerations for hotel owners Will Facer, marketing manager, Flowcrete Middle East

1 2 3 4 5

Hygiene

VarioCooking Center

The VarioCooking Center from Frima and Rational, incorporates smart-technology to encompass a variety of cooking methods including boiling, searing and deep-frying. The Center comprises of two pans to offer maximum flexibility and comes with a total capacity of 50 litres, providing a sufficient frying surface and boiling capacity. The height of the pan base also facilitates long frying processes compared to similar large or larger tilting pans or multifunctional appliances.

Nespresso launches Aguila 220

With a smaller footprint but the same technology as the Nespresso Aguila 420 first launched in 2011, the Aguila 220 is designed the meet the needs of all large HORECA establishments, such as hotels, restaurants, cafés and bakeries. The machine can make up to 4,000 coffees per month and has two extraction heads allowing for simultaneous preparation of beverages. dyson.ae

The ability to clean and maintain kitchen and back of house areas is a paramount concern when selecting a floor. Resin systems can be applied one site to create a seamless finish that eliminates the risk of dirt and bacteria harbouring in cracks or crevices. Polyurethane resins can have antimicrobial additives incorporated to eliminate up to 99.9% of bacteria in contact with the coating.

Decorative Options First impressions count, therefore it is important that front of house areas are designed to give guests a sense of luxury and sophistication. Designers must consider how the floor area can work alongside the interior design scheme to convey the desired on-brand aesthetics. Epoxy terrazzo systems are one of the most versatile flooring options that can deliver a high quality, long lasting and decorative finish.

Safety Ensuring that contaminants and spillages are cleaned immediately is vital to minimise the risk of slips, trips and falls. Positively textured, anti-slip coatings can be installed in wet areas to enhance traction underfoot.

Hard Wearing Resin flooring systems are available in a range of thicknesses and formulations that can be tailored to meet the anticipated demand. For example, a 1mm epoxy coating can be applied in areas of minimal foot traffic.

Renovation and Repair Considerations From time to time, renovations will need to be considered when a floor has reached the end of its lifespan. Fast-curing methyl methacrylate (MMA) systems can reduce downtime so that the flooring project is completed with minimal disturbance to usual service. May 2016 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Showcasing the latest tech innovations available to the industry

Mark Hirst

TECH TALK

founder and CEO, Blue Beetle

Y-buy Aquatunes

What factors should hoteliers consider when reviewing in-room technology products? To attract Gen-Y travellers, hoteliers need to invest in interactive technology products to create unique customer experiences. Tech savvy tourists are looking for experiences; they are accustomed to getting things quickly and prefer online contact over an in-person conversation. The mobile device is their primary point of communication so hoteliers should capitalise on that. 70.9% of young travellers confirm that the availability of free WiFi plays a significant role in their choice of hotel, while 52% use mobile devices to book their trips. Hoteliers should look into tablet-controlled lighting systems, green technologies – EBM, monitor sensors, and cloud applications to e-concierge, smart-phone applications and Vo-IP services. What is the must have piece of in-room technology hoteliers should invest in and why? Studies show that hotel customers still want to consume content, and they are happy to pay as long as it meets their needs. They want to be able to access it from all their devices – mobile, tablet, laptop, TV screen, etc. With the rise of video and photo sharing applications, travellers (especially the young ones) are looking for experiences that they can share across their social media platforms. It is now necessary for hotels to create experiences that are not only fun, relaxing or engaging, but worth sharing online also. How can in-room technology help boost revenue for a hotel? Tech-savvy travellers feel the need to be connected at all times. Installing in-room technologies can have a significant effect on enhancing the guests’ experience and satisfaction, and can help increase the higher occupancy rates and, as a result, maximise the revenue per room. In-room technology can also be used to upsell other hotel offerings such as spa treatments or food and beverages for example. These offerings can be delivered in a smart way at the right time using the Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

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GROHE and Philips Sound have introduced Aquatunes – a waterproof Bluetooth speaker, bringing highquality, immersive musical experiences to the shower and bathroom. The speaker needs to be paired with a smartphone or tablet and will play any other source of audio. The speaker is fully waterproof and withstands not only the jets of water but can also handle falls from a height of up to 1.5 metres. grohe.com/ae/

Belkin and DED seize thousands of Belkin counterfeits

Belkin International Inc. announced its most aggressive action to date in the fight against the sale of counterfeit goods in the Middle East with a series of raids across Dubai. The Department of Economic Development (DED) of Dubai, acting on information gathered and provided by Belkin, raided 22 individual stores located in four main marketplaces and confiscated more than 1,400 counterfeit Belkin-branded products.

Sound systems

The Beosound 35 from Bang and Olufsen is a high-end wireless speaker and all-in-one multiroom music system with an easy-to-use touch interface and integrated access to music and radio streaming services. Crafted from aluminum and designed to fill the entire room with a well-balanced sound whether placed on a table or a wall. bang-olufsen.com


Marketplace

Top Tech: Kempisnki Hotel, Mall of the Emirates Prasanna Rupasinghe, director of IT tells Hotel News ME how the recently refurbished Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates is using technology to maximise revenue streams, engage new markets and simplify the communication process for tech-savvy guests The new integrated system Following the implementation of the new IT infrastructure stack, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates has installed iPads in every room to allow guests to take advantage of all of the services offered at the hotel, in addition to the freely available APP for IOS and Android devices. While phase one focuses on in-house services like housekeeping requests, guest services, digital newspapers, effortless content sharing (BOYD), device independent live-TV on-the-go, room controls, and interactive F&B ordering systems, later phases will incorporate more complex elements such as integration to the mall eco-system. Looking ahead to phase two, we want to create strong synergies between different partners, like a shopping experiences whereby we integrate our system with selected brands, and guests can order from them. We are also looking at location based services, where the hotel can do certain promotions, based on where the guest is currently located, or drive them from one location to the other. We have augmented reality planned as well, where people can use their devices to go to the mall and locate shops. There is an opportunity for third-parties to selectively advertise to targeted clientele within the hotel. We are also keenly looking at integrating booking platform for entertainment services available within the mall such as Ski Dubai, VOX Cinemas and Magic Planet. The functioning applications that guests can use Designed and developed for guest own (BOYD) smart devices and for fixed in-room tablets, the interactive customer experience APP is integrated with the digital TV platform, automated guest servicing platform, room management System (RMS) and other hotel systems to deliver complete end-to-end digital platforms for guest interactions and content delivery. These facilities offer convenience and control at the guest’s fingertips, up to the level of watching their favorite live OTT TV channel on their own devices, in-room shopping and e-commerce, personalised direct marketing, brand promotion and marketing campaign management, guest services via service platform integration, integrated guest rooms controls via GRMS and Mall of the Emirates virtual shopping portal. This project is expected to transform in-room guest “experiences” and take entertainment to the next

as restaurant reservations, room reservations, and excursions and tours.

A screenshot from the Kempinski iOS and Android app that is available for free

level with proximity messaging, augmented reality, self-check-in, location based push advertisements, branding apps and so on all on the road-map for us. Imagine if guests could browse stores of their choice virtually, selecting a dress, its colour and size, with live recommendations in an engaging session with an in-store salesperson. What if that dress could be delivered to their hotel room by the hotel concierge, just in time to be donned for the evening’s event? This is a guest experiences that Dubai will offer its vacationers not far into the future and we aim to be at the forefront of it. Imagine guests browsing an in-room dining menu, and the device intelligently suggests F&B choices based on their demographic, their reservation history, and rewards status. Technology not only enhances the guest experience, but facilitates communication between different departments of the hotel for every single query. The user-friendly applications on our iPads boosts the possibility of selling other hotel products such

How this system makes things easier for our guests When a guest requests a service via the APP, the request goes straight through to our guest-service platform, then the system takes over and assigns hotel staff to the job, informs the staff and follows up to ensure timely completion, permitting better proficiency and performance and driving major improvements in back of house processes. Once the request has been completed, a notification is sent back to the APP server which then notifies the guest, allowing for a seamless process between BoH and FoH operations. Through this, we have been able to transfer the power of technology straight into the hands of the guests. Guests can also use the APP as the remote controllers to TV where they are able to watch selected genre of channels, browse through the TV guide and EPG, change channels or navigate through the Hotel’s TV system. Hundreds of newspapers in digital format are offered free-of-charge within the system also. We’ve also become the very first hotel to provide HD-quality live TV channels to a guests’ tablet, laptop and smart-phone by fully utilising OTT (over-the-top) adaptive streaming technologies allowing guests to watch live TV channels, VoD anywhere inside the hotel area, on their choice of preferred devices. The brand promotion and marketing campaign has generated substantial revenue increases since its inception and in addition to measurable uptake on F&B orders. We expect the APP to be self-sustainable through it’s proven revenue generation capabilities. Where the software comes from Multiple business partners are involved, including iRIS Guest Valet, KnowCross Systems, mCOM Systems, AVAYA, ARUBA, Reivernet HSIA, Oracle-Micros to name a few. How guest’s details are kept safe once they’ve check-out All guest identity data and browsing history is wipedout upon check-out except for statistical data for business intelligence, and reporting. Communication between databases and systems are fully harden and encrypted as per the accepted industry standards.

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Last word

Who said that?

Room with a view This month’s room with a view goes to the vibrant Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort in Mozambique

Secluded on a pristine private island in the Quirimbas Archipelago off the northern coast of Mozambique, Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort has reopened following an extensive refurbishment. The 12-villa, adults-only African island hideaway now features refreshed décor, luxury villa upgrades and new signature experiences, including a Robinson Crusoe-style star bed for the ultimate romantic escape. Naturally intimate, Medjumbe Island is one kilometre long and 300 metres wide. Tranquil seclusion in paradise is matched by convenient access, just a 45-minute aircraft transfer from Pemba International Airport, which can be reached from Mozambique’s capital Maputo or international flights from Johannesburg or Dar es Salaam. Now, with a host of enhancements the refreshed décor gives Anantara Medjumbe a distinctive African island identity. The resort has been extensively restyled using colourful patterns to depict the vibrancy of local culture. Shades of blue and aqua reflect the evolving hues of the Indian Ocean. All of the 12 thatched Beach Pool Villas, which open onto soft powdery sands include newly designed private splash pools with an aqua mosaic finish. In the guest villas and public areas, the majority of furniture and lighting was custom designed by interior designers, Savile Row, and produced in Indonesia and South Africa. Various accessories were sourced from around the African continent and framed artworks were created using traditional wax printed capulana fabrics that were sourced from local markets.

If you weren't a hotelier, what would you be? “If I weren’t’ a hotelier I would have definitely been a Chef, because good food is an experience, an art where you get to feed people for a living. You get inspired from the simple things around you; spices and local ingredients that burst with freshness then turn it into a masterpiece. It's one of the greatest joys in life. ” Chadi Gedeon, General Manager of Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers

NEXT ISSUE> We will be running a dedicated supplier focus on in-room amenities ranging from accessories in the bedroom, stationary, technology, to linen in the bathrooms. To get involved in this editorial, please contact sophia@bncpublishing.net

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 service to Hospitality fraternity. 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, associatesand 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 Please visit: www.bineid.com to view the current jobs.

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The secret to a great night’s sleep

Silentnight UAE LLC has been in the UAE since 1978 manufacturing quality mattresses not only for the retail sector as the UK’s No.1 brand but also for the contract sector supplying quality mattresses and divan beds and accessories for all sections of the contract market. Registered Office: Al Lttihad Street, P.O. Box 2604, Ajman - UAE Tel: (+971 6) 740 7264 / 740 7511 Fax: (+971 6) 740 8550 Email: contracts@silentnight.ae | Facebook: @SilentnightUAE.1978 Website: www.silentnight.ae

Silentnight is the UK’s largest bed manufacturer with over 60 years of excellence. Voted one of the UK’s strongest brands by experts & consumers. For further information, please contact the following: MATTHEW GO CHRIS GOURDIE

matthew.go@silentnight.ae (+971) 55 6854 882

chris.gourdie@silentnight.ae

Visit us in The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events on May 17 - 19, 2016. SEE YOU AT OUR STAND E70! We are thrilled to finally launch our new website design! Checkout www.silentnight.ae and tell us what you think!


Hotel News ME - May 2016  
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