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September 2017 | WWW.HOTELNEWSME.COM

PEAK PERFORMANCE Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar is rising to the top

BEST IN SHOW Exclusive preview of the inaugural Dubai International Hospitality Week


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Contents

September 2017

Contents

10 | NEWS Emaar’s plans to enhance guest experience/ Leaders in F&B Awards launched/ Middle East pipeline grows by 6.6%

30

20 | CHECKING IN World’s largest Tryp by Wyndham opens in Dubai/ Swiss-Belhotel launches second property in Jordan/ Millennium debuts in Palestine 30 | COVER STORY The Rezidor Group’s Maram Kokandi on life as the first female GM in Saudi Arabia 38 | COUNTRY FOCUS Hotel News speaks to industry experts about the hospitality market in Saudi Arabia 44 | NEW OPENING Oman’s ambitious mountain-top Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar in the spotlight

10 News

20 Checking in

44 New opening

50 GM Interview

September 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Contents

September 2017

Contents 54

CEO Wissam Younane Wissam@bncpublishing.net Managing Director Walid Zok Walid@bncpublishing.net Director Rabih Najm Rabih@bncpublishing.net Group Sales Director Fred Dubery

Fred@bncpublishing.net

Senior Sales Manager James Stead

James@bncpublishing.net

Group Editor, Hospitality Crystal Chesters Crystal@bncpublishing.net

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Editor Patrick Ryan Patrick@bncpublishing.net Art Director Aaron Sutton Aaron@bncpublishing.net Marketing Executive Mark Anthony Monzon Mark@bncpublishing.net

c o n t ribu t o rs Marouane Al Mandri

Photography Hayder Al Zuhairi

SUBSCRIBE subscriptions@bncpublishing.net

86 50 | GM INTERVIEW General manager Deborah Thomson discusses the renovation of the 35-year-old JA Hatta Fort Hotel 68 | EVENT PREVIEW Our exclusive preview of the first ever Dubai International Hospitality Week 86 | MARKETPLACE Industry leaders on the latest innovations in gym equipment

PO Box 502511 Dubai, United Arab Emirates P +971 4 4200 506 | F +971 4 4200 196

For all commercial enquiries related to Hotel News ME contact dom@bncpublishing.net T +971 50 55 97339 All rights reserved Š 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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HOTEL NEWS ME September 2017


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

Best in show

Why the coming month is a key period for the Middle Eastern hotel industry

I

patrick ryan Editor

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

6

f there was any doubt about the sheer scale of the hospitality industry in the Middle East, it has been obliterated by the events happening later this month in Dubai. The first ever Dubai International Hospitality Week (DIHW), is taking place from 18-20 September. It’s an unprecedented event in terms of scale, with key trade shows catering to the hotel and foodservice sectors – GulfHost, The Hotel Show, The Leisure Show, the Speciality Food Festival, Seafex Middle East and Yummex ME – taking place alongside each other for the very first time at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). There is no doubt that the mega-event will be an extravaganza that simply cannot be missed, and needless to say we’ve got it covered with an extensive preview on page 68. Our cover story this month is an interview with the extraordinary Maram Kokandi of The Rezidor Hotel Group, who has made all the right kinds of headlines after being appointed as the first hotel general manager in Saudi Arabia earlier this year. Kokandi is very much the figurehead of a movement that has seen seismic shifts in the industry. It’s a sign of the progressive outlook permeating through Saudi Arabia right now and her appointment, at the new Park Inn by Radisson Jeddah Madinah Road, is expected to herald a new

HOTEL NEWS ME September 2017

generation of female hoteliers in Saudi Arabia. It’s apt therefore, that our Country Focus feature also shines the spotlight on Saudi Arabia. Industry analysts and Saudi hoteliers tell us about the opportunities and challenges the market is facing at the moment. We also took a trip to one of the most stunning hotels in the world – Oman’s Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, where we interviewed the general manager, Darren Darwin, about why the mountain-top property has been making waves in its first year of operation. Hatta is our next stop where we catch up with the newly appointed general manager of JA Hatta Fort Hotel, Deborah Thompson, who speaks about the huge renovation the 35-yearold property has recently undergone. Anybody who knows Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management knows that it’s a jewel in Dubai’s crown. Student, John Carter, writes about his experience in a fascinating feature that shows that when it comes to training for hospitality staff, we’ve got an excellent facility right on our doorstep. Well it’s time for me to let you get on with enjoying the issue – I look forward to seeing you all later this month at DWTC. Regards, Patrick Ryan


Regional News

NEWS

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

Emaar launches plan to enhance guest experience Emaar Hospitality Group, the hospitality and leisure business of Emaar Properties PJSC, has launched a new service culture programme that aims to transform the guest experience. The new service culture programme focuses on employees, and includes a series of workshops and training sessions to drive the ‘service mindset’ further. Olivier Harnisch, chief executive officer of Emaar Hospitality Group, said: “Ensuring highly guest-centric experiences has been fundamental to our operations since our inception 10 years ago. Service excellence is what sets apart hotel brands, and we are taking the whole guest experience to the next level through our service culture programme. “At the heart of this innovative initiative are our employees, every one of them being a brand ambassador, who will bring add-on value to the guest experience at every touch point. As Emaar Hospitality Group expands 10

HOTEL NEWS ME September 2017

its geographic footprint globally and focuses on digital transformation, lending an enhanced human touch is vital in ensuring that we deliver genuine value to our guests.” During the rollout of the programme that covers 18 months, all Emaar Hospitality Group employees will live and experience a guest experience blue-

print at different levels though several experiential trainings, activities and workshops, executed by trained internal brand experience coaches. The experience blueprint will also be used as a basis for recruitment and selection tools ensuring that new staff will connect with the values and service culture of Emaar

Hospitality Group in a real manner, delivering the desired guest experiences. A rewards programme designed to recognise each employee, who facilitates the desired guest experience will sustain the service culture. There will also be regular follow-up activities including daily challenges.


Regional News

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island charges forward with green project

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi has installed four Tesla charging connectors, which are free to use for everyone, including non-guests, as part of a green initiative by the hotel. “We are delighted to launch this charging station, which will enable us to serve the growing number of motorists who choose electric vehicles,” said Marwan Fadel, hotel manager of The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi. “As a forward-thinking property, we always strive to reduce our environmental impact, and adopting the latest technology can help us achieve our goals.” The resort’s underground car park has been equipped with 12 charging points – four

Tesla charging stations as well as a further eight universal ones, compatible with other brands. The move reflects a growing interest in electric vehicles (EV) in the UAE which has seen at least five major automotive firms enter the market within the past two years. The federal government is also promoting emission-free transport to both the public and private sectors. Last year, the UAE Supreme Council issued a directive calling for government institutions to ensure a 10th of all new vehicle purchases were electric or hybrid models. Two banks signed agreements, in May, with the Ministry of Energy to offer auto finance at preferential rates to customers choosing such vehicles. Within the past two years alone, five major automotive firms including Tesla have started selling electric or hybrid cars in the Emirates.

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Middle East hotel pipeline grows 6.6% There are 166,166 rooms in 590 hotel projects under contract in the Middle East according to data supplied by STR. The latest STR report reveals that the number of rooms under contract in the Middle East has increased by 6.6% compared with July 2016. The Middle East reported 95,089 rooms in 301 projects in the construction phase,

which represents a 14.3% increase YoY. Four key markets in the Middle East and Africa region reported more than 5,000 rooms in construction. These include Dubai, with 24,832 rooms in 85 projects; Makkah (23,816 rooms in 18 projects); and Riyadh, which has 6,712 rooms in 30 projects in construction.

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Regional News

AED233 million work to start at 39-storey Fairmont Abu Dhabi Drake & Scull International has announced it will proceed with the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) works for the Fairmont Abu Dhabi Hotel and Serviced Apartments as part of a AED233 million contract. The entire project consists of the 39-storey tower comprising 563 rooms in the five-star hotel and 249 serviced apartments. Mohammad Atatreh, board member, Drake & Scull International said: “Our work for Fairmont Abu Dhabi Hotel and Serviced Apartments reflects the high confidence in our services and capabilities within the local and regional property and tourism sectors, particularly in terms of hospitality development and MEP execution. “It also highlights Drake & Scull International’s involvement in strategic projects that are reinforcing Abu Dhabi’s regional and global stature as a preferred leisure and lifestyle destination. We look forward to extending our support to this major local development.”

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Regional News

Tourism is top of the class at DCT event

More than 100 human resources experts from the Dubai hospitality sector attended the second DCT HR Forum organised by the Dubai College of Tourism (DCT). The forum is designed to provide recruitment and training specialists in hotels the opportunity to get a better understanding of UAE’s labour laws and find solutions to various workrelated challenges. During the event held at The Address – Boulevard Hotel, government and private sector speakers addressed the delegates, covering topics such as Emiratisation, labour laws and recruitment of staff. Olivier R. Harnisch, CEO of Emaar Hospitality praised the work done by DCT and highlighted the fact that its Emiratisation objectives align with that of Emaar Hospitality. Major Majid AlZarouni, head of licensing department, Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA), a unit of Dubai Police that is

responsible for the training of security guards, spoke on issues related to the hiring of security guards including their visas and salaries. Ahmed Mohamed Alhosany, assistant legal researcher, Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, gave an update on labour laws, and answered questions on overtime work, sharing of staff under a single visa and working on Fridays. He also announced that as a part of the UAE’s Year of Giving, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has launched a WhatsApp Hotline service in Arabic to cater to queries on labour rules and regulations and related topics. Jeff Strachan, director, Business Development at DCT, gave an overview on DCT, its future direction and current programmes including its interactive training course, Dubai Way, designed for government and private sector staff engaged in tourist interaction roles in various service sectors.

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Regional News

Leaders in F&B Awards nominations open

Following the phenomenal success of the inaugural event last year, the Leaders in Food & Beverage Awards is back for a second edition on Monday 30 October 2017 at Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi. The Leaders in F&B Awards, hosted by Catering News Middle East, a BNC Publishing title, celebrates excellence and innovation in the region’s food and beverage industry. 14

HOTEL NEWS ME September 2017

Nominations are now open for entries across 18 categories, divided into nine restaurant awards and nine people awards. Crystal Chesters, group editor of BNC Publishing’s hospitality portfolio, commented: “We are delighted to be hosting our second ever Leaders in F&B Awards in October, following a hugely successful launch event in 2016, attended by more than

400 F&B professionals. “This year we look forward to putting on an even bigger celebration of the best and brightest on the Middle East’s vibrant food and beverage scene.” The deadline for nominations is Sunday 10 September 2017. To request a nomination form and find out more about entry requirements and categories, contact catering@bncpublishing.net

or go to www.hotelnewsme. com/events/. Sponsoring the event are presenting sponsor Du, TSSC, Al Rawdah, 1765 Gemini and Boecker. For sponsorship opportunities, contact Fred@ bncpublishing.net or Dom@ bncpublishing.net This year the Leaders in F&B Awards will take place on the same day as The Big F&B Forum, also hosted by Catering News Middle East.


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Regional News

Nakheel considers AED900mn proposals for Dragon Towers

Nakheel is assessing five proposals for the construction of Dragon Towers, with bids starting at close to AED900 million. The Dragon Towers project is a twin-building residential complex in the Dragon City area of Dubai. Dragon City also includes two hotels – a 251-room ibis Styles that opened in February 2016 and a 304-room Premier Inn, which is under construction as well as a 375,000ft2 showroom complex and car park, also under construction. A spokesperson for Nakheel said the group expects 16

HOTEL NEWS ME September 2017

to award the contract by the end of 2017, with construction to be completed in 2020. Dragon Towers comprises 1,140 one- and two-bedroom apartments across two buildings directly linked to the Dragon Mart retail and trading hub. The complex will have two retail floors, four parking floors and a podium level swimming pool, restaurant and gym. The Dragon City transformation began in 2012 with the construction of Dragon Mart 2, which opened in 2015, doubling the size of the original Dragon Mart to more than 3.5 million ft2.

Abu Dhabi targets Saudi market

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) has launched a major drive to target tourists from Saudi Arabia. According to TCA Abu Dhabi director general, His Excellency Saif Saeed Ghobash, the campaign has been launched with close ties to Saudi Arabia in mind. “The GCC, and especially the Saudi market, has continuously been one of our key target markets, providing encouraging prospects as well as a natural convergence of culture,

language, customs and tradition between our communities,” H.E. Ghobash said. “Our unique destination ensures that we have a range of concepts for leisure tourism including Yas Waterworld, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Mall and the Yas Viceroy hotel.” Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, acting executive director of tourism sector, TCA Abu Dhabi said: “Abu Dhabi offers unique appeal for international and regional travellers, especially from the Saudi Arabian market.”


Regional News

Millennium Hotels and Resorts to recruit 4,000 staff Millennium Hotels and Resorts has announced a regional drive to recruit 4,000 staff members by 2018 – with a focus on hiring GCC nationals. The brand has confirmed it will be searching for 400 managers and executives as well as 600 supervisors, allowing national talent the opportunity to apply and join Millennium Hotels and Resorts in the Middle East region. With properties confirmed for Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Turkey and Oman, the next 12

months will involve the employment of 4,000 colleagues across 10 hotels. “It is vital that we dem-

onstrate that the hospitality industry is a viable career option above other industries by investing in training and devel-

oping our talent,” said Kevork Deldelian, chief operating officer at Millennium Hotels and Resorts in the Middle East. “The perception of the hotel industry as a career is changing amongst GCC nationals as hotel groups are seeking ways to attract and retain national talent. The group invests in its colleagues to ensure they undergo extensive training and development so they have the tools to deliver the highest service standards to guests.”

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Regional News

Downturn for Middle East hotels in July Middle East hotels reported negative results during July 2017, according to data from STR. Following performance increases in June boosted by post-Ramadan celebrations, Bahrain hotels saw sharp declines in July. Those decreases fell more in line with recent trends in the country, as RevPAR throughout July was down 6.9% compared with the first seven months of 2016. Bahrain • Occupancy: -1.0% to 49.3% • ADR: -11.5% to BHD64.91 ($172) • RevPAR: -12.4% to BHD32.03 ($85) Saudi Arabia’s performance declines followed a weak first half of 2017, and July year-to-date RevPAR was down 15.1%.

STR analysts noted that although the country’s hotel performance is typically lower during the summer months, the double-digit declines for July 2017 reflect the impacts of low oil prices and high hotel supply growth. Saudi Arabia • Occupancy: -5.2% to 48.0% • ADR: -31.6% to SAR625.78 ($167) • RevPAR: -35.2% to SAR300.14 ($80) Middle East • Occupancy: -2.8% to 56.1% • Average daily rate (ADR): -16.1% to US$134.00 • Revenue per available room (RevPAR): -18.4% to US$75.20

GCC visitors flock to Turkey Turkey has seen a rise in visitors from the GCC with 1,226, 665 having landed in the country between January and June 2017, according to data released by the Turkish Consulate General Cultural and Information Office in Dubai. Tourist traffic to Turkey from the GCC rose by 26.29% as compared to 2016. The number of United Arab Emirates citizens and residents travelling to Turkish destinations increased by 9.86%. While Kuwaiti traveler numbers increased by 41.04% and 31.86% from Bahrain. “We expect GCC traveller traffic to Turkey to continue its strong growth over the coming six months,” says Salih Ozer, attaché of culture and information, Turkey to the UAE. “Turkey continues to be a leading destination for GCC travellers due to our close cultural, religious and diplomatic ties with the region.” The first six months of 2016

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HOTEL NEWS ME September 2017

Salih Ozer, attaché of culture and information, Turkey to the UAE

saw a decrease of 20.99% in traveller traffic from the UAE to Turkey, and this year the figure increased by 10%.

Travellers from Saudi Arabia lead the way however, with over 205,000 holidaymakers, followed by Kuwait and Bah-

rain with 94,000 and 23,000 respectively. Tourists from the UAE showed continued interest in Turkey with over 18,000 travellers landing in the country between January and June. The greatest increase in the Gulf countries is observed in Kuwait. Kuwait, which is the Gulf country that sends the most tourists to Turkey after Saudi Arabia every year, closed this year with an increase of 41.04%, over 94,000 people over the same time period. Flights from Kuwait did not only head towards the traditional destinations such as Istanbul and Antalya, but to alternative ones such as Bursa and Izmir Similar to last year, Bahrain this year saw traveller traffic grow by 31.86%. “We see serious demand for Turkey in Bahrain and we are working to reinforce our cultural and tourism ties by organising activities like workshops and Turkish Food festivals,” Ozer said.


Checking in

World’s largest Tryp by Wyndham opens in Dubai Wyndham Hotels Group has announced the opening of the world’s largest Tryp by Wyndham Dubai at Al Thanayah – 1, Barsha Heights, Dubai. Tryp by Wyndham Dubai has 650 rooms with 25 fitness rooms and 25 family rooms. “Tryp by Wyndham is a brand designed for the modern traveller, and Dubai is a city that is attracting visitors from all over the world. Therefore, we are pleased to be introducing the Tryp by Wyndham brand to Dubai, in association with one of our long-term business affiliates, The First Group,” said Ignace Bauwens, regional vice president, Middle East and Africa for Wyndham Hotel Group. “Tryp by Wyndham Dubai brings affordable, yet modern accommodation to the Barsha Heights neighbourhood, and the hotel will create close to 300 jobs in the local community.” The hotel will feature three food and beverage outlets, including Local, with delicacies inspired by favourite comfort foods; L!QD, a bohemian tapas style restaurant and bar and Barbary, a deli and cocktail club. Tryp by Wyndham hotels can also be found in Abu Dhabi, Brisbane, Barcelona, Berlin, Madrid, New York City, Paris and Sao Paulo.

Swiss-Belhotel International launches second property in Jordan Swiss-Belhotel International has announced the opening of its second property in Jordan. Laurent A. Voivenel, senior vice president, operations and development for the Middle East, Africa and India, SwissBelhotel International, said: “We are proud to welcome Marina Plaza Hotel by Swiss-Belhotel to our collection of hotels in the region. Tala Bay is a unique leisure hub and is quickly emerging as a sought-after destination. “With the opening of this second property we are excited to expand our footprint here, especially at a time when the area is experiencing continued growth in demand from both regional and international travellers.” Ziad Abu Jaber, chairman of Jordan Projects for Tourism Development (JPTD) was equally vocal in his praise for the project. He said: “JPTD is a publicly listed company that owns, develops and operates the entire Red Sea destination of Tala Bay Aqaba. As part of an exclusive agreement signed recently with Swiss-Belhotel International, we had appointed Swiss-Belhotel International to co-manage JPTD’s existing three hotels in Aqaba as well as our future portfolio of properties.” He added that Marina Plaza Hotel by

Swiss-Belhotel enjoys a prime location in Tala Bay and has been developed to serve the growing need for quality hotels in the area. Gavin M. Faull, chairman and president of Swiss-Belhotel International, said: “We are committed to growing our presence in the Middle East, a strategic growth market for us where we have a robust development pipeline corresponding to 17% of our global portfolio. “We are eager to expand in the region in the right locations with the right partners such as Jordan Projects for Tourism Development and are pleased to flag Marina Plaza Hotel by Swiss-Belhotel as our latest property.”

Millennium launches debut Palestine project Millennium Hotels and Resorts has announced its first venture into Palestine. The announcement was made following a franchise agreement with the Yabous Group for the Millennium Ramallah Palestine Hotel. Kevork Deldelian, chief operating officer, Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA said: “We are delighted to form a partnership with Arab Hotels Company, one of the most respected companies in the region, and to make our market entry into Palestine. “This signing marks the beginning of what we believe will be a long and fruitful relationship and further emphasises our commitment to expansion across the entire Middle East region. We look forward to delivering

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a quality hotel with international hospitality standards that offers bespoke service and excellent facilities in a key strategic location.” Millennium Ramallah Palestine Hotel is scheduled to have a grand opening in August 2017. Located in the heart of the administrative capital Ramallah, the five-star hotel offers 171 rooms alongside

seven meeting rooms, a ballroom, three dining outlets, a fitness centre, an outdoor swimming pool and a business centre. “We are pleased to introduce the Millennium brand to the Palestinian market. Having a prominent global hotel operator such as Millennium Hotels and Resorts on board will add value to our hotel,” said Amir Dajani, chairman of the board, Arab Hotels Company. “Through its strong presence in the Middle East, we trust that they will provide the expected support and expertise to drive the performance of our property. We look forward to bringing a high level of international hospitality experience to hotel guests, ensuring they have an outstanding experience every time they stay.”


Checking in

First Ajwa property in Turkey opens its doors The first hotel under the Ajwa brand has been launched in Turkey. Based in Istanbul, Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet is the first hotel within the Ajwa brand and boasts 61 rooms spread across nearly 7,000m2. Sedat Nemli, general manager of Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet, said: “The Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet is truly a one-of-a-kind property that perfectly merges old school elegance with a stylish modern twist. We wanted to offer guests something they’ve never experienced before – a glimpse of the past while living in the luxury of today. “With the fine attention to detail, exclusive setting and prime location, the property is quickly establishing itself as a must-visit location in Istanbul.” The guest rooms comprise family rooms and deluxe rooms. The bathrooms feature tiles inspired by Mimar Sinan’s mosques, and fountains with ceramic basins and marble sinks. A spokesperson said: “The 120 m2‘ Sultan Suite’ is the ultimate representation of elegant tastes of the past beautifully moulded with the present. A grand dining area, coupled with a living area, master bedroom, and bathroom with jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and shower area, provide the epitome of luxury in an authentic Turkish setting.”

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Regional News

InterContinental Hotels Group signs two new properties in Dubai's Business Bay InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced the signing of two new properties in Dubai – Crowne Plaza Dubai Business Bay and InterContinental Residence Suites Dubai Business Bay. Both properties are in partnership with API Hotels & Resorts. “In the Middle East, we are currently engaged in the strategic expansion of the Crowne Plaza brand, as well as growing the footprint of our InterContinental Residence Suites,” said Pascal Gauvin, chief operating officer, India, Middle East & Africa, IHG. “In support of these goals, we are delighted to be working with API Hotels & Resorts, an eminent partner with a proven track record in high quality hotel developments across the UAE.” Expected to open in 2019, Crowne Plaza Dubai Business Bay will have 290 rooms and suites. InterContinental Residence Suites Dubai Business Bay will offer 30 studios, 60 one bedroom, 60 two bedroom, and 10 three bedroom suites. Jassim Al Ali, CEO of API Hotels & Resorts, said: “In order to maximise further growth opportunities in the Middle East, we believe that we need to add a global operator with an internationally recognised brand to our portfolio and IHG, as a market leader with

over 5,000 hotels worldwide fits this profile perfectly. “Furthermore, both InterContinental and Crowne Plaza have established reputations around the world, and we’re excited to be adding these iconic names to our portfolio here in Dubai. This is a

growing market for hotel development; particularly for business and luxury brands. We’re looking forward to providing career-focused business travellers and luxury seeking residents with the finest service across two worldclass properties.”

Ascott opens serviced apartments property in Turkey The Ascott Limited (Ascott) has opened its first serviced apartments in Turkey, the Somerset Maslak Istanbul. The 165-unit property is part of the new Maslak 1453, a lifestyle development complex in Europe spanning more than two million square metres. “We are excited to open Ascott’s first serviced residence in one of the world’s most vibrant and dynamic cities, Istanbul. Visitors can now experience Ascott’s signature hospitality service that has already become a hallmark of our properties in more than 120 cities across 31 countries,” said Vincent Miccolis, Ascott’s country general manager, Middle East & Turkey. “For centuries, Istanbul has been a city where many

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cultures meet and we look forward to welcoming travellers from around the globe.” Miccolis said the project is going for a home-away-from-home vibe. All units are configured with a fully-equipped kitchen

as well as separate living and dining areas. The property features a 24-hour reception, daily housekeeping service, WiFi, valet parking, babysitting services, as well as round-the-clock security with electronic key card access.


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Talent

From Vietnam to Fairmont Dubai This month’s Talent section focuses on Peter Adel, front desk supervisor at Fairmont Dubai Describe your first ever role in the hotel industry? I started my career in 2008 as a food runner in a fine dining Vietnamese restaurant in Fairmont Nile City Hotel in Egypt. As I joined the team at the pre-opening stage, my shift started at 4:30pm and often continued until the early hours of the morning. Each team member was responsible for ensuring a seamless experience for the guests – from the arrival until concluding the day with polishing cutlery and crockery. We basically built a restaurant from scratch; it was a very interesting yet challenging time. Who has inspired you most in your career? I have had the privilege to come across many great leaders during my career, but someone who I cherish the most is Joe Nassoura, the director of rooms at Fairmont Dubai. He is someone I can always turn to whenever I have a question or doubt; he is a leader, who takes the utmost pride in standing behind his team and is always there to advise us. Joe has fully empowered his team and I feel confident and proud to work with him. How do you view the hotel scene in the region? As Dubai has become one of the world’s largest bases for five-star hotels, I believe the region is a beneficial place to kick-start a successful hospitality career, and provides great opportunities for career growth. Consumers in the region are more empowered than yesterday's as they have more passion, re24

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What is the biggest challenge of your role? The most challenging aspect is to see unhappy guests, because ultimately every hospitality person’s aim is to create wow-moments for each and every guest, making sure they leave with a smile and keep returning to their home-away-from-home. It’s important to listen to the guests, get to know their expectations and act accordingly.

Work Experience

Feb 2016 - present: Front desk supervisor, Fairmont Dubai Feb 2015 - Feb 2016: Fairmont Presidents Club representative, Fairmont Dubai Apr 2013 - Feb 2015: Front desk agent, Fairmont Dubai quest better experiences and ultimately they want everything, and they want it now. To fulfil their expectations, I believe that hotels have to dig deeper into their mindset, in order to understand their behaviour and successfully manage their expectations.

What is the best aspect of your role? The ability to turn guests’ moments into memories, as it’s all about going above and beyond their expectations. For example, seeing the guests smiling upon their return, when we recognise them by the name, or remember their preferred sweets. If you could work in any hotel in the world which would it be? It would be interesting to work in one of our neighbouring hotels, to see the operations from a different point of view. What tip would you share with new staff starting out in the hotel industry in the region? I believe personal connection is a key aspect when starting out in the hospitality industry. One must also have that inner passion towards hospitality and serving the guests to make them feel welcome and to exceed their expectations at every step.


Talent

New front office manager Rezidor Group appoints for Fairmont Fujairah cluster GM in Muscat Radisson Blu Hotel Muscat and Radisson Blu Hotel Sohar in Oman have announced the appointment of Tobias Ammon as new cluster general manager. Ammon rejoins the Carlson Rezidor Group following 18 months in Germany as general manager of Dorint Pallas in Wiesbaden. Prior to this Ammon spent over 11 years with Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group holding various leadership positions. More recently he was general manager at Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Cesme in Turkey and Radisson Blu Hotel Klaipeda, Lithuania. Brian Pereira has been appointed as the front office manager at Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort. Pereira started his career in the United Arab Emirates in 1998 with AccorHotels at the former Sofitel Deira City Centre Hotel & Residence. As one of the hotel’s longest serving employees, his tenure with the group spanned 16 years before a brief hiatus when he took on the front office manager role at Time Oaks Hotel & Suites in Dubai.

Melanie Munoz joins Kempinski Ajman as F&B manager

The 182-key Kempinski Hotel Ajman has hired Melanie Munoz as food & beverage manager to oversee its 10 outlets. A French national with 14 years’ experience, Munoz has worked for five-star properties in France, Turkey, the Caribbean, New Zealand, French Polynesia and Thailand. In her new role, she leads a team of 75 staff and will be tasked with repositioning the hotel’s F&B offer, having successfully launched a number of F&B concepts throughout her career. Commenting on her appointment, she said: “As a newcomer to the UAE, I am very excited to begin this new journey with Kempinski.”

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Opinion

Investing in customised apps Roger El Khoury, managing partner Neorcha, on why customised apps make investment sense In an increasingly competitive environment, where pressure on profitability continues to grow, leading hoteliers are dedicated to identifying ways to enhance guest experience to achieve greater operational success. It comes as no surprise that mobile technology solutions, such as customised apps, are increasingly being recognised as the most efficient way of driving direct bookings to hotel properties. Additionally, apps have the benefit of providing a solution that, through beacons and messaging functionality, helps hoteliers build guest profile information, which then forms part of their comprehensive customer relations management and marketing communications resources. What’s important however, is that innovations that promise to enhance guest satisfaction and optimise business performance, offer a return on investment. Our customisable myHotel app was inspired by a passion to connect people and enables hotels to maximise their customer experience by providing guests with access to a range of services, including pre-arrival and pre-check-in arrangements, concierge services, destination information and express checkout—all in the palm of their hand. Central to the success of any customised app is the simple and easy interaction it facilitates between hoteliers and guests. Features such as GEO location, further maximise the effectiveness of a hotel’s marketing programme through clever integration that can dynamically, and in real time, alert guests to events and promotions. Ultimately, customised apps make investment sense, because they can be fully customised to hotel brand standards and guidelines, while delivering best-inclass customer service, through unique mobile platforms that seamlessly inte26

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About the Author Roger El Khoury has over 20 years’ international experience in hospitality technology and revenue management, gained in the Middle East and Europe. In 2012, he established Neorcha, with a vision of creating one of the leading mobile applications companies in the world. Inspired by data, El Khoury combines his mobile expertise with a commitment to understanding customer needs and making opportune connections, which help clients thrive and grow in today’s ever-changing technological world.

Tips for using mobile apps in hotels • Concentrate on your regular guests and/or loyalty members as well as long stayers – they will be most receptive to the hotel app and inclined to use it on a regular basis. • Provide added value in terms of service or special rates to incentivise guests to book directly through the app; create awareness for the app to ensure regular use. • Be pragmatic in your approach; use the app to make the stay of your guests easier and more enjoyable. grate with hotel CRM, PMS, CRS and restaurant booking systems. Furthermore, apps can streamline hotel processes and reduce hassle for

guests. A good example is mobile checkin/out, which is globally recognised as one of the most critical guest satisfaction triggers, as it’s the first and last impression the guest has of a hotel. Many hotel companies are still struggling with this, often cumbersome, process because of legal requirements, local regulations and credit card authorisations. Mobile technology is increasingly used to enhance this check-in/out process, which has a positive impact on guest satisfaction and reduces cost. Furthermore, less paper and manpower is required once it’s automated. In summary, customised apps enable hoteliers to reduce online travel agency costs by providing a direct booking channel that enables discounts to be applied. The platform also collects and collates accurate, rich guest data, via the online pre-check-in feature, without the need for staff involvement. This rich data provides a multitude of valuable information that enables hoteliers to then push personalised offers and promotions. App technology ultimately enables hoteliers to concentrate their efforts on their regular guests and/or loyalty members as well as long stayers, as they will be most receptive to the hotel app and therefore inclined to use it on a regular basis. Many think that the primary role of a customised app is to simplify checkin, however the real goal is to make a hotel guests’ stay smarter and simpler between arrival and departure. And the best way to do this is by integrating access to the app with hotel loyalty and privilege programmes, marketing collateral, phone and instant messaging services, location-based services and keyless entry—all of which, combined, form the critical points of the guest lifecycle.


Opinion

Effective pest control in the hospitality industry Boecker World Holdings CEO Michel Bayoud explains how hoteliers can tackle the issue of pest management

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he hospitality industry is booming. The flow of guests, employees and goods coming in and out is constantly rising and triggering a higher risk of exposure to pest infestation. In a competitive environment, where reputation is of the utmost importance, hotels place very high standards on guest experience and any sign of pest infestation is detrimental to business. As such, proactive pest management is crucial to providing a clean, safe and hygienic environment for customers. Due to the large size and complexity of hotels, and the high turnover of food and guests, it is essential to provide high-quality service in a very efficient manner. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a fast and effective strategy to resolve all pest-related challenges. Hotels are the ideal place to apply IPM for three reasons: It is an advanced, logical and effective method for reducing pest problems; it minimises exposure to chemicals; and it satisfies many customers and staff who prefer hotels that demonstrate environmental awareness. Public health and hospitality premises are mostly exposed to cockroaches, flies, rodents and, increasingly, bed bugs. The latter are difficult to spot and, in today’s highly interconnected world, these parasites can make their way into hotel rooms via guests by clinging onto their luggage and clothes unnoticed. Infestation can happen everywhere, even in building foundations. IPM treats any form of pest problems and can be applied in the pre-construction phase. 28

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About the Author Michel Bayoud is the founder and current CEO of Boecker World Holdings the mother company of the Boecker group of companies across the Middle East. Bayoud is also an associate to the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, UK and an advisory board member of the newly formed Institute of Food Safety Integrity and Protection (TiFSiP), UK. Bayoud is actively involved in the pest management and food safety sectors and is a well-known speaker and lecturer at several industry events like PestWorld East as well as prominent universities like the American University of Beirut where he sits as an advisory board member to the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. For instance, treating building foundations that are susceptible to termite soil infestations will protect the building from any future defects. Boecker Public Health has devoted

many years to developing comprehensive protocols to address pest management. At Boecker, we know that the onesize-fits-all strategy doesn’t work, so we devise customised plans as different environments have different ‘hot-spots’ and face different challenges. IPM is a pre-emptive solution that prevents pest infestation before it occurs and uses chemical treatments only as a last resort. The proper implementation of an IPM programme includes thorough understanding and careful documentation of pest proliferation to take the necessary corrective actions and resolve any issues. The IPM approach provided by Boecker offers a scientific, safe, certified and guaranteed solution to all types of pests. Boecker services are all assured by the Charted Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), UK, for providing world-class pest management solutions that apply the highest quality of chemicals and control systems, employ highlytrained and certified professionals and use high-tech equipment and tools. Moreover, in situations where chemical pesticides are necessary, preference is given to materials and methods which maximise public safety and reduce environmental risk. The hospitality industry has very high standards when it comes to pest management. More importantly, so do guests. This means that providing pestfree and safe lodging and dining experiences is critical and mandatory. Any incident of pest sighting may drive guests away for good, no matter how courteous the service or attractive the property.


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Cover Story

a

New Dawn Maram Kokandi, GM of Park Inn by Radisson Jeddah Madinah Road made headlines all over the world when she was announced as the first female hotel general manager in Saudi Arabia this year. She speaks to Hotel News Middle East for the first time about her incredible journey and plans for the future

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aram Kokandi made history in March when it was announced that she had been appointed as the first female general manager of a hotel in Saudi Arabia. Carlson Rezidor’s appointment of Kokandi as general manager of the new Park Inn by Radisson Jeddah Madinah Road made headlines, not just in the Middle East, but all over the world. However, being a pioneer is not something Kokandi is a stranger to, as she explains in a candid interview with Hotel News Middle East. “I was one of the first women working as a sales manager in hotels in Saudi Arabia,” she says. “Then I moved from Saudi Arabia to Dubai, where again I was one of the first Saudi woman to work in the hotel industry in the GCC. And then again I was one of the first women to be awarded a prestigious scholarship from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.” Following her studies in the UK where she gained a bachelor’s degree in Inter-

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national Hospitality Management, she returned home via roles in the Bahamas and Dubai, to become the general manager of Park Inn by Radisson Jeddah Madinah Road. While her appointment is clearly a welcome one, there is always uncertainty when something occurs for the first time. There was no need to worry in this instance, Kokandi explains, as the response has been overwhelmingly positive. “It was very encouraging. I loved the response from everyone and it shows that we are on the right path with the Saudi Vision 2030,” she says, referring to the plan to diversify the Saudi economy away from its traditional dependence on oil. “In the beginning, I felt a bit of pressure, which is common when something is new on the market, especially with being the first female GM in Saudi Arabia, so it was wonderful to feel all the positive energy and feedback, which has given me further motivation to prove myself a good general manager.” Being the first female GM in Saudi Arabia has turned Kokandi into something


Cover Story

it was wonderful to feel all the positive energy and feedback, which has given me further motivation to prove myself a good general manager�

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Cover Story

Supporting balanced leadership There’s no question that Kokandi is going to make an impressive GM when Park Inn by Radisson Jeddah Madinah Road opens in Q4, however she is adamant that a key part of her rise through the ranks was Carlson Rezidor’s Balanced Leadership programme, which promotes Women in Leadership (WiL). “The programme is designed to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We have researched and assessed the challenges that women face in reaching leadership positions,” says Stephen Kamat, area director of public relations and communications Middle East and Turkey, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. He says that in looking at the obstacles facing women who want to achieve leadership, the group discovered that maternity leave was a major issue. “What we have done is make the right conditions for more women to achieve a balance between motherhood and a professional career – flexible working hours and flexible working conditions such as working from home at times,” says Kamat. “We were also the first hospitality company in the region to launch an enhanced maternity leave programme.” It’s not just challenges around maternity leave that Carlson Rezidor is overcoming. The group is developing and empowering highpotential women to reach leadership positions. “Our Steps programme is designed to help women to convey how they make an impact on business and to accelerate to becoming leaders; it’s about empowerment and customised development plans,” says Kamat. The group has already seen significant progress as a result of its efforts in this area. “In Saudi Arabia, we moved from 12 female employees three years ago and now we are at 84, including 12 in managerial positions, which is very positive. However, there is still plenty of scope for more progress, especially with our strong development pipeline in the kingdom. It is vital that more Saudi women play a leading role in our success and growth,” he says. Kamat says the Balanced Leadership and Steps programmes contributed to Kokandi reaching her current position as one of the most high profile general managers in the

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of a role model and she is determined to blaze a trail for women across the region. “I want to put my own stamp on the hotel and encourage more Saudi women to join the hospitality industry,” she says. “There’s a female theme to the property and all the females in the hotel will be from Saudi Arabia. The new executive chef Samayas Edrissi is a female who appeared on MasterChef and the marketing manager, Hadeel Abuouf, is a new graduate from the UK. “I want to give more females the opportunity to develop their professional careers and the next step is to appoint a female housekeeping supervisor as well,” she comments. Kokandi is determined to do things her way, which means leading by example. “You have to be a leader not a manager. You have to show good vision and be able to motivate and organise your team,” she says.

“To do that you have to create the right environment and atmosphere so they perform well and deliver great service and experience to the guests.” It’s clear that Kokandi is not simply paying lip service to creating a hotel with a feminine charm - the ethos extends to the facilities for the guests as well. “I want to provide more facilities aimed specifically at women as I see there is a gap in the market. Businesswomen in Saudi often don’t get the opportunity to do something as simple as go to the gym or get a suntan, these facilities aren’t widely available in Jeddah, only in gyms and even then, it’s very selective.” Kokandi is convinced her position as general manager will help to appeal to an untapped female market in Saudi Arabia. “Because I am female it is easier for me to understand what other women want and often need,” she says.


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Cover Story

It’s about promoting diversification of the economy and one of the key drivers of that is getting away from the traditional sources of income” 34

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Bringing something different to the market is a key philosophy for Carlson Rezidor and for Kokandi, who is confident the Park Inn by Radisson brand will be a hit in Jeddah when it opens later this year. “It’s a fresh and energetic brand that provides a good value option for travellers,” she comments. “Our philosophy is adding colour to life and at the hotel we want to do something fresh and innovative.” The positioning of the midscale brand is going to be perfect for capturing markets that are both traditional and new, insists Kokandi.

“The main market is going to be the corporate traveller but we will certainly still pick up a lot of pilgrim travellers going to Makkah or Al Hamra. I am also confident because of our unique positioning with facilities and services tailored for women – we will attract a lot of domestic leisure business,” she says, adding that there will be a range of services at the hotel for females – ranging from beauty treatments to gym options – that weren’t always widely available previously. It’s clear these are exciting times for Saudi Arabia with the Saudi Vision 2030 and the announcement of the Red Sea


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Cover Story

Project. You only have to look at the fact that it is one of the biggest users of YouTube across the globe, to see how times are changing in the kingdom. Social media plays a key role for any modern hotelier and Kokandi is no different in that regard. “Social media is very important as it is becoming the fastest way to send and receive information,” she says. “It’s crucial to us.” There’s no question that social media is going to grow and grow and will become even more of an indispensable tool for hoteliers to attract new markets – particularly given the aforementioned drive to diversify the economy so that it is not as reliant on oil prices as before. This means that tourism is going to be a key driver for the region and also why the female demographic, previous36

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ly an untapped market, is also going to play a vital role in attracting new revenue streams. “It’s about promoting diversification of the economy and one of the key drivers of that is getting away from the traditional sources of income,” she says. “The Saudi Vision 2030 has helped the hospitality sector in Saudi Arabia, which

has been traditionally dominated by the oil industry – now there is more emphasis on tourism. To support this growth in tourism, it is essential there are more Saudi women joining the industry and developing their careers in this sector and promoting diversification of the economy,” she says.


Regional News

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Regional News

Saudi Arabia Hotel News Middle East speaks to industry experts about why the fall in oil prices in Saudi Arabia has pushed hospitality to the front of the agenda

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ith Haj having taken place in the city of Makkah last month, boasting a turnout of some two million Muslim pilgrims, there is no denying the vastly impressive pulling power of Saudi Arabia. “With the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia has the ability to turn on the taps whenever they need it. Those markets will always remain resilient,” says Chris Hewett, associate director TRI Middle East. He suggests that the number of rooms in Saudi Arabia will almost double thanks to the Saudi Vision 2030, the kingdom’s plan to reduce its dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism. In light of a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which revealed that barrels of Brent Crude Oil that had been trading for $100 in 2014 are now priced at just $52, it’s no surprise the kingdom is working fast to channel new revenue streams. However, in the short-term, hotels are suffering as a huge push on hotel development coupled with low oil prices hits home. July RevPAR fell by 15.1% according to STR, despite the country maintaining its position as a thriving

destination for religious tourists. Experts suggest that more mid-market hotels could make the kingdom more appealing to pilgrims, who are not necessarily looking for a high-end hotel experience. Only 2% of the hotels in Makkah fall into the three-star category for example, with 85% being five-star properties and 13% four-star. And many of these are not up to international standards, according to Filippo Sona, director and head of hotels MENA region, Colliers International, who says: “Currently, the supply of affordable accommodation is mostly unbranded and low quality.” In addition to religious tourism, the corporate market in Saudi Arabia has traditionally been a powerful driver, but falling oil prices have led to a decline in this area as well, particularly in Greater Dammam, which relies heavily on corporate visitors. Experts suggest that hotels should shift their focus toward leisure travellers to avoid a freefall caused by an over-reliance on the corporate sector, and in line with the kingdom’s new infrastructure, recreation and entertainment projects, which are aimed at encouraging more leisure visitors to the kingdom. Sona comments: “The Saudi Arabian hotel market is predominantly driven by September 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Country report

MARKET WATCH

Tourism developments like Entertainment City will help boost demand in Riyadh

Makkah Makkah currently has a supply composition of 85% five-star hotels, 13% four-star and 2% three-star properties. It also enjoys the largest pipeline in the country and has the highest level of expected growth leading up to 2019. Jeddah Jeddah, traditionally the strongest performing market in Saudi Arabia, has also experienced a slow-down, but it is expected to recover in the long-term. This prediction is down to a number of new projects and planned expansions including King Abdul Aziz Airport and the completion of Jeddah Economic City. Madinah Madinah is expected to experience short-term decline, but will benefit from its affordability in lodging for pilgrims – especially compared to Makkah. Park Inn by Radisson Al Naseem opened with 459 keys, and Ibis Style also opened with 286 keys. Greater Dammam Greater Dammam has been the worst hit region by the economic slowdown and falling oil prices. In Q2 2017, there was another double-digit fall in RevPAR in terms of quarterly performance. Riyadh Riyadh did not experience any new international brands opening in the second quarter of 2017, meaning the composition of hotels is unchanged from the first quarter. However, major tourism developments like Entertainment City will help to boost demand in the medium to long-term.

Source: Colliers International Source: STR

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Tourism developments like Entertainment City will help boost demand in Riyadh

corporate demand, with the exception of Makkah and Madinah. With low oil prices and cautionary corporate spending, all major cities have experienced a drop in occupancy and average daily rate. However, in the medium to long-term, with the completion of major infrastructure and tourism projects, the demand for hotels is expected to increase.” Kamal Ajami, vice president of operations Saudi Arabia and Levant, Hilton Worldwide, says the company is taking a long-term view on Saudi Arabia and is impressed with the government’s plans, including its progress on developing infrastructure. “They are working with the airports and railways as well as connecting the country through Jeddah, Madinah and Makkah to make the logistics better for pilgrims and the leisure sector too,” he says. “There are more areas than ever

to invest in. The government has opened the doors to investors and businesses in Saudi Arabia, not just to be small shareholders but to be the majority shareholders.” A number of major developments are going to drive the country forward, suggests Sona. “The opening of new malls such as Mall of Saudi and The Avenues Riyadh is expected to help push growth in leisure tourism,” he says. “This is in addition to theme parks like Six Flags in Riyadh.” In addition to opening up new avenues of revenue for hoteliers through leisure and entertainment projects, the Saudi Vision 2030 is expected to benefit the hospitality workforce in Saudi Arabia, with more opportunities for Saudi locals, women and young people. Harry Fernandes, general manager of the recently opened Assila Hotel Rocco Forte, Jeddah, comments: “Saudi Vision


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Regional News

2030 is not just about Saudisation; it is about becoming self-sufficient and getting away from oil. “That said we are nearly 40% in terms of Saudisation. I lead a team of 460 people and we are committed to encouraging more local people into hospitality. The Vision 2030, of course, calls for Saudisation to play a greater role.” As well as encouraging Saudis into the workforce, an objective of the Saudi Vision 2030 is to get more women working – and with the recent appointment of Maram Kokandi by The Rezidor Hotel Group as the first female GM in the kingdom, already we are witnessing progress. “We also have a lot of women working with us, unlike a lot of hotels. We have females front of house, we have chefs who are ladies,” says Fernandes. Hilton’s Ajami agrees on the importance of getting more females into the workplace. “We are going to reach 40% localisation soon and we are working on female representation as well. We are working on growing the year-on-year female staff numbers – last year alone we grew by 20% and the year before that it was 3040%,” he says. 42

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Ajami posits that another key part of the Saudi Vision 2030 is the need to create jobs and careers for younger generations. He comments: “Hilton has created working in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, a programme called Your Scholarship, Your Career – we are sponsoring 50 people from the point that once graduated they come back and will have careers with us here. “There is a huge population of young

people who are educated, dynamic and energetic who will add, not only to our industries, but businesses in general. The young generation is more and more involved – it is a great channel for us to reach the population and expats.” It is clear these are interesting times for the hospitality sector in Saudi Arabia, and while the shortterm picture might seem less than inspiring, there is no doubt that the long-term future of Saudi Arabia appears to be in good hands.


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New Opening

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New opening

Peak performance Oman’s Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort has been making waves since it opened nine months ago. Hotel News Middle East catches up with general manager Darren Darwin to find out what makes the ambitious mountain−top resort so special…

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New opening

The pool at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort

Kitted out General manager Darren Darwin is proud of the hotel that his team has built. It is not hard to see why as he lists the facilities and amenities. “There are six F&B outlets which are very unique and diverse. We have a very good Arabic restaurant called Al Qalla, an Italian restaurant called Bella Vista and we do Anantara’s Dining By Design which is bespoke luxury dining,” he says, referring to Diana’s Point, a place that became famous for being visited by the British princess in 1986. “Wellness is also covered. There are over 40 activities including archery and different levels of hiking around the mountain, then we have the coastal side with the villages, we have a library with a museum, so it’s very educational. The whole idea is to give you an education on the real Omani culture and heritage.”

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t can take years, even decades, for a hotel to become an icon. That’s why Darren Darwin, general manager of Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, is over the moon about the success his property has achieved since it opened nine months ago in the Al Hajar Mountains of Oman. “Financially we have already exceeded expectations. Many hotels allow for what is called a three-year stabilisation period. In year one we will be in the black, healthily – it is a great achievement.” It is all the more remarkable given the challenges the team faced opening the hotel which is located in Oman’s famous Green Mountain, (Jabal Al Akhdar), some 2,000 metres above sea level. “We have been open nine months and sometimes I ask how we did it,” says Darwin, who also has experience working with InterContinental Hotels Group, Wyndham

and Carlson Rezidor across the globe. “We did it through sheer determination and never giving up. It took a lot of hard work from all of the team, everything had to be taken up the mountain, we don’t even have piped water so everything is tanked.” Darwin wasn’t daunted by the size of the task that awaited him when he accepted the role - in fact he relished it. “This project came up and I knew the area but when I looked at the specs for this project I was pinching myself. I tried to play it down with Minor Hotels because you don’t want to sound too excited,” he says. “I said I was interested and let’s see how it goes but I was jumping up and down inside because for me this is a bucket list project, even when I retire in 10 or 15 years’ time it will be this project that defines me and makes me really who I am.” The project is the last word in luxury with 82 canyon view rooms, 33 private pool villas and three restaurants.


Regional News

Guests can enjoy stargazing in the evening

Hiking is another recreational activity on offer to guests

“Over 50% of our market is the UAE and Oman and this is split between expats and locals,” he says. “You usually find that people from Oman have one or two nights’ stay while those from the UAE tend to stay for two or three nights.” Darwin has noticed a trend of a rising number of visitors from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. This is in addition to visitors from Europe, Asia and Russia, which are popular source markets for the hotel. “Europe has emerged as well. While we knew it was going to be a good market, it just took a bit more time because it was across the pond,” he says. “Actually with the ease on visa restrictions now, we are also seeing more guests from Asia and Russia. We offer something different, it is unique and so authentic in terms of experience.” Darwin, who says his army background plays a pivotal role in his management style, puts the success of the hotel down to the staff. “We have amazing reviews for this place, it is a beautiful and amazing resort, but without the software it is immaterial, and when I say software I mean the team… the people,” he says. September 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME 47 ADV_HOST_HotelNewsMiddleEast_90x242mm_Luglio2017.indd 1 11/07/17 19:06


New opening

Darren Darwin, general manager, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort

The views from the resort's pool area are unparalleled

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“I understand with certain cultures you can be a bit stricter while others need an arm around them and a lot more coaching.” Knowing how to manage different cultures under one property is a key requirement for Darwin who oversees a team of 35 nationalities. “30 years ago, the GM would be sat in the bar with a cravat and a cigar,” says Darwin. “This is a $200m project and GMs are business managers now, you drive the results. The key word is ‘drive’ because I don’t believe it can be taught, it can be adopted though and that’s what I look for in managers – do they have that drive to succeed?” Another issue for Darwin has been ensuring the staff are stimulated given the quiet surroundings of the hotel. “It’s a beautiful resort but we are still on top of a mountain, so what can we do for the team?” he says. “We provide activities and housing, they play volleyball, basketball and cricket and we are constantly thinking of ways to keep them happy and motivated.” The former general manager, Wyndham Hotel Group, Muscat, Oman puts his affinity with different cultures down to his international experience, having been raised in Singapore and Germany before working in Barbados, Russia and Oman. “I think as a leader in any field, especially in this one, you have to be a confident and quick decision maker,” he says. One of those decisions was to empower his staff to use their initiative when dealing with guest requests. “If there’s a complaint in the restaurant, I don’t need to know about it,” he says. “The waiter can act in a way he or she sees fit, which is great for the guests, and gives the team confidence to be innovative and try new things.” It isn’t just about the staff and the guests though. Darwin has been keen to ensure the property is fully integrated into the local community. “We have a designated CSR officer and it’s a local girl because we think


New opening

Guests would be hard pressed to find better views than the ones on offer with the Dining by Design experience

that’s important. We are a big five-star luxury hotel on top of a mountain surrounded by local villages, so I guess it was a bit of a shock for the locals who were wondering ‘Who are these guys? What are they doing?’” he says. “First of all, we hired a lot of locals and we work with a lot of local suppliers and invite them sometimes to show off their wares. We also do a lot of work with local schools teaching English.” The property also holds clean-up campaigns once a month and works with a local donkey sanctuary. “We don’t want to be seen as this big hotel on the top of the mountain and that it’s all take, take, take,” he says. “It’s a 66,000m² plot, which in itself doesn’t sound overly huge but we cover the rim of the mountain. It gives us that sense of scale.”

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Regional News

Guests can enjoy serene views from their balconies at JA Hatta Fort Hotel

Going Fort to Hatta Deborah Thompson, general manager of JA Hatta Fort Hotel tells Hotel News Middle East about how the 35-year-old newly renovated hotel is bringing together generations old and new

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very hotelier you meet will tell you they offer something different, but when you speak to the general manager of JA Hatta Fort Hotel, you know she can back it up. Deborah Thomson has only been in her role for three months but she is already making her mark on the UAE hospitality industry by overseeing a 35-year-old property that has captured the imagination of the millennial gen50

HOTEL NEWS ME September 2017

eration – without losing its familyfriendly charm. “There is new generation of millennials that want something else – they want more,” she says. “We already have archery, clay pigeon shooting and tennis courts: we now have a driving range we are developing, and we are bringing in mountain bikes, which is quite exciting.” Thompson believes the hotel is per-

fectly placed to give millennials what they are seeking in terms of experience rather than previous generations who placed more of a premium on comfort and relaxation. “As par the trend in experiential travel, last year we saw an increase in wellness travel as more people looked towards wellbeing as a key factor in their travels such as spa retreats and hiking,” she says.


GM Interview

“In keeping with this, we are seeing many first-timers to our newly revamped JA Hatta Fort Hotel.” The hotel is a prime location, Thompson posits, for outdoor activities, such as cycling, trekking and kayaking on the Hatta Dam. “We are also looking at introducing yoga retreats and healthy, bespoke menus options to our guest as the property lends itself as a retreat from hectic lifestyles,” she says. By providing amenities to guests seeking experiential travel and wellness, you could be forgiven for thinking Thompson and her team were putting all their eggs in one basket – however that couldn’t be further from the case, as she explains. “We pride ourselves on heartfelt hospitality. It starts with our associates, because if we don’t have that hospitality ourselves there is no way it is going to transmit to the guests,” she says. “It still surprises me how many guests will say thank you for simple things like fruit in the room or a handwritten card to welcome them to the property.” It’s a sign of the hotel’s standing that

it doesn’t simply have repeat guests it has different generations of families that visit. “We have so many repeat guests but we also have second generation guests and even had a baby last week who was third generation. I will know if a guest has been here five or six times, but if

I don’t know, my associates will be on first name terms with them,” she says, offering an example of how well her staff know the guests. “We were renovating and my associates knew that a couple who visit from the UK love to play snooker,” she says. “We had 15 people lifting a snooker table to move it somewhere else in the property, just because they didn’t want to disappoint the guest. Those relationships take time but it is a source of pride that we still have them.” Thompson, who moved to the Middle East 13 years ago, says her experience as director of sales for corporate and MICE puts her in a strong position to plot the hotel’s strategy to be seen as a viable venue for business events. “The next project is renovating the conference centre. What we are seeing is a rise in corporate business. With me having that background, we are seeing more corporate enquiries than ever before,” she says. “While there are many hotels in cities with business facilities, they are very much like what is already available in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. People want to July 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Gm Interview

A retreat from the beat Thompson isn’t exactly spilling secrets when she says that life in major cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi can be stressful, but that’s partly why so many people seek out a stay at JA Hatta Fort Hotel. Guests from Abu Dhabi alone make up 30% of the visitors to the hotel. “Living in cities has its challenges; the pace of Dubai is hectic, previously you might have turned to a weekend retreat in a hotel within Dubai – now people just want to get out of Dubai,” she says. “Dubai Tourism is really recognising they want people to experience the more cultural side of what the UAE has to offer, which is why they have invested so much into Hatta. We are working so closely with them on a constant basis, the relationship is really strong.” take their teams away from that. Once they are here, they don’t have the distractions, the team building aspect is really strong." Before Thompson was the director of sales for corporate and MICE with JA Resorts she was the general manager of Bateaux Dubai, a fine dining dinner cruise. The conference centre isn’t the only part of the property getting a makeover as Thompson has already made changes to the restaurant and bar. “We have refurbished Jeema, the main restaurant and the bar, which is in keeping with what we are doing in the conference centre,” she says. “We also have the Gazebo restaurant which is a great daytime location. It will be going through a light refurbishment as well in line with the rest of the hotel.” The changes that Thompson has instigated have already met the approval of the property’s regular guests. 52

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“Someone said to us that they love the changes we have made but they love it even more that we kept the same feel. That’s down to the associates, they know the guests who come back,” she says. Thompson says the reason the hotel has retained so many long-term staff members is down to finding the right people with the right attitude. “When we are looking at someone, we have to know they are right for JA Hatta Fort; it is a different mindset,” she says. “You don’t just go home and switch off, it takes a certain person and I think that’s why we have so many associates who have been here so long.” A crucial component of the property’s success has been the close relationships it has enjoyed with its neighbouring community. “We have stakeholders, we have separate workshops we work on with the local community,” she says. “There are approximately 500 farms in

the proximity of Hatta. It’s not that easy to go to Dubai although there are certain things we have to get there. If we can support the local community we will.” Projects the hotel is working on with the local community include a biogarden and aquaponics. “We have acres of land that is underdeveloped and want to get local communities involved where we can,” she says. The relationship between the hotel and the community goes further than a simple case of businesses supporting businesses, as Thompson explains. “I interviewed a lovely lady the other day who had done a degree in hospitality and she is from Hatta,” she says. “Because hospitality is such a focus in this region, we have now got generations coming through looking for employment.” This is the proof, Thompson says, that shows the hotel has not only kept its connection to local community but it is reaching out to future generations as well.


My Life at The Emirates Academy

Top of the class

Last month it was reported that The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM) is ranked amongst the top 10 hospitality schools in the world, alongside the likes of Cornell University in New York City, USA (School of Hotel Administration) and Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL) in Switzerland. John Carter is a student at EAHM and currently, as part of the curriculum, is commencing a six−month internship with DMG Events Middle East, Asia and Africa, organisers of industry−leading The Hotel Show Dubai. Carter, originally from California, USA has left his world behind to start afresh in Dubai, UAE. Here is his story...

I

n September 2016, I decided to pack my bags and move across the world from Los Angeles to Dubai. While a 16-hour flight to a new destination 8,500 miles from home was hard to grasp in the beginning, I am now pursuing my passion of working in the hospitality industry in one of its most active and exciting markets. Prior to making the move, I went to visit The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Man-

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agement (EAHM) and I was thrilled because it was exactly what I was looking for, a University that strictly focuses on hospitality management whilst also providing students practical experience along with the theory aspect. The practical approach is crucial, as it allows me to get a taste for and gain personal experience on what the real world is like. From a young age, my family and I would travel and we stayed in some luxu-

rious hotels. I was always fascinated by the atmosphere, the hustle and bustle, everything that hotels offer. I would even disappear from my family and go on my own to explore the properties, which reminds me of when I got lost in Hawaii at the Hyatt Waikiki at the age of 10. The hospitality industry for me is one of the most exciting out there, because every day you are exposed to something new. Prior to moving to Dubai, I was travel-


My Life at The Emirates Academy

ling around the world whilst managing my own hospitality and tourism blog, TravelsByJC.com. I was working closely with hotels and tourism boards highlighting their latest innovations. I travelled to destinations like Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Thailand, Japan, Turkey and throughout Europe. Travelling the world opened my eyes to different cultures and how the hospitality industry operates in different destinations. I was also heavily involved in the fitness industry. I created my own fitness DVD, and contributed to more than 300 magazine features. My ultimate career choice post-study is something that I think about daily. I have

Chef Michael Kitts and John Carter

always loved being an entrepreneur and creating more rewarding businesses that will make an impact on people’s lives. However, the hospitality industry has given me the urge to eventually become a general manager of a top property. EAHM also provides presentations from industry professionals which are particularly interesting. They run a yearly career fair which I found to be extremely helpful as it led me to find my ideal internship, with DMG Events Middle East, Asia and Africa as part of the Public Relations (PR) team for their hospitality portfolio. I will now be working to support the teams behind The Hotel Show, The Leisure Show and the Middle East Hos-

On top of the world It comes as no surprise to industry insiders in the region that The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management was named among the best in the world. Hotel News Middle East caught up with the institute’s director of culinary arts, Michael Kitts to find out his take on the news. “It’s been a great journey for all the team and it is really paying off now,” he says. “Our name is getting out there more and more. We are making some serious inroads in terms of getting the information about what we do out there.” Kitts says one of the advantages that The Emirates Academy has over other similar universities is the application of practical elements. “A lot of them don’t do quite as much as we do. It really gives us that hands on approach, especially for students in the first year to get a grasp of the mechanics,” he says. “We are also living in a country that is an Aladdin’s cave in terms of hospitality. It’s fortunate here that you don’t have to go too far afield. We are very lucky because of what’s going on right here.”

Chef Paul Gayler, John Carter and assistant Chef Georges

September 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME

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My life at the Emirates academy

pitality Awards, which shows me a different side of the industry, and is a great chance to meet some of its biggest names and learn all about the latest trends. Working with DMG Events was something that really stood out to me. Being one of the biggest events companies in the Middle East, it is exciting because it’s something new that I haven’t done before. Being a PR intern has lead me to create exciting stories and get more involved with hotels across the globe to get to know more of what makes them unique and what future plans they have coming, including for The Hotel Show’s Talk About Hospitality blog. The team at DMG events has been great and welcoming since day one and I am excited to be a part of The Hotel Show Dubai which will see thousands of industry peers coming together. One of the special things about studying at EAHM is the relationship you are 56

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able to build with the professors. I don’t see them just as my professors, I see them as my supporters and advisors. The open-door policy is something that the academy stands strong behind and for that I am grateful because the backing I have received from the faculty members has been outstanding since day one. EAHM also provides fantastic accommodation within the university with direct views of the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Jumeirah’s newest property, Al Naseem. Living on campus fascinates me because having those prestigious hotels around me gives me the daily boost to work hard towards my goals. The accommodation is also close to where my classes are and it provides comfortable amenities like a pool, restaurant, fitness centre and a mini market. The surrounding area is calm and easily accessible to Dubai’s hot spots and recreational areas like Jumeirah Beach, Wild

Wadi, Kite Beach and Souk Madinat. One of the highlights throughout my time in the academy has been the kitchen and service classes. I had three of the best mentors in the industry, Chef Michael Kitts, Chef Helen Morris and Maximilian Rauch. I learned how to cook some great dishes, starting by cutting veggies on week one and ending week 10 by cooking six main courses and creating my own concept, inspired by Italian cuisine. I created special dishes along with the help of Chef Kitts who mentored me throughout the process. On the service side, Max challenged me with a variety of duties, one of them was serving a private fine dining dinner full of executive chefs from all over Dubai where I was working alongside celebrity Chef Paul Gayler. These are memories and experiences that I will never forget and they couldn’t be done anywhere else than at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management.


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Face to face

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Face to face

Will power for hoteliers Sean Hird, director of DIFC wills and probate registry warns that hoteliers ignoring the future do so at their company’s peril

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xpat hoteliers must ensure their wills are registered with the DIFC Courts, warns the director of DIFC Wills and Probate Registry, Sean Hird. Failure to do so could result in severe complications for the business − in some cases leading to the closure of the property. “If you don’t have a will registered with us then you are subject to Sharia law, therefore when you pass away your estate will be distributed in accordance with those laws,” he says. “That’s fine to a degree, but it gives you a distribution that most people wouldn’t want to have.” He gives the example of a hotelier who passes away – leaving behind a wife, son, daughter and possibly parents. “If you were to pass away under Sharia law, your wife gets one eighth of what you have, your parents if they are living would get one sixth each and your son will get twice as much as your daughter,” he says. Part of the issue for expats, he adds, is that while there is provision for foreign wills in UAE Federal Law, the local courts are staffed by judges who are trained in Sharia law and will look to implement that law. “If you’re turning up with a will you executed back in Ireland, the UK, India or wherever, and you are trying to take that to the local courts, you have got some challenges,” he says. “These range from the will not being upheld or taking huge lengths of time

to be implemented − maybe years in some cases - and incurring huge costs along the way.” Hird says it is not uncommon for hotels to be family-owned, which can create complications when a shareholder passes away. “Maybe one of those shareholdings will not go where everyone else thought it was going to go,” he says. “If those shareholdings go where you didn’t want them to go, you could have issues with voting, you could have lost a major shareholder − that shareholding may be split up and it changes the dynamics in terms of passing special resolutions.” Because hotels are often familyowned,there is often a delicate balance to how it is operated. It could be the case, says Hird, that a major shareholder was inactive but when their shares are distributed, the new shareholder or shareholders could take an active interest in the running of the business. The doomsday scenario, says Hird, is the hotel being forced to close because of a will not being registered with the DIFC Courts. “When it comes to signing salary cheques, the person who passes away might be the authorised signatory for the monthly payroll, so what happens then?” he asks. “You might not be able to replace that signatory. There is the issue of paying salaries and loans. What about the renewal of business licences? When the renewal is up, when the forms have to September 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Face to face

be completed and suddenly someone is not there to do it?” In this instance, you might find the licence cannot be renewed during this period due to confusion over who owns shares, says Hird. “You could even have a bank account frozen, over here you have bank accounts in joint names but when one party passes away that account is frozen,” he says. “If a husband and wife ran a hotel business paying salaries from a joint bank account and suddenly that bank account is frozen and the surviving partner can’t access it, it doesn’t matter if most of the money is theirs.” Hird says there have been many cases of businesses having to close over frozen accounts because they are not able to pay creditors and the creditor then sues the company. Hird’s department was set up in 2015 to provide a registration service for nonMuslims to register their wills and have those wills enforced in the DIFC Courts. “We were set up because prior to our establishment there was a huge amount of uncertainty over what would happen to the estates, assets and children of non-Muslims living here in the event they passed away,” he says. “The government wanted to set us up because of the uncertainty over inheritance foreign investment can go anywhere, it doesn’t have to go here. The government is looking to make sure Dubai is as attractive a prospect as possible for foreign investors.” Another reason was that the legal community was calling for an end to the uncertainty over expat wills in Dubai. There needed to be a service, says Hird, in the English language to respect the wishes of non-Muslims and enable their wills to be enforced in DIFC courts “You can go with Sharia law and uncertainty, yes there is a low cost, but it’s not necessarily the outcome you want. The second option is trying to force it through the Dubai courts and face all sorts of delays and uncertainties,” he says. 60

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“We are the third option, which is a simple system registered in the English language and enforceable in DIFC Courts. It’s about levelling the playing field so investors can come from all over the world to Dubai – safe in the knowledge their wishes will be

upheld once they have passed away.” Hird says it is perfectly understandable for investors to want peace of mind when investing in the hotel industry. “It provides certainty from an investment point of view and gives confidence,” he says.


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Chain focus

Millennium Hotels & Resorts From a single property in Abu Dhabi, Millennium Hotels & Resorts has expanded into various neighbouring destinations and is now recognised as one of the fastest growing regional hotel management companies in the Middle East and Africa. Millennium Hotels & Resorts currently operates 30 hotels with 12 due to open within the next year and nearly 40 in the pipeline across the region.

External view from Haram

Resident Lounge Montrose Deyaar Dubai

Current properties in the region: Brand

Hotel name

The Biltmore Collection:

Bab Al Qasr, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Copthorne Madinah

Grand Millennium Al Wahda Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE Grand Millennium Hotel Dubai, UAE Grand Millennium Hotels:

Grand Millennium Sulaimani Hotel, Iraq Grand Millennium Amman, Jordan Grand Millennium Muscat, Oman Millennium Hotel Ramallah, Palestine Millennium Hotel Fujairah, UAE Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai, UAE Millennium Plaza Hotel, Dubai, UAE Millennium Resort Mussanah, Oman

Millennium Hotels:

Millennium Hotel Doha, Qatar Millennium Plaza Hotel Doha, Qatar Millennium Taiba Hotel Madinah, Saudi Arabia Millennium Kurdistan Hotel & Spa, Iraq Millennium Hotel & Convention Centre, Kuwait Millennium Hail, Saudia Arabia

Millennium Executive Apartments:

Millennium Executive Apartments Muscat, Oman Copthorne Hotel Dubai, UAE Copthorne Airport Hotel Dubai, UAE Copthorne Hotel Sharjah, UAE

Copthorne by Millennium Hotels :

Al-Jahra Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Kuwait Copthorne Hotel Baranan, Iraq Copthorne Hotel, Riyadh, Saudia Arabia Copthorne Hotel, Doha, Qatar

Kingsgate Hotels:

M Hotel:

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Kingsgate Abu Dhabi, UAE Kingsgate Hotel, Doha, Qatar M Hotel Downtown by Millennium M Hotel Makkah by Millennium

Makkah Hilton external fountain


Chain focus

In focus

Kevork Deldelian

chief operating officer, Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and Africa strategy and approach, maintaining a long-term vision. Commercially, it is crucial that we have the ability to tap into new source markets with tailored promotions and campaigns throughout our portfolio. Finally, the fast-paced nature of the business means we need to always remain on top of our game. Increased supply in hotel rooms has resulted in more competition in key cities, so we need to be creative in finding the unique selling points of our brand to differentiate ourselves. Aligned to this, we strive to maintain our high standards of service and build long-term relationships and brand loyalty with our customers. What have been your hotel group’s key achievements over the past 12 months? Our plan of rapid expansion in the region has been in full effect in 2016 and 2017, with 30 hotels currently operating in the region, 12 hotels due to open within the next 12 months, and nearly 40 hotels in the pipeline. Over the last year, we have introduced the M Hotel brand to Dubai and Makkah, launched The Biltmore Collection in the UAE and Georgia, and there are plans to extend the Studio M footprint to as many as 25 urban locations across the GCC in the next five years. In addition, we recently launched Millennium Plaza Doha. Overall, we have extended our footprint across the entire region, establishing a significant presence with a current portfolio and pipeline in the UAE, Oman, KSA, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Georgia, Palestine and Turkey. We continue to remain committed to a robust growth strategy across Saudi Arabia, with the recent signing of Makkah Millennium Hotel and Makkah Millennium Towers, solidifying our

position as one of the fastest growing operators in the region. We have 21 hotels due to open in the kingdom, with plans to expand across the entire region, which covers not only the holy cities but also locations in the north, south and western provinces. Furthermore, our team has grown to approximately 5,000 employees, and is envisioned to become a 10,000-strong team by 2020, providing significant employment opportunities across the entire region. What have been the key challenges facing your hotel group and the wider hospitality sector? There are some key challenges that exist in the hospitality industry. However, at Millennium Hotels & Resorts, we strive to invest in our employees to ensure they undergo extensive training and follow a structured development path so they have the tools to deliver the highest service standards to guests. Secondly, the political situation always affects business decisions, which may often lead to changing and adapting plans based on the political climate. It is vital that we remain flexible in our

What are the hotel group’s key goals for the next 12 months? During the remainder of this year and next year, we will be continuing to endorse our long-term goal of positioning Millennium Hotels & Resorts as a leading hotel group with different hospitality options to accommodate all types of travellers. To achieve this, we will continue to extend our footprint with a strong pipeline of new openings in place, including several new brands that will reinforce our position as one of the fastest growing hotel companies in the region. We look forward to making our market entry into Turkey with the opening of two new Millennium branded hotels in Istanbul. We also look forward to the Middle Eastern debut of the Studio M brand, expanding to as many as 25 urban locations across the GCC in the next five years. We have identified Saudi Arabia as a key strategic focus for the group and believe there is a strong market for quality midscale brands with international standards. Over the next year, we look forward to opening properties in Madinah, Makkah and Jizan. September 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Regional News

The importance of owner-operator dialogue Hotel News Middle East speaks to design experts about the importance of keeping owner-operator dialogue alive

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esigning a hotel is a complex balance of the vision of the owner, the day-to-day functional needs of the operator and the requirements of the guest. It is about designing an experience that flows intelligently from check-in to the guest room and all back-of-house support. The design can also have an impact on the overall profitability of the hotel operation, as design deficiencies affect the operation of a hotel and ultimately have an impact on the bottom line — and hence asset value. According to Keith Gavin, design director at Godwin Austen Johnson, the key to designing hotels is to understand the owner’s vision but also to appreciate the operator’s needs. “We need to remember that the operator is in it for the long haul,” he says. “Immediately after handover, it is the operator who is responsible for maintaining the owner’s asset for anything from 10 to 20 years and so, as designers, we need to ensure that the building is designed and specified in such a way to allow the team to maintain it with relative ease.” Hannes Schied of HTL Consulting agrees: “Designers are not hotel operators and so we can’t expect them to fully understand the day-to-day requirements of a busy hotel, which means we have to choose the architect very carefully. “The biggest mistake an owner could make would be to hire a designer who has not designed a hotel before. This is specialist work with so much potential to go wrong.” Sadly, it is often the case that an owner has appointed an architect with little or no experience, resulting in additional costs. “We have often been brought in to redesign a hotel space that lacks common sense. Lobby cafes with no service 64

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Keith Gavin

Hannes Schied

areas, reception counters with no back office and a single elevator to service 200 rooms are just some of the avoidable errors we have seen,” says Schied. The owner wants to see their vision become a reality and for them, a well-designed property that is guest-oriented and commercially viable is crucial. “While aesthetics are important, the hotel needs to be comfortable and appeal to travellers. The brief for our latest proj-

ect, Four Points by Sheraton Unaizah in Saudi Arabia, was simple − to create a 130key desert resort style hotel, the first of its type in the Qassim province. We wanted a hotel that would embrace rather than reject its local environment. This was important to us and we needed the designer to understand this.” Schied believes that the key to success is to get the designers on board as early as possible and to continue to work closely with them throughout the project. “We appointed GAJ early on and have worked closely with them throughout the design process. The experience, reference projects and professionalism they bring is first class, which gives us complete confidence in their work and approach,” he says. While the operator and the designer may approach the project from different perspectives and there is certainly the potential for aesthetics and functionality to contradict each other, it is the realisation of a successful project that drives both parties to work in harmony, to understand the vision of the owner and to fully appreciate the day-to-day needs of the operator.


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Hotel News Middle East previews the first ever Dubai International Hospitality Week (DIHW), taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 18 – 20 September with more than 50,000 visitors expected to attend. The mega-event will consolidate key trade shows catering to the hotel and foodservices sectors – GulfHost, The Hotel Show, The Leisure Show, the Speciality Food Festival, Seafex Middle East and Yummex ME

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s markets across the Middle East look to diversify their economies, the launch of Dubai International Hospitality Week (DIHW) this month is recognition of the hospitality sector as a key driver of GDP growth in the region. Endorsed by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), what will be the largest hotel and foodservice expo in the Middle East takes place from 18-20 September and includes six co-located trade shows: GulfHost, owned and organised by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC); The Hotel Show and The Leisure Show, owned and organised by DMG Events; and The Speciality Food Festival (DWTC), Seafex Middle East (DWTC) and Yummex ME, jointly organised by DWTC and Kölnmesse. Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said: “The hospitality sector has long been a key pillar of Dubai’s tourism industry and the emirate’s wider economy. The dramatic growth we’ve seen in the sector over the years is testament to the attractiveness of Dubai as 68

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an investment prospect and a destination that prides itself in offering an environment that facilitates and supports business success. “We are therefore very pleased to launch Dubai International Hospitality Week as a platform enabling the region’s hospitality players to come together, exchange knowledge and learnings, and create valuable opportunities for future growth.” The scale of DIHW is unprecedented for the global hospitality sector, bringing together more than 2,000 of the world’s top hospitality brands from across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. More than 50,000 visitors, including buyers from top hotel groups will be making key purchasing decisions during the show, ahead of the sector’s high season. Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, exhibitions & events management (DWTC), commented: “From major international hotel chains and restaurants to top celebrity chefs, and from world class tourist attractions to the widest range of global cuisines, Dubai provides a reference point for even the most established of markets.

“With world leading trade events such as Gulfood playing a key role in bringing more suppliers and visitors to Dubai every year than any other annual food trade show in the world, Dubai truly is on the hospitality and F&B map. Hosting Dubai International Hospitality Week and co-locating six complementary shows adds yet another dimension of excellence.” There are currently more than 800 hotels under construction in the Middle East and Africa, equating to over 200,000 rooms according to STR Global, with an urgent requirement for furnishings, equipment, technology and hardware to enable completion as quickly as possible. Equally, the foodservice sector continues to grow with a current CAGR of 7.6%, and is expected to reach a value of $58.7 billion (AED215 billion) by 2021. Andy Stuart, vice president of the DMG Events Middle East, Asia & Africa Hospitality Portfolio including The Hotel Show and The Leisure Show, commented: “Already home to the world’s biggest hotel and restaurant brands, including regional developers that


Event preview

Why I’m attending Dubai International Hospitality Week

The hospitality sector has long been a key pillar of Dubai’s tourism industry and the emirate’s wider economy. The dramatic growth we’ve seen in the sector over the years is testament to the attractiveness of Dubai as an investment prospect” Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing are leading global trends, the hospitality landscape in Dubai is one of the most impressive and innovative in the world. “The Hotel Show Dubai, now in its 18th year, has evolved with the market, facilitating industry growth with thousands of international visitors annually. Being centrally located within Dubai International Hospitality Week reflects the progression and increasing global appeal of our Dubai-based hospitality event. In this brand new co-location we are providing the ultimate platform to source everything required to effectively develop or maintain a hotel or foodservice establishment in this central global market.” GulfHost 2017 boasts a dedicated portfolio of hospitality and catering equipment solutions for both front and back of house, while The Hotel Show showcases products and services for every aspect of hotel development, from build to technology. The Leisure Show has a focus on the leisure aspects of a hotel or resort including pool and spa, and sports and fitness. The Speciality Food Events by Gulfood include The Speciality Food Festival for gourmet, artisan, organic and halal foods; Seafex Middle East for seafood; and Yummex ME for global snacks and confectionery.

Sergio Lopez, co-founder & board member, Bull & Roo Hospitality and Investments “Dubai International Hospitality Week is a great step forward for the industry, helping the ever-changing hospitality market to become more established, like in other more mature countries. This is a great initiative for hospitality professionals to engage and interact and for budding entrepreneurs to meet one another and grow the industry further. This event can be considered a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all hospitality needs including meeting service providers and connecting with like-minded hospitality professionals.” Alexander Schneider, general manager, Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai “Our team will be attending Dubai International Hospitality Week to witness first-hand the latest industry trends and innovations that can support our ultimate goal of creating memorable guest experiences. I think the topics look really intriguing at The Hotel Show’s ‘The Middle East Hospitality Leadership Forum’, which I will be attending and speaking at as part of a panel, considering the overall demand of the destination Dubai.” Sunjeh Raja, CEO, International Centre for Culinary Arts Dubai “Dubai International Hospitality Week is a great opportunity for exposure and learning for every professional in the regional hospitality industry. It is a week that will showcase the A-Z of hospitality solutions for the first time ever at a time when the industry is experiencing unprecedented growth and challenges across the region.The GulfHost Restaurant Development Conference will offer practical, topical and invaluable insights from entering new markets and establishing your brand to identifying what makes a good menu and finding ways to build and retain a successful team.” Stephen Meredith, general manager, Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay “I plan to make it to Dubai International Hospitality Week for at least two days and will also be bringing the Excom team along so we can discuss potential opportunities live at the site. We will be on the hunt for innovations that make it easier to connect with our guests, and I am still very much an F&B guy at heart, so I will be looking closely at the stands for some new toys! I am also looking out for a long-term solution for our spa at The Leisure Show, and it would be a great opportunity to engage with a potential new operator.”

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THE HOTEL SHOW DUBAI 2017 Gary Williams, event director, The Hotel Show offers a preview of The Hotel Show Dubai, taking place this year as part of Dubai International Hospitality Week at Dubai World Trade Centre from 18 – 20 September

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ow in its 18th year, The Hotel Show Dubai continues to align with the global hospitality industry to ensure the most comprehensive showcase of international products, innovations, developments and trends that cover everything from hotel design and build to in-room technologies across its distinct sectors – all in one place. Our show sectors are covering some new areas this year: ‘Hospitality Franchise’, in association with the World Franchise Associates, is catering to the unique franchising opportunity that hotels, restaurants and bars offer within their estates in the Middle East. Sectors returning for 2017 include: Interiors, Lighting and Design; Technology and Security; and Operating Equipment, Horeca and Food Service. We aim to help your hotel or restaurant business grow in any way it needs. The Hotel Show will be taking up Halls 1-6 of the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), with our co-located event The Leisure Show based in Halls 7-8. The fifth edition of The Leisure Show is set to be its biggest yet, showcasing the latest in Outdoor Furnishing, Design and Lighting; Sports and Fitness; and Pool and Spa – with some of the world’s 70

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Gary Williams, event director, The Hotel Show biggest names in these areas set to feature including Les Mills, Technogym, Matrix, SportsArt, Trinity Hammocks, Belhasa, and Fluidra. Exciting for 2017 is our co-location for the first time with an additional four trade shows under the umbrella of Dubai International Hospitality Week (DIHW). With DWTC’s GulfHost, The Speciality Food Festival, Seafex Middle East and yummex ME (jointly organised by DWTC and Kölnmesse) – we are set to unite more than

2,000 international brands in hospitality and food service. At The Hotel Show, new features will be unveiled, some of which are a first for the region. Meanwhile our new conference platform, The Middle East Hospitality Leadership Forum, will see experts from across the industry forecasting and dissecting its latest trends. Our growing international pool of exhibitors are launching new products to the market that have the potential to revolutionise the industry here. From ‘the world’s most comfortable hotel bed’ to the ‘world’s biggest giant clam shell’ (an 180,000-yearold fossil remodeled as a sink!), to some of the latest innovations in hospitality technology from the likes of HP, Honeywell, Onity, and more, it’s a chance to witness the latest and in some cases, game-changing, products and services designed for hoteliers and restaurateurs. As the annual get-together for the region’s hospitality industry, our aim is to aid in its growth, and support its people in helping maintain the position of Dubai as one of the most impressive, exciting and fast-growing markets for hospitality in the world. We look forward to seeing you there!”


NOT TO BE MISSED IN 2017 The Middle East Housekeepers League of Champions

The highly-anticipated new competition is a chance for the housekeeping departments of some of the region’s top hotels to demonstrate the latest cleaning techniques, which experts say have reduced the time it takes to clean a room from one hour to just 20 minutes! The Middle East Hospitality Leadership Forum

A central feature of this year’s Hotel Show, this new conference platform will host a series of spontaneous and forthright panel discussions on the key strategic opportunities and challenges shaping the regional sector at this time of accelerated expansion and change. The talks will take place within a purpose-built conference theatre in one of the main exhibition halls, and will be free to attend for all visitors to the event. It is expected there will be standing room only, so we advise you to plan your visit and arrive early. The Runway

Let’s celebrate just how important hospitality workwear is in making a great impression on our guests. Working together with bespoke uniform designers including A. Ronai, The Hotel Show Dubai will play host to The Runway, a catwalk event that will see multiple hospitality groups showcase their latest uniform ranges. Hospitality Franchise

An in-depth focus on the next wave of hospitality franchising, licensing, technology, and the ever-important engagement between the industry and estate owners and property managers. The Fit Hub

A central feature to The Leisure Show, The Fit Hub returns this year as the trusted source for industry professionals to gain essential knowledge on the sports industry and discover new and disruptive technology that is reshaping the sports and fitness industry. Hosted by experts from government bodies and private sector establishments including Dubai Sports Council, Matrix Fitness, Technogym, Les Mills, and Easy Motion Skin®, the FitHub will provide an insight into the rapidly changing future of fitness along with the new legislative framework for sporting events in UAE. Middle East Hospitality Awards (MEHA)

Taking place on the second evening of The Hotel Show (19 September 2017) at the Palazzo Versace Dubai, the leading facilities and professionals providing the Middle East’s ultimate guest experiences are to be celebrated across 17 different award categories, at a glittering ceremony with over 400 hoteliers. Shortlisted hotels include some of the most impressive, innovative, luxurious and renowned in the Middle East: Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort Oman; Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa; Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai; Rove Downtown; Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca; Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa Kuwait, and many more. Round Table Discussions

Zumtobel Group, MEHA 2017 sponsors, will be hosting round-table discussions for industry experts on the final days of The Hotel Show (19 and 20 September 2017) at the DWTC. Topics include: ‘The future of high-end hospitality in the Middle East’; ‘The challenges of high-end hotel refurbishment in the Middle East’; and ‘2020 and its focus on midscale and budget accommodation’. To find out more, contact: Hanesse.Joao@zumtobelgroup.com.

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More than 2,000 exhibitors are expected to take part in the first-ever GulfHost event in Dubai, to be held alongside The Hotel Show, The Leisure Show, the Speciality Food Festival, Seafex Middle East and Yummex ME

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aunching during Dubai International Hospitality Week, GulfHost 2017 is the first dedicated hospitality and food services expo in the Middle East. Organised by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), which also owns and organises the world’s largest annual food trade show, Gulfood, the new exhibition takes place from 18-20 September 2017 and is co-located with The Speciality Food Festival, Seafex Middle East and Yummex ME, and The Hotel Show and The Leisure Show, organised by DMG Events, to enable the full spectrum of sourcing for one of the fastest growing hotel, F&B and tourism markets in the world. Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, exhibitions & events management (DWTC), said: “GulfHost will enable buyers to connect with suppliers, gain the latest knowledge and source from a range of hospitality and food service equipment, all within the most convenient, organised and dedicated arena, and service their additional needs at the other colocated shows.” A first for the region, GulfHost showcases the A-Z of hospitality, including front-ofhouse elements to deliver excellent dining 72

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experiences; back-of-house solutions such as ovens, culinary equipment and utensils; and the latest café and bar products to serve the growing coffee culture in the region. More than 2,000 exhibitors will participate across DIHW, with GulfHost alone hosting 16 country pavilions and demonstrating the global importance of serving the region. Major countries include Italy, Spain, UK, France, Germany, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, China, Korea, Taiwan, India, Lebanon, Australia, Netherlands and Egypt. Key exhibitors at GulfHost include A. Ronai, Ali Group, Alto-Sham, Cimbali, Falcon Kitchen, Henny Penny, La Marquise, The Middleby Corporation and RAK Porcelain, among many others. The importance of GulfHost is demonstrated by the strategic partnerships cemented with key industry associations in Europe, including Organizzazione Vittorio Caselli (Italy), HKI Hospitality Association (Germany), CESA Hospitality Association (UK) and AFEHC Hospitality Association (Spain). All shows are open from 18-20 September 2017 and are for trade and business professionals only.

GULFHOST HIGHLIGHTS Innovation Corner: A dedicated area showcasing the latest technology being introduced to elevate commercial kitchen performance. GulfHost Innovation Awards: An awards ceremony to recognise the innovators and disruptors championing new techniques, products and technologies in the hospitality industry. The Middle East Food Forum: Taking place in partnership with the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai, the threeday conference will enable F&B professionals to gain insights into the opportunities, challenges and innovations of their trade. Sessions include franchising, business set-up, talent management and regional F&B regulations and policies. A ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition will offer F&B entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their ideas to potential investors face to face.


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s demand for seafood grows in the Middle East, the sixth edition of Seafex returns, providing a platform for regional suppliers to source seafood from around the world. The three-day event will showcase the catch of the day from international names in seafood, including Ablona by GMA, Cederberg Fishing, Fortuna Seafoods BV, Gourmet House, ITC, Ministry of Marine Affairs & Fisheries Indonesia, Norwegian Seafood Council, Ocean Supreme, Taiwan Frozen Seafood Industries Association, Vega Salmon and Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters & Producers (VASEP).

he Speciality Food Festival will showcase a selection of fine foods, from artisanal olive oils, pickles and chutneys to speciality coffee and teas, charcuterie, bakery and dairy, as well as some of the rarest ingredients sought by professional chefs in the region. With hundreds of new launches at the show, F&B professionals will be able to source up to 2,800 ingredients and foods that have previously not been available in the region. It will incorporate events, including the Chef’s Theater, with top chefs hosting masterclasses on cooking techniques for fine food, seafood, organic, artisan cheese and gluten-free dishes; the first ever National Barista & Latte Art Championship; and specialist pizza cooking, master coffee tasters and culinary competitions.

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ummex, organised by DWTC in partnership with Koelnmesse GmbH, is the region’s largest trade exhibition for producers and manufacturers of sweets, confectionery and snacks. The 11th edition of the show has seen a 5% growth in exhibition space, bringing together more than 370 companies from over 40 countries representing chocolate, sweets, ice cream, bakers’ confectionery and savoury snacks. This year, exhibiting at the show are companies such as Chocofino, Colombina, Del Conte, Destrooper-Olivier, Especialidades Vira, Jelly Belly, Katjes, Original Gourmet Food Company, Ragolds, Torrons Vicens and Y3K.

5 trends to spot at gulfhost Attractive fittings: The trend for food transparency has resulted in more open kitchens, creating a need for kitchen fittings to be aesthetically pleasing as well as practical. Energy-efficient systems: Energy-efficient equipment can save restaurants a significant amount of money. Multi-functional equipment: Restaurants are opting for multi-functional equipment to save space in the kitchen, and reduce time spent on manual labour. Innovative tableware: Food presentation has changed in line with modern lifestyles. Small plate menus let diners share food and try new things, while eating from bowls is becoming more popular, reflecting more casual lifestyles and the need for instagrammable food. Long-lasting tableware: Well-designed, quality tableware complements décor and enhances customer experience, while adding longer-term savings.

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STANDS NOT TO MISS at Küppersbusch Sheikh Saeed Hall 2, S2 – C2 Bernd Geiger, business development manager Middle East at Küppersbusch introduces a solution for steak restaurants Why are you exhibiting at GulfHost? The market in the UAE is growing steadily and has immense potential so it’s a very important market for Küppersbusch Food Service Equipment as a full provider and manufacturer of foodservice equipment. An international trade fair like GulfHost is the best opportunity to showcase our large-scale kitchen devices to the expert audience so they can touch and feel the quality of our products directly. What products are you showcasing? We’ll be showcasing our new multifunctional tilting bratt pan FEP 950 from our product line PremiumLine 850. We’ll also highlight a solution for steak restaurants – an individual Palmarium cooking suite with a continuous worktop and an integrated BeefCraft 800°C steak grill. We’ll also bring to Dubai our small ConvectAirS combi steamer, which has a footprint of only 0.32 m². GulfHost Stand Number: Sheikh Saeed Hall 2, S2 – C2 T: +971 (56) 454 8211 E: bernd.geiger@kueppersbusch.com W: www.kueppersbusch.com

LA MARQUISE Sheikh Saeed Hall 1, S1-A1, S1-A3 Olga Cassidy, marketing manager of La Marquise says the company will launch the Gelato PopApp, a compact workstation for the production of artisan gelato Why are you exhibiting at GulfHost? GulfHost is the new home for hospitality equipment, with Gulfood now focused on food and beverage products. La Marquise has a vast portfolio of professional kitchen and front-ofhouse equipment so we couldn’t miss GulfHost! What products are you showcasing? In addition to cocktail machines, tempering machines for chocolate and 3D moulds, we will introduce our new out-of-thebox solutions for gelato shops and kiosks – a latte art printer that will help our clients to create a real wow factor for their customers. What is your latest product launch? During GulfHost we will be launching Gelato PopApp, a compact workstation that encompasses spaces for the production of artisan gelato, its preservation, display and sale in a single environment. Smart and accessible like an app, it can be opened with a simple movement changing its size from 3.6m2 closed to 5.2m2 open. Versatile and adaptable like a pop-up store, it can be easily assembled and disassembled if required. GulfHost Stand Number: Sheikh Saeed Hall 1, S1-A1, S1-A3 T: +971 43433478 E: marketing@lamarquise.ae W: www.lamarquise.ae

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MKN Sheikh Saeed Hall, S3 – B25 MKN will highlight its combi steamer FlexiCombi Team at GulfHost, says Elias Rached, regional director sales, MENA Why are you exhibiting at GulfHost? GulfHost gives MKN a great platform to meet many high-level professionals from our branch and to present our products to this important region. What products are you showcasing? As a specialist of professional cooking technology, we will showcase our comprehensive product range, including the multifunctional appliances, FlexiChef and FlexiCombi, as well as their Team solutions. What is your latest product launch? The latest MKN product launch is the combi steamer FlexiCombi Team, which is one appliance equipped with two cooking chambers meaning the user can work in an extremely flexible way with two cooking modes simultaneously. The appliance is operated using the intuitive MagicPilot touch control and the touch screens for both cooking chambers are situated at eye level in the upper part of the appliance. The comfortable height ensures particularly ergonomic operation of the FlexiCombi Team and the lower door handle is turned 180° for convenience. GulfHost Stand Number: Sheikh Saeed Hall, S3 – B25 T: +971 72041336 E: rac@mkn-middle-east.com W: www.mkn.eu

INSINKERATOR Sheikh Saeed Hall, S1-105 Mohamed Karam, senior business development manager introduces the NeoTank, Insinkerator’s latest instant hot water boiler tank Why are you exhibiting at GulfHost? As one of the leading equipment manufacturers and solution providers for the foodservice industry, we were looking for a dedicated trade show for hospitality and the foodservices sector, to exhibit and introduce our products and solutions for the Middle East. We think GulfHost will help us to achieve that. What products are you showcasing? Insinkerator is a business unit of Emerson Electric Co. and the inventor and world’s largest manufacturer of food waste disposers and steaming hot water taps for home and commercial use. Our diverse portfolio of products includes basic disposer units, instant hot water dispensers and food waste pulper systems. What is your latest product launch? The NeoTank, which features an adjustable touch-panel thermostat display, allowing the user to set their desired water temperature between 88°C and 98°C. With an Insinkerator water boiler, the water you want is available on demand, and no unheated water is wasted, offering energy-saving benefits to the consumer. Cooking utensils can be cleaned more efficiently and quickly than usual and instant foods and other products needing hot water can be prepared in seconds. GulfHost Stand Number: Sheikh Saeed Hall, S1-105 E: Insinkerator.MEA@emerson.com T: +971 4 811 8282 W: www.insinkerator.com September 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Rational Sheikh Saeed Hall 3, S3-C20 Rational has a raft of new products to showcase at GulfHost, explains managing director Simon Parke-Davis Why are you exhibiting at GulfHost? We have exhibited at Gulfood since 2006 as a stand-alone entity and since GulfHost is powered by Gulfood it is a logical progression. GulfHost is the perfect interface for us to meet with existing and new customers. What products are you showcasing? This year we have four new products to showcase: the SelfCooking Center line up with the 2/3GN XS unit; the CombiMaster Plus line up with a 2/3GN XS; and the VarioCooking Center, offering the right solution for every chef, whether they're cooking 30 or 1,000 meals. What is your latest product launch? We just recently launched our new SelfCookingCenter range, which includes a true professional 2/3GN called the

SelfCookingCenter XS. Last year we launched the full VarioCooking Center range in the Middle East, which also has a 112T table top unit. This allows us to supply 100% of the cuisines globally with only two pieces of equipment, saving time, labour, space and energy. We also launched our latest CombiMaster Plus range with a 2/3GN called the CombiMaster Plus XS, delivering the same Rational performance and reliability with manual settings and automatic cleaning as standard. GulfHost Stand Number: Sheikh Saeed Hall 3, S3-C20 T: +971 4 338 6615 E: s.parkedavis@rational-online.com W: www.rational-online.com

PRECISION REFRIGERATION Sheikh Saeed Hall 2, S2-101 Managing director Nick Williams says GulfHost is a key aspect of Precision Refrigeration’s development plans Why are you exhibiting at GulfHost? GulfHost 2017 promises to be the biggest and best industry show in the Middle East region. We are growing rapidly in this market so we see this show as a key element to our development plans. What products are you showcasing? We are showcasing Precision’s new Retro Refrigeration Cabinet, which takes inspiration from the 1950s and adds the latest energy efficient components; Precision’s bottle coolers, which feature robust 43°C ambient refrigeration systems; and our new front-of-house counter, which is perfect for all-day dining applications when a clean, minimalist look is required. GulfHost stand number: Sheikh Saeed Hall 2, S2-101 T: +44 1842 753 994 E: nick@precision-refrigeration.com W: www.precision-refrigeration.co.uk

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A RONAI LLC Sheikh Saeed Hall 3, S3-C1 Ronai managing director Gavin Dodd will be highlighting tableware items and the new uniforms by Ronai catalogue at GulfHost Why are you exhibiting at GulfHost? As the Middle East distributor of some of the world’s most prestigious brands in hospitality, it’s important for us to showcase our range at the first GulfHost exhibition. The event is expected to attract some of the industry’s top decision makers and with the principles of all our major product lines on hand throughout the duration of the show, visitors can benefit from vast industry knowledge and meet the Ronai team. What products are you showcasing? We will showcase our complete range on the stand and will highlight new products launched in 2017. These include a variety of tableware and buffetware items and our new uniforms by Ronai catalogue. What is your latest product launch? We have recently partnered with Skyra, a new brand for the Ronai portfolio. The range includes a host of buffet and catering items in stainless steel, titanium and copper, which are perfect for meeting rooms, banqueting and brunch buffets. GulfHost Stand Number: Sheikh Saeed Hall 3, S3-C1 E: enquiries@ronai.ae T: +971 4 3414409 W: www.ronai.ae

WELBILT Sheikh Saeed Hall, S1-A10 Leonard Parot, regional sales manager says the Convotherm 4 combi oven and the Merrychef e2S speed oven will come under the spotlight at GulfHost Why are you exhibiting at GulfHost? Welbilt is looking forward to interacting with foodservice operators and demonstrating the many benefits our equipment can bring to operations while improving the bottom line. GulfHost is also a platform for us to meet with our distribution and service partners. What products are you showcasing? Our live cooking stations featuring Convotherm 4 combi ovens and Merrychef e2S speed ovens are a large focus. Convotherm 4 brings new standards in cooking, cleaning and operating costs in the combi category, while Merrychef e2S is the smallest highspeed oven with the biggest performance. By seeing the ease of operations and the quality of the food they deliver, operators discover how relevant our equipment is for their business. What is your latest product launch? GulfHost will also mark the regional launch of our Garland Xpress grill. Using a clamshell allows cooking time to be reduced by up to 50% and it is particularly suited to quick-service restaurants. The precise temperature controls ensure food is cooked to the appropriate core temperature to offer consistent quality and food safety. GulfHost Stand Number: Sheikh Saeed Hall, S1-A10 T: +971 4 326 3313 E: info.me@welbilt.com W: www.welbilt.com September 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Dometic Middle East Profile

One era ends as a new one begins Dometic Middle East managing director Goran Anninger tells Hotel News Middle East how he is handing over the baton to Kester Petersson

Goran Anninger

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Goran Anninger: I’m told 1991 is 26 years ago, which puts a few things into perspective. Having spent 1988 - 1989 in Sharjah, I knew what I was coming back to, to join Electrolux, Dometic Group’s original parent company. Let’s say there was no Dubai Marina, Summer Palace was a restaurant at Metropolitan Hotel and the highway to Abu Dhabi was, well, darker and narrower. Fast-forward some years and Dometic’s lodging business became more noticeable as Sheikh Zayed Road changed its face, with Crowne Plaza and other properties coming up. Chicago Beach Hotel went down with a bang, and the Jumeirah Hotels went up. The growth of the tourism sector and hotel construction since then is impressive. We all know the excitement of being in this business: meeting people, making friends, looking at a market, understanding market needs, launching new solutions, finding your business partners, educating customers on features and standards, highlighting the best options and eventually, closing your first orders, then repeat. Few markets offer such opportunities. Dometic Group has done very well along with other market players, across its divisions, and the United Arab Emirates is a hot spot known everywhere. A few years of handling Dometic Medical Refrigeration provided an insight into a different world, in parts of the region where life’s basics were not a given. Working with great people from all over the world, successful business, challenges, experiencing different cultures, which


also means reminders of our similarities, being part of the progress, it is all in a day’s work, times 26 years. Judging by the many megaprojects under way, the working week isn’t getting any shorter. What made Dometic one of the most respected brand in the Middle East for the Hospitality industry? Goran Anninger: Dometic recognises shifting market trends, technology updates and respect for the environment, as well as the need to offer solutions at a range of prices and design styles. We work closely with operators, owning companies and procurement companies to understand their individual requirements. To make selection, procurement and technical support easy, we selected market leading distributors across MENA, specialised in hotel supplies, to facilitate this process. This is the foundation for our customers’ respect for Dometic products. What is your vision for the new position? Kester Petersson: As a 17-year veteran of the company, I have been positioned to maintain and integrate Dometic’s renowned commitment to quality products, attention to detail and customer responsiveness with a drive to cater for the exact needs of the local market and further develop our understanding of the end-users of our products by adapting and enhancing our offering. Reflecting the company’s emphasis on continuous improvement. My focus is to strengthen relationships with valued partners and increase investment in our staff in order to grow the business and ensure our customers have access to the best expert advice in the market. All these factors will be in place to ensure Dometic captures the full potential within each market segment and product area. What were your major achievements in your previous role? Kester Petersson: I have a proven background in achieving exceptional revenue and sales growth figures and in building and leading high-performing teams, a record enforced by this most recent role at the company as Head of Business Development and Marketing for Dometic in EMEA. During this four-year stint, which followed

Kester Petersson

Contact details: Mr Kester Petersson Managing Director, Dometic Middle East and North Africa E-mail: kester.petersson@dometic.com Mobile number: +97156 502 6684 Phone: +9714 88 33 858 For sales enquiries, contact: mohammed.muwafi@dometic.com Visit our stand at The Hotel Show: 7E270 a progression of key sales and marketing positions at Dometic, I have transformed the company’s earnings by successfully launching products in new markets. What products and services do you offer the hotel sector? Kester Petersson: Our hotel product range includes mini-bars, wine cellars and electronic safes. Everything is made in-house. Research and development, manufacturing, quality control, customer

support, all essential work is performed by Dometic employees, and long-term business partners, by providing integrated solutions for professional and profitable in-room marketing. From choosing the right products to competent on-site advice and tailor-made solutions, we support our customers all the way, in the effort that their investment becomes an immediate success. What makes your company stand out on the market? Kester Petersson: Dometic will continue to enrich people’s experiences when away from home by providing smart, reliable products with outstanding design for mobile living in the areas of Hygiene & Sanitation and Food & Beverage. Dometic manufactures and sells products within these areas for use in mainly recreational vehicles, trucks and premium cars, cruisers and work boats, and for a variety of other uses, including the premium range of lodging products. September 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME

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Advertorial

Discover the French offer at GulfHost and the Speciality Food Festival 18 – 20 September, Dubai World Trade Centre Sheikh Saeed Hall 1, stand S1-D63 • Two French pavilions including new companies attending • Showcase of latest French innovation over 520m2 • Winning prizes each day on Business France stand

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usiness France, the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy will host two French pavilions at GulfHost and the Speciality Food Festival, taking place on 18 – 20 September at Dubai World Trade Centre. The French offer will consist of kitchen equipment and gourmet products from over 50 French firms, each displaying premium products and know-how. This year, the French pavilions have numerous new launches to showcase. The Business France export team will also be attending to

boost business opportunities in the region, focusing on all buyer nationalities together with the most promising ones, namely: UAE, Lebanon, Egypt, KSA and Sri Lanka. The UAE imports 85% of its agri-food products, with France ranking 11th among its importers list, and the second most important European importer (3% market share in 2016). French agri-food products and equipment proudly fulfil the quality and excellence demanded by consumers in the Gulf. Despite fierce competition, good prospects of growth are expected in trade relations between France and the Gulf.

About Business France Business France is the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy and is responsible for fostering the export growth of French businesses and promoting and facilitating international investment in France. It promotes France’s companies, business image and nationwide attractiveness as an investment location, and runs the VIE international internship programme. Business France launched an international campaign called Creative France to promote France’s economic attractiveness, strengthen perceptions of the country’s image and create positive conditions for French economic development. CONTACT: Miryem Oukas Messidi Head of Communications – Middle East Mobile: +971 (0)55 478 32 15 Mail: miryem.oukasmessidi@ businessfrance.fr Twitter : @BF_MiddleEast

French presence at GulfHost

French offer at Speciality Food Festival This year, the French pavilion is stronger than ever with 22 brands exhibiting their latest products and creations over an area of 114m² in Za’abeel hall. It will be the location to enjoy and relish the display of generous and refined French gourmet sweets. Local consumption of French confectionery, from jam and ‘dragées’ to chocolate truffles, has been increasing lately, making it a strong point of attraction at the festival. Other food industries shall be present, ranging from dairy products, to beverages and specific industries such as oyster production. Visitors will be able to discover specific and diverse French products. Exhibitors at the festival are selected among excellent French manufacturers offering quality products, especially suited to Emirati consumers. French firms have the expertise, technological abilities and strong innovation skills required to enable French agri-food businesses to be ranked among the top European exporters and gain worldwide renown. Participating for the first time at SFF this year are: • Horizon International: the promotional organisation of the French region, NouvelleAquitaine. • Friaa Paca: regional agri-food industry federation from the south of France. • Le monde de l’Epicerie Fine: a reference magazine on market trends of gourmet products and a strong partner of firms working in this field. The magazine will be on display at the French Pavilion. Long standing French partners such as Evian, Badoit and Cafes Richard will also attend.

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Do not miss the showcase of the latest French innovations over a 520m² area in Sheikh Saeed Hall. Participating at GulfHost this year: • Dev’up: the promotional organisation of the French region, Centre-Val de Loire. • Syneg: the French organisation of professional kitchen equipment manufacturers partners with 30 leading firms exhibiting at the French pavilion. As the prime partner of French SMEs, manufacturers and subsidiaries of international brands, Syneg covers 75% of the market of professional kitchen equipment in France (https://syneg.org/). Visitors to the French pavilion can also take part in the Syneg and Equiphotel prize draw by dropping a business card to win a touch tablet. Two winners will be selected each day from 18-20 September.


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DU BAI SER V E S A WOR L D OF HO SPITA L I T Y Reflecting the soaring demand for new, adventurous leisure and dining experiences, GulfHost will redefine your performance in the fast-moving hospitality arena. Discover the A - Z of restaurant, bar and cafĂŠ solutions at the global melting point for multicultural cuisine

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Hansgrohe leads the way The Hansgrohe Group, based in Schiltach, southern Germany, enjoys a reputation as a leader in quality, innovation and design within the bath and kitchen industry

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he Hansgrohe Group brings form and function to water with taps, showerheads and shower systems. The 116-year history of the company is marked by innovations such as the first handheld shower with multiple spray types, the first pull-out kitchen tap, and the first wall bar to hold a hand-held shower. The company holds more than 17,000 active property rights with products from its Axor and Hansgrohe ranges, the group has a reputation for long-lasting quality products. With 34 subsidiaries and 21 sales offices supplying products in more than 140 countries, the company is a reliable partner to its customers around the world. The Hansgrohe Group’s brands and products have won numerous awards, including more than 500 design prizes since 1974. Sustainable production of resource-con-

serving products is central to the company’s business activities around the globe. The products of the Hansgrohe Group are featured in projects around the world, such as the luxurious ocean liner Queen Mary 2, and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The group’s high-quality

standards are ensured by five wholly-owned production facilities: two in Germany, one each in France, the United States and China. In 2016, the Hansgrohe Group generated a turnover of EUR 1.029 billion. It employs more than 4,800 people worldwide, about 60% of whom work in Germany.

In 1924, the fashion designer Jeanne Lanvin opened her Atelier de Parfum in Paris, and a world of olfactory delights was born: Les Notes de Lanvin continues the haute couture and fragrance legacy with refined collections for the bath and body and an avant-garde attractive packaging: from the perfume shape bottle with a shiny black capsule, to the pearly white material and elegant branded stamp. The gentle formulas are adapted to all skin types ensuring sensorial textures and experience. Available in 45 ml - Oud & Rose. Notes: patchouli, rose absolute, oud wood, skin musk. Contact mredouane@sagmacorp.com / 04 454 84 02 - 055 710 4252 84

HOTEL NEWS ME September 2017


JOIN YOUR PEERS AND PARTICPATE IN THE REGION’S LARGEST HOSPITALITY EVENT

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Marketplace

Raising the bar Industry experts explain how they stay ahead of the rest when it comes to gym equipment

What are the latest trends in gym equipment? Nicole Bradley: Functionality and ease of use are two key trends that we have witnessed in strength training equipment. Members are looking for personalised software for cardio workouts. Stair climbers and X trainers are the most popular machines amongst members wanting to see results in a short period of time. The TRX Suspension Trainer, a highly portable performance training tool is another piece of equipment that is popular with clients. 86

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Joao Batista Gonsalues: People are moving towards non-motorised equipment, for example the jungle gym concept with artificial rocks, ropes and climbing frames. Instead of using the static machines or free weights, people would rather exercise using their own body weight, incorporating the entire body into the workout. Such methods burn more fat compared to static machines. Michele Moro: High Intensity Training (HIIT) equipment is very popular as it is a great way to burn fat, more specifically in

terms of equipment, I’m talking about the Technogym Skill Mill, Skill Row and digitally connected equipment through Unity as people can track themselves and set goals to see progress, rather than just running outside. Daniel Morariu: There's a growing demand for functional equipment that helps you engage the core through compound movements rather than isolated exercises. As well as physical gym equipment trends, technology is also incredibly important, with wearable fitness trackers, smart-watches and various


Marketplace

apps, which are great for tracking your personal development. Now, as well as providing heart rate readings and GPS route trackers, you can even have reminders to move, consume water and food and to analyse sleep patterns. Xavier Halbi: There are constant changes in the field of wellness with new physical trends and thought movements constantly emerging, from equipment to diets, muscle gain and cardio work. The various tools and machines are becoming more comfortable, more streamlined, and more appealing to the eye while offering the same functionality and physical results. Sue Chua: Computer technology incorporated into fitness equipment is becoming a trend now. Life Fitness’ Elevation series of cardio equipment allows users to save their workouts to a USB stick then download that information onto a special website where they can monitor the workout length, distance and intensity. What qualities are gym instructors looking for when purchasing equipment? Nicole: It’s not just about quality. The biggest aspect is about providing the member and the trainer a variety of machines that do different things. Technology innovations in gym equipment can help in differentiating a facility. From an investment point of view, we always look for reliability and a great maintenance programme for each piece of equipment.

The panel

Daniel Morariu director of recreation, The Retreat Palm Dubai

Nicole Bradley assistant manager, The Burj Club, Burj Khalifa

Xavier Halbi executive assistant manager, Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek

Joao Batista Gonsalues personal trainer, Fairmont Dubai

Sue Chua front office manager, Media One Hotel

Michele Moro managing director, Technogym ME

Joao: With the device market becoming both more specialised and diverse, the key priority is safety. Quality is equally important and we have just recently upgraded all our treadmills to the latest Technogym models. Michele: The first would be easy-to-use equipment, since most clients are at a starting point in terms of exercise, which is why they have a trainer to motivate them. Engaging equipment is also very important, for example Olympic lifting bars, which allow trainers to give great

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Marketplace

examples next to the client while they are performing the exercise as opposed to giant machines locked in a certain position, which are hard to teach with. Daniel: Usually there is a balance between maximising the use of space and delivering a comprehensive suite of equipment that appeals to our guests. It is worth bearing in mind that the gym in some hotels is only used by around 20% of hotel guests, so you will find that other hotels put a far greater focus on cost effectiveness. Xavier: Gym instructors can vary greatly in their views and approaches to body workouts. Some are more focused on the client getting leaner, gaining mass, losing weight or simply for maintaining a certain level of health. Therefore, their purchasing behaviour will reflect the needs of their clients. Sue: A brand with a good reputation is key, as is a decent warranty. Preventive maintenance is vital as well. How have customer needs changed when it comes to the gym over the last 12 months? Nicole: Members want to track and record their progress to see if they are accomplishing their set fitness and health goals. Customer experience and educated fitness trainers are two key things to win loyalty. Joao: As the trend of fitness clubs is rapidly evolving, guests want to further enhance their experience every time they work out. Gym-goers are looking for innovative alternatives to cardio machines, which enable them to use their own body weight while exercising. Michele: Athletic and performance training is taking over as well as the CrossFit trend. This means less rough fitness and large lifting is happening in favour of a more sport-focussed performance approach. Daniel: There is an explosion in the market for yoga, tai chi and qi gong, 88

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The TRX Suspension Trainer is highly popular

with great exposure provided by social media influencers. Mindfulness is all about gaining a greater awareness of the deep connection between mind and body. Xavier: The major shift is that people are spending less time in the gym. Clients nowadays are in a rush, they want a quick burn-out or at least a quick break away from the daily stress of life. Of course, we have some of our very loyal customers who still enjoy their twohour workout, however we see more and more people who come twice a day for their daily quick fix. Sue: Users prefer to go to a facility that is accessible to their workplace. A 24hour gym facility is key and users often request for their membership to be frozen because a lot of Dubai expats are transient. Most users like fitness classes too to boost their motivation to finish a workout.

What steps should hoteliers take to maximise revenue potential from an on-site gym? Nicole: The Burj Club focuses on offering a variety of training packages and personal training sessions. Combining other services and features, such as spa or pool access as part of a package, is another potential revenue generator. Joao: It’s important to keep the gym equipment up-to-date. One of the many ways of maximising revenue potential is to offer guests personal and group training programmes or specialised equipment services, such as a 1.5-hour Power Plate session, which activates the body's natural reflexive response to vibration, while engaging muscles in a consistent and controlled manner. Michele: Hotels need to be consistent with their brands. Status and overall experience is also key. Leverage the typical three main streams of revenue


Marketplace

with a proper attraction strategy, proactive retention and innovative and appealing secondary spends, not only limited to F&B, retail and PT, but also with small group training and specialised classes. Daniel: There is tough competition from independent fitness clubs specialising in fitness services and activities in residential areas, particularly in Dubai. They seem to be popular with the heavy duty, hard-core fitness lover demographic. Xavier: Businesses should completely understand their customers’ needs and goals by engaging with them and asking questions... Secondly, hoteliers specifically, should understand the mindset of the person who goes to a gym or why they don’t. Sue: There is a demand for the availability of healthy food options that gym users can consume before and after a workout and this can boost food and beverage sales. Hotel staff should be able to use the facilities too if they are willing to pay the membership. 90

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What future trends and technological innovations do you anticipate over the next year? Nicole: Wearable technology is the top fitness trend for the coming year. Products including fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices are very popular among gym members. Products such as Myzone help them to monitor their workout effort and the information motivates them to stay fit in the long-term. Joao: In terms of digitalisation we have already taken the first step forward as guests can bring their outdoor training routine indoors simply by using a smart phone and the Mywellness app. It helps people to define regular training programmes, follow diet recommendations and track and store data from their previous activities. Michele: We are in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution therefore digital fitness transformation is already happening and will be more like all other sectors and industries. Along with that, integration will be a must to provide a

seamless on-the-go experience and wellness will be a core element. Daniel: The Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) functional workout is considered by many fitness professionals to be the future of training. The device combines modern technology and scientific facts to produce targeted muscle stimulation, ensuring people reach their best in the fastest possible way. Xavier: Trends continuously change at yet a faster pace; it is very hard to predict what technologies will be created and I would only caution on the fact that most innovations are merely re-inventing the wheel or sometimes just making it shinier. However, I am anticipating the need for a more customised, personalised and more holistic approach to health for our clients. People are more interested in various options that encompass the body-mind complex. Sue: Fitness trackers and smart watches have been hot holiday gifts for the last few years. Recent updates from brands like Garmin, Apple and Fitbit have made this a huge trend for the upcoming year.


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Products

Lighting the way

Hotel News Middle East speaks to the region’s leading lighting equipment suppliers about what’s hot in the sector…

1765 Gemini

DELMATIC Sunil Kothari, managing director Delmatic presents the latest touchscreen experience in lighting

Sophie Thornton, marketing and public relations executive, 1765 Gemini introduces the innovative Ongo lamp What is your latest product launch? The Ongo lamp by Contardi Lighting.

What is your latest product launch? Delmatic’s latest Touchpanel systems provide powerful control of lighting, drapes/blinds, HVAC and other services within hotel guest rooms as well as front-of-house areas. The precision-engineered aluminium and glass Touchpanels deliver the ultimate touchscreen experience, while the deep-black, optically-bonded screen and high-resolution animated graphics provide powerful and intuitive control of lighting scenes, shading and temperature, DND and MUR functions, as well as other connected room services. Integration with room booking systems and smart locks coupled with integral occupancy monitoring relates lighting scenes and services to lettings and occupancy, even down to the personal settings for regular guests. The Touchpanels incorporate international ISO open communication standards including DALI, Lon and IP, ensuring seamless connectivity across a shared network and futureproof connectivity. What makes it unique? The Touchpanel is unique in that it uses worldwide standard ISO communication protocols instead of closed, proprietary communication protocols that are found on other systems.

What makes it unique? The innovative Ongo lamp features convenient portability, high performance LED and an engineered battery-operated power source in two adjustable light intensities. Additional accessories can also be purchased to enhance your experience.

Why should businesses purchase your product? Delmatic have almost sixty years’ experience in the design and supply of advanced controls and have been equipping major, iconic projects in the Gulf for more than 30 years from a network of regional offices.

Why should businesses purchase your product? People should buy the Ongo lamp because it showcases where luxurious finishing and detail meets engineered wonders in nine illuminating colour combinations. The Ongo lamp was designed in New York and made in Italy.

What’s next for your company in 2017 and onwards? Delmatic are at the forefront of digital controls and continue to expand their range of wired and wireless controls as well as user interfaces. The latest systems combine powerful and intuitive control for guests with reliable and sustainable management for hotel operators.

What’s next for your company in 2017 and onwards? We have just opened our new 1000m² office and showroom in Barsha Heights and in September we relaunch our website with a new site reflecting the great brands we represent here. We are also exhibiting at The Hotel Show in September and then launch a retail concept before end of 2017.

Contact details: Phone: +971 4 2566722 Email: sunil.kothari@delmaticarabia.ae

Contact details: Email: Sophie@1765gemini.com Phone: +971 4 554 3003

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Products

The Zumbotel Group Veit Mueller, SVP Zumtobel Group MEIA region highlights the company's new LED downlights What is your latest product launch? We have recently launched new products tailored to different areas in a hotel. These include an innovative recessed luminaire called IQ Wave with great lighting quality and high user comfort and the Air Mini and Novus Mini range of architectural LED downlights that can turn spaces into experiences thanks to the Warm to Zero technology. What makes the products unique? The new range of mini downlights offers a great lit effect and the light supports the visual and emotional needs of the observer. They blend seamlessly into their surroundings minimising their visual impact during the day but bringing interest and drama by night. IQ Wave is available with a range of control systems which allow for daylight, presence and absence detection. These control options give users easy access to personal lighting control for enhanced comfort, convenience and energy savings. Intelligent design is the foundation that makes IQ Wave the perfect choice for high quality, comfortable office lighting.

Why should businesses purchase your product? Zumtobel Group provides lighting concepts geared towards the guest and provides an atmosphere in a hotel room with various lighting scenes. We also understand the importance of an emotionally captivating lighting atmosphere that transforms a stay into an experience. With projects like the Palazzo Versace and Bulgari Hotel as well as mid-market hotels like the Aloft and Holiday Inn and refurbishment projects undertaken recently, our products are developed specifically to help all industry professionals, be it the operator, the owner or

the MEP contractor, to choose the right product for the right application. What’s next for your company in 2017 and onwards? With the Middle East hospitality market viewed as being particularly robust up until 2020, our focus is not only on highend hotels and their refurbishments, but also on midscale and budget accommodation in line with the vision of Dubai Expo 2020. Contact details: Phone: +971 4 340 4646 Email: info.ae@zumtobelgroup.com

Big brands on show at Bagnodesign showroom Dornbracht, Nicolazzi and Axent are just a few of the big bathroom names on show at the flagship Bagnodesign showroom in Dubai. Brands @ Bagnodesign is a dedicated area with products from some of the world’s luxury bathroom manufacturers, all of which are represented exclusively by Sanipex in their flagship showroom in Dubai. Internationally renowned brands featured include German brassware manufacturer Dornbracht as well as Axent, Nicolazzi and GSI. Designers can access the latest products and trends from these leading names, along with Bagnodesign branded products for a one-stop solution from one trusted supplier. Customers visiting the showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road can see working displays of the latest trending products, which allow visitors to fully immerse themselves in the functionality and features of the products, experience their uniqueness and understand how they would fit into a real-life setting.

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On the spot

Putting people first

Fixing electronics, reading books by Alex Ferguson and dancing to Rihanna are just some of the interests revealed by Abdelfattah Mohammed, outlet manager, Oasis Café – Danat Al Ain Resort…

What's the best thing about your job?

stress and problems of life. Just for pure enjoyment and relaxation.

The best thing about my job is getting the chance to entertain guests from different cultures. Talking to them and making sure they are comfortable and from these conversations, I learn so much from their culture and this gives me the opportunity to widen my knowledge and insight.

Why did you want to join this industry? I love challenges – these make my life exciting and in the hotel industry everyday is a challenge. You have to satisfy guests and inspire people under you and so on.

What would you say to someone starting out in your sector?

What made you choose this role? One of my passions is to make people happy and with my current role I get to do that. I want to make sure that our guests are happy the minute they step into our hotel. When they are happy we are sure that they will come back and speak positively about their experience.

What do you do when you're not working? When I get free time. I make sure that I spend it with my family and close friends.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I want to see myself in a position where I can advise and help my colleagues from my experience under the role of director of F&B.

Be patient and always show you are willing to learn and be committed to your job because that means you enjoy what you’re doing.

What's the worst thing about your job? When there are requests that we can’t provide to our guests. This is very rare but when it happens, it feels that we did not give 100% to our guests.

Tell us something that none of your colleagues What’s your favourite book? What's the best bit of advice you've received in know about you? the workplace? I’m fond of fixing electronics; this is my Anything by Alex Ferguson. Treat people as you want them to treat you. We want to make sure that we treat guests the way we want to be treated when we stay in other properties. It’s like inviting guests to your home and you give them a warm welcome and let them feel comfortable. I want to feel the same way when other people invite me to their homes.

tension reliever.

If you invited guests round for dinner what would If you could stay in any hotel in the world right you make? now, where would you go? I would love them to try my own version of Definitely the Maldives. I would like to spend a quiet time in the middle of the sea, enjoying the sea breeze and the calmness of nature, not thinking of the

the Arabic mixed grill.

What song instantly gets you on the dance floor? Rihanna’s music works for me.

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

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

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