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The definitive guide to successful hotel management


August 2010






MAKING A MEAL Top chefs explain how to create menus that bring in the diners and the dollars



Shot on location at Grosvenor House, Dubai

Middle East Mattress Factory, P.O. Box 1433, Jeddah 21431, Saudi Arabia Phone: +966 2 608 1350, Fax: + 966 2 608 2285,



August 2010 Volume 9, Issue 8 05 NEWS


TMCs look to avoid pre-financing hotel stays; Iraq hotel blaze kills 28; Sofitel in Moroccan expansion.

Lee Jamieson explains why hotels across the region are joining the revenue management bandwagon.



Dubai’s greenest hotels recognised in first DTCM Green Tourism Awards.

56 PRODUCT ANALYSIS: GYM EQUIPMENT Harriet Sinclair explains how hotels can utilise their fitness centres to drive an increase in revenue.



Authorities hope that Morocco will become a luxury travel hotspot. Kathi Everden investigates.

Guy Wilkinson reports from the Alila Diwa in Goa.



Josiah Mackenzie explains social media platforms, and why you should be using them.

Hotelier Middle East showcases a selection of the most recent products to hit the market.



Diversey says industry ‘unclear’ on green labels; Lactalis goes low fat.

Travelport launches leisure portal; Entiretec expands in-room entertainment offer.

18 LOBBYIST Amancorp CEO Mihir Patel exposes hoteliers’ hidden problem.

22 INTERVIEW Southern Sun Offshore MD Richard Weilers talks emotional intelligence.

The beds and bedding essentials to give your guests a good night’s sleep.

53 SUPPLIER PROFILE 25 GM INTERVIEW Park Rotana’s Sascha Bartz discusses mixed-use developments.

26 COVER STORY: CHEFS ROUNDTABLE Top chefs explain how to create menus to bring in diners and dollars.


Managing director of Under One Roof, Tony Lamb, explains why word of mouth is the way forward.




The newly opened restaurant at Emirates Palace shows off a combination of Feng Shui and new design.

How hotels can utilise the latest technology to be more energy efficient and save themselves money.

Part two of Roger MacFarlaine’s cloud computing strategies.

Bench Events chairman Jonathan Worsley reports on developments from the advisory board meeting for the Central Asia and Turkey Hotel Investment Conference.

76 INVESTOR OPINION Ròya International consultant Turab Saleem takes a three-tiered approach to asset management.

79 LEISURE MANAGER Landmark eyes deal for Fitness First Franchise; Spa research from Global Spa Summit; Dive centre offers disabled diver training course.

84 MOVERS AND SHAKERS New recruit and appointments from inside the industry.

86 HOTELIERS AFTER HOURS The best of the month’s parties, events and awards.

88 HOTELIER CONFIDENTIAL Insights from the news desk and the monthly Hotelier competition.

36 54


68 Hotelier Middle East • August 2010





Most-read stories on

Ex-Nakheel exec plunges to death at Dubai Hotel A former Canadian sales consultant at Nakheel’s World Project, Samir Rafik Shinwi, is thought to have committed suicide by jumping from the 29th floor of a fivestar hotel in Dubai. The 31-year-old was facing charges surrounding financial irregularities within The World project. The Court of First Instance released the man on bail on June 6 after he posted an AED 6 million (US $272,000) bond and on July 8, the court was adjourned until September 15 for defence arguments to be presented and new witnesses to be called. According to reports, the lawyer of the deceased, Eissa bin Haidar, said that the

Canadian man’s fiancée was with him in the hotel room when the defendant became incredibly nervous. She claimed he smashed a TV and broke everything in the hotel room. She added that she had then left the room, unable to stand his behaviour. According to the lawyer, the woman told the police that her fiancé sent her multiple text messages warning her that he would kill himself if she did not return. The deceased was accused of collecting bribes worth nearly AED 22 million ($5.9 million) in return for giving facilities to particular clients by not compelling them to sign booking contracts of some islands.

1. Ex-Nakheel exec plunges to death at Dubai hotel 2. Hilton shut down because of prostitute ring 3. Five-star hotels sold food not fit for consumption 4. Leading the way with luxury 5. Man faces jail after trying to see The Ritz 6. Elisabetta Gucci sued by Gucci over Dubai hotel 7. Top 20 Ramadan F&B festivities 8. ADNH signs Ritz-Carlton to run Grand Canal Hotel 9. Hotel cleaner returns US $50,000 left in room 10. J-Lo sued for US $40 million for abandoned hotel gig


AFP/Getty Images

the singer cancelled her appearance at the hotel located in the Turkish sector. The hotel management is now threatening to sue for breach of contract — a representative reportedly claimed the property’s owners would ask for US $40 million in damages. A publicist for the singer confirmed the cancellation was political. “This reflects our sensitivity to the political realities of the region.”

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.



J-Lo sued for US $40 million for abandoned hotel gig Jennifer Lopez’s decision to cancel a private concert for a Cyprus hotel could cost her millions, according to reports. The singer was due to perform at the newly opened Cratos Premium hotel and casino. However, after thousands of people signed a petition begging her not to come because of Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974,



1. 2. 3. 4. 5.


1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Hotelier Middle East Rocco Forte Abu Dhabi Staff accommodation awards Consumer future trends in Dubai Marassi Egypt

For a list of upcoming properties, see update your company’s list, contact August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

Design Antonio Citterio

Assistant Toan Nguyen



THE REGION • Signings • Openings • Best practices • Strategy • Branding • Legislation • Events

TMCs look to avoid pre-financing hotel stays Agreement on online transactions, but hotels question methods and query use of credit cards STORY OF THE MONTH Travel Management Companies (TMCs) have called for a credit card GDS payment environment in a bid to avoid having to pre-finance clients’ hotel stays. In the current market, the majority of stays are sold through consolidators, which issue clients with prepaid vouchers, pay the hotel and then bill the TMC. Alshamel International director of marketing Tim Waddell said this model “perpetuates the pre-financing of client travel” as clients can take months to pay the TMC. “Plus, TMCs are not earning any direct hotel commissions or are in a position to negotiate best rates with suppliers on behalf of themselves or their clients,” he asserted. “Consolidators terms of credit are often much tighter than most TMCs’ own and they act in a simi-

Baxa: Booking online would help with easy tracking.

lar way to [IATA’S] Billing and Settlement Plan in many respects — cutting TMCs off if credit lines are overdue, leaving them unable to service clients’ hotel needs.” Waddell added that booking hotels via GDS was quicker for agents and didn’t hold any liability for the TMC. Under this system the client uses a credit card to secure

the room at the time of booking and the payment is made directly to the hotel on arrival. The TMC only has to follow up with the hotel in order to receive the commissions earned. “In a credit card environment the GDS can be used more easily for hotel bookings and payment management solutions are able to track the hotel spend. The bottom line is there are no credit line/cash flow issues between supplier and TMC,” Waddell concluded. According to director of marketing and communications for Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek Stephanie AbouJaoude, the move towards a “virtual world” has provided “more overall effective systems and procedures”. “Perhaps something similar to certain online systems that a few online American giants use for their booking and reservations systems through virtual credit cards is the way to go for the overall travel

industry’s payment method structure,” she suggested. “This would both benefit hotels as well as the agents as it is accurate, tracked and saves a lot of time and communication follow-ups as well.” Dubai Marriott Hotels market sales manager – leisure and MICE, Maria Baxa, agreed that booking online would “help the hotel and TMC with easy tracking”. However, she argued an online virtual credit card was “too risky”, suggesting the use of a “code number or reference number instead”. “The voucher system works for both hotels and TMCs and benefits both equally,” Baxa added. “From a hotel’s perspective, because it is pre-paid, it helps in building the hotel base for a certain period of time. Likewise, it also works well for TMCs because they are buying in bulk, they get reasonable rates, it guarantees availability and clients can book anytime.”

Bahrain’s top hotels aim to revive flagging summer tourism Luxury hotels in Bahrain are at the forefront of an initiative to boost local tourism by slashing their room rates during summer. The five-star hotels’ executive committee launched the summer promotion—which has seen rates at Bahrain’s five-star hotels drop to BD45 (US $ 119) — in July and it will continue throughout August. Chairman of the five star hotels’ executive committee and general manager of the Diplomat Radisson Blu hotel Bahrain, A. Rahman Morshed, said: “We co-ordinate the

motion with other five-star hotels to bring in more tourism.” However, the promotion has not seen the initial success that the hotels hoped for. “The occupancy [for the Diplomat] for July is around 45%, compared to 57% for the same period last year. So have we reached a state where we are happy? No. But the offer means we can reach a state where we have the minimum, and we try to make do,” said Morshed. However, if it is a success, other regional hotels may follow suit.

The Diplomat Radisson Blu, Bahrain: dropping rates during the summer months to bring tourists to Bahrain.

W Doha area director of sales and marketing Wael Rashed said: “We do not have a rates cartel like in Bahrain so we have more freedom

to choose our rates. But if it would drive in tourism then of course we would be interested in an initiative like this one”. Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



ANNOUNCEMENTS Gary Rhodes strikes again

Investigation into emergency procedures at Soma Hotel underway A fire ripped through a hotel in Iraq on July 16, killing 28 people. The blaze at the Soma Hotel in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah — in the north of the country — was caused by an electrical short, according to reports. It is thought that half of those killed were foreigners, some victims jumping five-storeys to their deaths to escape the flames. Reports claimed most of those who died were suffocated by smoke due to a lack of emergency escapes. Four women and four children were among the dead. An investigation into the causes of the fire and the emergency procedures that followed is underway.

AFP/Getty Images

Michelin-starred celebrity chef Gary Rhodes is set to launch his second restaurant in Dubai, Rhodes Twenty10, at Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort and Spa on August 4. The outlet is billed as a “new generation of grill”, which aims to make “the dining experience more sociable, by introducing sharing platters and offering a variety of flavours all on one plate”, said Rhodes. Grills will range from steak to lobster, with dressings, sauces and salsas included in the price of the dish. Signature dishes include the Rhodes Twenty10 burger made with fillet steak and topped with melting foie gras, followed by sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce and toffee ice cream.

Twenty-eight killed in Iraq hotel blaze

Iraqis gather outside the Soma Hotel in the northern city of Sulaimaniyah, after a fire broke out late at night.

Wafi increases hotel portfolio The Wafi Group has taken over management of the Somerset Residences in Jadaf, and will re-brand the property as Park Hotel Apartments. The property is located adjacent to the group’s existing hotel, the Arabian Park Hotel. Mark Lee, general manager of Arabian Park and the new Park Hotel Apartments, said: “The property is ideal for the mid- to high-end market, as it is positioned as deluxe fully-serviced apartments. “We feel that the new property will allow us to tap into a higher-end market that we were not able to cater to in the past, and our aim will be to operate the new apartments just like a five-star hotel.”

ADNH signs Ritz-Carlton to run Grand Canal Hotel Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH) has appointed Ritz-Carlton to run the Grand Canal Hotel Abu Dhabi. ADNH chairman H.E. Saif Al Hajeri said: “Our alliance with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is a clear demonstration of our overall plans for ADNH’s growth strategy. We are conscious of the fact that our success has been built through our mutually beneficial alliances with world-class partners and the appointment of The Ritz-Carlton reinforces that strategy. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

Grand Canal Hotel Abu Dhabi: Run by Ritz-Carlton.

president Simon Cooper added: “Our partnership with ADNH in the development of this hotel is an

exciting opportunity for our company to extend its presence in such an important part of the world”. Previously, the 532-room hotel, which is located close to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, was due to be operated by JW Marriott. The decision to negotiate a new management contract with Marriott International was taken because “of the calibre of the hotel,” said ADNH CEO Richard W. Riley. “We are pleased to see our efforts coming to reality, and we are excited about this partnership with The Ritz-Carlton,” commented Riley.

Coral shows confidence in KSA Coral Hotels and Resorts has entered into an agreement with Al Fanar Group to manage the firm’s new hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The Coral Jeddah — currently under construction and slated to open in early 2011 — will feature 54 rooms, eight suites and eight studio apartments, as well as two restaurants, a roof-top café, three function rooms, a health club and a pool. Coral Hotels’ expansion in Jeddah is the result of a development strategy that will see the group spread throughout Saudi Arabia, where it already operates several properties.

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

Slowdown in Mideast hotel development pipeline The Middle East and Africa hotel development pipeline has shrunk by nearly 2600 rooms since April, new figures have revealed. The latest data from STR Global for June has shown the region’s pipeline of planned hotels stood at 455 properties totalling 126,310 rooms. This compared to 467 hotels in the development phase in April and nearly 129,000 rooms. According to the June 2010 STR Global Construction Pipeline

Report, the UAE remained top in the region for development projects. It accounted for nearly 50% of total rooms in the total active pipeline for the region. The country ended the month with 54,814 rooms in the total active pipeline. The UAE also reported the most rooms in the ‘in construction’ phase with 29,292 rooms. Saudi Arabia reported 16,680 rooms in the total active pipeline, followed by Egypt (7332 rooms).

In the key markets in the region, Dubai ended the month with the most rooms in the total active pipeline (32,224) and the most rooms in the ‘in construction’ phase (16,768). Neighbour Abu Dhabi followed with 14,456 rooms in the total active pipeline and 8479 rooms in the ‘in construction’ phase. Three of the seven chain scale segments each individually accounted for more than 20% of rooms in the total active pipeline.


Last chance to nominate Hotelier Awards deadline has been extended The final deadline for nominations for the Hotelier Middle East Awards 2010 has been extended to Wednesday August 26. This year, there are 19 categories, including Hotel Team of the Year, new for 2010 and expected to be hotly contended. Categories back by popular demand include Hotelier’s Unsung Hero of the Year Award, General Manager of the Year, Chef of the Year and Green Hotelier of the Year — which has become an increasingly competitive award following its launch three years ago. Hotels of all star ratings are encouraged to enter staff for the awards, which are focused on rewarding staff behind the scenes, from steward and engineer through to public relations and housekeeper. ITP Business group editor, hospitality, Louise Oakley said: “With close to 200 nominations received so far, the competition is heating up. I encourage those of you who have not yet entered your team members to nominate now so that they have


Au Thé Rouge

Who will follow in Uwe Micheel from Radisson Blu’s footsteps and win Hotelier’s Chef of The Year 2010?

the chance to receive the industry recognition they deserve”. To see a list of categories and nominate your colleagues, visit



Rumour file Rumour: The Hiranandani Group has acquired Taj Exotica on The Palm, Jumeirah in Dubai, and is looking at developing further into the hotel industry.

Response: The official response from Hiranandani Group MD Darshan Hiranandani was “no comment”. However, the Group expects to be able to tell Hotelier Middle East about its “future plans and philosophies” in early August.



MIDDLE EAST E X C L U S I V E LY F R O M F o r m o re i n f o r m a t i o n , p l e a s e c a l l t h e t e a m o n

The Hotelier Middle East GM Survey 2010 is now live. Visit and click on the GM Survey 2010 banner to take part now.

+971 50 207 3917 or email

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



ANNOUNCEMENTS World Green Tourism gains royal patronage from Sheikh Sultan The inaugural World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi conference, being held from 22-24 November at ADNEC, has won the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority. “We in Abu Dhabi are building an industry to make a difference on a number of levels — economically, to our social fabric and to the preservation of our cultural heritage and natural assets — in short, we are working not just for immediate benefits, but for the future,” said Sheikh Sultan. World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi is designed to give travel and tourism industry leaders and investors greater insight into sustainability within the sector and how it can be harnessed to enhance business outcomes. It is being organised by the UAE’s Streamline Marketing Group (SMG). Mövenpick opens the second Zara Spa in Jordan The second standalone Zara Spa has opened in Jordan at the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba. Managed by Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, the 1200m² spa features 11 treatment rooms, steam room, sauna, whirlpool, experience showers and tranquillity area. There will also be a spa shop, beauty salon and nail studio. Mövenpick also operates the Zara Spa at Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, which was ranked number one destination spa by Conde Nast in 2009. Major renovation underway at Radisson Blu Hotel in Muscat Radisson Blu Hotel, Muscat, has announced a full renovation of its 156 guest rooms and corridors in partnership with Lundwall Architects from Sweden. The 10-year-old hotel will remain fully operational during the work, which will be carried out block by block in two phases. The refurbishment is due to be completed by November 1, 2010.

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

Sofitel continues Moroccan expansion Luxury French brand introduces So Spa concept to three of its hotels EXPANSION As the only international luxury brand with a presence in all key cities in Morocco, Sofitel is aiming to consolidate its strengths with the opening of three new properties, as well as introducing its new So Spa concept to the country. The launch of So Spa at Sofitel Rabat Jardin des Roses in Morocco will also mark the entrance of the brand to the Middle East. According to Hamid Bentahar, VP Morocco for Sofitel, the breadth of the network has enabled the hotel chain to develop packages to suit a variety of sectors. “We have created a collection of Sofitel Morocco offers including a spa experience, family packages and golf ... and these can be personalised and tailor-made to suit every individual guest request.” In addition, the group plans to launch multi-destination and multi-

So Spa has opened at Sofitel Rabat Jardin des Roses, soon to be followed by Sofitel Marrakech Lounge & Spa.

continent packages to target longhaul markets such as the Middle East, the US and South America. “We propose Europe and Africa combination trips including two hotels on two continents,” he said. The three new hotels bring the Sofitel presence up to nine in six cities, with the launch of the Sofitel Essaouira Mogadir Golf & Spa, Sofi-

tel Agadir Atlantic Riads & Spa and Sofitel Casablanca Bab El Mouhit. “We are excited by the launch of So Spa which was introduced to the Sofitel Rabat Jardin des Roses three months’ ago, and by Sofitel Marrakech Lounge & Spa which launches next year,” said Bentahar. For an analysis of the Moroccan hotel market, see pages 40-45.

Auris invests AED 850 million in Dubai hotels New brand aims to operate 10 hotels by 2015 in bold expansion plan INVESTMENT Dubai-based Auris Hotel Management has invested AED 850 million (US $231.5 million) in launching a number of new properties in Dubai. Auris opened its first two hotels last month — a hotel in Deira, closely followed by ‘boutique’ hotel apartments in Al Barsha. A third property in Dubai Marina is to open in October, as well as the 338-room, five-star Auris Plaza Hotel to open in Al Barsha in December. Hatem Gasmi, managing director of Auris, said the hotel apartments will predominantly target the corporate market. In reference to the ‘boutique’ tag he said: “The market perception of the word boutique is that it is synonymous with luxurious but there are three reasons for the word boutique: maybe the design is not so special

Auris Plaza Hotel in Al Barsha: to open in December.

Hatem Gasmi: feels there is demand for expansion.

or unique, but size is there and with just 60 apartments I guarantee the service will be there”. Auris currently has plans for more regional properties as well as international expansion. “There are two or three more projects under negotiation in the UAE, and we are also interested in India and Africa. By 2015 we aim to have 10 hotels,” asserted Gasmi.

He said he was confident there was enough demand to justify the bold expansion: “Figures and facts justify what we are doing”. He added that he was establishing the new brand on “transparency especially when it came to rates”. “We believe it’s bad for business when people are paying different amounts for the same segment. “We will ensure our clients get the best available rates and when the rate is adjusted it will be the same everywhere whatever channel you book through,” said Gasmi.

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Hit the Top



The Qamardeen team: Santhosh Kumar, hygiene officer; John Aritho, GM; Antonette Gaza, assistant human resources manager; Rita Pokharel, junior assistant housekeeper; Sakher Al Karami, chief engineer; and Donny Christian, EAM.

Dubai’s greenest hotels recognised in DTCM’s first-ever Green Tourism Awards Winning hotels attributed their success to a combination of team work, ongoing energysaving campaigns and innovative initiatives — but said there was a lot more to be done ANALYSIS he general managers and energy experts at Dubai’s greenest hotels have attributed their achievements to a combination of team work, dedication and creativity applied to energy saving measures and environmental awareness campaigns. In total, 12 hotels received accolades from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) in the first-ever Dubai Green Tourism Awards, announced last month in a ceremony at InterContinental Dubai Festival City. Topping the list was Park Hyatt in the five-star category, Qamardeen in the four-star range, Regal Plaza for three-star hotels and Savoy Crest in the deluxe hotel apartment category. Park Hyatt Dubai general manager Stuart Deeson said that a key part of the success was “the people involved in the process”.


August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

“With our green team, we wanted people to nominate themselves, so people on this committee are doing it because they have a calling or a passion for green issues not because they are appointed by the management to do it,” said Deeson.

THE JUDGES Habiba Al Marashi, chairperson of the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) Ali Bin Towaih, executive director of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Division (SEED) and the Environment Park (EnPark) at TECOM Majid Al Marri, the classification director of the DTCM Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, managing director, Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS) – World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) Satish Bhaskaran, DTCM executive director of administration Hamdan Al Shaer, director of environment at Dubai Municipality

“The green team has an open book to go and investigate anything they want. We want to find new and unique areas where we can make differences that are not just going to be about benefitting the hotel, but finding unique angles that are relevant to this part of the world.” Deeson’s thoughts were echoed by John Aritho, GM at Qamardeen, a Southern Sun hotel. “Our green team members volunteer, but they have got to be from different sections of the hotel — normal staff members not necessarily management — but they have to be really enthusiastic people who want to make a difference. “The other thing we did is make [our approach] grass roots, we ensure right from the staff accommodation there are good competitions to keep them focused on how to save energy and water,” said Aritho. And at Regal Plaza, part of the Ramee Group of Hotels and Resorts, group GM Kumar Shetty said that “all of the staff were prop-

erly briefed and guided, hence they played an important role in implementing the initiatives”. In addition to a unified team approach, the hotels also recognised the importance of working with industry partners. Aritho said that Qamardeen takes part in the annual ‘Clean up the World’ initiative organised by Dubai Municipality, provides handbooks from Dubai Electrical & Water Authority (DEWA) to both new members of staff and guests, and is focused on improving its partnership with Emirates Environmental Group. Park Hyatt has taken a similar approach, also taking part in cleanup campaigns at Dubai Creek and, more unusually, teaming up with the Emirates Wildlife Society to produce a booklet that will detail all the birds that live on the Creek. “We are working with them to see how we can assist with that, what we can do as a hotel to help the wildlife in the region,” said Deeson.


Ramee Hotels group GM Kumar Shetty picked up the gong for Regal Plaza.


Quality kitchen utensils

Stuart Deeson, general manager of the Park Hyatt Dubai

THE AWARDS PROCESS The Dubai Green Tourism Awards were launched by the DTCM back in June 2009 to honour hotels that have made significant improvements to services and systems through internal and external initiatives such as waste recycling, energy conservation and environmental awareness campaigns. In total, there were 79 hotels that submitted nominations for the Dubai Green Tourism Awards. These were narrowed down to 33 hotel establishments, which were inspected during the second stage of the awards process. Eighteen hotels were then shortlisted for the final stage of evaluation. DTCM director of business development Shaikha al Mutawa headed up the Award Regulation Committee as president, with director of hotel classifications Majid Al Marri as vice president. The next awards will be launched later this year for 2011. In the interim, DTCM is organising a best practice forum, which will be held at Park Hyatt in Dubai and involve short presentations from some of the winning hotels.

He said that Park Hyatt had submitted 31 points of its environmental strategy to the DTCM, with the focus being on innovation. “When the evaluation committee came to visit us, what we tried to show them is that the initiatives we have taken are part of the culture of the hotel, it’s not just the basic activities of using lower energy usage light bulbs and the recycling of materials and segregation of plastics and glass — those we look at as the basics — we’ve done some other things that we think are quite exciting,” said Deeson. These included BMS upgrades focused on scheduling and the development of an economy mode that can be applied to each of the four wings, a composting programme and the highlight; a Treat Sewage Effluent plant used to power cooling towers and for external irrigation. “We have some plans to use that water for our laundry at some point in the future,” added Park Hyatt and Hyatt Regency hygiene manager Piyush Verma. Aritho said that Qamardeen benefitted from a very good BMS system, which its owner Emaar invested in at the outset three and a half years ago, with additional measures including programmable thermostats to regulate temperatures, regular HVAC maintenance to reduce the usage of cold air, the installation of energy saving electric bulbs and the use of environmentally-friendly cleaning materials.

LIGHTING IS THE BEST THING EVERYONE CAN LOOK IN TO Park Hyatt and Hyatt Regency hygiene manager Piyush Verma and Park Hyatt GM Stuart Deeso n.

Tel.: +971 4 335 4408 Fax.: + 971 4 335 4478 Email: Web:

Ashroff Shakoor, director of engineering at Hyatt Regency and Park Hyatt

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010




DTCM Majid Al Marri addressed the hoteliers.

Five-star hotels Park Hyatt Dubai Grand Hyatt Dubai Al Qasr Hotel Madinat Jumeirah Four-star hotels Qamardeen Towers Rotana The Courtyard by Marriott, Dubai Green Community Three-star hotels Regal Plaza Hotel Versailles Hotel Princess Hotel

DTCM director general HE Khalid Ahmed Bin Sulayem thanks DTCM business development director Shaikha Al Mutawa for spearheading the Green Tourism Awards.

MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS Park Hyatt The hotel developed a TSE plant for reusing treated sewage water. In March 2009, AED 650,000 was invested in this project with ROI expected in 18 months. It saves the hotel 3120 kilolitres of water, which equates to approximately AED 1200 per day. Cold stores monitoring device prevents energy being wasted at 115-120 cold stores. Composting programme – foliage used to grow future plants and trees. Qamardeen Water saving device minimised water flow by 7 litres per minute on taps and by 16 litres per minute in showers. Water pressure reduced from 3.5psi (pumps per square inch) to 1.5psi. Reduction in carbon emissions has resulted in: 32% cost savings recorded on electrical power; 35% saved on AC; and 25% saved on water. Regal Plaza Replaced traditional bulbs with energy-saving bulbs. Installed sensors in public areas like corridors and toilets to automatically switch off lights when not in use. Used eco-friendly paint for all the areas in hotel.

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

Deluxe hotel apartments Savoy Crest Grand Hyatt Dubai Residential Apartments Marriott Executive Apartments Dubai Creek

While Qamardeen is a relatively n property, and Park Hyatt is five new y years old, this did not preclude older h hotels from entering the awards. Ashroff Shakoor, director of e engineering at Hyatt Regency and P Park Hyatt, who has worked at the R Regency since 1981 one year after it o opened, said “older buildings can do m much more”. Hyatt Regency was shortlisted i the five-star category and comin mended by DTCM, and Shakoor said that last year the hotel saved 15% in total energy. “In our hotel the glass was built 30 years ago. Nowadays glass is more efficient and reflective and doesn’t let heat seep through. I have an old building, so I’m looking at ways of recovering this heat by putting a film on top of the glass and we are working on this with about five companies who are presenting their heat reduction films,” said Shakoor. “A lot of buildings didn’t have proper insulation, so you have to look at these areas during any renovations to see how you can use energy saving materials and adapt. “Lighting is the best thing that everyone can look into,” continued Shakoor. “LED lamps use 5 watts of power but give you the brightness of 50 watt halogen lamps. We have

replaced our lighting with LED bulbs in all corridors and in 50% of our gallery — it’s an easy way to see a ROI, it’s four to five months. “Everybody can look into these things, you don’t need consultants, your technician can look into it and start doing it,” advised Shakoor. “It was teamwork that brought about the savings last year.” And what about plans for further savings in the next 12 months? Just as each hotel highlighted the importance of team effort in their success so far, all of them also emphasised the fact that their green campaign is ongoing; a work in progress. “We intend to continue and keep on adding further steps towards energy saving and environmentally friendly practices. We plan to plant more trees and greenery inside and outside our hotel. Using solar energy as an alternate energy source is also in the pipeline,” said Shetty. All of the hotels are currently focused on achieving the DTCM’s target of reducing their C02 emissions by 20% by the end of 2011, but there are also several more unusual projects underway. At Park Hyatt, the green team is looking into the issue of reduced stocks of hammour and tuna and assessing “what we can offer alternatively on our menus”. “We have to look at areas where there’s something we can really do. As a hotel we are a commercial enterprise, so we’ve got to consider that, but we should also be able to take these [environmental] considerations into account when we are making decisions about our menus,” explained Deeson. Qamardeen, meanwhile, is focused on its purchasing strategy, to ensure it buys from companies with a solid environmental background, as well as waste recycling and the introduction of alternative forms of transport — bikes for guests to use in Downtown Dubai and the metro for staff members. In line with Southern Sun hotels in South Africa, the hotel is also pursuing Green Globe certification. “We are very grateful to receive the award but we now want to increase our foothold on it going into the next year. I think it can only get bigger and bigger to be honest with you,” said Aritho. HME

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QATAR · Sports Village · Tel: +974 4501166 · E-Mail:

DUBAI · Raymond Sport · Tel: +971 43391331 · E-Mail:

SAUDI ARABIA · Kaas Group Company · Tel: +966 14646320 · E-Mail:

JORDAN · Motion Fitness Equipment · Tel: +962 65866508 · E-Mail:

SYRIA · Young Trading Co · Tel: +961 4860148 · E-Mail:

KUWAIT · Sports World · Tel: +965 25757702/25757422 · E-Mail:

TURKEY · Finspor · Tel: +90 2122597057 · E-Mail:

PRECOR MIDDLE EAST OFFICE · Tel: +971 505577140 · E-Mail: ·


Coming back down to earth

ITP Business Publishing CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Managing Director Karam Awad Deputy Managing Director Matthew Southwell Editorial Director David Ingham Editorial Group Editor Louise Oakley Tel:+ 971 4 210 8475 email: Staff Writer Harriet Sinclair Tel:+ 971 4 210 8394 email: Online Editor Jamie Knights Tel:+ 971 4 210 8564 email: Advertising Publishing Director Diarmuid O’Malley Tel: +971 4 210 8568 email: Commercial Director Sarah Worth Tel: +971 4 210 8595 email: European Sales Manager Stephané de Rémusat Tel:+33 53 427 0130 email: Studio Group Art Editor Dan Prescott Art Editor Nadia Puma Photography Director of Photography Sevag Davidian Senior Photographers Efraim Evidor, Jovana Obradovic Staff Photographers Isidora Bojovic, George Dipin, Murrindie Frew, Lyubov Galushko, Shruti Jagdesh, Mosh Lafuente, Ruel Pableo, Rajesh Raghav Production & Distribution Group Production Manager Kyle Smith Deputy Production Manager Matthew Grant Production Coordinator Nelly Pereira Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Distribution Manager Karima Ashwell Distribution Executive Nada Al Alami Circulation Head of Circulation and Database Gaurav Gulati Marketing Head of Marketing Daniel Fewtrell Marketing Manager Annie Chinoy ITP Group Chairman Andrew Neil Managing Director Robert Serafin Finance Director Toby Jay Spencer-Davies Board of Directors K M Jamieson, Mike Bayman, Walid Akawi, Neil Davies, Rob Corder, Mary Serafin

here have been moments in the past when hearing a hotelier declare the words “we’re going green” has caused me to cringe. Initiatives such as Earth Hour, nature walks and inter-team recycling have always seemed to smack more of PR than protecting the environment, while a beach clean-up at a resort with three chilled swimming pools might well be perceived as too little, too late. But, over the past few months, there has been a shift in the industry, and thanks to the leadership of both individual properties and authorities alike, the trend for going green has become a lot less about creating an image and much more about making an impact. First up was the Green Tourism Awards launched by Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) last year. That 79 hotels entered was in itself an achievement, but the accomplishments of the 12 winners announced last month far exceeded expectation (see pages 10-12). And it is not just hotels in Dubai that have moved forward with their


green efforts. In Oman, Six Senses Zighy Bay collected a ‘Green Guardian’ award at the inaugural Oman Green Awards, while in Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority is incorporating the capital’s green building guidelines into its hotel classification system. The pilot is underway, with the new, improved system expected to be released by the end of the year. Could this focus on all things green be one positive result of the economic downturn? Are hotels coming back down to earth by finally putting the environment first? It is no coincidence surely, that over in the US, Marriott has announced that development of its first green prototype hotel, in partnership with the US Green Building Council, is now underway in South Carolina. The new model for the Courtyard brand is designed to save roughly US $100,000, six months in design time, and up to 25% energy and water savings for its owners. The chain aims to have 300 LEED hotels by 2015, and the prototype is expected to accelerate this dramatically.

Louise Oakley, editor While such focused development is likely to take some time to reach the Middle East, sharing best practice will be crucial in driving environmental initiatives forward. DTCM is set to hold a forum with its Green Tourism Awards winners later this year to showcase and share achievements, while the inaugural World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi Conference planned for November couldn’t have come at a better time for the industry. A host of expert speakers are lined up; make sure you don’t miss out. HME

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DIARY DATES: A ROUND-UP OF INDUSTRY EVENTS HERE AND ABROAD IN THE COMING MONTHS September 19-22 Hotel Technology Middle East Dubai, UAE www.hoteltechnology Hotelier Awards’ Sommelier of the Year 2009

Julien Coron from Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire.

September 27 Caterer Middle East Awards Dubai, UAE catererawards September 29 The Great GM Debate Dubai, UAE conferences

October 14 Hotelier Middle East Awards Dubai, UAE

October 31–November 2 The Speciality Food Festival Dubai, UAE

October 25-26 Business Travel Show Middle East Dubai, UAE

October 31–November 2 ITCA Dubai, UAE

October 24-27 HACE — Hotel Expo 2010 Cairo, Egypt October 31-November 2 Sweets & Snacks Middle East Dubai, UAE www.sweetsmiddle

November 8-11 World Travel Market London, UK

Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, ADTA chairman and patron of World Green Tourism.

November 22-24 World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi ADNEC www.worldgreen

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010


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The story of Alila Diwa

As luxury brand Alila prepares to launch in Oman, Viability director Guy Wilkinson reports from the company’s resort in Goa and finds out how it came to fruition

COLUMNIST few years ago, the Indian government took steps to encourage the country’s largely state-owned banks to lend money on easier terms for tourism projects. In Goa, the country’s favourite beach tourism destination, this resulted in a pipeline of some 20 new hotel projects, including many planned for construction on rice paddies. However, the green lobby got up in arms and much stricter regulations were introduced, causing many projects to be cancelled. One survivor of this challenging process — the first of


August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

many it would face — was the fivestar hotel now known as the Alila Diwa in Majorda, Southern Goa. The seeds of the project were sown when Nirav Parekh returned to Mumbai in 2005 after completing his masters in biomedical engineering in the US. Fortunately for him, Nirav’s family owns the Parekh Group, a third generation shipping empire comprising 23 companies. The group looks after its own, and with seven young men of around Parekh’s age, the current generation of patriarchs decided that it would be good to help each of them set up two different businesses. It was proposed that Parekh’s qualifications would make either hospitals (logically) or hospitality (why not?) appropriate choices for him, since both could allow creation of long-term assets for the family to offset the risks inherent in the

very cyclical shipping industry. And as any self-respecting Hotelier Middle East reader would have done, he plumped for the latter. According to Parekh, he identified Goa as the site for his future hotel out of nine possible locations across India. “The main reason why we chose Goa was that very few new hotels had come up there and many old hotels needed renovation. Furthermore, over the last five years there have been huge improvements in the air, rail and road connectivity of Goa, whereby future tourist volume projections are optimistic. Goa is the only true tourism destination in India,” he adds, pointing out that it receives no less than 16 flights a day from Mumbai in the high season. Parekh and his uncle Suresh then set about finding a suitable site in Goa — not an easy task, considering


the relative scarcity of beach plots remaining in both North and South Goa. They also had to contend with the rules of the nationwide Coastal Regulation Zone, which prohibit building on any land within 200 metres of the high tide line, and exert major restrictions on other buildings up to 500 metres inland. They chose South Goa because “it is more family-oriented, more premium,” as Parekh explains. Eventually, they found an idyllic 12-acre plot next to a paddy field, set back some 700 metres from the beach. “The present site was one of the rare plots where within government regulations, we could built a facility which was not far from the sea.” Their next hurdle was to collect no less than 64 signatures from assorted members of the family that previously owned the plot – which was apparently good going in Goa, where frequently hundreds are required, thanks to the archaic Portuguese inheritance laws still applied there. The hotel was then planned and built over four years, requiring a grand total of 171 permissions to be secured, a work force of 1200 people


Alila Villas Musandam is planned for Oman.The resort, which will combine breathtaking cliff-top residences with a five-star hotel, is scheduled for opening in late 2012 .

(on site as recently as last June), and a whole year of operating the hotel on its generator, before the mains electricity was connected! Given that other hotels in Goa have taken an entire decade to open, many came to view the Parekhs as nothing short of miracle workers.

FIRST OF MANY The first of half a dozen hotels Parekh is now planning, the Alila Diwa has 114 rooms and suites in operation, with a new Club Diwa wing of 35 (even) more exclusive letting units now under construction in a second development phase, together with a stand-alone spa. For the hotel design, Parekh enlisted a crack team of consultants to help shape its unique character. He toured the roads of Goa to photograph and fully absorb the Indo-Portuguese vernacular in the company of Tony Joseph from Stapati Architects of Calicut and Kerala, who was set on staying true to the local building style and creating a resort of ‘human scale’. Parekh recalls: “Tony vowed he would break the legs of anyone who did anything to the trees on the site!” As a result the hotel was built around the trees, including a famous mango tree outside the main restaurant that Parekh jokes is “the most expensive mango tree in India,” due to the considerable extra expense of building round it. Apart from the wonderful view it affords, all the mango pickles made in the hotel’s kitchens derive from this tree. With a 40% land coverage and a 0.8% FAR, the hotel certainly offers ample landscaping and also benefits from the rustic beauty of the neighbouring paddy field and jungle backdrop, which romantically frame the infinity edge pool. The main buildings feature many fountains and

other water features “so guests forget they are not at the beach”. Tony Joseph’s ‘contemporary Goan’ buildings utilise Indo-Portuguese elements such as sloping red-tiled roofs and open, colonnaded walkways and verandahs ranged around a main courtyard, their columns faced in the region’s characteristic brick red laterite stone. The reception building, like most of the big resorts in Goa, is open-air, and features a tall A-framed timber roof. The hotel boasts acres of the beautiful teak-like Malaysian ‘sal’ wood, which resists the tropical conditions extremely well, and a 1500kg stone statue of Ganesh from East Asia. As a rule, however, the Parekhs selected Indian fittings including craft items such as the ‘capiz’ (seashell) inlay in the bar. The hotel’s interiors were the brainchild of American Lisa Garriss from Plum Design in Singapore. It was she who infused the hotel with its clean, contemporary interiors and many Far Eastern touches. As Parekh rightly assesses, “the exterior is Goa, the interior Bali.” Another key element of the property’s magic is the sophisticated interior and exterior illumination created by New York’s AWA lighting designers, including all kinds of trendy uplighters, downlighters, recessed, foot level and hidden lighting. The guest rooms all have six ‘mood lighting’ modes, ranging from bright reading spots to a subdued ‘intimate’ setting and floor level lighting especially for ‘night’ excursions to the bathroom. Confident in their ability to bring true innovation to Goa, the Parekhs completed the building structure before hiring an operator. Singapore-based Alila was selected after the family met several other management companies. “We wanted an

operator who had passion for running premium holiday destinations and who was hungry to prove its success in India,” comments Parekh. All 10 existing Alila hotels including the Diwa are members of the Design Hotels marketing consortium. As the first full-service designer hotel in Goa, the Alila Diwa is already being well-accepted, not least by India’s huge market of middle class nouveau riche travelers. “Connoisseurs do exist,” asserts Parekh, while agreeing that his hotel can appeal equally to those with untrained eyes, who simply enjoy the design rather than analyzing it. And if its Goa hotel is representative, then the chain certainly delivers on its brand promise. “The hallmark of Alila is stylish, relaxing environments and superb hospitality that creates a unique guest experience,” says Parekh. This starts before the guest’s visit with completion of a Personal Preference Menu specifying everything from dietary requirements to pillow choices, and continues with a truly personalised service that often results in guests and staff becoming friends. The Diwa is Alila’s flagship in India and will be followed by further hotels in Bangalore, Calicut, Cochin and Kerala. Here in the Gulf, the Alila Villas Musandam in Oman are now under planning, combining clifftop residences with a five-star hotel, scheduled for opening in late 2012. Alila is also looking at two other projects in Oman, in Jebel Akhdar, and in Salalah. Be sure to try them — you’ll be in for a treat! HME

Guy Wilkinson is a director of Viability, a hospitality and property consulting firm in Dubai. For more information, e-mail:

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



Hoteliers’ dirty little secret According to Amancorp CEO Mihir Patel, many Middle Eastern hotels share a perennial problem that is feared and foul, yet too often forgotten. Here he reveals the mould infestation issue, which has the potential to tarnish more than just physical property

LOBBYIST ubai hoteliers have a dirty little secret — indoor mould! This especially affects beachfront and marina hotels, and any property which is near to a large body of water. These, of course, make up the significant proportion of hotel room inventory in Dubai and the wider Gulf. The problem of mould infestation is perennial. Most obvious in the hot and humid summer months, with a reprieve in the cooler four to six months of the year,


mould is the subject of muted conversations and whispers among housekeepers and engineers. Mould is something that is greatly feared, never publicly acknowledged and often ignored internally, yet mould remediation is big business in our part of the world. Despite being a recurrent annual problem, the solutions being employed currently are at best quick, temporary fixes and at worst, a waste of resources and money. The current economic downturn has further exacerbated the situation, as even those rare enlightened souls who acknowledge and understand the problem are restricted by owner’s representatives from taking the necessary action for a long term solution. The result is many thousands of wasted man hours in cleaning — good old fashioned scrubbing of mould patches on walls and ceilings, deep cleaning of soft furnishings and for the more adventurous, duct cleaning. However, all this achieves is enrichment of the cleaning supplies, soft furnishing and duct cleaning companies. In the equation, guests and employees alike continue to be

exposed to the health risks that mould presents, whether visibly manifested or airborne spores, invisible to the naked eye. In the US, mould related lawsuits are now the new asbestos, providing lawyers with a rich vein of class action and consumer billing. And in a region where we already suffer from some of the highest rates of asthma and breathing-related allergies in the world (according to the World Health Organisation), and where allergies are set to rise by as much as 70% over the next 25 years, mould — specifically airborne mould spores — present a real danger to general public health. At the first Middle East Asia Allergy Asthma Immunology Congress held last year in Dubai, the world’s leading allergy experts and doctors from around the region got together to dis-


cuss the extent of the health problem in the MENA region. They estimated asthma and allergies cost the MENA region approximately $4.5 billion per year in direct financial costs and more alarmingly, numbers are expected to increase dramatically in the near future as a result of the region’s unique combination of rapid industrialisation (read construction), climatic conditions (heat and high humidity), year round dependence on central air conditioning, and ‘greenification’ (planting), as well as inherent genetic factors in the Arab population. It was also noted that the availability of specialists treating these illnesses is currently decreasing by 15% per annum and there is common misdiagnosis of allergies — most people who have allergies don’t even know it! Yet airborne mould is one of the key asthma and allergy triggers in the GCC. Mould is also the number one cause of ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ (SBS) and its lesser sister, ‘Building related illness’ (BRI). Its manifestation in hotels means: • Visible mould and fungus in guest

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WHY HOTELIERS’ CAN’T IGNORE MOULD • The Government imperative — Dubai Municipality (DM) inspections including DM’s IAQ drive since 2007 following Local order no. 11 of 2003, the UAE National Strategy & Action Plan for Environmental Health 2010, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s Strategic Vision for Dubai 2015, which stipulates health as one of its seven key objectives. • The cost imperative — millions spent in terms of staff costs for housekeeping and engineering, remedial action, equipment and supplies, duct cleaning and the reduced lifespan of soft furnishings. • The guest imperative — 30% of the world population suffers from Asthma and/or breathing allergies, which are aggravated by mould, not to mention guest complaints as a result of unsightly visible mould, smells and irritation.

rooms, bathrooms, and also in the back-of-house areas such as kitchens and stores • Unpleasant damp, musty smells • Guest and staff complaints of watery/itchy eyes, headaches, throat and nasal irritation, and diminished ability to concentrate • Potential damage to guest belongings (especially in long-stay hotel apartments) and soft furnishings, similar to water ingress • Lost productivity in terms of staff as a result of health issues and time spent on remediation • Millions of dirhams spent on ineffective remediation • Unhappy guests

SO WHAT’S THE SOLUTION? The solution has to be multi-fold to tackle the many causes of mould and aggravating factors. But first, hoteliers need to acknowl-

edge the problem exists. Once the fundamental ignorance, perpetuated by the current shroud of secrecy is dispelled, only then can an effective solution be sought. Thereafter, housekeepers need to be weaned off the mistaken belief that the solution is to place an air cleaning device in guest rooms after check out and before the next guest checks in. This doesn’t work, judging from continued guest complaints and the universal experience of housekeepers in the region. Equally, as mould is a permanent threat, any solution must in turn be permanent, not temporary. Indeed, most devices generally being sold which offer such a solution pose a health risk in themselves — the ubiquitous ozone generators. The US Government Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the big

ASTHMA AND ALLERGIES COST THE MENA REGION APPROXIMATELY $4.5 BILLION PER YEAR daddy of all issues related to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), took the bold step of saying that “no federal agency of the US Government advocates the use of ozone generators in occupied areas, either human or animal”, as ozone in the concentrations required to be effective as a fungicide, bactericide or deodorizing agent are way in excess of the prescribed safe limits.

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

The State of California went one step further and has legislated to make illegal any device as of October 2008 that emits more than five parts per billion of ozone in an eighthour period. This therefore includes most air purifiers that use ionisation, electrostatic precipitation or UV light. Equally, de-humidifiers pose a health risk if they are not properly sanitised and regularly maintained, and they potentially increase guest complaints as a result of removing essential moisture which we all need for basic skin comfort. Furthermore, de-humidifiers again at best can only offer a quick fix as opposed to tackling the root cause of the problem. Secondly, the responsibility lies equally with housekeeping, engineering and operations departments as all need to be involved to identify

and tackle the root causes of the problem for an effective long term solution. All too often currently, each department takes unilateral action without consulting the others and therefore the problem persists, yet sucking in further resources from each budget. Lastly, the multi-fold solution needs to look at the root causes — these are generally complicated as they cover multiple areas of opera-

tion and have overlaps in terms of time and departments, including: • HVAC design, build quality and maintenance • Air purification — specifically localised in-room where the problem is • Non-water based paints on affected surfaces • General maintenance • Hotel design As green building guru and managing director of Green Technologies FZCO Mario Seneviratne says: “The problem stems from poor HVAC design, over sizing of cooling loads, the over estimation of the sensible heat in the rooms and the lack of treated fresh air supply to the room. This is further compounded by setting the thermostat too cold in the rooms”. Seneviratne was involved in the world’s first LEED certified Green Hotel and Dubai’s first LEED Green building. The good news is that mould is a very common problem, so you’re not alone, and there are simple, cost effective solutions which can be easily implemented at any stage of the life of a hotel. HME

Mihir Patel is CEO of Amancorp Ltd., the exclusive regional distributor of Airfree air purification products, a unique European range of commercial and retail models that employs patented heat sterilisation to achieve high levels of in-room reduction of mould and fungus, bacteria, viruses, and dust mite allergens, with no maintenance and zero consumables. Contact:

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Southern Sun Offshore MD Richard Weilers explains why testing potential employees’ emotional intelligence is crucial to building a strong and successful business

Smart cookie MD INTERVIEW ne would expect the managing director of Southern Sun Offshore — a man responsible for nine hotels in the Middle East and Africa and actively seeking new properties via a very strategic route — to be squirrelled away in an office guarded by an eager secretary. But breaking the norm, Richard Weiler’s ‘office’ — a table, complete with laptop and blackberry — is located in a corner of Mokarama Café at Al Manzil hotel in Dubai. Weilers apparently has a rather swish office on Sheikh Zayed Road, but he chooses to run Southern Sun’s offshore business from inside Al Manzil, one of the group’s two four-star deluxe properties in Downtown Dubai. This is not because he is addicted to Mokarama’s fabulous cakes, or out of an urge to spy on his team, but because Weilers says that he finds he works best when he is surrounded


August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

by the very carefully selected Southern Sun team. “One of the reasons I actually operate my office out of one of the hotels — you saw my desk — is because I am so stimulated by the staff that are here,” says Weilers. “One of the things we measure is people’s happiness and optimism. And when you’re in a tourism related product those are two very important products and hence the reason why I feel I actually perform my job better surrounded by people who are optimistic and happy.” These positive personality attributes are ensured by a rigorous recruitment process that Weilers spearheaded with Southern Sun’s offshore properties. It is this, he says, that has enabled the success of the Dubai hotels — Qamardeen and the aforementioned Al Manzil, currently ranked five out of 391 hotels in Dubai and Dubai’s number one hotel for business on TripAdvisor. “I always say it is not by accident but by design,” says Weilers. “We work very hard at that.


“When we viewed [Qamardeen and Al Manzil] as they were being built, we knew that they would not be iconic but that they would be very, very good hotels. But our philosophy is based around people, So we adopted a specific strategy in these two hotels that we operate of how we recruit and select our people. The first thing is we don’t allow any nationality to dominate another nationality. Otherwise you’re fighting the dominant numbers in terms of culture etc, and it’s hard to change that,” explains Weilers. “The second thing we do with anybody who joins us — we are obsessed with them meeting what I call our attitudinal barometer. So everyone gets tested for the EQI, the Emotional Quotient Inventory. So it’s a formal exam, they have to do

about 131 questions. We send it off to a laboratory, it’s all done online and then all comes back to us before anybody joins us. “Before we look at experience we want to make sure that you are emotionally aligned with us. When I say it is not by accident but by design, I have never worked with better people in my career than I have in Dubai,” says Weilers. This is a different approach to the company’s traditional recruitment in its home country South Africa, where Weilers began his career with Southern Sun 34 years ago and where the majority of staff are nationals. But following the success of recruitment in Dubai, the EQI is being rolled out across the hotels, which Weilers explains will benefit new markets such as Saudi Arabia.


“I am also building a hotel in Saudi Arabia in Jeddah and I know that the Saudisation programme means that I’ve got to employ lots of Saudi nationals and I have absolutely no problem with that,” says Weilers, whether the target for nationalisation is “25% or 100%”. “I believe every nation has emotionally attuned people, you’ve just got to find them and bring them into your business model. We’ve just opened a hotel in Nigeria and it is now regarded as the best hotel in Lagos for 2009 [by the Nigerian Hospitality Excellence Awards]. We did the same process there using the EQI and evaluating of people and we’ve got great people working with us,” asserts Weilers. Expanding on the growth plans of the offshore business — which Weilers set up five years after heading up Southern Sun’s operations in South Africa, where there are 80 hotels — he reveals that this too follows a very strategic approach. “Our strategy is to work within

regions where we can get some critical mass, so we’re not looking at going into regions where we can’t grow our hotels by more than one because we also have a very branded strategy as a group. “That way, you create relevance in a market and you have the right infrastructure. At the end of the day, management contracts are about logistics, and the further apart and the more you stretch your logistics, the less of service one can be to the product and to your management that are in there. We are very clear that when we go into a region we create relevance within that region and we are highly competitive in the region we go into,” explains Weilers. Currently, there are nine Southern Sun hotels operating in Africa and the Middle East — two in the Seychelles, two in Dubai, and one each in Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania. Upcoming properties include a 350-room hotel in Abu Dhabi, owned by United Group, scheduled to open end 2012/

WE ARE BUSY AT ADVANCED STAGES LOOKING AT TWO OPPORTUNITIES IN OMAN early 2013, and a 390-room and serviced apartments in Jeddah. “We are busy at quite advanced stages looking at two opportunities in Oman. We are looking at Doha, and looking at King Abdullah City, which is 100km outside of Jeddah. We’ve signed a second management contract in Nigeria in Lagos,” says Weilers. “Our first growth strategies are in those areas and we’re at very advanced discussions in Tripoli in Libya. I must say that I was extremely impressed with Tripoli — it’s the most fascinating city and it is going through quite a big trans-

formation. It’s one the cleanest cities I’ve seen in Africa for a long time, it’s really incredible, there are very friendly people there, and they’re aligning themselves now to a new growth phase. It’s one of the richest countries per capita in Africa, so they have very good natural resources that are actually part of the economy and they’re going to spend it wisely into infrastructure and to sustain business and tourism in the future,” he adds. In addition to seeking out new contracts in these markets, Southern Sun has signed a master agreement with Emaar — owner of the two Dubai hotels — to manage future Emaar four-star deluxe properties following the performance of the flagships. So, as Southern Sun in South Africa enjoys one of its most “incredible months” following the World Cup, Southern Sun Offshore looks set to continue its own strategic success story, helped along by possibly the happiest staff in the sector. HME

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010

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Time to mix things up Park Rotana Complex Abu Dhabi GM Sascha Bartz talks exclusively to Hotelier Middle East about the large property, new hotels in Abu Dhabi, and why mixed-use is good for business GM INTERVIEW Can you describe the different elements of the Rotana complex? We have four different kinds of products here; the Park Rotana Hotel which has 318 rooms; the Park Arjaan which has 127 furnished apartments; the residence which has 200 apartments; and finally there is an office building here with 30,000m² of office space. With the hotel and the Arjaan we are focusing on the traditional hotel approach — we are doing everything that the guest requires there, such as, food and beverage, wellness, recreation, laundry — whereas with the guest residence we take care of building maintenance, leasing of the building, operating the gym and pool and the security, but we do not enter the residences themselves. Is there a minimum time that guests have to lease a residence for? They are renting them on a minimum lease term of one year and it has been quite a success. We started renting them out in September and now we have 100% occupancy — everything is rented out. I believe most people will stay beyond a year; Abu Dhabi is booming and there are lots of projects going on. The prime objective for our tenants is that they are looking for quality accommodation and since the residence is linked with Rotana, they look at the name and they are expecting a certain level of service in return. For example, with the maintenance, when you have a water leak or broken equipment you can call someone to take care of it 24 hours a day. How did you approach staffing? First of all, what was really very important in the beginning when we started off with the project was to create the right awareness and understanding within the hotel and within the staff so that they understand what

Park Rotana Complex Abu Dhabi GM Sascha Bartz: business feeds itself to some extent, with residents from across the complex using the outlets at the Park Rotana.

IT IS A WONDERFUL BUSINESS MODEL BECAUSE YOU REALLY GENERATE BUSINESS FROM WITHIN is required from them. We want to make sure that everyone is delivering what is expected, for instance, what would the residents require for services, what expectations do they have — so we had to establish guidelines, policy and procedures. Obviously you have to differentiate because you have the Arjaan and you have the residences and you have to draw the line of how far you extend services, otherwise you dilute things and get in to conflict with your own product, so we have really clear set parameters for the residences. What are the challenges and benefits of running a mixed-use property? It is a very large complex we are operating here, and we still have some ongoing snagging and final works

going on, so you have to be very much on your toes to make sure that the momentum is there and that everything is getting done. The beauty is that being a multi-use complex, business-wise, to a certain extent, feeds itself. In this complex, you have the residents using the outlets, you have the Arjaan guests using the outlets, and you have the office tenants using the outlets, the hotel and the Arjaan. It is a wonderful business model because you really generate business from within. There are a lot of new hotels coming in to the market in Abu Dhabi —do you think this will affect business? Obviously it will impact on business but I see it as a positive impact, because with all this inventory com-

ing online obviously there is the need to create attractions in Abu Dhabi and any attractions are a positive development. It might initially dilute business where occupancy levels drop and the room rate goes down, but in the medium and long term it will generate more revenue and business. If you want to be competitive in today’s world, you have to have variety — and with a limited number of hotels on offer, you will never reach world class level. So it would be a mistake to complain and say that too many hotels are coming online. Part of the complex is dry; what issues does this pose? The Park Arjaan is dry, so you do not have any outlets. You can order room service but it will be dry. However, as it is a mixed use development you can just walk out of the Arjaan and go to the Park Rotana hotel and use the facilities there. People staying at the Arjaan welcome this, they like the variety of restaurants. So it really is a success story. HME Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



MAKING A MEAL OF IT Top chefs explain how to create menus that bring in the diners and the dollars

he head chefs working in the region’s luxury hotels have a tough dual role — to create an exciting menu offer in their outlets, and to generate significant revenue for their hotel. With close to a quarter of a hotel’s gross operating profit generated by F&B outlets (according to the Hotelier Middle East GM Survey 2009), chefs are responsible for a huge amount of money. Therefore, menus have to be engineered carefully, taking into account food costs, profit spinners and guest appeal. This is a complicated process, with market demographics, ingredient availability, target audience and creativity all playing vital roles. Hotelier Middle East selected six of the region’s top chefs and brought them together at Dubai’s best restaurant (as voted by Time Out), Rhodes Mezzanine at Grosvenor House, to discuss these issues and drill down into what lies behind a money-making menu. Joining chef Paul Lupton from the host restaurant was Scott Price of Verre at Hilton Dubai Creek, together representing the high-end celebrity chef outlets, Southern Sun’s Geoff Haviland to give the executive chef opinion, Sam Alex from Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman to educate on the concept of zero carbon and raw cuisine menus, and Spice Emporium at The Westin’s Khampun Plangthaisong and Asado at The Palace’s Norberto Palacios, both experts in offering authentic cuisine. From establishing best sellers and chef’s tables through to offering fixed price dinners and allowing off-menu ordering, the highlights of the debate are revealed here.


ROUNDTABLE When developing your menu, how do you find the happy medium between using you creative passions and complying with budgetary constraints? Geoff Haviland: When you’re writing a menu, there’s a couple of key ingredients. There’s the creativity as one aspect, but the menu writing must be commensurate with the demographic of the customer base, because a restaurant is aimed at certain members of the public. So, therefore, you have to take into account factors such as ‘what is their budget, what price range are they talking about?’ It won’t dictate but it will certainly influence which ingredients you purchase. You have to look at your guest expectations. For example, I changed the menu in Nezesaussi, which is an Australian/South African/Kiwi pub grill. They wanted it to be upgraded but it’s such a stalwart on the bar scene. We actually took away the bar and changed it

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

to Nezesaussi Grill, increased the number of steaks on the menu, and got a specific supplier in, but there is only so much you can tweak it because you start getting a backlash from your regular guests. You have to balance it — you don’t want to get too creative to the detriment of your key customer base. That’s where menu engineering comes into it, you look at the amount of profit you make on your bestsellers and what you dictate is a best seller — this is where you make a key profit margin — but then again you have another item on your menu where you say ‘I don’t want to look at food costs because food costs don’t pay the bills’. So if you’ve got a lobster dish or a foie gras dish where you make AED 150 (US $41)profit on that dish but you’re running a 50% food cost, it’s still AED 150 in your pocket you didn’t have the night before. When you’re justifying your menu to a director of finance / cost controller / the boss, you actually have to do a sales pitch. This is one of the challenges that most chefs will face — we

would all love to have top ingredients, that’s what we do, that’s how we got into this industry, but the reality of life is there’s different strata. Norberto Palacios: Sometimes limits will bring out your best. You have a small percentage to play with and you say ‘I want to use this’ and you must be the support to the cost controller because you love it, so you compromise — have it for three months and then change. Where else can you find opportunities to be creative? Paul Lupton: The concept of Rhodes Mezzanine is Gary Rhodes cuisine — Gary is famous for his new British classics. We don’t like to pigeon hole ourselves too much because a lot of people come to this restaurant for real English cuisine, but it’s actually Gary Rhodes cuisine. My creativity comes in with the canapés or the petit fours; the actual menu has been specifically worked on with Gary, but if I have an idea I’ll speak to him about it. He’s very


Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



Tel: +971 4 330 9071 / Fax: +971 4 330 9072 Email: / Mob: +971 50 6324483 / +971 50 8525900


WE TRY TO CHANGE THE MENU FOUR TIMES A YEAR Paul Lupton, Rhodes Mezzanine, Grosvenor House Dubai

sure the menus, while they are not linear, are not straying too far from what we should be doing. In a different way, we are in a different country with different cultures and the same thing doesn’t always work, so if you

hands on. We try to change the menu four times a year. Scott Price: I work for Gordon Ramsay and Gordon has got his style, so we try to adhere to that as much as possible at Verre.

have to adapt to the environment then I think there’s nothing wrong with that. I have freedom with things like the chef’s table. I can play around a lot with that, try different things and get people more involved with dining — it’s going to be a new concept. It’s bespoke for guests, we have about six people and we go out and do a bit of cooking with them at the table. There’s a lot more theatre but it’s a private room in the restaurant and we go and explain all the dishes to them and get really involved. We

With the à la carte menu, we try to keep it to what people expect when they come for a Gordon Ramsay menu, and we do speak to the people back in London to make

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: HOTELIER’S EXPERT PANEL Paul Lupton Head chef Rhodes Mezzanine Grosvenor House Paul Lupton has worked with Rhodes Mezzanine creator Gary Rhodes for the past seven years. He previously worked at other Gary Rhodes restaurants in England, after training in Lancaster, UK and working at a Michelin star restaurant in Clifton, UK. The concept of Rhodes Mezzanine is based on Gary Rhodes’ famous ‘new British classics’. Norberto Palacios Chef de cuisine Asado The Palace – The Old Town Argentinean Norberto Palacios gave up studying law to become a chef while working in hotels during university. He has worked for Sheraton in Buenos Aires and Lima, Peru, and also worked for four years as a teacher in a culinary institute

in Argentina. He joined Asado after it opened and says the focus is to be as authentic as possible with the Argentinean cuisine. Scott Price Executive head chef Verre Hilton Dubai Creek After working in various restaurants in Scotland and the north of England during his studies, Scott Price began working with Gordon Ramsay following his success in one of the scholarship competitions organised by the famous chef. He worked his way up at Claridges in London over five years and assisted in two other Ramsay outlets before taking up his current role in February 2010. Verre offers Gordon Ramsay cuisine, which Price describes as modern European. Geoff Haviland Corporate development chef — offshore Al Manzil and Qamardeen Hotels Southern Sun

Geoff Haviland entered the F&B industry while working in kitchens to pay his way through an organic chemistry course at university in Australia. After working in London and at Michelin star restaurants in Germany, he joined IHG, working in Hong Kong, London and at the Dubai Festival City IHG properties. At Southern Sun, Haviland is complex chef for Al Manzil and Qamardeen and also corporate chef, responsible for formulating restaurant concepts for the group’s upcoming hotels. Sam Alex Sous chef Sense on the edge Six Senses Zighy Bay After completing a bachelor of hotel management in India, Sam Alex started his career working in Goa. He then moved to Dubai, working with Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Bab Al Shams. Alex then joined Six Senses in the Maldives and then Mandarin group in Bermuda, before taking up his role

at Sense on the Edge nine months ago. The fine dining restaurant is located on a cliff 293 metres above sea level and offers specialties such as raw cuisine and zero carbon cuisine. Khampun Plangthaisong Chef de cuisine Spice Emporium — Flavours of Thailand The Westin Khampun Plangthaisong started his career in Thailand at the age of 15 before moving to work in the catering industry in Saudi Arabia for six years. He moved back to Thailand specialising in Thai cuisine at Amari and Landmark hotels in Bangkok. Other positions prior to joining Spice Emporium include roles at Jebel Al Golf Resort & Spa and Mango Tree at Souk Al Bahar, where Plangthaisong was chef de cuisine until January 2010. Until six months Spice Emporium offered Asian fusion food, but now the focus is on authentic Thai cuisine with the tag line ‘Flavours of Thailand’.

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010




are trying to give it a bit more of an up close experience, you’ve got a view of the kitchen, you’re more or less inside the kitchen. It’s really good for us to get to interact with the guests a bit more and it’s going to get launched next month hopefully. How does the availability of ingredients influence your ability to be creative with your menus, especially in the authentic Thai and Argentinian restaurants represented here? Khampun Plangthaisong: In Dubai we have a supplier from Thailand, mostly we order from The Greenhouse. I order fresh herbs and all the sauces are homemade. I can get all of the raw ingredients I need. Norberto Palacios: Of course it is difficult but we can get the ingredients, for example, for us, steaks have to come from Argentina, there is no option. I would say 90% of the products I need I can get, I can get American products. Sam Alex: At Six Senses we have our own garden; it is 1500m² and we are extending to 3000m². The average production is 6.3% when compared to our outside purchases. From September to June our local produce value is OMR 3225 ($8375) and our outside purchase value is OMR 51,226 ($133,000). Our prinAugust 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

ciple is ‘slow life’, so with F&B we focus on being local and organic, so nearly 35% of the seafood is from local suppliers.

to work with at all our new properties — the all day dining changes its personality at night. At one of the projects we’re doing in Abu Dhabi, the all day dining is all interactive, but at night we can screen some areas off. One aspect of the all day dining is this big charcoal grill, but at night it screens off and becomes a steakhouse, and then you’ve got the big display fridges and take all the mise en place out and put the steaks in it and it’s all hanging. You change the whole feel of the restaurant this way; we will change the name of it as well. Most people will go out at night so but we can’t just shut down the buffet and have it empty because it doesn’t make any sense, so you have to think ‘how do I put the minimum product out there and still make it quite exciting?’

At Al Manzil, at what was previously a static buffet we introduced a live burger bar, so you’ve got all these garnishes and seven different burgers so guests can come up and create their own things. This is all incorporated into the à la carte menu, plus we have a live salad station, you design your own salad. These are not new concepts but better than actually having a static buffet — because these actually do cost a lot of money and this will actually push up the food costs overall. What is your approach to offering fi xed-price menus? SP: In London, it’s standard that anywhere you go for dinner it’s kind of a set price menu, I find it quite strange here that everything is à la carte wherever you go. It’s good because if you have a dish

How do you control your food costs? GH: I think in restaurants where you have an à al carte concept it’s much easier to control your food cost because you have a set menu. When you bring a buffet into the equation and you have all day dining — static buffets work great when you’re busy, but when the numbers go down you have to fill this big space and you haven’t got enough covers, which is what were seeing on the market now. If you look you’ll see they start to chip away at the quality a little bit or they look for cheaper options. When your room occupancies are down it directly affects your revenues and what happens is that’s pushing your food costs up overall. Just two weeks ago, we introduced [at Al Manzil] a concept that I want

WE’VE DROPPED THE AVERAGE PRICE OF THE MENU Scott Price, Verre, Hilton Dubai Creek




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NP: I found here it is very difficult to sell a set menu when compared to Europe. Over there, you will do whatever the chef is telling you, that will be fine. But here no. People want to try whatever they want. So normally I use a set menu just to communicate a special night for example. Last month, we had the independence day of Argentina so we created a set menu of traditional dishes — one starter, main and desert, priced at AED 295 ($80) – and it was really good because a lot of Argentineans came. Out of 120 people, 90 opted for the set menu so it was very good. I’m pretty sure if I used the same concept on a regular evening then it would not work. PL: With the à la carte menu we charge individually for the dishes. We’ve tried to do it so that there’s a range of prices on there, so you can spend as much or as little as you want to a certain extent. Even our tasting menu, we don’t do a set tasting or degustation menu, we have a choice of small tasting dishes, so the guest chooses their own menu Dubai Tel: +971 4 396 0767 (Stockist) Cairo Tel: +20 2 257 44966 Amman Tel: +962 6 4783 251 Damascus Tel: +963 11 4446632

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that costs more you can just put the price up. But [fixed-price] makes it easier for anyone who comes in for dinner because its just one price. So now I do seven starters, seven main courses, seven desserts, and it’s AED 395 (US $107) and they get a choice. I have a supplement on roast foie gras — AED30 ($8) covers it, that’s it, its not like I’m putting AED100 ($27) on it to make more money. About three or four weeks ago I changed it and I think it’s made a marked difference; we picked up a lot of business, we’re getting busier rather than quieter over summer. I think it’s just easier when you go out for dinner when you see one price. The bill isn’t a surprise. As a chef, it gives you an average spend. We’ve dropped the average price of the menu, but I think if you go in and realise the food is not as expensive as you thought it was, sometimes you spend a bit more on alcohol. I’d rather have a busy restaurant and make a little bit of money than have 10 covers and make a lot of money.

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



cook it for them from the ingredients I have.

sure the second and the third time he will say ‘it’s up to you’.

PL: It is easier when a guest makes a request in advance. When a guest turns up to the table and says I can’t eat this or this, then their experience is not what it could be.

SP: We’ve got vegetarian menus, but if someone says they are vegan then you just work around it

GH: Especially in Dubai, guests are very demanding, so you have quite a bit of flexibility built into your menu. There’s also guest loyalty. There’s so much competition in Dubai so if you have somebody that is going to come back again based on that one experience [you need to try to meet their requests]. NP: Also if you have a guest the first time with a request, and you go and see him and do want he wants, for

PL: Yes we’ve got some vegetarian menus, gluten-free is a regular, we have gluten-free bread, we have the canapés all done. We’re making food fresh in the kitchens, we know what’s in everything, so we can modify our menus quite easily. HME

WHAT ARE YOUR FOOD COSTS? Spice Emporium: 23% Asado: 32-34% Sense on the Edge: 28-30% Nezesaussi Grill: 31.2%


— that seems to be very popular since the start when we opened. We do four/five course menus on a lot of tables and it works very well. SA: We have six set menus, two starlight menus, a zero carbon menu, meat-free menus and raw cuisine menus. With the zero carbon menu we don’t get anything from outside, so what we grow in the garden we use. Every Tuesday we do a meatfree menu across the whole resort. People can mix and match across the six set menus. In every menu we have seven courses; average cheque at Sense on the Edge comes to OR70 ($182). KP: My set menu is AED 220 ($60) for two courses; it’s quite popular. How important is menu labelling? PL: We don’t include nutritional values — you don’t come here to lose weight for sure. But maybe with fast food, it’s good to know what you’re eating. Some guests do ask for as little fat as possible and you try to make August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

your menu fit. We label alcohol, pork, dairy, wheat. SA: We always mention the calories on our raw cuisine menus at Sense on the Edge. It is zero fat. GH: There seems to be a bit of a trend now with some hotels around the world introducing a colour to represent different calorific contents. So if something is reasonably low fat they are giving it zones, you don’t need to read through this endless list of calories and what the ingredients are. If you want to eat something reasonably healthy, go to the green section of the menu. I know in Australia it’s quite popular and it seems to be catching on. How do you react when a guest wants to order off menu? SP: It depends how off menu. There is flexibility, you can’t just tell them no. KP: Some of my European guests know their Thai food very well, if they say the name of a dish I try to

MY SET MENU AT SPICE EMPORIUM IS AED 220 FOR TWO COURSES — IT IS QUITE POPULAR Khampun Plangthaisong, Spice Emporium, The Westin

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Revenue management revolution Hotels across the region are joining the revenue management bandwagon and learning firsthand of its true potential. Lee Jamieson explores the development of this relatively new discipline The industry has realised that revenue management involves far more than understanding graphs and spreadsheets.

REVENUE MANAGEMENT n recent years, revenue management has become the lynchpin of any successful hotel business operating in the Middle East. Intense interest in revenue management has been triggered by the maturation of the region’s hospitality industry and the increasingly competitive marketplace. For many years, the Middle East was considered to be a small, fast-growing market fuelled by strong demand, under supply, rising rates and high occupancy — but those days have gone. Rapid development and the emergence of major international hotel operators in all of the sectors have created a very different business environment. If the rules of the game have changed then hoteliers need to implement new disciplines and methodologies to retain their market


share. Therefore, the need for robust revenue management strategies is greater than ever before. “The hospitality industry in the Middle East has evolved tremendously after the downturn in the

economy,” explains ResNet World managing director, Saahil Mehta. “Prior to the downturn, several hotels were under construction in anticipation of the growth in both business and leisure tourism in the region.

“With the downturn we witnessed a combination of a reduction in demand, lower ADR, and lower occupancy levels, resulting in a decrease in revenue. With this in mind, it is no surprise that revenue



Change: be prepared to transform the way your company operates because revenue management can only be successful if it is embraced horizontally and vertically by staff throughout the hotel organisation

your entire team is engaged with the strategy from the very start Technology: embrace the new technology and ensure that its value is appreciated Drive action: ensure your revenue management strategy has the ability to turn data analysis into actionable recommendations

Enable communication: think carefully about where to place your revenue management team within your organisation to best secure good communication between various departments

Accountability: have a dedicated revenue manager in place

Foster engagement: ensure that

Training: revenue management is

a relatively new and fast-moving discipline — something that should be reflected in an ongoing training programme Explore other areas: widen your strategy to encompass a hotel’s food and beverage, conference, spa and health club operations See it though: have a long-term strategy and stick to it Evaluate: ensure that you respond to the constantly changing market


TIME FOR CHANGE Although revenue management is now being taken more seriously by hoteliers across the region, the discipline is still in its infancy. By all accounts, only a handful of hotel operators have successfully managed to implement a comprehensive revenue management strategy that has been fully embraced in all areas of the organisation. In reality, most hotels are midway through a process of change whereby the accountability and the principles

of revenue management have been adopted, but these principles are operating in isolation from certain parts of the organisation. “No matter what people say, revenue management is still a new discipline in hotels,” explains Taj Palace Hotel Dubai general manager, Andreas Mueller. “It has only been around for about a decade in our industry, and for the most part, revenue managers in hotels are still relatively junior positions. “That salaries between sales and marketing directors and revenue managers remain far apart is testament to this. Revenue managers are often senior reservation managers, so we are not there yet.”


Correctly positioning and integrating revenue management into the organisational structure is the key to success. Revenue management is the glue that binds departments together and success is predicated on sales, reservations and marketing all appreciating its value. “If a hotel company is starting on the revenue management journey, they should be aware that it is not a quick fix to make extra revenues during high demand times,” explains Jumeirah’s group director for revenue management, Stefan Wolf. “Rather it’s a transformation of a company to improve its long-term profitability. If revenue management is already part of the organisation, its function needs to be truly understood and supported to be able to have a meaningful impact.” In short, for a strategy to work, the entire organisation must be behind it. Whilst this may be easily achievable in individual properties, panregional organisations have a mammoth task ahead of them.


management has become a top priority. The truth of the matter is that if you ignore it, you will slowly start to trail behind.”

Saahil Mehta, managing director, ResNet World: The financial crisis has changed the hospitality industry.

The implementation of a new culture is by far the greatest challenge for operators who are looking to introduce robust revenue management procedures. “A great revenue management strategy needs to be built on a firm foundation,” explains IDeaS senior account manager, Guy Barnes. “A strong culture must be in place that secures buy-in from all of the depart-

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Technology systems like Opera Revenue Management System (ORMS) by Micros-Fidelio have transformed hotel data analysis and forecasting. Within a year, ORMS can increase room revenue by 4-7% by instantly identifying inefficiencies and providing remedies – with some surprising results. “We recently had a customer who started analysing their rate structures and realised that they were never actually selling their deluxe

By combining historical data like reservations, booking patterns and rate structures with future predictions of economy, seasonal data and demand, revenue management systems offer an opportunity to take a fresh look a hotel’s productivity. In the past, a hotel’s performance and trend data has been viewed undynamically, making it hard to fully interrogate the relationship between different data sets. In effect, managers were forced to build a picture of an organisation’s performance from data produced departmentally and identify key correlations by hand.

Micros-Fidelio’s Oliver Menzel: Rate structure is vital.

Total Revenue Solutions director Jennifer Keen: We must put the focus on to people and behaviours first.

ments across the organisation — and do so vertically from the CEO down to the housekeeper.”

rooms at the indicated price!” says Micros-Fidelio’s Oliver Menzel. “Their deluxe rooms were mainly occupied by guests paying for a standard room, who had been upgraded free of charge. Such a discovery is vital, as it will allow the management to review both their selling strategy and pricing on deluxe rooms.” Essentially, a successful revenue management strategy is characterised by how dynamically an organisation can interact and interpret market data from four sources: market segmentation, forecasting, pricing and inventory allocation. “What makes a successful strategy is how artistically one interplays with these four components to optimise the potential revenue,” explains Ròya International’s hospitality consultant, Turab Saleem. “For example, every month of the year has its own dynamics and each day of the month also needs to be looked at separately. You then have to apply your in-depth market understanding. If you can efficiently trace economic metrics, airline per-

IDeaS senior account manager, Guy Barnes: Good foundations are essential for revenue management.

formance, currency fluctuation, performance of competitive destinations and understanding of competition, then you can effectively plan your revenue management policies to maximise the potential revenue.” Of course, automated systems cannot replace real-life business instinct, but they can identify potential opportunities and ensure that the relevant data is submitted to the right person at the right time. This is the philosophy behind IDeaS own revenue management solution, which delivers pricing, forecasting and optimisation services via software as a service (SaaS). “Accurate demand forecasting should provide sales and marketing with a specific understanding of when and where there is business

ON THE MARKET: REVENUE MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY MICROS-FIDELIO The Opera Revenue Management System uses historical and real-time data to analyse, evaluate and recommend price levels and overbooking limits. The system can take historical data from an existing PMS to make instant recommendations. It can also be used in conjunction with a rate shopping tool, adding real-time competitive data for selected segments.

IDEAS The automated revenue management solution from IDeaS is delivered via software as a service (SaaS), requires very little infrastructure and is therefore a cost-effective solution. The system utilises pricing, forecasting and optimisation strategies to give hoteliers a clear view of their data. The company says that its services will make an ‘immediate impact on revenue’.

Micros products are distributed by Key Information Technology in the Middle East. Tel: (+971) 4 398 9999 (ext 300) Email: Web:

IDeaS distribution partner in the Middle East is Wide Computer Systems. Telephone: (+971) 4393 4567 Web: and Email:

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

TOTAL REVENUE SOLUTIONS Aiming to deliver “revenue management with personality”, TRS will be launching a new online platform in January called TRevOR. He (or it!) combines day-byday segment forecasting, competitor monitoring and CRM capabilities. TRS also offers a range of remote revenue management systems which allows businesses to focus on their customer services and operations, while TRS advises them on potential pricing and commercial strategies. Telephone: (+44) 7766 993253 Web: Email:

RESNET WORLD ResNet World focuses on internet marketing, website development and e-distribution to attract potential guests and convert them into bookers. It has become the fastest growing company in the online presence and e-distribution sector in the region and uses its local knowledge and support to drive sales and marketing. The company was created by hoteliers with the express purpose of appealing to hoteliers and claims to ‘truly understand the needs of the industry’. Telephone: (+971) 4 448 7222 Web: Email:


need,” says Barnes. “IDeaS v5i solution can suggest when to advertise promotional rates or even alert you to any significant changes taking place as they happen.”

Traditionally revenue management has focused on rooms because of the revenue they generate.

THE HUMAN TOUCH Behind all technology is a good manager. Technological solutions are simply tools, powerful though they may be, to inform the decision making process of a dedicated and accountable revenue manager. Their business acumen and ability to drive proactive change throughout the organisation is integral to the success of any strategy. Testament to this idea is the revenue management strategy of co. City s Essaouira in Moroc Six Sensewhere design for Pool villa Seasons Group, revenue mangers are positioned “on the ground” in individual properties in order to foster better understanding of the

City Seasons Group managing director,Thomas Tapken: Everyone must be part of revenue management.

discipline within the organisation and facilitate the overarching strategy of the group. “I believe that our revenue managers must be as close to the market as possible because dependable market knowledge is now more essential than ever before,” explains City Seasons Group managing director, Thomas Tapken. “They must be aware of shifts in booking patterns and fully understand the competition on a daily basis.” “But it’s also about educating the wider team and getting everybody actively involved in revenue management practices. Sales, marketing, communications and the rooms division manager all need to work together to create targeted measurable campaigns which are appropriate to the business needs of the

particular hotel. In truth, we are still some way off the ideal scenario, but we will get there in time.” The need for talented managers behind the technology and good corporate awareness of the discipline has not escaped the attention of the solution providers. Most package consultancy and training services into their software products to avoid hotels investing in a one-time system implementation with the unfounded expectation that nothing further will be required. “I believe that it is important to focus on people and behaviours first, followed by the underlying processes,” explains Total Revenue Solutions director Jennifer Keen. “My number one piece of advice is always to foster engagement from your team from the very beginning, otherwise you could be in for a very long and uphill battle! “It is critical that the revenue management team can drive action, not just analysis, and have the ability to turn data into recommendations. Also, the revenue management strategy needs to be given time — it needs to be a long-term strategy supported by short-term tactics. It would be hard to achieve all of this without an engaged and motivated team.”

A PROFITABLE FUTURE The emergence of revenue management in the Middle East has been well-timed. The discipline has triumphed as the right solution able to respond to recent changes in the industry. At a time when hoteliers need to maximise their revenues and improve their efficiency, revenue management is able to deliver concrete results.

Momentum is likely to continue as revenue management firmly roots itself in the region’s business culture and, as the discipline is adopted into other departments, hoteliers will continue to see some impressive results in the long-term. “Traditionally, revenue management has focused on rooms because they generate the majority of a hotel’s revenue,” explains Ròya International’s Saleem. “In most cases, there has been relatively little focus on other areas of the hotel business, including areas such as banqueting, restaurants, spas and health clubs. “But, these areas are very interdependent because success in one area can increase demand in another. It is therefore essential to apply revenue management techniques to all of these revenue generating areas in order to maximise the potential revenue in the long-term.” The revenue management revolution has only just begun and its full capability is yet to be realised. As the discipline creeps into other hotel departments, it will gain momentum and likely establish itself as a fundamental business standard. If hoteliers can “stick to their guns” and adhere to their yield management strategies in the long-term, then the required cultural changes and interdepartmental buy-in will follow. “The most important thing is to see it through” says Jumeirah’s Wolf. “Once a strategy has been identified, agreed and implemented, there might be initial adverse market reactions, but if it is the right strategy for your hotel, and if it has buy-in from all the relevant stakeholders, then the results of this strategy will eventually speak for themselves.” HME HME

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



With a raft of development projects around the country, authorities are hoping Morocco will become a destination of choice for beach, golf, spa and luxury travel. Kathi Everden assesses the viability of hotel operations in the new hotspot

Teeing off in


Traditional entertainment at the opening of Mazagan Beach Resort.

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

Mazagan Morocco.


COUNTRY UPDATE nternational flight numbers have doubled in six years to reach a weekly total of 1200, visitor arrivals are expected to top nine million in 2010 and at least 80,000 more hotel rooms are planned — healthy enough figures perhaps to justify Morocco’s designation as one of the ‘hottest markets for 2010’ in the recent Jones Lang LaSalle Hotel Investment Outlook report. Indeed, rated number one for tourism business environment in 2010 by Business Monitor International, Morocco seems to exemplify the advantages of a sustainable government strategy that has wrought tangible benefits through the implementation of a cohesive plan encompassing infrastructure and human resources development as well as incentivising private sector investment. Buffeted by the cool winds of the global recession in the past two years, some projects have foundered, but with government backing, there is renewed vigour among the survivors, and a successor to the initial Vision 2010 Plan is expected to be revealed this autumn to keep up momentum. The original strategy aimed at tripling hotel capacity and included Plan Azur, with six beach destinations allocated to international developers — at Mazagan, Saidia, Mogador, Lixus, Taghazout and Plage Blanche — plus new resorts at Chbika, Tamuda Bay and Cala Iris. In total, these will add nearly 140,000 beds.

I Kerzner’s Mazagan resort.

In addition, under Plan Mada’in, nine existing tourist destinations were scheduled for upgrade and expansion, including beach resorts at Tangier and Agadir, the imperial cities, Casablanca, Marrakech and Ouarzazate, while rural, adventure, sports and domestic tourism were also given priority to spread the benefits of tourism around the country. Along with this ‘bricks’n’mortar’ strategy, the government has also implemented an open skies policy with Europe, encouraged the expansion of low cost airline services,

allocated extensive budgets for airport, rail and road construction, and expanded training institutes for human resources. Indeed, the Gulf’s Air Arabia has flown straight in to the market, establishing a hub at Casablanca last year and is already offering flights to 12 cities in Europe. “We will be adding more routes and frequencies in the near future”, says CEO Adel Ali. “Our base is currently in Casablanca, but we will be looking at opportunities that exist from other cities as we organically grow.”

WHY INVEST? Long-term development strategy ongoing from the government with financial incentives. Location close to Europe, also accessible to the US, Middle East, Russian markets. Open skies policy, with growing number of airlines and capacity. Locations with potential for beach, mountain, desert, cultural, sports and eco tourism. Increasingly robust legislative and financial environment. Low construction costs and established artisan traditions. “After the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Morocco is the third focus country for many chains in developing new hotels in MENA” Konstanze Auernheimer, director of marketing & analysis, STR Global “Vision 2020 will be as ambitious as Vision 2010, with continuation of launched projects and preparation of new ones” Omar Bennani, CEO, Moroccan Tourism Development Agency “Morocco has a sophisticated, deep and mature financial sector that supports hotel and tourism development and it is one of the few emerging countries with hospitality funds” Chiheb Ben Mahmoud, SVP, MENA, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels “The last 18 months have not been the ideal time to launch, but Morocco has not suffered as much as other countries and location so close to Europe has helped” Alistair Emery, CEO, Ajensa

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



All of this has contributed to an arrivals total of 8,341,000 for 2009, a figure expected to top 9.4 million in 2010 according to Omar Bennani, CEO of the Morocco Tourism Development Agency (SMIT). “Vision 2010 was a real success — 9.4 million tourists in 2010 represents 94% of our objective while we also reached 80% of hotel bed capacity objective, increasing from 90,000 to 185,000 beds,” he says. “Tourism income for Morocco jumped from US$3.2 billion in 2001 to nearly $6.6 billion in 2007, and this healthy tourism environment encour-

aged many investorss including Emaar, Qatarii Diar, Alain Crenn Group,, Orascom, Gulf Finance House, Kerzner and CDG Group,” he reveals. Emphasising the concrete success of Plan Azur, Bennani says that Mazagan and Mediterranean Saidia were already up and running and it was planned that the first hotels would open at Mogador by the end of the year.

Angsana Riads Collection, Mor



PROJECT ROUND-UP Saidia — FADESA. On the Mediterranean, 17,000 beds are planned with beach as the prime attraction, as well as golf, spa and marina facilities. Mazagan — Kerzner, SOMED, CDG, MAMDA and MCMA. Less than one hour from Casablanca, the site stretches nine miles and includes golf and conference facilities, with plans for 7600 beds. Mogador — Thomas & Piron, l’Atelier, Colbert Orco and Risma. Near Essaouira on the Atlantic, it will feature 10,600 beds and at least three golf courses. Lixus — Thomas & Piron and Orco. Around 12,000 beds are on the drawing board at this resort, an hour from Tangier on the Atlantic where the major focus will be on golf courses, an equestrian centre and marina as well as beaches. Taghazout — Colony Capital and Satocan. North of Agadir, beach is the draw here with 18,000 beds in the pipeline.

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

Plage Blanche — FADESA. Some 19,500 beds are planned and eco tourism will be a focus amid the beach and dune coastline with an ecological park planned as well as golf course and spa. Oued Chbika — Orascom. Located in the south between the Sahara and the Atlantic, the first phase will comprise eight hotels with 2,500 rooms, real estate, marina, golf course, congress centre, sports centre, spa and restaurants and retail. Tamouda Bay — eight hotels and four golf courses planned. Casablanca — marina, golf course and associated hotels are planned under a regional redevelopment scheme to double bed numbers to 20,000. New terminals are underway at Casablanca, Marrakech and Oujda airports; a high-speed rail network is planned between Casablanca and Tangier, more than halving journey time to just over two hours.

“This success has encouraged investor confidence with plans duplicated in other resorts — Laguna Smir, Fitnit and Dakhla,” says Bennani, adding that Vision 2020 would be as ambitious as Vision 2010, with continuation of launched projects and preparation of new ones. “Sustainable development really will be at the centre of the new strategy, with all its components — economic, social, cultural, heritage and environment — allowing Morocco to develop its assets with real added value and differentiation.” For the moment, investor sentiment is very much on the side of the authorities, applauding what is seen as one of the more enlightened approaches to the market, according to Chiheb Ben Mahmoud, SVP MENA for Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. “Morocco has carved a niche for itself on the global and regional tourism and hospitality investment landscape,” he says. “By moving to address the challenges of the new post boom financial environment, the country has emerged as a mature hotel investment market ... while the pace

oof development has slowed, a lot has been achieved over th the past years. “It has a sophisticated, de deep and mature financial se sector that supports hotel an and tourism development an and it is one of the few emerging countries with hospitality fun funds — the financial sector me mechanisms and approaches to the sector are diversified and nuanced and this has hel helped to address the challeng lenges of the regional and glob global post boom correction.” B Ben Mahmoud stressed that whi while no investor had exited the country due to a lack of (governmental) support, the market did operate on conventional commercial terms. “It is not an industry under life support, a result of pure subsidies and financial incentives,” he adds. Expanding on what was on the table, SMIT’s Bennani said that private developers qualified for a range of incentives. “Morocco offers attractive land prices in areas that are covered by Plan Azur, plus subventions for other land acquisition, external infrastructure and training as well as exemption of import duties and VAT for investors and reduced corporate taxes for hotel owners.” Meanwhile, existing hotels are reporting a turnaround in occupancies and rates, indicating Morocco has climbed out of its relatively shallow recession dip and setting the scene for growth to come.

Omar Bennani, CEO, Moroccan Tourism Development Agency: Vision 2010 ‘success’.


quence was a lower revPAR for the most part,” he says. “The increase in occupancy continued in to 2010 and hoteliers have now begun to raise their rates — yearto-date revPAR in May 2010 grew by 3.7%, spurred by a three-point increase in occupancy and relatively stable prices.” But, with a panoply of industry names set to debut, particularly in Marrakech, the question must arise as to how demand in the luxury sector can be ignited to justify expansion of the product in to the upper echelons of the travel sector. Emery: Ajensa benefited from stalled projects.


According to CEO of the MKG Group, Georges Panayotis, stability of rates and demand during the financial crisis underlined the resilience of the Morocco product. “Demand was somewhat affected by the crisis in the early stage of 2009, forcing hoteliers to reduce rates. Numbers returned but the conse-

To a degree, Marrakech has been nurturing its future as an ‘A’ list destination for many years, with an iconic hotel that attracted the rich and famous throughout the 20th century – it was to La Mamounia that Winston Churchill allegedly referred as ‘the most lovely spot in the whole world’. Scrubbed up and reopened after a multi-million dollar refurb, the

property is set to compete against the world’s best as hospitality legends pile in to the city and its environs in search of the rich and famous, each with a USP designed to woo today’s luxury traveller. The roll-call is impressive, from Mandarin Oriental, Baglioni, Rocco

Forte Collection, W Hotels, Oberoi, Four Seasons and Park Hyatt through to newcomers such as The Address and Jumeirah and established hospitality giants InterContinental, Marriott, Park Plaza and Radisson Blu – altogether, some 1500 rooms in the five-star category are due to


MOROCCO’S UPCOMING PROPERTY PIPELINE (AS OF MAY 2010) Number of Hotels (Projects) Existing Supply

Recently Opened 342

In Construction

Final Planning
















Number of Rooms 42,977 Source: STR Global

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010


Sofitel Rabat Jardin des Roses.

open within three years, according to recent data from JLL. Some projects have been mothballed, with Raffles, Fairmont , Banyan Tree and Anantara going quiet on their plans, but the fall-out is to an extent giving those remaining breathing space to gird up for business, according to Alistair Emery, CEO of developer Ajensa, where Baglioni, Six Senses Spa and Jade Jagger villa designs are part of the package. “Our project has not been affected, but we have benefited as a few resort plans have stalled,” he says. “The last 18 months have not been the ideal time to launch, but Morocco has not suffered as much as other countries and the location so close to Europe, while offering a different cultural experience, has helped.” The Ajensa project, opening late 2011, claims space as its USP, aiming to attract a VIP clientele with exclusive villas and extensive facilities. “We offer a boutique resort with just a few villas serviced by this hotel, set in 13.5 hectares,” says Emery. “Many new developments now fea-

ture 200+ room hotels with golf courses, etc which is more mass market style.” Also navigating the upmarket residence route is Four Seasons which has a 140-room hotel with 43 villas and riads readying for opening in early 2011, and general manager Jean Claude Wietzel reveals that all residences have already been sold to individual buyers. “The entry of Four Seasons in to any market brings instant credibility and access to the hotel facilities and services were key selling points for the Four Seasons branded residences,” he says. Dismissing the threat of too many, too soon, Wietzel says development in Marrakech was part of a plan that would bear fruits for all. “We are basically still near the beginning of a long-term strategic government plan to position Mar-

rakech as an exclusive, high-end destination and the addition of competitors is planned for and welcomed.” New markets such as Asia and different sectors such as premium family travel were suggestions for broadening source markets, while others include Russia, the US and the Middle East, according to Patrick-Denis Finet, general manager of the new Mandarin Oriental opening in 2011. “The arrival of Mandarin Oriental will enhance the awareness of the

location as a luxury destination, helped by the number of luxury hotels scheduled to open in the not too distant future,” he says. “The city appeals to a fashionable crowd of sophisticated travellers.” The eagerly-awaited resort is set in 53 hectares in the Palmeraie region, offering access to Marrakech and the mountains, while positioning as an exotic retreat with riad-style accommodation, spa and restaurant facilities is indicative of the trend towards stand-alone destination resorts.




Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech




* Approximate number of rooms








Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Four Seasons


Shaza Marrakech Hotel



Shaza Hotels



IC Marrakech



InterContinental Hotels Group



The Address Jnan Amar Polo Retreat


The Address Hotels & Resorts

The Address


Marriott Palm Golf Hotel



Marriott Hotels & Resorts



Jumeirah Marrakech Golf & Polo resort


230 + 100-room polo hotel

Jumeirah Group


From 2013

Wyndham Port Lixus



Corinthia Hotels



Mandarin Oriental Jnan Rahma



Mandarin Oriental Hotels

Mandarin Oriental


Park Plaza Marrakech



Park Plaza

Park Plaza


Park Hyatt Marrakech



Hyatt Hotels

Park Hyatt


W Marrakech




W Hotels


Radisson Blu Marrakech Carre Eden




Radisson Blu



Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Tangier



Radisson Blu Saidia



Jawhar Resort






Baglioni Hotel Marrakech


Rocco Forte Marrakech



Oberoi Marrakech



Anantara Marrakech Resort & Spa



Anantara Mogador Resort & Spa




Radisson Blu




Radisson Blu



Groupe Monte-Carlo SBM



Baglioni Hotels



Rocco Forte Collection

Rocco Forte


Oberoi Hotels



Anantara Resorts



Anantara Resorts



15 98


Key: S = Suites | A = Apartments | R = Residences|V/C = Villas/Chalets

For a full list of upcoming properties planned for the Middle East, visit

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East














Cumulated (12 last months)





























As of July 2010 Occupancy Rates (%)

Average Price (MAD)

RevPAR (incl. taxes )

Evol. Pts










































Evol. %










































Evol. %














Source: MGK Hospitality Database - July 2010

Rocco Forte Collection is heading in this direction at Assoufid with a golf course, tennis and spa as well as residential villas coming soon; Jumeirah is planning golf and polo; Park Hyatt has golf as an USP; Jawhar resort has a spa and wellness resort with villas; while The Address will debut with hotel, villas, wellness villas, polo fields and tennis facilities. According to CEO for Emaar Hotels, Marc Dardenne, this first foray overseas is also the first retreat property developed by the company, and as such will set new standards. “The Address Jnan Amar Marrakech is setting a new niche in the industry with The Address philosophy of offering tangible guest benefits matched by superior service standards and a great locations — we expect occupancy levels to be strong from inception. “The resort will have five focal areas — cultural, business, meetings and incentives, health and well-being and sports and recreation,” he adds. But, while the big names have been drawn to Marrakech as a launchpad, many are also looking at other developments and areas, with The Chedi and Banyan Tree signed up for Tamouda Bay, Anantara in Mogador, Hyatt in Lixus and The Address announcing Tangier, for instance, while the bigger groups are multifocused with Accor extending its network with openings in Mogador, Agadir, Tangier and Casablanca. At Starwood, VP for MENA acquisitions and development, Neil George, cited the tourism infrastructure, planning and marketing as key reasons for entry in to the market. “We believe the Casablanca market could benefit from our Westin or Four Points by Sheraton brands ... we

THE TOURISM DEPARTMENT FORESEES THE TRAINING OF AROUND 62,000 GRADUATES NATIONWIDE IN THE HOTEL BUSINESS BY 2012 would also like to have a hotel in the capital Rabat where Sheraton could be a great fit, and leisure destinations such as Tangier and Essaouira also represent a great opportunity.” The group has a 150-room W Hotel opening in Marrakech next year, offering villas, golf and the W pizzazz, but George confirmed the group was in active discussions for various projects across the country. Just how successful the import of a name can be was exemplified by the opening of Kerzner’s Mazagan resort last year, since when occupancies have been growing exponentially, according to Emmanuel Comble, executive sales & marketing director. “It is a Sol Kerzner tradition to launch projects with big events that attract attention, and this was no exception ... Mazagan is now one of the iconic properties in Morocco offering a new concept of affordable luxury within gigantesque spaces, and we have seen 100% occupancy during several periods this year,” he says. As the country’s first integrated resort — with a 500-room hotel, Gary Player golf course, ESPA spa, casino, 2000+ conference centre, Sanctuary night club, residential villas, and all beach and leisure facilities — Mazagan is aiming across the board for visitors, he adds. “The meeting and event sector is an important element for instance, with groups already received from the UK and France as well as locally — we anticipate 50% of group business for

leisure and corporate, and 50% individual clientele in future.” While the main challenge has been to promote an unknown destination in Morocco, Comble said another aim was to translate the natural hospital-

ity of the local staff in to international service standards. “In 2010 alone, we have invested more than one million euros in the training of employees,” he says. SMIT’s Omar Bennani emphasises the commitment to get this right. “The tourism department has formalised a strategy to accompany job creation between 2008 and 2012 — this foresees the training of around 62,000 graduates nationwide in the sector of hotel business by 2012.” HME

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



A guide to social media platforms ResNet World director of marketing Josiah Mackenzie explains how to make the most of the different social media platforms available, and how to choose the right one for your hotel

es her peer review sit TripAdvisor and otAdv ity abil the ls hote rs offe isor What it offers: Tripision-making phase of the travel

TRENDS ocial media works best when it is closely aligned to the culture and values of a hotel. There’s no use forcing the open culture of social media on a hotel where the guests will not embrace it. Social media should be a service, so selecting platforms to participate in must involve thinking through how your social media activity will provide better service. Therefore, rather than each hotel trying to participate in the same list of social media websites, the selection process outlined here will help you choose the platform to suit your property and your guests. We must approach social media with the end goal in mind. Decide on objectives, and from there, pick tactics.


RETURN ON OBJECTIVES IS THE NEW ROI New media marketing channels differ so much that it is nearly impossible to do a side-by-side comparison on effectiveness. At best, we create a different set of success measurements for each platform. That’s fine, but it makes highlevel marketing strategy decisions much harder. What services and websites are worth investing your time and money on? To assist you with these decisions, I encourage you to evaluate ‘Return On Objectives’ (ROO) instead of Return on Investment (ROI). For August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

to reach travellers in the dec is on TripAdvisor, they are often buying process. When someone your competition in a contest comparing you head-to-head with said about you. e hav determined by what your guests If you provide an exceptional u: yo lp he t How it migh about it, there is no ing talk experience, and your guests are trust reviews written will ple Peo out. d wor better way to get the marketers can pitch. as we t wha by their peers much more than you. Let your guests do the selling for ent: Once you set up itm mm co e tim of s Level as little as five to 10 minutes monitoring systems, this may take investment required, and time each week. Considering this low it ellers in the planning process, how important it is to many trav ls. hote t needs to be a top priority for mos mitment to making Good for: Hotels with a strong com every guest delighted. r service and faciliNot so good for: . Hotels with poo ties — and don’t really care

ging Twitter (microblog-tim e communication. real : rs fe of it at Wh Twitter is a great u: yo lp he t gh How it mi timent among

e sen listening tool for engaging real-tim fully, it can also care d use n Whe e. ienc your target aud rs: selling room be effective for time sensitive offe orrow. tom ss thle wor be will inventory that itment: Usually Levels of time comm cy issue. It’s best if not much, it’s more of a frequen ral times each day seve you can manage to check in . utes min for five to10 owered staff who Good for: Hotels with emp to and serve your ond resp sly eou ntan are able to spo online audience. els that have lengthy Not so good for: Hot ause of the real-time Bec s. content approval processe days to get an few a s take it if ter, nature of Twit the right moment t, men update approved by manage d someone who is nee You . sed pas has e for a respons ns within minutes. atio situ able to respond and resolve

Face cial nbeook (soWhat tworking Facebo it offer o s: “tran k is all abo

ut sitiv people e trust” — rea ch through and help other p ing e in g y o ur fans ople, their frie to offers y nds about you tell ou may How it have. and any you: F might he one soc acebook is the lp ia of numb l media platfo number appeali er of users, so rm in terms n it has als g. Additionally s reach is o , features been adding m Facebook you hav lately that exp ore and more e a sages to for communic nd the options ating yo a wide ur mesaudienc e.

YouTube (video sharing sites) What it offers: The ability to demonstrate what it’s really like to stay at your property.

How it might help you: You can show rather than tell. It’s easier for you, and it’s more believable for potential guests when it is done right.

Levels of time commitment: Video can be substantially less time-consuming than written text if you keep it simple. Some of the most effective YouTube promotions I’ve seen are when the PR manager simply carries a Flip Mino camera around and interviews staff about their jobs and how they do


Leve ment:ls of time c As o

mmitthere a elemen re s ts can tak on a good Fa o many differe ce nt e effectiv quite a bit of ti book page, it ely. Am me to ru o ng othe want to n one r th in announ clude status u ings, you will cements p , photo dates, event discuss alb io Facebo ns, special off ums, videos, ers ok interacti is becoming a and more. n increa ve mult im s that req uires m edia platform ingly ore a other so cial me time than so nd dia opti me Good on base aro for: Buildin s. g u people nd your brand a fan are , types o able to use since f media many N ot so

Mass m good fo e r everyon ssaging -- reac : e at onc hing e.

ys what they do. Plus, there’s alwa ted crea o vide ing reus of the option can for your other promotions. You mple. upload advertisements, for exa the Good for: Hotels with grea t culture of openness. Another e YouTube promotion format I hav out observed is when hotels loaned sts, Flip video cameras to their gue ad it and then encourage them to uplo . ding bran l to the web with some hote tell to dom free the sts gue r Giving you . your hotel’s story is essential here els Hot r: fo od go Not so and not where there’s not much to see, l! ntia pote y much stor

Once you have identified your objectives, you can match them to one or more of the following social networking options that are most popular today: TripAdvisor (peer review sites) Facebook (social networking) Blogging (information sharing)


example, if service is a top strategic focus for you, it is possible to quickly compare the diverse range of social networks — and to see which ones are allowing you to serve your guests in the best possible way. So, what social media objectives are you measuring for?

Twitter (microblogging) YouTube (video sharing sites) Photobucket (photo sharing sites) Foursquare (location-based site) (events) Below is a review of the pros and cons of each site…

g) n sharvein io ublishing t a m ie r n o inf Blogs offer a con nt p ( g in g g Blo it offers: online. ed What for publishing content u: Once content is puy beliveshry yo nearl platform d easily to e ight help How it umr blog, it can be syndaicsathtee ability to quicklyinraeiss.

through yo media network. It h search eng n l nd also in other socia e social networks, a ment: Running a th it visibility in f time comm cant levels of time ed o g si ls s e Lev blog usually require avenifito be long, but theyllny e s don’t h effective ent. Usua fairly frequ r nt. The post commitme d ahead of time and r week is required fo e ne p n s la te p a e d b p u to e ne and thre between o levant. d embrace re erstand an y you to sta r: Hotels that und and are willing to Good fpot of content marketinglo, ng-term to stick with the conce mmitment over the o make the c of communication . that likes to try ls el this chann ood for: Hote d cannot commit to g n a o , ly s n o t s No g for a few week somethin participation. a long-term

Ph shaortobucke Wha ing sit t (pho to descr t it of es) ibe yo f e rs: of w ur h Howith superlativoetel in detail The ability to visual peopl it mig s. ly, ins e tead to exp a real fee ht help l e y f r Leve iencing wh or what th ou: Giv depen ls of en they s ey can lo ing o t be as ds on the ime co tay at your k forward l your w simple as evel of inv mmitm property. olvem postin ent: ebsite us en g ,

It er g pho t yo and conce roups arou can be a tos you ha u want. It s c v n p longe t. Modera d concep complicat e already an r than t o e t s i d n r g e a lated s ma n a com rewa sim Goordds can be laply posting comunity alwato your hotenl aging y a ntent for: rger. Desig , but s takes mu nd n the p ch Photo hotels an Stunning h o tentia l Not bucket websd resorts seeotels and st s u i m t n e o n . t i The p o n g g w o ork es s od hotos pecia ettings. that w for: lly we ork be Postin ll on t g st on he Photo slick prom o bucke t are tional pho to taken by us s. ers. Hotelier Middle East • August 2010


Fou Whatrsquare ( People it off locati o “mayo keep comin ers: Fou n-base rsq d r.” g

back t servi uare d People tions ot riv c How cian get ridicuolompete to stahye same placees repeat bucsines) to e mayor loyalty t migh us. as well become ss. t , and able to programme help y c ompet o iis esp keep peop — if you hav u: It’s a

n e le e good t cially popula from going good rewa ext-generatio r ool for d t r n o w Leve boost ith restau the comp s, you may makin ls of t ing F&B reve rants and b etition. Fou be i rs g ars an rect, a sure your c me com nues. d can quare m ll o be a This n you will ha ntact detail itment Goodetwork is a larvge to do is coms and busines: Low. Aside for: ely user- e up wit s profile from good Not bsars and restQauirky properdtrieiven platformh .special promis ocortions. s whic that d o good urants. h have on’t ha partic ve mu for: Rem ularly ch of a o social te destinat ions o scene r prop . erties

Meetu What (events) offers: commun T How ititymin an off-line, “reahlewability to connect you r online as a “hub ight help y orld” setting. ” among o u : Y ou can be social m like Ne

w Yo edia com hosting m rk City’s Roger Sm and online influen e known ith Hotel eetups to achieve th cers. Hotels connect th Levels is by routi e nely don’t usu of time com ir online fans. ally take p m i t m e lace cons n much tim t : B ecau ta e group of in each month. This is ntly, arranging the se meetups m fluencers e s p e c ia ll Good fo y true if yo doesn’t take that can s p u have a re r a d : the word Hip urban core the social for yo hote s in social m cene. It helps if yo ls that want to be u. u have a c strong on ome part of Not so edia. line prese nce tions. Hote good for: H o coordinate ls that don’t have a tels in rural or rem ote “connecto the events r” on prop destina. erty that c an

We’ve reviewed some of the major social networking options. So how do you allocate your time among a myriad of social media options? It’s simple — follow the data! Take a careful look at your metrics. What’s working? What’s not? As I said at the beginning of this article, you will probably have to use Return on Objectives to do the apples-to-oranges comparison. But in the end, numbers don’t lie. If a trendy new site isn’t producing the results you’re looking for, then stop spending so much time on it. Some networks naturally consume more time than others. Writing a blog post takes longer than posting a tweet. Producing a YouTube video will take longer than moderating a group on a website. But if the additional time investment gives you higher overall ROI, then it’s worth it. It comes back to Pareto’s 80/20 rule — find the select few social media activities that produce tangible results for you, and try to focus your time there. Since this is highly variable on your property, follow these action steps to create a unique plan for you: 1. Develop a new set of objectivesbased metrics for measuring social media activity in a way that is relevant to your hotel. 2. Compare past statistics with your new metrics. (If you have not been gathering sufficient data, then take a week or two to do that). 3.Use insights from your comparison to develop a list of social media top performers – for you. 4. Create a personalised social media management routine based on this data. HME

For a free tool that matches your hotel’s needs and objectives with the right social media networks, visit: www.HotelSocialMediaFinder. com. Josiah Mackenzie runs the most popular hotel marketing blog (according to Google) and currently holds the position of director of marketing at ResNet World. Details: or +971 (4) 448 7222.

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



Supplier Focus • News • Analysis • Innovations • Trends

Industry must be clear on green products

Lactalis reports high demand for low fat products

Clients left confused about which products are really environmentally friendly

Supplier rolls out healthier dairy food to ‘health conscious’ UAE

ENVIRONMENT Consumers are confused about which products are truly ‘green’, according to chemical company Diversey’s marketing manager Middle East Marc Robitzkat. “The term ‘being green’ is being thrown around by companies quite a lot,” said Robitzkat. “Some products, some manufacturers, might say ‘we’ve got a squeeze of natural ingredient in our product’ but that doesn’t make it a green product and there is more to it than the product itself,” he added. Addressing a housekeepers’ roundtable with an environmental focus — hosted by Diversey at The Palace — The Old Town in Dubai last month — Robitzkat said that people often looked for a ‘green label’ on products when in fact existing products which did not

Marc Robitzkat: Clients confused by ‘green’ claims.

carry such a label could also be environmentally friendly. “These [green label] charters are voluntary — you volunteer to join that charter and you undergo with your product a very rigorous testing

method to get that stamp, but the reason why these stamps are there is actually for consumers to be able to identify that these products have gone through rigorous testing. That doesn’t mean that a product which is already in the market and doesn’t have that stamp isn’t a sustainable product,” Robitzkat asserted. He said that hoteliers should look for more than just a “green seal” from their cleaning products and take into account how eco-friendly a supplier is from warehousing through to logistics. Media One executive housekeeper Nadine O’Connor commented: “It is important to find a balance with these products, so yes it may be green but is it green all the way through and is it good business sense [to buy these products]?” For more insights from the roundtable, see the September issue of Hotelier Middle East.

Axor Bouroullec bathroom range launched Designer collection from Hansgrohe AG offers “a wealth of individual options” BATHROOMS Designer bathroom brand Axor, part of Hansgrohe AG, has introduced a new collection in partnership with French designer duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. “With Axor Bouroullec, we are redefining individualisation in the bathroom” announced head of the Axor brand Philippe Grohe at the regional launch of the product range in Istanbul in July. The theme of Axor Bouroullec is “feel free to compose”, with clients able to select fittings and shelves and combine them in different ways.

Head of Axor Philippe Grohe and the designer Erwan Bouroullec launched the new collection in Istanbul.

“We are no longer restricted to positioning the fitting in a central location on the basin’s rear rim,” explained Philippe Grohe and designer Erwan Bouroullec during their presentation. “With the Axor Bouroullec collection, the mixers can be freely arranged anywhere around the wash basin area: on one of the integrated shelves that feature throughout the collection as a key design element, in front of or on the side of the wash table, or even on the wall.” Axor Bouroullec is the result of a partnership between Axor and the Bouroullec brothers developed over a period of more than six years.

F&B Dairy supplier Lactalis has reported a rise in sales figures for low fat versions of some of its brands. According to Lactalis Middle East sales director Dany Abi Khalil: “We are witnessing a great deal of ‘healthy eating’ awareness campaigns across the Middle East where the main message is to cut down on the fat intake. “To satisfy these healthy-eating consumers, President Brand, on top of its wide “Light” range, has introduced the “0% Fat”. This specific product has captured a decent share of the sales proving that consumers in the region are becoming more health aware.” However, there has been an increase in the amount of dairy products being consumed in the region, despite a serious government health warning about the rising numbers of obesity in the UAE. Khalil said: “Research states that the dairy market has been increasing at a rate of 6-7% year-overyear in the UAE since 2002 and we believe that the trend will remain the same for the coming period”.

Consumers want to see healthier products on offer.

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010


Inner beauty Small, compact, and elegant, Minex juicers are made to be admired. Their small size, pure lines and a large, carefully selected palette –from sober colours to lively ones– also ensures perfect adaptation to all needs and settings. This feature becomes its main identity trait. Whichever the place, the décor or style, a Minex is there to match your image.

EverStyle Trading LLC P.O. Box 103869 Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tel no. +971 6 531 4106 Fax no. +971 6 531 4460 Email: Web: Dubai Showroom: Tel no. +971 4 338 2828


Managing director of property improvement company Under One Roof, Tony Lamb, explains the company’s customer-focused ethos and why word of mouth is key for successful business storm, then the customers will be there for you when things start to pick up again, which they already have for us,” adds Lamb. Looking to the future, the company is having its first birthday this year and will be continuing to develop through bringing new designs in to the showroom, as well as adding its own furniture and vanity cabinets. “Metris has just launched two new kitchens to the range which we are getting soon. In our contemporary range of kitchens we are just releasing a new range of painted kitchens in pastel colours, which look fantastic and are the only thing like it on the market,” says Lamb. “Roman, the leading shower manufacturer in the UK, has just released a new enclosure called Trapezium designed for small or awkward spaces. Again, Under One Roof has the exclusive rights to Roman products in the UAE,” Lamb explains. HME

COMPANY PROFILE he company Under One Roof began with its sister company Permaglaze Property Improvements, which has been trading since July 2009. Following the work of the business in residential and commercial fit-outs, customers were so delighted with the service, says Under One Roof managing director Tony Lamb, that they began recommending the company to friends and asking the company to undertake more work. And so the concept of being able to cover a customer’s property improvements in their entirety — or ‘under one roof’ — was born; the company now undertakes a variety of jobs from internal and external painting work and structural renovations to bathroom make overs, tiling and even designing. “Our company ethos is to exceed our customers’ expectations in terms of the service we offer and in quality and we will not compromise on this,” says Lamb. “Obviously, despite this objective anyone can make mistakes, but our view was that your customers judged you on how you rectify those mistakes, which we do quickly and without argument,” he adds. The ethos of the business is clearly working, with the company reporting its busiest month of orders on record in July 2010. “Things are going from strength to strength. We are busy recruiting and expanding our premises to cope with the forward orders. The best bit is that we are getting most of our business from referrals and word of mouth,” Lamb says. “I think our customers like the concept, i.e. they really can get everything they want from one location, without having to go all over


BEST SELLERS “Our range of Metris kitchens are proving extremely popular,” Lamb says. “They have just received two major design awards in the UK from Grand Designs and House Renovation and are extremely cutting edge. They are designed in the UK and manufactured in Italy and we have the exclusive rights to them in the UAE.” Under One Roof provides its customers with a variety of property improvements.

the UAE. We provide a comprehensive service in that we have access to a group of professionals, business partners and exclusive suppliers who can address all of our customers’ individual property requirements, all from our showroom near Times Square,” he adds. And Lamb insists that customer loyalty is one of the things which helped the company to survive during the economic downturn.

“I think if you know you have a good business proposition, with a little bit of luck and careful management it should succeed and be able to survive no matter how difficult the economic circumstances,” he says. “I think the main thing is not to be tempted to compromise and try to save money on the important things that matter most — customer service and quality. If you can maintain that and ride out the

COMPANY INFO NAME: Under One Roof FOUNDED: July 2009 BACKGROUND: The company started life in the UAE with sister company Permaglaze and soon expanded into a variety of property improvements. Soon to celebrate its first birthday, the company plans to extend its offering to furniture and cabinets.

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010


Time to raise the roof



FITTED OUT akkasan at Emirates Palace is the third restaurant to open in the brand’s 10year history, and like the original London outlet, the Abu Dhabi restaurant is designed by Gilles & Boissner. It features the distinctive Hakkasan “cage-like” design and “electroshock of colour”, says founder and CEO of Gilles & Boissner Patrick Gilles. The brief, he explains, was to “bring the London urban spirit to Abu Dhabi, while bestowing a modern authentic Chinese experience”. And, as with the original design, the ethos was based on the slogan ‘Bring Back the Dragon’. This term was coined in response to the way in which Chinese restaurant deign had shifted from its colourful roots to stark modernism. As a reaction to this, the décor of Hakkasan sought to regain a distinctive ‘Chineseness’ with its sensuous interior. Gilles & Boissner emphasise “emotional architecture”, which focuses on the emotion a space provokes, rather than the logistics of its aesthetics, function or form. As a result, Hakkasan employs the traditions of Feng Shui with observations of how people interact in different designed environments. An integral part of this concept is the wall of blue glass in front of the kitchen, says Gilles, which makes the cooking action part of the restaurant’s theatre “without being too in your face”. Hakkasan Limited chief operating officer Didier Souillat agrees: “The fact that you can see the kitchen through blue glass is paramount in our concept, as well as in the bar area. “As is having a separate identity between the lounge and the main dining restaurant, so you have different segments, so it still feels like one, but not like it’s 12,000ft²,” continues Souillat. “The flow is very important, not only from the service point of view, but also the customer’s — so they don’t feel like there’s all this service going on around them.” Light too plays a key role in the dining experience, and for the past nine years the company has worked with a company called Esometrics to use “lighting to create a dynamic feel in space,” says Gilles. “It means that some parts are voluntarily dark to highlight others,” he says, adding that the Emirates Palace restaurant posed a challenge because of the “UAE’s extraordinary sunlight”. “How should we let the sun come in without creating too much contrast with the dark wood?,” says Gilles. “We decided to highlight the wood color and chose some lighter leather colors. Then the existing windows were covered with very dense Chinese woodwork to create a filter,” he says. Hakkasan has a two entrances, which posed a challenge when creating a main reception. “It was difficult to create a foyer area, so we disrupted the idea of dramatising the arrival area and acted as if there was no entrance,” explains Gilles. “There is no warning, you are suddenly in a modernized Oriental haven.” HME


August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

Bring back the Dragon The design of newly-opened Hakkasan at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi combines the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui with modern social dynamics

THE CAGE The main dining wood work structure is surrounded by blue glass retro lighted in a brushed stainless steel frame.


UNIQUE VIEW Another shot of the main dining area, which as Gilles explains offers “a totally different view” from each seat, making “each time a first time”.

LIANG LIANG Designed specifically for Abu Dhabi Hakkasan, the Liang Liang lounge area is a cage surrounded by wooden panels and marble patterns. Gilles played with the “verticality of elements in order to insist on volume and height”. The red leather seating with dark blue pillows contrasts with the other seating areas.

IN PRIVATE One of four private dining rooms, which are separated with vertical pinewood shutters so it creates different views while walking in the corridor. All the rooms are surrounded by oak panels featuring Chinese scenes.

RELAXATION Yet another “caged” area, where the dark wood is offset by the white seating.

NIGHT MODE THEATRE The integral blue glass creates sophisticated restaurant theatre.

The blue glass rectangular bar features a retrolighted top. The cleaved slate on the back wall with rippled lighting gives a night-time mood and the conical stainless steel pendants were custom-made.

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



Working out the kinks Gyms could drive an increase in hotel revenue, if only their full potential was exploited, says Harriet Sinclair GYM EQUIPMENT ecent headlines proclaimed that the UAE was ‘obese’. Like many nations across the world, Emiratis and expatriates alike could do with ditching the burgers and taking up the treadmill. So it stands to reason that gyms are likely to become more of a focus for local residents. But in terms of hotel-based facilities, how important are gyms to attracting clientele — from both the local community and international travellers— and how should hotels be utilising their fitness centres to enhance their revenue? Cybex International senior vice president of sales John Young says that hotels must put more of a focus on to their gyms and make them a selling point of the hotel. “Hoteliers need to spend some time on their fitness facility as they would the reception area or any other important component of the hotel,” says Young. “Upgrade the brand standards, make it a complete fitness offering, make sure it is in a nice location, and not just some unusable space. Make it bright and inviting. Have athletic clothes available on loan so they don’t have to fill their suitcases with all of the additional workout wear. As for ‘watching the bottom line’, have corporate call the manufacturer directly to discuss national


account pricing, and value adds they can offer to win the exclusive business of your brand,” he adds. And, argues Tracy McCurtin, key account and hospitality manager Precor EMEA, many hotels do not realise how much of a priority fitness facilities are to potential customers. “For the majority of frequent travellers making hotel choices, fitness features are currently treated as something of a check mark,” McCurtin stresses. “This includes leisure offerings such as pools, for even if these travellers never actually use these facilities, they associate them with a high quality hotel offering, which in turn leads them to make assumptions about other services in the hotel. Research by Hartman (2007) suggests that frequent travellers rated fitness offering second only to sleep when it comes to order of importance,” she adds.

PUMPING UP PROFITS Making hotel gyms more luxurious and inviting than their commercial counterparts will be the key to ensuring business from local residents says Ahmed el Komy, president of Sportal-Switch, a newly-established joint venture between Switch entertainment and Sportal from Al Otaiba Group. “Hotels usually have luxury facilities, they have the space, they have nice equipment, and the lovely locker

HOW TO CHAMPION CHILDREN’S FITNESS TOO Exercise doesn’t have to be limited to your adult hotel guests, says Komy. “We are proposing for hotels to have a corner just for children, so we have equipment from treadmills to bikes to weight machines all designed for kids

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

with safety mechanisms, so if a child is sitting on a piece of equipment and he is not sitting right, an alarm goes off for the trainer, who is there to make sure he is sitting properly on that machine and using it correctly,” says Komy.

Hoteliers who are prepared to put some time and effort in to their fitness facilities will see rapid results.

THERE SHOULD BE INDIVIDUAL TELEVISION SCREENS ON ALL CARDIO MACHINES — THIS IS CONSIDERED MANDATORY room and great sauna and steam area is all part of the package that makes you feel good when you go to the gym,” Komy says. “A private gym will have restrictions on space or facilities, but a five-star hotel will have a lovely designed fitness area, space dedicated for men and women in most of the areas, and lovely supporting facilities.” And if hotels are not concentrating on the local market as well as their

guests, then they are missing a valuable trick, explains McCurtin. “The main motivation for hotels to offer their services to local residents is that they get a tangible return on their investment,” she asserts. “However, in order for this to be successful, a good infrastructure needs to be in place. Like other commercial gym facilities, hotels need to target their market and then develop appropriate marketing and sales


strategies. Not treating their health club as a separate profit centre is a key mistake hotels make. This means they don’t fully understand the value of their health club, and often don’t invest sufficient funds in maintaining it. The result is outdated equipment and insufficient staff training, which in turn leads to a poor guest experience,” McCurtin adds. It is so important to encourage local residents to use the gym, says Raymond Sport managing partner Raymond Kelly, that hotels should entice them with special offers. “More people in gyms can only be a good thing, good for the hotel, good for the individual and good for the local community. Hotels can encourage residence to join by offering flexible and affordable membership rates and providing a friendly and welcoming club atmosphere in the fitness centre at all times,” he says. And like McCurtin, Kelly emphasises the need to invest in properly trained fitness staff. “Is the fitness centre currently higher in pecking order than the food and beverage outlets? The answer is absolutely not. Should this change? I think that motivated staff with the right attitude, skills and knowledge can be challenged to sell more memberships to see an increase in revenue, and where there is a will, there is a way,” he states.


GYM APPEAL In terms of creating a gym which will appeal to customers, Young believes that space is important. “Today, the best examples of hotelbased fitness facilities incorporate a thoughtful design of space. The three key zones of the facility (wet areas, active exercise, and semi wet areas) must be correctly laid out to ensure the functional space ratios are adhered to. In addition, operational

Guests expect the latest equipment in gyms, as well as professional staff members and practical use of space.

issues such as privacy, logistics, guest and back of the house staff flow are given due consideration when planning the best utilisation of your space,” he says. McCurtin believes that there are several elements which a hotel

Make sure gym users are entertained.

Encouraging local residents to use the gym will increase revenue.

should consider if it is to optimise the potential of its fitness centre. “A gym should be as spacious as is practically possible, and stocked with commercial-grade, branded equipment consisting of elliptical machines, bikes, treadmills and weight machines, plus a variety of free weights. There should be individual television screens on all cardio machines — this is considered mandatory — and it should be wellstocked with water, towels and headphones,” she says. “Ideally the gym should be noncarpeted, with “rubberized” floors, and a décor of soothing colors and subdued lighting, with no tacky artwork. Most importantly of all the gym should be well managed, and

maintained on a regular basis. (Hartman 2007),” adds McCurtin. Rather than treating the gym as an added extra, Young believes that in order to get the most of out a fitness facility, it should be paid attention to and treated as one of the most important elements of the hotel. “Many guests are looking for the same quality in a hotel gym, as they are a comfortable bed, nice show, and great view. Fitness is not just a tread, but a lifestyle choice. Those traveling for business or pleasure want to maintain their routine and fitness facilities are one important part of this,” he says. And with so many local people jumping on the fitness bandwagon, hoteliers must position themselves appropriately to capitalise on increased demand. HME Hotelier Middle East • August 2010


All the beds and bedding products your hotel needs to give guests a peaceful night’s sleep INTERCOIL Simmons has created innovations such as the Beautyrest pocketed Coil, and the revolutionary “non-flip” maintenance-free mattress design. Simmons products are known for their exceptional features such as motion separation and the contour of the mattress. The Simmons healthsmart washable top and the EverNU replaceable top in the new Crypton Collection, which features a permanent moisture barrier are some of the most recent of the company’s cutting edge technologies.

URBAN BEDS TEL: +44 151 548 4417 FAX: +44 151 548 4249 EMAIL: WEB:

INTERCOIL INTERNATIONAL CO. LLC TEL: +9714 - 3474474 FAX: +9714- 3478844 EMAIL: WEB:

URBAN BEDS Urban Beds provides a simple range of high quality, competitively priced products for a variety of environments. The company creates bespoke designs to meet clients’ requirements for single rooms or major projects and offers a cost effective manufacturing base to the contract market. The bases and mattresses have been tested by SATRA to comply with BS standard for strength and durability.

MÜHLDORFER GMBH & CO.KG Featherbedding has been enjoying ever-increasing popularity amongst hotel guests. The soft under blankets from Mühldorfer GmbH & Co.KG are an excellent way of treating guests to a relaxing, rejuvenating night’s sleep. The product is ergonomically shaped for the back, providing ideal temperature balance conditions. Washable at up to 95°C, the under blankets are easy to clean.

MÜHLDORFER GMBH & CO.KG TEL: +49 85 56 96 000 FAX: +49 85 56 710 EMAIL: WEB:

For more information about Hotelier Middle East suppliers contact or +971 (0)4 210 8475.

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010


Product Guide: Sweet Dreams



PREMIER FURNITURE INDUSTRY TEL: +971 4 880 3444 FAX: +971 4 880 3434 EMAIL: WEB: RESTONIC Restonic ComfortCare™ with exclusive Marvelous Middle™ Construction technology offers a satisfying sleep experience by reducing tossing and turning and providing special support for the head, neck, shoulders, back and calf areas. These results are achieved by incorporating multiple zones of support that mirror the contours of the human body. The Marvelous Middle™ Construction provides greater support in the centre third of the mattress, where body weight is concentrated.

RWN TRADING TEL: +971 50 7582699 EMAIL: WEB: : RWN TRADING Innovative goose down surround pillows by British-based Delbanco Meyer (DMC) provide all the luxury and softness of a goose down pillow, with the added benefit of support from a core of feathers. Natural pillows mould beautifully so give excellent support and the duvets and pillows are 100% natural and allow the skin to breathe, thus ensuring your guests’ maximum comfort.

SIGNORIA HOSPITALITY FZCO TEL: +971 4 420 9861 FAX: +971 4 420 9860 EMAIL: WEB: TUSCANY LINEN The single-pick construction Tuscany Linen bed linen from Signoria Hospitality is made using quality yarns manufactured from long-staple Egyptian cotton. This enables the company to provide a one-year replacement warranty for any manufacturing defects in the products, regardless of the status of the customers.

TEXLYNX TEL: +92 42 366 88770 FAX: +92 42 366 88777 EMAIL: WEB: TEXLYNX The luxurious embroidered bedding from Texlynx is silky soft and made from 100% Egyptian cotton with 300 Thread count woven with superior single ply yarn. Quality linens like this one are ideal for selected five-star hotels. This contemporary fine pattern with blue embroidery combines simplicity and style to produce a beautiful finished product.

For more information about Hotelier Middle East suppliers contact or +971 (0)4 210 8475.

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East


Schaerer Coffee Vito

Great coffee small machine

Discover the latest innovation from Schaerer for coffee connoisseurs: the Schaerer Coffee Vito. This multi-talented model is extremely compact, reliable and versatile, and still allows you to prepare all your favourite coffee and chocolate beverages. The Vito is designed to satisfy even the most demanding requirements of small to medium-sized restaurants, cafés and offices in a most impressive style.

AND SO TO BED TEL: +971 4 3946832 FAX: +971 4 3946830 WEB: EMAIL:

AND SO TO BED And So To Bed’s Georgian Four Poster in its new hand applied silver leaf finish gives a glamorous appearance, with delicate hand-carving and a canopy decorated with Prince of Wales feathers. This bedroom classic is also available in traditional mahogany and in a wide range of hand painted finishes. And So To Bed offers all the finishing touches, from sumptuous four poster drapes to luxury bedlinens, duvets, pillows and mattresses.

INDIGO LIVING TEL: +971 4 339 7705 TEL: +971 4 339 7704 EMAIL: WEB: INDIGO LIVING The Luxury Collection from Indigo Living includes goose and duck down duvets and pillows and a silk duvet filled with 100% mulberry silk fibres, which is perfect for regulating body temperature in the Middle East climate. The Anti-Allergy collection is made from the best microfibre mix, which combines total comfort with hypoallergenic properties to give guests total peace of mind.

For more information about Hotelier Middle East suppliers contact or +971 (0)4 210 8475.


Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



Products: pick of the month Each month Hotelier Middle East showcases a selection of the newest products to hit the market GILES & POSNER The range of chocolate fountains from Giles & Posner contains products suitable for numbers from two people to 600. Giles & Posner also produces accompaniments for chocolate fountains, including a range of frosted and illuminated surrounds which can provide an elegant and exciting display for the fountains and are suited to big events where the chocolate fountain is a feature.

Giles & Posner TEL: +44 192 3 234 040 FAX: +44 192 3 245 151 EMAIL: WEB:

STEELITE Roselli Risers are manufactured exclusively for Steelite International in Hong Kong, using a bright white porcelain material. Available in three styles, Round Coupe, Square Flat and Round Flat, each in three sizes of varying height, Roselli Risers are ideal for the buffet table, patisserie and delicatessen display counters or as a space-saving table centrepiece for sharing platters.

A Ronai LLC TEL: + 971 4 3414409 FAX: + 971 4 3414457 EMAIL: WEB:

Casualife TEL: +61 3 9702 3222 FAX: +61 3 9703 1699 EMAIL: WEB: CASUALIFE The new range of ‘self-opening’ stainless steel pole umbrellas from Casualife come with ‘2pac coated’ wooden ribs and cast aluminium hubs for strength. There are no ropes or pulleys which hang down from the umbrellas as the patented internal self-opening mechanism allows the umbrella canopy to open against gravity and hold the umbrella in place without the need for the user to do anything. They are available in aluminium pole with aluminum ribs and wooden pole with wooden ribs options.

IRiS Software Solutions TEL: +971 4 293 2619 FAX: +971 4 293 2525 EMAIL: WEB: IRIS PERSONAL VALET Iris is a real time communications hub; able to interface to all major back of house and guest room systems to offer operational efficiency and revenue opportunities. The system comprises a core application enhanced by bespoke service modules designed to meet the needs of hotels, all controlled by a property management system that permits operators and affiliates to upload information in a secure and hierarchical platform with a powerful workflow process.

For more information about Hotelier Middle East suppliers contact or +971 4 210 8475

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East


Roca TEL: +971 4 347 6400 FAX: +971 4 347 6408 EMAIL: WEB:

Diversified TEL: +971 4 332 2308 FAX: +971 4 332 2318 EMAIL: WEB: PRIJA Prija is described as a warm and earthly amenities line. Produced by GFL, it appeals to customers who are sensitive to the quality of cosmetics and to the design of complimentary items. GFL’s new line of travelling cosmetic products was designed in order to satisfy the needs of people who are sensitive to aesthetics and psychophysical well-being. The range is distributed by Dubai-based amenities company Diversified.

ROCA Lavica is a new granite tile collection with shiny dots that show up under certain angles. This is a high resistant glazed porcelain line that is recommended for interior and exterior applications, including an anti-slip finish. The four colors developed in this minimalistic proposal provide a modern and elegant solution to combine with different furniture and decorative styles to create a pleasant atmosphere for your hotel.

For more information about Hotelier Middle East suppliers contact or +971 4 210 8475

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010

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• News • Analysis • Innovations • Trends

Trane reduces energy used by HVAC systems Commutation fan motors claim to cut AC energy bills “by up to 90%” ENERGY New fan motor technology from energy efficiency expert Trane has been developed to use four times less energy than conventional motors when it is applied to heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The electronic commutation (EC) fan motor technology, currently being applied to Trane’s range of chilled water terminals, uses four times less energy than conventional alternating current (AC) motors at the low speed range; offering “substantial energy savings and improved user comfort”. “Hotel owners can reduce energy bills for their airconditioned spaces by up to 90% by incorporating Trane terminal units with EC motor technology into their HVAC system,” said

Franck Biegalke, applied integrated systems leader for Trane Europe, Middle East, India and Africa. “This technology will help ensure lower electricity cost. In addition, with energy regulations becoming ever more stringent, investing in EC fan motor terminals today will guarantee the value of building assets for years to come.” There are three new terminal units, which can be factory-mounted and configured with the Trane TracerTM ZN525 controller. The new controller maximises EC fan motor technology performance by providing an average of 5% additional power consumption savings annually. It also controls the fan speed to adapt to exact cooling and heating loads of individual rooms in the building, improving room temperature and acoustic comfort.

Travelport launches onestop shop leisure portal Travel industry partner Travelport has launched a one-stop leisure portal for travel agents that includes a range of new hotel, hostel. B&B and car options. Called Travelport Leisure, the latest roll-out “includes specially sourced and negotiated rates from a range of well-known, market leading leisure suppliers,” said head of Travelport Middle East Rabih Saab. “The previous version, Galileo Leisure, was first launched in 2005 and the upgraded version was made available in June 2010 across the globe. This included the Middle East, where agents in the UAE, KSA, Pakistan, Syria, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman have been able to access this free leisure portal for the first time,” explained Saab. The development is part of the “new generation of GDS”, which Saab said “is expanding into further levels of customisation, mov-

Head of Travelport Middle East Rabih Saab: GDS of the future will be more integrated.

ing from being primarily a distribution vehicle into a merchandising platform for airlines, hotels, and other travel providers”. “We see the GDS of the future providing more integrated and targeted opportunities at the point of sale for these suppliers as travel agents search for air, hotel and car product information,” said Saab.

The company is also set to unveil a “revolutionary new platform” called Travelport Universal Desktop (TUD). Saab said TUD was “an integrated booking solution that seamlessly unifies selling and merchandising programs and accesses a world of multi-source content”. TUD will be launched with several travel agency partners in Q4 2010.

Entiretec expands in-room entertainment offer Partnership with Mastersolution AG sees development of new multimedia IT solution specialist Entiretec and software technology manufacturer Mastersolution AG have developed a multimedia and entertainment package which is aimed specifically at the hospitality and healthcare industries.

The companies have worked together to develop a graphical multimedia frontend for Entiretec, the “intelligent in-room entertainment application”. The product extension focused mainly on IP-based and multimedia content

such as audio, video and TV streams, web and mail services, and integration with social networks. The new Entiretec Etain is designed to enable topend hotels to provide their guests with a wider range of services, convenience,

mobility and the feeling of “being at home”. Etain allows guests access to real-time video, web TV, Instant Messenger and a direct connection to most social networks on Web 2.0 from the comfort of their own hotel rooms.

Entiretec Etain provides access to web TV, Instant Messenger, and real time video.

The frontend system can be designed according to a hotel’s corporate identity. Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



Cloud computing continued Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts regional IT guru Roger MacFarlaine explains the considerations hoteliers should take when building a cloud computing strategy to outsource and store data ‘Mr Fix Its’ to efficient application providers and enablers. In short, learn to trust and use your internal IT resources where possible to maximise the effect of IT services and their delivery.


TECH EXPERT n my last article I spoke briefly about ‘cloud’ computing. Remember; it is computing where data is outsourced, accessed and stored in a secure environment somewhere in cyber space and then provided as a service online, either by subscription or on a pay on demand basis to customers. Believe it or not, ‘cloud’ computing is a ‘virtual canopy’ that links and ties a number of different applications and providers (both internal and external) together to provide a uniformed functionality and delivery of services to the end user. To this end, here I will outline the corner stones to building an internal and external ‘cloud’.


1. INTERNAL BENEFITS There are more assets to ‘ internal clouds’ than just moving desktops to a virtual environment or creating a ‘read only’ company intranet. These internal platforms are far more powerful and can be used to manage and share information and even synchronise information throughout internal and external application software. A trusting and obliging company culture acts as an enabler to turn an IT department from August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

Look at third party clouds as an extension of IT services and application deployment options. Their shared infrastructure could enable better security capabilities, VPN services and Service Level Agreements (SLA) that will optimise speed, delivery and better choice of IT applications/services. This allows optimisation of internal and external expertise that is better tailored to ever changing business IT needs and expectations.

3.SERVICE PROVIDERS Internal and external customer experience is a key success factor with the cloud environment and as a result it is

extremely important that correct partnerships are formed with external IT service providers. Research and know your potential partner. And specifically make sure they understand your organisation’s needs, objectives and budgets so they can provide and meet an organisation’s expectations. In short, mutual policy development and decision making should be possible. After all, the partnership between hotel and service provider has mutual impact.

4. NEED FOR FLEXIBILITY As an organisation it is possible that you will have multiple applications across a number of different third party IT service providers. Proceeding from the last point, it is important to know the third parties longevity and future plans for their own ‘clouds’. In some cases it is likely that you will share their infrastructure with other entities,

which might mean being bound to generic SLAs and generic security policies which could hinder or not provide a ‘best fit’.

5. SECURITY Build your security policies around your internal and external cloud. When developing your security policies, do remember that we are not NASA — yes we do manage sensitive data traffic — but don’t make it cumbersome to end user functionality. We don’t want our audience losing confidence in our systems because of the perception of complexity and/or unreliability.

COLLABORATIVE IMPACT Today ‘cloud’ computing for most companies consists of systems and applications that are scattered through a mix of insourced and outsourced systems and providers. Maximisation of systems and their availability aid in ‘cloud’ and collaboration computing — the key here is optimising the strategy and incorporating these five important steps which will provide you with the necessary synergies. HME




Shining a light on green technology

ANALYSIS ravellers’ increasing awareness of green issues has encouraged the region’s hotels to adopt a more eco-friendly approach to business. And with the introduction of new green technology, there has never been a better time for hoteliers to improve on their hotel’s eco-credentials.


Tom Lord, hotel manager of InterContinental Dubai Festival City — which has just installed LED lighting from Philips — says now is the time to invest in environmentally friendly technology. “There is a definite shift in a lot of corporate business towards responsible business, corporate social responsibility, and so on. So if you’re a hotel in the Middle East — or indeed anywhere in the world


August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

— your clients now want you to be greener, but I think it’s also aligned with the fact that the hotel industry is only going the same way as everybody else,” Lord says. “We are all moving towards awareness of the environment and the fact that there do need to be some changes, but also the fact that there are some fantastic green solutions out there right now means that you would be crazy not to look in to them,” he adds.

REAL SAVINGS But will the introduction of modern ‘green’ technology truly make a difference to the environment? Louis Hakim, chairman of Philips Middle East and VP Royal Philips

Electronics, believes that using new technology means that hotels do not need to resort to a complete overhaul of their building system in order to be more eco-friendly. “LED lighting solutions consume less power compared to conventional lighting systems, yet give the same lighting output and generate less heat,” Hakim says. “LED bulbs use 20% of the power of the current incandescent bulbs and last up to 25,000 hours, compared with 1000 hours for a standard bulb and 8000 for a CFL. That’s 17 years if the bulb is switched on for four hours a day. Hotels often have the lights in common areas on for most of the time,” he adds. Solutions such as LED lighting


ANY FORM OF ENERGY MANAGEMENT THAT CAN PROVIDE GOOD RETURN ON INVESTMENT BECOMES INTERESTING TO HOTELIERS With new eco-friendly gadgets on the market, there has never been a better time to make your hotel environmentally friendly

Energy efficient LED lighting can create a funky look for your hotel.

are a far cry from larger-scale solutions such as solar panels, which have traditionally been perceived as the pinnacle of green buildings, but, says Lord, it is not necessary to adopt such solutions, as the smaller things can make a big difference. “I think that changing existing items to more energy efficient offerings, such as using LED lighting, will be more practical and get done a lot more quickly than trying to install solar panels to run a hotel that’s been stood there for 20 years — you’ve got to be realistic about this — if you were planning to run a hotel entirely out of solar you would need a significant number of solar panels, and once your hotel has already been built, it is difficult to install,” Lord asserts.

TRENDS Rajeev Abraham, buildings solutions manager —hotels, Schneider Electric EMEA, identifies his top three trends in green technology: ‘Push for green’, the button which allows guests to opt for an ecofriendly mode in their hotel guest room. Focus on managing energy efficiencies, without impacting guest comfort. The remote monitoring of multiple hotel properties, to manage efficiencies against set industry benchmarks.

Rajeev Abraham, Schneider Electric: There is a clear ROI for hotels using these eco-products. Tarek Zakaria, ABB’s intelligent building system manager for the Gulf region, says that the use of energy efficient technology can have several desirable effects. “First what you will have is a guest who appreciates what the hotel and the chain is doing to reduce its energy and water consumption. Many guests do want companies to promote the ‘go green’

Dubai Office: Tel. +9714 3493017 E-MAIL:

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010




Tom Lord, hotel manager of InterContinental Dubai Festival City: More hotels will go green. initiative by adopting solutions that would increase comfort and also have less impact on the environment,” he says. “A second reason why we do believe people care, even indirectly, is because of cost. If a hotel is saving 30% on energy costs, they could pass this on to the customer. It doesn’t take much to work out that people will be happier if the cost of a service is reduced, especially if there’s little distinction between comparable services, say for example two fivestar hotels,” adds Zakaria. Rajeev Abraham, buildings solutions manager — hotels, Schneider Electric EMEA, agrees that hoteliers are looking at the added benefit

of the cost saving that comes with reducing energy consumption. “Hotels have a sharp eye on return on capital investment; ideally it should be about 36-42 months. Therefore any form of energy management that can provide this kind of ROI becomes interesting to hoteliers,” he says. The savings that hotels could stand to make could have a significant impact on their bottom line, Zakaria confirms. “According to a study in 2009 conducted by energy consultancy firm Farnek Avireal, a typical five-star hotel in Dubai has a total energy bill of up to AED 7 million (US$1.9m) a year. With ABB technology these costs can be reduced drastically by making energy usage more efficient,” he states.

INCENTIVES AND INTEGRATION Providing a clear incentive to be more environmentally friendly is key to encouraging guests, as well as hotels and chains, to participate in green initiatives, argues cluster

director of technology for Mövenpick, Issam Abbas. “With the eco-friendly room and the guest rewards/incentive scheme, it’s all about integration between the in-room management system (e.g. inncom), the telephone system (e.g. Cisco Call Manager/Nevotek), and the property management system (e.g. Opera),” he says. “Most of the hotels have the above mentioned systems installed, however, not integrated. A minor integration would make those systems talk to each other and come up with an “eco-friendly” room feature. This would materialise by programming a button on the guest room phone, so that when it is pressed it dims the guest room lights and sets the AC to energy saving mode. That’s when the incentive counter on the PMS system starts ticking and the more hours the guest spends on “ecofriendly” mode the more incentive/ rewards he/she gets. Those rewards could be free room nights, meals, and so on,” Abbas adds And making the most of the avail-

New LED lighting from Philips reduces the InterContinental hotel’s carbon emissions by two million kg per year, and creates an impressive exterior. August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

able technology can have a significant effect on a hotel’s energy output, says Rotana corporate vice president IT, Samir Abi Frem. “When it comes to energy consumption and savings, the in-room management system is one of the most important systems we have,” says Frem. “Using the door lock card, we are able to identify whether a staff member or a guest is in the room, and alter the settings accordingly. The system also identifies when there is no one in the room, so the air-conditioning and lights will stay off. This way we can save energy without compromising on guest comfort,” he adds.

THE FUTURE The apparent simplicity of becoming a greener hotel suggests that more hoteliers will look at adopting green technology solutions over time, argues Lord. “I think with the emerging trends in technology there is every reason to be greener. There is a lot out there about the way that you would power a building; you would do all sorts of things in the future that we haven’t yet looked in to. We have a building and our aim is just to make it as sustainable and as responsible as possible and when you have got that kind of building, you’re limited in the amount of technology that you can bring through — it is things like waterless urinals, it’s cutting down on that water. I don’t ever think we’ll get to waterless showers over here but I think they do exist somewhere,” says Lord. And, says Hakim, with the introduction of many smaller environ-

Louis Hakim, chairman Philips Middle East and VP Royal Philips Electronics: Choose LED bulbs.


OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEW HOTELS While existing hotels can benefit from new technology, new hotels have the opportunity to integrate energy saving features in to their building on a much larger scale. “The problem for many hotels is that a big part of having a green building needs to be considered during the construction phase,” says Rotana corporate vice president IT, Samir Abi Frem.

Samir Abi Frem, Rotana corporate vice president IT.

Issam Abbas, cluster director of technology HME for Mövenpick: Implement green ideas early. “Hoteliers may be coming in to green projects a little late. Often how green a hotel can be is decided from the blueprint stage. That is when we need to be getting involved and looking at being a green hotel,” agrees cluster director of technology for Mövenpick, Issam Abbas.

mentally friendly technology products, hoteliers can easily use green solutions across their properties. “We strive to make it easy to save energy and reduce the effects of climate change by enabling consumers to make simple choices about the products they buy and the impact they have before, during and at the end of their life cycle,” he asserts. “Philips has a wide range of energy saving consumer lifestyle products from TVs and DVDs to irons and vacuum cleaners designed to conveniently reduce their impact on the environment without compromising on performance or design. We reported that 31% of total 2009 sales stemmed from the sale of green products compared to 22% in 2008,” Hakim adds. Abraham believes that the ease of ‘going-green’ will prompt an increase in hotels utilising the available green technology in future. “Of course more hotels will look at green solutions because it has proven to be a perfect business

model and the ROI is clear,” he says. “It is just a matter of time before this trend will grow, and it is already off to a great start — especially with international organisations recognising such efforts and awarding hotels and executives accordingly.” There is no question that the future will see more hotels adopting an eco-friendly stance with their technology, says Zakaria. “There will be more hotels going green because customers are asking for this, because governments are legislating for this, and also because hotels themselves are looking to differentiate. The added bonus from ABB’s point of view is that our solutions actually increase the comfort of guests in addition to saving energy, so it’s a win-win situation from the hotel’s perspective; they save money and they improve their customer experience,” he asserts. And with clear economic and environmental rewards and the technology to make it happen, the future, it would seem, is green. HME

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010




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Mixed reaction as property directives roll out Lawyer warns owners and operators to get to grips with new laws issued by RERA in Dubai LEGAL Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) has issued directives that impact heavily on hotel owners and operators in mixed-use and multi-owned Dubai properties. But reactions to the JOP (Jointly Owned Property) Law no.27 of 2007, (an attempt to give different owners a fair and equal degree of control over the management and administration of common facilities), have been mixed. Faran general manager Jihad Hazzan, who represents owners of hotels in Dubai, said the new law was “good for the emirate and has long been needed”. “The government has done a lot

Baldwin: there is a limited time to comply with laws.

and they are taking best practice from other countries, but we have to be patient as it’s a learning curve.” However, another hotel owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had doubts about how RERA was going to manage so many poten-

tial disputes as it retains the power to reject any agreement that it feels unfairly favours an owner. “They already have so many disputes going on, what is going to happen when owner associations disagree and you have one owner who doesn’t care and another who wants the highest of standards?” he said. “It’s the right direction, but there are so many questions and potential problems I fear it will be years until it becomes a workable system.” Despite this, associate at law firm Hadef & Partners Brent Baldwin said the days of developers “riding roughshod over owners” was over. “There have been complaints about a lack of transparency surrounding service charges. Those days are gone and owners are going

to find they have much greater control over the way their buildings are operated,” he said. “Now is the time” for owners and operators to thrash out how projects should be managed as the logistics of making changes could be more difficult later on, warned Baldwin. “There is a limited time to bring things into compliance. There will be a point when the owners association takes over the building’s management,” he stressed. “If a hotel has been enjoying a relationship with the developer, running things in a way to suit the hotel, they may find themselves hampered by all these other owners having greater control. “Everyone should be thinking about this now,” added Baldwin.

Hotels provide Kingdom Holding with 47% net growth Investment company Kingdom Holding Co. said second quarter profit rose 47% on revenue from global hotel operations and units inside Saudi Arabia. The firm, owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, witnessed a net income increase to US

$36.1 million from $24.5 million in the year earlier period. The company said in a statement to the Saudi bourse that it was “experiencing improving results from its hotel operations and its domestic entities”. In a separate emailed statement on July 20,

Prince Alwaleed said: “Financial results will continue to grow during the remainder of this year...Kingdom Holding has in place a very well defined vision. Its executive team, with the recent addition of Sarmad Zok, is fully committed to achieving the company’s financial objectives”.

Kingdom Holding restructured some of its management to drive growth after struggling through the financial crisis, said Bloomberg. Zok, CEO of the lodging unit Kingdom Hotel Investments, was promoted to the Kingdom board and its investment committee.





BX Blackstone Group (NYSE)



CHH Choice Hotels International (NYSE)



MAR Marriott International (NYSE)



REZT Rezidor Hotel Group (SSE)



IHG InterContinental Hotels Group (NYSE)



LHO LaSalle Hotel Properties (NYSE)



HOT Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide (NYSE)



AC Accor (PSE)




Notes: Relevant exchanges are indicated in brackets: New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), London Stock Exchange (LSE), Stockholm Stock Exchange (SSE), Paris Stock Exchange (PSE). Quotes sourced from, and Figures for July 2010 are based on quotes from June 28, 2010, compared with July 26, 2010.

WYN Wyndham Worldwide Corporation (NYSE)


For a list of upcoming properties, see To update your company’s list, contact

Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



A view from Istanbul Bench Events chairman Jonathan Worsley reports on developments from the company’s first ever advisory board meeting for the Central Asia and Turkey Hotel Investment Conference

COLUMNIST o say that the Turkish hotel market is hotting up is something of an understatement. One large hotel brand I recently spoke to signed seven properties in Turkey in the past year. I must admit, that until recently, I knew very little about this market but the more I find out — the more I am intrigued. GDP is forecast to grow 5.5% in 2010 and 5% in 2011 (one of the strongest performances in the world), Government spending will increase by 3% this year and public debt is below 60% of GDP. With such a robust economy, a government that has not spent beyond its means (unlike other European nations), a geographical location that makes it a hub between East and West, great weather, not to mention beaches and culture, you have to be intrigued. Given this platform for growth, it would seem that investment opportunities need to be highlighted and that is precisely what we intend to do with the launch of the Central Asia and Turkey Hotel Investment Conference (CATHIC). Attending the recent CATHIC advisory board meeting in Istanbul, we defined the conference goal as providing a platform of communication for regional and international hotel investors, developers and advisors to work together and grow the region’s hotel investment sector — the idea being to create a forum where all par-


August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

Antalya old town (above) and Kaputas beach near Kalkan (below) — an area not yet touched by mass tourism.

ONE OF THE CHALLENGES FACING THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MARKET IS THAT PROJECTS TEND TO BE STANDALONE, LOCALLY MANAGED AND UNBRANDED FROM A GLOBAL SENSE ties can connect, share experiences and learn. One of the hurdles in this market is connecting the right people to enable them to learn from each other’s expertise. Listening to the 30 advisory board members participating in

the meeting, the investor profile in Central Asia and Turkey is still very much high net worth individuals or construction companies with limited capital being sourced from institutional investors or the international market. One of the chal-

lenges facing the development of the market is that projects tend to be standalone, locally managed and unbranded from a global sense. The resort market has been historically one of the most fragmented in terms of ownership with hotels relying on tour operators for their business. Advisory Board members expressed concern that the existing supply is tired, particularly in resorts. Developers and owners need to focus on cutting edge brands, a new generation of resorts and what can be done with the existing supply. Medical tourism and golf resorts are potential growth areas and there is an opportunity for experienced players in these fields to bring their knowledge to the table and help develop what has to date been a fairly unsophisticated product to an international level. One of the key issues addressed in our meeting was education and to use CATHIC as a platform for best practice to ensure the hotel industry can grow. Hotels are starting to be viewed by Turkish investors as an asset class with the potential for a return on investment rather than just a return on ego. We have seen many of the Middle East’s hotel owners start to move in this direction. Through CATHIC, we are hoping that we are able to assist in speeding the process along! In terms of key growth markets, as well as Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, countries such as Syria, Libya, and Iraq were identified as key markets for outward investment by Turkish capital. With strong Turkish brands such as Marmara and Dedeman making a play for the international market, the question is not only how can international brands get into the region but how can regional brands go international? No doubt there is much that the two can learn from each other’s expertise. HME


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Good things come in threes Ròya International’s Turab Saleem advises a three-tiered approach to asset management asset management we need to unravel it layer by layer. I have divided it into three tiers, each to be understood separately although they all work in tandem. They are: understanding hotel operations; micro aspect — know your competition; and macro aspect — overall economic facets.


COMMENT hy is hotel asset management important? Simply put, with the ever increasing cost of hotel development, increasing operating costs, intense competition and over-supply resulting in the threat of diminishing returns, hotel owners and investors are demanding a more hands-on involvement in the management of their assets. The role of hotel asset management is critical in ensuring that the maximum return on an owner’s investment is achieved, that property values are enhanced and the business realises its optimum performance. Hotel asset managers serve as a conduit between owners and operators to ensure that targets are met and profit assurance plans are in place. Hotel asset management can be a complex process but at the end of the day there is one key objective: to ensure the hotel owner’s strategic objectives, financial and non-financial, are met. It requires working closely with the owner and hotel operator to ensure the financial performance, sales and marketing efforts, service quality, asset maintenance/enhancement and capital expenditure are aligned with the owner’s objectives and hotel management agreement. If it doesn’t tick these boxes then it runs the risk of creating more damage than good for all parties involved. In order to have better understanding of the various facets of hotel


August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

It may seem obvious but a real, hands-on understanding of hotel operations is a key element to successful hotel asset management. I have come across a large number of hotel asset managers who are restricted to the board room and only respond to periodic reports that keep them far away from the on-the-ground realities. A once-a-year check-up attitude does not work and never will. Hotel asset management is an ongoing process. Every day is a new day, and every new day has its own set of new challenges. Nothing can be taken for granted — for example, an award won last year by one of the hotel’s restaurants does not mean that it provides guarantee of success this year, as a matter of fact it increases market expectations and the team has to be more focused and committed than ever. We need to be inquisitive, investigative and consistently evaluating existing systems in order to achieve improvements.

competitive set that will prove to be the genuine barometer rather that chain wise comparison or year-onyear comparison of your own figures; one cannot look into the mirror and keep praising and analyzing without a true competitive analysis. Prepare an in-depth analysis on each and every aspect of the hotel, for example; condition of rooms, meeting facilities, banquet room features, recreational services, menus, pricing and so on, against your competitive set. This will allow you to measure and rank your offering against the competition. At least twice a year this analysis needs to be updated in order to gauge overall performance. As with your own hotel, the competition will change in line with market dynamics. We need to keep our finger on the pulse to make sure we are one step ahead of the curve

rather than laggards. New arrivals to the region, refurbishments, upgrades, repositioning and so on, will continue to dominate the hospitality industry and we will need to be on top of these

2. MICRO ASPECTS — KNOW YOUR COMPETITION In order to better understand your own environment and your product, it is imperative to thoroughly know your competition. Even before you try to know your competition one has to identify the real competition — competition should not be chosen just for the sake of looking good with some third rated entities, one has to look up rather than looking down when choosing the competitive set. It is your



Publication: Position: Salary: Other:

An airline’s performance plays a vital role in driving a country’s economy and in particular its hospitality business. It is an indirect barometer to predicting hospitality performance. The poor performance of an airline is bad news for hotels. For past and future predictions of GDP growth, we need to get a pulse on the factors and triggers from both a national as well as regional level and how these are linked to international economic trends. Currency fluctuation also help us to understand which feeder markets will be more attracted to our given destination and which other destinations are more competitive and compelling.


continuous changes in order to remain competitive. Only then will we have the credibility to advise our clients with the proper consultancy they seek.

3. MACRO ASPECT — OVERALL ECONOMIC FACETS It is vital to take a step back and look at the big picture; understand the stage of the current economical cycle, GDP growth, airline performance, currency valuation or devaluation, import and export deficit and infrastructure spending.

Based on all of this, a hotel asset manager needs to look to the future and provide a direction that can prolong the life of the asset, improve ROI and strengthen investor and operator relationships. Some of the qualities that successful asset managers need to possess are: • To quote Jack Welch, in brutally competitive environments, have a sixth sense for market changes as well as moves by existing competitors and new entrants. • Successful policies from one season do not necessarily ensure success for the next, you must keep evaluating and re-inventing. • Anticipate future needs and fine tune plans and policies accordingly. • Do not go with the flow, look for untapped markets, be creative • Differentiate your product and services; it is a resource allocation. Finally, have a clear cut idea of your strengths — that’s where you want to differentiate and stand out. HME

Caterer Middle East Sales Manager Competitive Monthly Commission, 22 days annual leave, medical insurance

Company Overview ITP Business Publishing produces a wide range of business-to-business publications, award programmes, events, conferences, directories and information services for key vertical markets in the Middle East and beyond. Its portfolio includes information technology, construction, hospitality, transport, healthcare, energy, finance, broadcast and telecommunications publications. Publication Overview Caterer Middle East, the region’s leading food and beverage management title, is a must-read among the Middle East’s F&B professionals— including executive chefs, F&B directors, brand owners, outlet managers and sommeliers. Caterer has an BPA Average Qualified Circulation of 5,811 copies per month and is read by more than 28,732* foodservice professionals. The Position • To develop and sell the commercial strategy for Caterer Middle East and • Sell advertising into Caterer Middle East and its brand extensions • Lead and own advertising targets and forecasting • Hit weekly, monthly and quarterly sales targets • Book revenue into the budgeted brand extensions and other projects within the portfolio • Develop both agency and direct business – both locally and from abroad • To help manage one of ITP’s Tier 1 Hospitality magazines Skills & Experience • Ideally a minimum two years media sales experience, preferably with a business-to-business background • New business skills essential • Ideally a track record in operating in the hospitality industry or related sectors • Ability to work across diverse cultures and with international clients • Ability to cross-sell advertising and sponsorship over events, online, supplements • Ability to identify own leads and be able to close confidently and under pressure • Have ambition and drive to achieve fantastic results • Good professional face-to-face presentation skills and telephone manner • Hunger, ambition, skill and dedication are a must Other • Full clean driving license preferred Should you be interested in this position please send your CV to: Diarmuid O’Malley Publishing Director

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Business insights for attractions, fitness, sports and spa professionals

Landmark eyes deal for Fitness First franchise Al Hokair Group said to be in talks to sell its ‘funding starved’ Leisure Unlimited subsidiary BUSINESS Al Hokair Group, the Saudi leisure conglomerate, is understood to be in talks to sell its subsidiary Leisure Unlimited, holder of the Middle East franchise for Fitness First, to the Landmark Group. UAE-based Landmark has begun due diligence on the deal, which would see the retail giant add the Fitness First gym brand to its franchise portfolio. A source close to the deal said Dubai-based Leisure Unlimited had been starved of funding in recent months, putting pressure on its growing gym business. Buyout talks with at least two previous firms had fallen through. Leisure Unlimited operates more than 13 branches of Fitness First across the Middle East, including

Al Hokair Group: Discussing the sale of Leisure Unlimited, holder of the Middle East franchise for Fitness First.

11 in the UAE. The gym chain is owned by private equity group BC Partners, and has 550 clubs worldwide with more than 1.4 million members in 20 countries. BC is eyeing a stock market flotation in Asia for the health club firm,

Pavilion Dive Centre offers disabled diver training course DIVING The Pavilion Dive Centre at Jumeirah Beach Hotel has trained 10 instructors at its first Disabled Diver Instructor Course, the only one of its kind in the Middle East. Organised in conjunction with the UAE marine environmental awareness group Tawasul, the two-day course was available for all independent instructors in the UAE and was subsidised jointly by Jumeirah and Tawasul. Pavilion Dive Centre is set to extend the course and make it available for disabled divers, mentally

The Pavilion Dive Centre at Jumeirah Beach Hotel is the Middle East’s only Disabled Diver Training Centre.

disabled divers or members of the community that wish to become ‘disabled diver assistants’.

which is likely to value the business at around US $1.80 billion. The Landmark deal follows a legal spat between the UK-based Fitness First and Leisure Unlimited, which saw the gym chain take out an advertisement in a UAE

newspaper in May, looking for a new franchisee. Leisure Unlimited is understood to have sought legal advice after the move, but the dispute has now been resolved to allow the unit to be sold with its franchise relationship intact, the source said. Landmark Group is one of the largest retail conglomerates in the region, with more than 900 stores and some 31,000 employees. A spokesperson for the Landmark Group said: “The Landmark Group has diversified from its core retail businesses into various leisure and hospitality sector businesses over time and the fitness industry would be of interest to the group. We offer no comments on the market speculation of any purported transaction in this space”. Fitness First and Leisure Unlimited declined to comment.

Health and fitness focus at The Palace – The Old Town FITNESS The Palace — The Old Town has introduced complimentary in-room fitness kits to guest rooms. The indoor kit includes an exercise DVD, Swiss ball, medicine ball, dumbbell set, exercise mat and resistance band, with personal trainers available on request to conduct training sessions in guest rooms. The initiative has been spearheaded by new general manager Jason Harding, who also invites guests on a ‘Jog with the General Manager’ programme, where guests and staff can join him on a 2km and 4km run in Downtown Dubai. Harding said: “Our objective is to become one of Dubai’s preferred

The in-room fitness kit at The Palace – The Old Town.

city resorts, by providing additional services which enhance our guest’s stay, while promoting well being. “The option of offering in-room fitness kits works to the advantage of guests, who demand privacy.” Hotelier Middle East • August 2010



Spa stats hit the summit An unprecedented and unparalleled amount of new wellness research was presented and discussed at the 2010 Global Spa Summit in Istanbul. Louise Oakley outlines the key findings RESEARCH he fourth annual Global Spa Summit, held in Istanbul for the first time this year, provided spa professionals with a historic amount of new and important industry research. From vital statistics to consumer trends and benchmarking to delegate surveys, the information conveyed was invaluable to spa managers and hoteliers who are looking to develop their wellness offering. And while challenges are still there — the industry voted for the second year running that definitions, standards and best practices remain the number one problem


The industry voted for a second year running that best practices are the number one problem for spas globally.

facing spas globally — the impact of economic downturn has started to positively affect spa operators.

As GSS board member and founder Susie Ellis commented: “The new research

presented concurs that not only is the economic turnaround now reenergising the global spa economy, but that a more extraordinary, long-term opportunity is looming: to dramatically increase our industry’s stake in the massive health and wellness markets. “I’ve attended each summit and I’ve never felt such a sense of momentousness, energy and optimism — such a creative focus on the future and the big picture — and a willingness to break our industry ‘out of its box’ and explore new models, new customers, new partnerships and new technologies.” A round-up of the research that ignited Ellis’ positive conviction is presented below.

SPAS AND THE GLOBAL WELLNESS MARKET BY SRI INTERNATIONAL Commissioned specifically for the GSS, Spas and The Global Wellness Market aims to, following investigation of market forces, highlight key areas of opportunity and intersection where the spa industry can take advantage of growth and partnership opportunities in a myriad of wellness related sectors and provide recommendations on how spa operators can capitalise on these. It included a survey completed by 1077 consumers and 319 spa professionals. Key findings ‘The Wellness Cluster’ is a US $1.9 trillion global industry comprising: Spa — $60 billion Complementary and alternative medicine — $113 billion Healthy eating/Nutrition/Weight loss — $277 billion Preventative/Personalised health — $243 billion. Wellness tourism — $106 billion Medical tourism — $50 billion Workplace wellness — $31 billion Fitness and mind-body — $390 billion

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

Finally, beauty and anti-aging is responsible for $679 billion. SRI estimates that there are 289 million wellness consumers in the world’s 30 most industrialised and wealthy countries. 83% of spa professionals use the term wellness in their business; almost all consumers are aware of the term. 81% of consumers are “extremely” or “very interested in improving their personal wellness and will seek to do this via 1) exercise, 2) eat better, and 3) visit a spa. 71% of consumer respondents said they would be “much more likely” or “somewhat more likely” to visit a spa if they learned that a series of research studies demonstrated spa treatments deliver measurable health benefits. Nine out of 10 industry respondents plan to make wellness-related investments in the next five to 10 years. Almost all of them believe their business will see growth from these investments, and 70% expect their

wellness-related investments to lead to more than 10% revenue growth. The recommendations Partner with conventional medical establishments to deliver complementary and integrated healing services to medical patients. Partner with the medical industry to encourage and conduct evidencebased research. Partner with the medical tourism industry to create complementary services for medical tourists. Repackage existing offerings and develop new offerings to define and market spas as a wellness necessity. Provide continuity of care to customers. Deliver executive health services. How to move the industry forward: Develop a harmonised understanding of wellness terminology and concepts in relation to the spa industry, to reduce consumer confusion. Build a body of evidence-based consumer research that links spa to

Katherine Johnston, senior economist, SRI International, Spas and the Global Wellness Market.

wellness as per consumer demand. Connect with wellness-related public sector tourism and public health organisations to leverage their resources and expertise.


The New Priorities of Today’s Spa Consumers survey, presented by Stephanie Perrone Goldstein, investigated what currently drives consumers to spas; consumer internet adoption and the impact of online information; and what “makes or breaks” the spa experience.

Presented by STR Global vice president Jan D. Freitag, this benchmarking update provided a global hotel overview, showing that in all five major regions, there was a positive occupancy increase in Q1 2010. ADR increased in all regions except for the US and Europe. However, while hotels in the US without spas reported increased occupancy averages, hotels with spas continue to have significant ADR advantage: a $55 average premium over hotels without spas. The report then drilled further into the US market. Key findings Luxury hotel spas proved less vulnerable than their “room” equivalents during the recession: spa treatment room utilsation actually grew 3.5% in 2009, while room occupancy dropped 8.7%. Both spa treatment rates and treatment room utilisation trended up in Q1 2010 (over the last nine months of ’09), but

STR Global vice president Jan D. Freitag shares news .

discounting continues: the average luxury hotel spa treatment declined from $149 in ‘08 to $142 in ‘09 to $136 in 2010 (Q1 comparisons). There are numerous bright signs that hotel salon services are trending towards a strong year. Revenue-perservice is up ($61 in 2010 vs. $58 in 2009). Salon services are up roughly 4% this year vs. a 6% decline in ’09. Salon utilisation has jumped from roughly 17% in Dec. 2009 to nearly 25% by Mar. 2010.

F oto E. S . U mma r ino

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Key findings The number one reason consumers visit spas (89%) is for relaxation/ stress management, but a significant 34% report their spa-going has been driven by gifts. The primary reasons spa consumers visit websites are to find spa deals (62%); view spa menus (57%); and read customer feedback (48%). The top three online resources that are used by global spa consumers: (44%); Search

Engines (43%); Facebook (25%). There is a disconnect between consumer adoption of/openness to online spa booking and the number of spas providing that functionality. Among spa-goers, 47% have booked a massage online, and 89% “would,” but only 30% of spas offer an online booking solution. Social media usage for sharing spa experiences is growing: 59% are likely to email friends; 48% to write an online review; 41% to become a fan on a social networking site; and 37% to post on a social networking site. 88% of consumers report that they would be comfortable receiving follow-up from a spa post-visit, with the number one preferred method being an email from a spa manager inquiring about their satisfaction with their visit (83%).


BETWEEN CONTAINING AND PROTECTING THERE IS AN OCEAN OF DIFFERENCE. THE TIN If exposed to air, up to 40% of the aroma of toasted coffee volatizes in eight hours. Vacuum-sealing of containers is the most common solution, but illy has taken a different path. Pressurization is an illy patent. It is a simple idea. By replacing oxygen with pressurized nitrogen, the aroma does not vanish into the air but is locked in and, just like fine wines, keeps on improving for as long as two years. The tin guarantees the pressurization and can be recycled. Make sure it is firmly closed. If you do not use all the coffee in one week, keep the tin in the fridge. Find out more:


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Hotelier Middle East • August 2010





MIDDLE EASTERN SPA BENCHMARKING 2010 BY ERNST & YOUNG The Ernst & Young Middle East Spa Benchmark, launched in the region last year, was summarised at GSS by Ernst & Young spa industry specialist Nikita Sarkar.

one of the hardest hit regions in the global recession, the hotel spa economy actually started roaring back in late 2009. Aggregate spa revenues in Q4 2009 were 48% higher than in Q1 2009, and Q1 2010 revenues are up 45.5% year-overyear. In Q1 2010, spa treatment revenues

Key findings While Dubai/the UAE represented

spiked 70%, and treatments booked jumped 62% (year-over-year). UAE/Dubai hotel spas did an extraordinary job attracting local guests in a tough 2009: non-hotel guests accounted for nearly half (47%) of spa visitors last year,

and fitness and membership revenue drove 37% of total spa revenues. (But the hotel guests are returning in 2010, representing 61% of spa visitors in Q1).

healthcare and wellness markets. 2) Aggressively marshall and communicate the mounting archive of evidence-based data and research about the real medical benefits of the spa and wellness industries’ various approaches. 3) Intensify focus on emerging technology,

internet platforms and social media. 4) Embrace greater differentiation (less homogeneity): focusing businesses on authenticity, indigenous/local uniqueness, while moving toward a far more personalised and relationshipbased customer experience model.

WHAT THE DELEGATES SAID A live poll of executive attendees at the end of The Global Spa Summit 2010 on the current performance and future directions of their companies and industry revealed the following: In 2009, 47% of spa and wellness industry respondents reported revenue gains over 2008, with another 17% reporting they held steady. Conversely, 37% clocked declines. 51% report they’ve actually expanded their business within the last year. 79% estimate their revenue will increase in 2010: 36% predicting it will be “up significantly,” and only 6% expect declines. 83% report the economic turnaround is now having a direct, positive impact on their business. The industry still remains cautious about when the global economy might return to pre-recession levels: 81% don’t predict that to transpire until 2012 or beyond, with 10% reporting “never”. Delegates (by significant margins) reported that “a preventative healthcare/wellness focus” will have the most influence on their business moving forward (45%); followed by the internet/new technology (26%); and the aging, global population (23%).

At the Summit’s culmination, the delegates formally identified the most critical issues and opportunities currently facing the spa industry: 1) Exploit the extraordinary, emerging opportunity for the spa sector to become a far more powerful player in the vast global

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August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East
















E D I W D L R O W S E I T I C R E H T O 8 3 N …AND I



Contact details: Sarah Worth Tel: +971 04 210 8595/ Fax: +971 4 210 8080 Email:

Andorff’s the One

One to One Hotel — The Village in Abu Dhabi’s new hotel manager, Ulrike Andorff, discusses her role NEW RECRUIT Did you always plan to work in the hospitality industry? I discovered my passion for the hospitality industry during school time while assisting in a small bed and breakfast hotel in my home town as receptionist. After graduating from school, I enrolled in a traditional hotel apprenticeship learning the basic trade including kitchen, food and beverage, housekeeping, accounts, reception, and so on. From there onwards a challenging career followed as I worked in a number of diverse positions such as hotel receptionist, reservation manager, assistant front office manager, front office manager, and director of rooms. I also got experience in

banqueting, accounts and revenue, however, my preference has always been having a hands-on role in openings and refurbishments, which are such constantly changing environments. What is it about the hospitality industry that you enjoy? The hospitality industry is one of the few industries in which you constantly work with people, whether they are associates or guests. It is in the hands of the dedicated staff working in hotels to make people happy day-in, day-out and there is nothing more rewarding for me than being surrounded by smiling and satisfied customers. The hospitality industry is an industry which brings cultures together, and you can see that here in the UAE.


Ulrike Andorff, the new hotel manager of One to One Hotel — The Village in Abu Dhabi: A passion for hospitality.



Business Development Executive Required The leading linen manufacturer in UAE is hiring efficient and ambitious candidates to be part of their highly energetic marketing team across the GCC. Present openings are in Dubai & Saudi Arabian market. Salary: TBD Please Contact: Silver Arcade Linen LLC Off: +971-4-2673834 Fax: +971-4-2673841 Dubai, UAE Email: Website Hyperlink:

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

What is it about this particular brand that made you accept the role? One to One Hotel – the Village, emphasises the concept of “distinctive hospitality catering to the individual” in a unique boutique hotel setting, which is the preference of a growing audience. I strongly believe that this hotel concept is a successful one, and it is here that I believe that I will be able to utilise all of my expertise and add value to the company. Did you have a specific career plan to reach this role? During my extensive experience in all specified assignments, I appreciated the opportunities I had to be

exposed to many diverse elements of the business, all of which have enhanced my current expertise. Now that I have reached this role, I am hoping to create brand ambassadors by distinguishing guests’ uniqueness in making ‘One to One Hotel — the Village’ the preferred hotel to stay at in Abu Dhabi. What are your immediate and long term plans in your new role? In my new role, I want to ensure that I am continuously delivering excellent value and service to our guests, associates, partners and owners working with the support of my colleagues and my team at One to One.

Contact details: Sarah Worth Tel: +971 04 210 8595/ Fax: +971 4 210 8080 Email:


ON THE MOVE… NEW ADDRESS FOR TRESTON Emaar Hospitality Group has appointed Antony Treston as general manager of The Address Dubai Marina. Treston has more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry and will be responsible for overlooking the hotel’s operations and spearheading new offerings at the waterfront property. Prior to his appointment, Treston was working as the general manager at Aman New Delhi where he was responsible for planning, organising and developing the new hotel. He has also worked as the general manager of Mount Juliet Conrad, Ireland. CHOLLET JOINS MARRIOTT Salalah Marriott Resort in Mirbat, Oman has welcomed Steffi Chollet as the new marketing executive. Chollet is a graduate of the University of Applied Sciences in Stralsund, Germany and holds a Bachelor of Leisure and Tourism Management. She has gained valuable experience in the tourism industry in Oman and UAE over the past three years and is excited about joining the Marriott family. DUBERLY JOINS DESERT PALM Per Aquum has announced the appointment of Wayne Duberly as general manager of Desert Palm, Dubai. Duberly is well travelled, having had more than 20 years of experience specialising in boutique properties throughout Europe, Asia and the Caribbean and has a solid understanding of managing and operating high-end luxury resorts. His previous roles include general manager positions at The Duxton Hotel, Vietnam and Montpelier Plantation Inn, West Indies, as well as executive management roles at The Dorchester, UK.

JAL WELCOMES RIGAUD Laurent Rigaud has been appointed general manager for the upcoming Hotel JAL Tower Dubai, which will open later in the year. Rigaud, who brings more than 10 years of experience in the region, has worked in 12 different countries across several continents. In his new role, Rigaud will lead the preopening team of the hotel to prepare a successful opening of the 51-storey glass tower building. CHEF RION SERVES UP THE GOODS Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi has welcomed Chef Alain Rion as the new head chef of Al Fanar restaurant. Chef Rion has been selected to oversee the new emphasis on creativity within the menu of the rooftop revolving restaurant. Rion began his career at the legendary Paul Bocuse restaurant in France, and has cooked with famous chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Bernard Loiseau. Rion has experience preparing cuisine for distinguished clientele, including the Royal Family of Qatar, and has worked in many Michelin rated restaurants around the world. RAMANATHAN’S GOT IT Al Bustan Rotana, Dubai has welcomed Renju Ramanathan as director of information technology. Ramanathan is no stranger to the property, where he first occupied the post of assistant IT manager in 2008. He was promoted as director of IT for Amwaj Rotana prior to his new post at Al Bustan Rotana Dubai, which he considers to be home. Ramanathan has more than 10 years of experience in the IT field and has worked in both the hospitality and private IT sectors. In his new role, he will be looking to implement new initiatives

to further develop and improve the hotel’s technology facilities. FRIES MOVES TO FAIRMONT Fairmont Bab Al Bahr has welcomed Henning Fries as its new general manager. Fries brings a wealth of experience to the role, with a career in the hospitality industry spanning more than 25 years across four continents, where he has held executive positions with leading hotel companies from Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts to Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Prior to his appointment, he worked as regional director, UAE for Refad Hotels and Resorts and as general manager, The Monarch Dubai. Fries’ responsibilities in his new role will include overseeing the performance and day-to-day operations of the property.

TWO MARTINS FOR BONNINGTON Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers has filled two positions, welcoming one new member to its team. Martin Kubler has been internally promoted to the position of hotel manager, while Martin Sieland has been appointed to the post of financial controller. Prior to his appointment, Kubler was working for Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers as director of operations and has more than 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Sieland joins the Bonnington management team from Atlantis The Palm Jumeirah, where he held the position of financial analyst.

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Hotelier Middle East • August 2010




t liiers hotel i’s h b i’ Duba From kids in the kitchen to racing waiters, D engaged in some summer fun last month

Cocktail creations with Joseph Trotta Dubai’s bartenders hit Le Royal Meridien’s Bar Below this month for a master class in the fine art of cocktail garnishing, organised by Marie Brizard in conjunction with Focus Brands. The event was hosted by expert garnish-artist Joseph Trotta, who demonstrated several elaborate cocktail accoutrements to the assembled crowd of bar professionals.

Learning from the expert.

Cocktail garnish-artist Joseph Trotta.

Sheryl Trapsi, Hernan Bernabe and Dennis Angwenly from Nozomi at the Habtoor Grand.

Marie Brizard.

Hold it steady at Sofitel

The ‘Waiter Run’ at Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach saw guests challenging hotel staff in a fun run, where participants carrying trays of drinks raced to cross the finish line first.

The competitors examine the trays they have to carry.

The course involved navigating winding staircases.

Hold it steady…

Through the finish line!

When the kids take over…

At Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, the Hilton Junior Academy saw Dubai’s little ones give the hoteliers some well-deserved rest on July 18-19. The annual summer programme, now in its eighth year, attracted 70 young people aged six to 12 with a flair for hospitality. Housekeeping may have taken a hit during the kids’ reign…

But at the front desk, everything was under control. And in the kitchen, concentration paid off, with cakes for everyone.

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East



CLOWNING AROUND he heat of summer is now firmly upon us and, as with every year, hoteliers are fleeing the region for their much deserved summer break. While we at Hotelier Towers have braced ourselves for the barrage of “out of office” emails we have come to expect, the pressure is on for those left manning the hotels. With a smaller pool of residents to target, for they too have exited in favour of cooler climes, and a shortfall on room bookings, creative measures are necessary to get the guests’ attention. But instead of receiving lots of press releases about summer packages, it seems PR departments have been taking a different tact, although we’re not really sure why. At Sofitel, the Waiter Run, which involved a race between guests and waiters carrying trays of full ‘glasses’ for absolutely no reason whatsoever, proved to be fun — see page 86 for the photos. Also apparently for no reason, Beach Rotana held an Abu Dhabi ‘Tweet-Up’ at its VIP Majlis. The

“not enough information exists that would interest” Hotelier, but it will do in 10-14 days apparently, which we estimate to be around August 4. Meanwhile, a mystery caller telephoned to find out how to get an article in Hotelier about a “major European hotel operator” set to launch in the region imminently. The company is setting up its sales office in Dubai, with the CEO expected to fly in on August 6. Keep your eyes peeled for him… HME


The “walk-around clowns” at Al Bustan Centre & Residence were part of the hotel’s Dubai Summer Surprises entertainment, which took place in July.

evening event attracted just 21 tweeters, one of whom was GM Moritz Klein and three “who came all the way from Dubai…to mingle with like-minded Twitter-fans”. Then there was the “purple brunch” at InterContinental Dubai Festival City in partnership with kids’ favourite Barney and the “walk-around clowns” that visited Al Bustan Centre & Residence. And, despite our comments about Four Points by Sheraton’s fire drill

back in June, Golden Tulip Sharjah has followed suit. We have no idea how the hotel is tackling the summer slump, but the EAM did lead a fire evacuation on a hot summer’s day. Racing waiters and roaming clowns aside, the summer months have not precluded all serious business. Our ‘rumour of the month’ is that the Hiranandani Group has acquired Taj Exotica Resort & Spa on the Palm Jumeirah from ETA Group. According to Hiranandani

Hotelier competition

Next issue • Country report: Jordan • Industry best practice: Security • Industry analysis: Dry hotels • Roundtable: Housekeepers • Product analysis: Artwork and lighting • Product guide: Furniture • Technology report: Internet

Don’t miss The Power 50 2010 Hotelier Supplement The Hotelier Middle East GM Survey 2010

Ewaan at The Palace — The Old Town.

This month one lucky reader has the chance to celebrate the spirit of Ramadan with an iftar for two at The Palace — The Old Town in Downtown Dubai. In the authentic setting of Ewaan restaurant or the Ramadan marquee, the winner and their guest can enjoy an iftar buffet worth AED 180 per person while taking in views of the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain.

To enter the competition, all you need to do is answer the following question: What restaurant is The Palace iftar held in? Send your answer and contact details via email to with the word COMPETITION in the subject line. Last month’s lucky winner of a one-night’s stay for two people at The Bonnington Hotel, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, inclusive of breakfast and brunch, was Nidhi Soni, assistant housekeeper at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina.

August 2010 • Hotelier Middle East

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18/10 Stainless Steel

MOBILE CARVING STATION The Professional Collection

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Hotelier Middle East - August 2010  

Hotelier Middle East - August 2010 - ITP Business