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30 October - 1 November 2018    Dubai World Trade Centre

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Experts Advise On Digital, Talent & More

Meet The Experts, Courtesy Of Official Publisher BNC

Paula De Keijzer, Senior Director Market Management, Middle East, Africa, Greece and Turkey,   Expedia
David Allen, General Manager, Raddison Blue Hotels, Dubai Waterfront & Canal View
Darren Darwin, General Manager, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort
Patria Puyut, Pre-Opening Hotel Manager, Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City
Nila Pendarovski, Hotel Manager, Rove Dubai Marina
Amro Khoudeir, Director of Digital Distribution and Excom-Y member, Movenpick Hotels and Resorts
Mark Kirby, General Manager, Armani Hotel
Remco Werkhoven, General Manager, Doubletree by Hilton Dubai Business Bay
Tim Cordon, Area Senior VP Middle East, Turkey & Africa, Radisson Hotel Group

OTA’s & The Hospitality Industry

booking

“Hotels are becoming increasingly dependent on technology to grow and serve the industry. From a digital perspective, Online Travel Agency review sites are helping us to rise in the ranks and to drive vital traffic to our portals. Hotel businesses should utilize these OTA’s to showcase the quality of service on offer and to gain in the rankings online.” Amro Khoudeir, Director of Digital Distribution and Excom-Y member, Movenpick Hotels and Resorts

negative review

“In order to be credible we need to be able to communicate with customers and to build their trust. Trip Advisor Stats reveal that Hotel Owners who reply to online reviews are 20% more likely to get a booking. My advice is to stop being scared of negative reviews. They are an opportunity to showcase how your business deals with everyday issues. Users will scroll down to get a counter balance.” Mark Kirby, General Manager, Armani Hotel

reviews

“The growth of booking sites has been exponential over the last 12 years. It is important to embrace and use the review process to your advantage. You have to be careful to avoid generic “Dear Guest” responses as these can be more of a turn off than giving no response at all. Our company spends around 1.5 to 2 hours per week responding to queries. We try to tailor every response personally.” David Allen, General Manager, Raddison Blue Hotels, Dubai Waterfront & Canal View

Tourism Performance

china

“Looking at the average dollar rating per hotel night, only Paris is ranking higher than Dubai on a global scale. Dubai can no longer be considered emerging. Taxation and structural changes in the UAE are creating a more mature market. And if you look at a place like Saudi Arabia, the pace of change there is incredible. In this region we are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the influx of visitors from China and India.” Tim Cordon, Area Senior VP Middle East, Turkey & Africa, Radisson Hotel Group

AirBnB

“Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) have embraced Airbnb.com. The platform offers diversity for guests looking to visit the UAE ahead of Expo 2020. Currently 33% of inventory in Dubai is in the Five Star market.” Mark Kirby, General Manager, Armani Hotel

Expedia

“In Quarter 1 of this year we have seen 40% package tourism growth within the UAE year on year. From the data, we know that customers who book package deals are likely to book earlier and stay longer. On average, travelers will read 6-12 reviews before making a booking. And 49% of customers simply won’t book without a review.” Paula De Keijzer, Senior Director Market Management, Middle East, Africa, Greece and Turkey, Expedia

Gender & Staffing

GM

“The stereotype of the male GM is slowly going away. I believe a counter balance is very important for the outlet’s ambience and atmosphere. Today’s hospitality schools tend to be much more gender balanced. Unfortunately there was traditionally a stigma in this part of the world where we all too often saw men being prioritized for senior roles. Recruiting a female GM was somehow considered to be ‘big news’. People would ask me “Did you hire her because she has the feminine touch?” No I hired her because she is the best person for the job.” Darren Darwin, General Manager, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort

Male/Female

“With a better male/female ratio your profits increase. That’s a proven concept around the world. You can see the change and the hunger. Females in their early 20s are extremely driven to become leaders.” Nila Pendarovski, Hotel Manager, Rove Dubai Marina

Emotional intelligence

I think it’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily have to perform in a specific way. Emotional intelligence is an invaluable skill and women in the field should feel empowered to get the job done in their own way. You can’t be anyone other than yourself.” Patria Puyut, Pre-Opening Hotel Manager, Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City

Recruiting New Talent

“I have been working in the region for 18 years. Back when I started, the need for specific Middle East market experience was not necessary. I still think we should be more open-minded when looking for talent in today’s climate. Our company focuses on providing great rewards and a good working environment. We are very comfortable recruiting staff who demonstrate that certain ‘spark’ and passion, and then educating them all the way up from there. People want to be sure they have long term career opportunities ahead of them, so if we see someone who can deliver, it makes sense to promote them internally before one of our competitors does. We strongly believe that if we recruit, educate and provide great opportunites, then good people will stay with us. Doubletree is diverging from the standard mindset in terms of where we find talent. I think the industry needs to remain open as the number of hotels in the region increases.” Remco Werkhoven, General Manager, Doubletree by Hilton Dubai Business Bay
recruting


 

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