Hilton showcases new properties
With the Hilton Group planning on opening 10 new hotels in the region over the next three years, it has its work cut out at this month's World Travel Market (WTM)."We will be showcasing the new hotels at Kuwait, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, as well as the Group's new Worldwide Resorts product," says Guy Epsom, director of sales and marketing, Hilton International, Arabian Peninsula. "The WTM," says Guy, "is an excellent show to begin the planning process for the following year. We are able to establish operators' strategies for the next business season. Last year's WTM was vital, as it was there that all the deals were made post 9-11 that really kick-started the Dubai market and drew the tourists back." And after the events of last year it was indeed a task to let the tourists know that the region was safe. "We must convince tour operators that the region is safe. Face-to-face meetings with operators serve as an excellent way to reassure them of the region's stability and continued attractiveness as a tourist destination," says Epsom. Epsom was happy with the efforts being made by the GCC governments to promote tourism in the region. He lays particular emphasis on DTCM's efforts to revive tourism in the aftermath of the events of 9-11. Epsom is not of the opinion that the millennium tourist has become more demanding. "At Hilton, we pride ourselves on the fact that we understand the needs and expectations of our customers," he said, citing that very ability as the reason behind the launch and development of the new 'Hilton Worldwide Resorts' brand. One of Hilton's priorities, he says, is to grow as a hotel brand and offer the customer value for money. "We have a lot of competitive concepts in the pipeline at present. Our competitors will just have to wait and see what we have up our sleeve!"