'The industry must continue its commitment to quality'
Winning an award for 'Best Spa Resort in the Middle East' at the World Travel Awards is quite an achievement in itself. Ritz-Carlton Dubai GM Marc Dardenne spoke about the award, and the road to success.
Q. Winning the prestigious award must indeed make you proud to be part of what is certainly a stellar team-effort. How hard has the road to success been for the Ritz-Carlton Dubai?There are three factors that make an excellent hotel, and whilst they do not eliminate all difficulties you may find on that road, they go along way to make the journey a lot easier. The first is the place; a hotel ought to suit its customer purpose. Obviously if you're looking at a resort hotel you've got to have something of a pretty grand scale property that will meet the varied needs of your guests. We provide a spa, beach, and proximity to world-class golf courses, beautiful rooms conducive to long staying guests' needs and so on. You can't have a good hotel if you don't have a good location and this is our second success factor, with a stunning building that is set amidst 35,000 square metres of landscaped gardens in front of 350 metres of white sandy beach. Most importantly has been the consistent standard of service by our ladies and gentlemen. Fortunately, a winning combination of all of these factors in a luxury resort environment has presented us with a host of accolades over the years. Q. You said that the quality is not a short-term approach. With the tourism industry not in the best of conditions at the moment, what would you suggest to be the ideal "long-term" approach? Paramount in today's competitive hospitality industry is our continued commitment to quality. Imagine a hotel where every employee has over 100 hours of customer service training annually; where you always check-in efficiently and quickly; where your guestroom is never more than 90 days old because of a revolutionary maintenance program; where every employee is the customer service department and will break away from his or her duties to help a guest. Consistent, reliable services such as these are just a few of the reasons why The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai has been named the 'Leading Spa Resort' in the Middle East amongst many other titles. Q. We know team-effort is essential to the success of any efficient organisation. But just how important is it to have reliable people to delegate the work to? It is one thing to build a beautiful property, but another thing to animate it. We focus 101 per cent on creating an experience and making sure that our guests leave the property with nothing less then wonderful memories. This is easily said but not easily done and really requires rock solid systems and procedures. I believe the platform has to be solid, and this comes in the form of the staff we employ. The focus for our service culture is absolutely the same in all of our hotels.