Hagop Doghramadjian, the general manager of the Jeddah Hilton, is well pleased with the Hilton’s flagship Saudi property’s performance over the past year.
“We’ve had our best year since opening, with average occupancies running at 80 per cent, all of which is at high yield,” said Doghramadjian. “We’ve achieved the highest share within five key areas, including the corporate and leisure sectors. In fact, the leisure sector’s success is now anticipated, following three years of success in attracting summer tourists.”
He continued: “Jeddah is now a summer destination for internal tourism and the Hilton has taken the biggest share of the wealthy travel market which tends to spend one to two weeks with us in the summer. Our products and services offered are reflected in the pricing which means that we can maintain a good yield and are not into the package market. We offer privacy, independence and freedom of choice and our product has been designed to fit the profile of our guests.”
The Jeddah Hilton has a significant portion of repeat business from the corporate sector, thanks to its continuing efforts to improve standards throughout the property. “The hotel has more to offer, from audio-visual equipment to super VIP amenities and a personalised butler service, giving guests several good reasons to come back,” he added.
Doghramadjian also believes that the hotel’s approach to safety and security is a key factor in its success. “Our safety and security measures are based on global considerations with a local approach. Today, businesses need to provide safety and security and our measures were taken against this backdrop.”
The Hilton’s conference business continues to grow in line with the city’s development and the hotel’s advantage in having the largest conference facility has made it the number one choice. However, it is the construction of a new ‘Palace’ called Qasr Al Sharq that Doghramadjian really shows the company’s commitment to the city. “Over the past three years, we at Hilton, with the support of our owners realised that there was a need and opportunity to serve a niche upmarket segment, so we decided to open the first ‘Palace’ in Jeddah. The unique property will offer for the first time, a mix of imperial suites and royal suites in addition to executive suites, to the highest standards,” said Doghramadjian.
The Qasr Al Sharq is scheduled to open this year. This will be the first and only seven-star luxurious property if its kind in Saudi Arabia. With a total of 46 suites as well as unique facilities and privacy, the innovative property will cater to high-level dignitaries and VIPs.
Facilities at The Qasr Al Sharq will include Italian and Moroccan restaurants, lobby lounge/café, a ‘Hilton Meetings’ centre with two boardrooms, three meeting rooms, and a rooftop swimming pool and spa.
Doghramadjian is optimistic about the future development of the city. “I believe that the credit must be given to Jeddah as a city with great potential and importance in the region. There is room for more hotels in Jeddah, and with a combination of government spending and market growth, the population and consumer market will generate enough business for new properties. Internal tourism is also helping underpin this trend and will justify new investments,” said Doghramadjian.
He believes that Jeddah is gaining in popularity with the indigenous population providing visitors to the city with a feeling of “home”. According to Doghramadjian, the hotel’s key assets are his staff and efforts to hire more Saudi nationals are meeting with success. “Saudi’s now account for 35 per cent of our staff but, with training programmes, I see a day where this figure will hit 60 per cent.”
Doghramadjian’s philosophy is simple but effective: “Be first, be the best, give the best, and be proud of your product and service.” Judging by the Jeddah Hilton’s remarkable success, this philosophy is paying dividends.
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