Grand Continental targets 25 pc increase
THE Grand Continental Flamingo Hotel seeks to raise awareness both, of the hotel and of Abu Dhabi as a market, at the upcoming ATM.
Hotel general manager Pierre Aoun says he’s targeting European travellers and agents.
“More travel agents and European travellers mainly from UK and Germany look at Abu Dhabi as a business and leisure destination, largely because of the marketing efforts of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority. Tour operators, also, are no longer focusing only on five-star hotels, with the kind of demand in the market; they are also looking at us as a corporate hotel as well.”
“In 2005, we saw an increase of about 31 per cent over the previous year. This year, we hope to see an increase of 25 per cent over 2005 as far as revenue is concerned and at least 10 per cent increase in occupancy compared to 2005,” says Aoun. With plans for major exhibitions like ADIPEC and GASTEC in the pipeline, Aoun expects a further boost in business.
To make the product more attractive, he plans to upgrade some rooms this year. “We will also designate some floors as executive floors for frequent travellers with several new facilities and services. Our business centre offers wireless internet connectivity, in-house secretarial assistance, courier services and more. We understand the hectic schedule of today’s corporate traveller and want to be a one-stop-shop for his business needs.”
Business travellers form about 45 per cent of guests checking into the hotel, the rest comprising the leisure and government sectors. The average length of stay of a guest is between four and five nights.
Other renovations being carried out towards the end of this year include the refurbishment of some floors and of the hotel’s Italian restaurant, Peppino.
With more new hotels opening in Abu Dhabi, Aoun says the Grand Continental Flamingo has to keep pace with market demands for increased quality and meeting guest expectations. “We are looking at revising the room rates, and we believe that our guests should get complete value for money in terms of service and comfort levels in our hotel,” he says.
Despite that, however, he insists that the hotel sees no competition in the emirate. “All the hotels in the city are working side by side with the ADTA and regular meetings are being held where the general mangers’ of other properties are present. Each hotel has it’s own share of business with the current market demand, so there’s hardly any scope for competition.”
Aoun says the hotel’s location is its USP.
The Flamingo group of hotels has introduced the Mingo card, a member’s recognition programme offering wide hospitality benefits including a wide range of discounts and offers like weekend-stay vouchers, food vouchers, 20 per cent discount on F&B and 50 per cent discount on rack rates across all the Flamingo Hotels.
Aoun is beginning his third year at the Grand Continental Flamingo. He started in Beirut in 1968, has worked at Intercontinental Group properties in Riyadh, Dubai and Oman, Le Méridien group of hotels and the Doha Marriott before moving to the Grand Continental Abu Dhabi. “I believe my experience with different chain of hotels have given me the ability to know to perform and get through the job. I have worked with different cultures, different hotel chains, seen different types of customers, met different demands and faced different challenges,” he says.
The hotel features 152 rooms, including standard rooms, junior suites and executive suites, which are equipped with a kitchenette. All are centrally air-conditioned, offer IDD telephone and international satellite TV channels. Non-smoking rooms are available on request.
Restaurants include the Mediterranean-style Bistro, Peppino Italian Restaurant and The Clansman Lounge.
The hotel is operated by the Flamingo Hotel Management Company which has several properties throughout the Middle East & North Africa. The group also has hotels operating in Dubai, Doha, Khasab, Muscat, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen with negotiations taking place in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other territories in order to achieve the management of 30 hotels by the end of 2008.