New Holiday Inn aims to tap growth in Eastern Province
A new Holiday Inn has opened at A1 Khobar city in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.Nabil Hijazi, who was previously with Holiday Inn in Egypt and has also managed the Holiday Inn in Jubail for seven years, is the general manager of the new hotel. "This is the first five-star hotel to open in the Eastern Province in 15 years," said Hijazi. "I believe that the timing is exactly right as the growth potential in the area is superb." Hijazi points out that the Eastern Province has a number of big projects underway and is also the home of Saudi Aramco. "The growth over the past few years together with Prince Mohammed's emphasis on future development provided the need for another five-star hotel," said Hijazi. His target market will be primarily corporate business but the new hotel will also cater for weekend and leisure traffic. With a total of 106 rooms including suites and an executive floor, the hotel also has a hall which can accommodate 1,500 people for a sit down function. "We have put a special emphasis on wedding, meeting and seminar facilities and I believe our excellent location between A1 Khobar and Dammam provides us with the opportunity to serve the different communities in the area," said Hijazi. The hotel, which is owned by the A1 Hokair Group, cost SR75 million ($20 million). Additional facilities include swimming pools, health club, sauna, Jacuzzi and the first specialised Turkish baths in the Eastern Province. The hotel will also provide a meet and assist service at airports. Hijazi is particularly proud of his hand picked management team. "We have a management team which is multinational and enables us to serve all our clients whether local or expatriate," said Hijazi. "The hotel is small and we are taking a "boutique" approach with excellent public relations and a highly personalised service relying on regular customer feedback to serve our clients better." Total staffing of 130 includes a significant Saudi national presence. "I believe strongly in training locals and the company, Six Continents, is keen on Saudi development. This is why we have initiated presentations throughout the Kingdom to encourage Saudi national recruitment," said Hijazi. His management philosophy is based on teambuilding, leadership skills and establishing clear objectives. "These give managers the opportunity to act positively and be able to grow. Indeed, injecting the team with the right spirit of hospitality will create harmony which in turn will reflect on the way we serve our guests," said Hijazi. Hijazi added that he envisaged success for this hotel through the provision of quality services and looked forward to the challenge of opening a third Holiday Inn resort in Half Moon during the first quarter of 2002. Teamwork, Harmony and the Spirit of Hospitality - these are the ingredients which Hijazi believes will lead to the success of the new Holiday Inn.