In-house recruitment and a good partnership contribute to the success of the Fairmont Hotel in Dubai. TTN’s Jonna Simon interviews Thomas W Storey, president Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.
The Fairmont Hotel is one of Dubai’s most popular and successful hotels – what would you say are the main reasons for that?
We have a wonderful partnership with HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, who had the vision to create a property of this prominence and quality.
We were also lucky enough to be able to employ 600 colleagues from 14 different countries, not just from within the Fairmont Group, but also from outside, although 75 per cent of the Hotel’s management team were recruited from other Fairmont properties.
The property is quite unique in having a bridge across to Dubai Trade Centre’s exhibition halls. Does this influence your management in targeting customers to Dubai’s many exhibitions ?
Yes, it certainly does, but I think, the hotel’s proximity to the business district is equally important and we do indeed have many business customers among our clientele.
As a downtown hotel, you naturally attract business travellers, but what about leisure travellers?
Today the definition of a business traveller and a leisure traveller is quite loose, but about 20 to 30 per cent of our guests can be defined as purely leisure travellers.
Are you planning to manage other hotels or resorts in the Middle East?
Yes, we are, I can mention a few of the most important properties. The Fairmont Towers, Heliopolis in Cairo, which offers 247 luxurious rooms and will open later this year. Then there is the fantastic Makkah Clock Royal Tower, a Fairmont hotel in Saudi Arabia, which is a 76 storey tower at 577 metres, offering 1,005 rooms and opening in September this year. The Fairmont Palm Hotel & Resort and The Fairmont Residences, The Palm Jumeirah, which will have 377 room resort and 588 vacation ownership residences, scheduled for opening next year. The Fairmont Fujairah, a 137 room hotel with dedicated meeting facilities, opening in 2010. A new Fairmont Hotel at the Marina City Hotel Development in Abu Dhabi with 546 rooms and suites and 198 residential apartments, opening in 2011. The Wave, Muscat, a mixed use beachfront property will be managed by Fairmont, ready for business in 2010.
Compared to many other regions of the world, the hotel industry in Dubai is booming. Do you see this trend continuing or will the many new hotels affect your business?
Clearly a huge amount of development is taking place here and many new hotels are opening every year. We are very selective in the hotels we are involved with or negotiating with, so I believe, we will continue to be successful. With all the development taking place from an infrastructure point of view, this will certainly attract even more visitors to Dubai. The city’s development is very similar to Las Vegas, although in Dubai it is happening much faster and of course, the casinos will not be present here.
By Jonna Simon
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