NAHED SAMIR, vice president business development Middle East, Sonesta Collection, spoke to CHERYL MANDY about recent developments within the group.
What are your expansion plans in the Middle East?
Sonesta International Hotels Corporation is committed to growth throughout the Middle East. We recognise the enormous potential for the hospitality industry in this region and seek to establish relationships with hotel owners and developers which will add value to their projects, and to Sonesta’s international collection of fine properties. Sonesta understands that its success in the Middle East will depend entirely on the success of those relationships, both now and in the future.
What does the new branding of Sonesta achieve?
Sonesta Hotels, Resorts & Nile cruises is now known as Sonesta Collection, and of which our hotels, resorts and Nile cruise ships will emphasise their unique ability to capture the culture and location at each property. The new website at Sonesta.com now has a whole new navigation, customer oriented tools, and great new visuals that captures the new positioning for the company.
The process of re-branding included many forms of market research. The result is a refreshed logo, a new ad campaign, new standards for marketing materials worldwide and a new definition of what it means to be part of the collection.
Can you give us an update on your cruise ships?
Sonesta Collection announced the availability of their online cruise booking engine for consumers and travel agents interested in the Sonesta Nile Cruise fleet. The booking engine allows the consumer to review sailing dates, check availability and book the cruise and ship of their choosing - all from the website. The corporate reservation office and Nile Cruise sales office are both available for technical assistance with the new system or to provide customer support. With Sonesta’s 12 properties in the region, Sonesta.com will enable all to an entire Egypt experience from the convenience of a desktop.
The five star Sonesta Nile Cruises provide passengers with memorable relaxing voyages between Luxor and Aswan aboard its five luxurious cruise ships: the Sonesta Nile Goddess, Sun Goddess, Moon Goddess, Star Goddess and St George I, for either three, four or six nights.
Most recent launches in the Middle East?
The Sonesta Pharaoh Beach Resort Hurghada is the Collection’s 12th property in Egypt. The 360 room resort is a beach front property with a magnificent view of the Red Sea. Resort amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, a children’s pool, an indoor heated pool, on site diving center, fitness centre, sauna, massage, shopping arcade, bank, hairdresser, two floodlit tennis courts, hockey, golf and soccer pitch. Dining options include three restaurants, an oriental café, a pool bar, beach bar, lounge, amphitheatre and discotheque. Meeting facilities also are available for groups of up to 200 guests.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.