Sharp rise in occupancy


Ivor Prestwood has taken over as general manager at the Crowne Plaza Bahrain. Six weeks into his new role he talks to SHALU CHANDRAN

“The market is ever changing and what applies two months ago might not do so today. Guest feedbacks are changing and we have to take that on board and how quickly can we adjust to that change,”he said.
“We are in the people business and the interaction from our employees with the guests will be what differentiates us from our competitors. Guests are now looking beyond just four walls, and it is important that our team members take that on board and react quickly to people issues. So, we are really looking into training programmes to develop that kind of interaction.”
“We are also constantly looking at the hardware of the property and here we have a huge property in terms of space. We are looking at the rooms as we go forward, the health club, the recreational facilities, the landscaping, the car parking which has become a huge issue in Bahrain. So we are looking at every element and again, what applies today may not apply in two months and we must be able to change that quickly. It’s all about change management today,” he added.
The 246 guest rooms and suites have a modern setting with in-room safes, tea and coffee making facilities and satellite TV. The recently refurbished club rooms and suites have been tailor-made and include inter-connecting room access in select categories.
Prestwood does not seem concerned about growing competition in the Bahrain market. “There is always a balance between supply and demand. And more demand means it becomes easier for Bahrain to market itself as a destination and this will make it better for all of us in the long run.”
“This year, our summer occupancies were significantly up over last year. Our occupancies have been in the late-60’s all summer long, which was almost unheard of a few years back. The next couple of months are going to be very busy and we expect to close the year with another record figure, realistically somewhere in the mid-80’s. That gives you an opportunity to renovate some rooms as well which is constantly ongoing for us,” added Prestwood.
For the business traveller, the hotel offers a fully-equipped business centre with all the necessary amenities such as internet access, a private boardroom and video conferencing.
Incorporating the Bahrain Conference Centre, the hotel is able to offer a comprehensive range of guest services and meeting facilities. The Conference Centre caters for from 10 to 1,700 guests.
Restaurants include La Mosaique offering Mediterranean fare, and the Waves seafood restaurant offers Indian, Lebanese and Thai dishes. The hotel also houses the lively Harvester’s Pub.  There is also the Tracks sports bar next to the health club with a well-equipped ladies and gentleman’s gym. The hotel also has an open-air pool, with kids play area and padding pool.