How do you differentiate between nearby, competing properties?
Olivier Louis: Atlantis The Palm and One&Only resorts in Dubai complement each other.
The Atlantis brand is positioned as a destination beach leisure resort catering to a wider family market than One&Only. Its properties are large: the Atlantis in Dubai boasts 1,500 rooms. Entertainment is also a very big USP of the Atlantis product.
One&Only resorts are smaller, catering to a clientele seeking elegant, exclusive beach resort retreats. Style and romance are key to our positioning, as are a sense of place and genuine hospitality.
Any India plans for One&Only?
India has great potential for One&Only. It has great locations, and through its people and history there could be no better location to fit the brand’s philosophy.
We have already seen numerous options for partnerships. We’re looking for a partner who endorses and displays commitment towards our vision and style, rather than just looking for a hotel operator.
How do you think the role of owners is different in your Dubai properties compared to what you have seen in other parts of the world?
Our owners in Dubai have been exceptional. Not only are they heavily committed to developing tourism — every destination claims such — but they have invested heavily towards creating some of the best infrastructure you could imagine.
Blending tradition and innovation was not of the easiest of tasks. However what has been accomplished within a 10-year span is formidable. From the early ‘Nineties, everything was to be grand and of world-renowned status. However, grasping the fact that heritage was as important, investments were made on heritage sites, the renovation of old town buildings and making hotels and resorts embrace both the past and future. We fit within this last category, which we call “sense of place”.
How do you see the role of revenue managers evolving over time?
We see a shift in reporting structures towards general management, rather than sales. We have also heard that revenue management is almost a science now.
Revenue management is more exciting than ever, creating that fine line between occupancy, value, ADR and thus RevPAR. I see it as a team working towards a common goal: the financial side challenging the commercial and marketing teams. My role as managing director is to ensure that our loyal client is cared for.
Indeed the revenue yield manager doesn’t report to the director of sales and marketing but to the finance director and me. However there is not one morning or afternoon when sales and revenue don’t meet.
What new technologies have you started using recently? Do you think that the pace at which new technology is being adopted in hotels now is much faster than it was?
Global communication and technology has revolutionised the way we market ourselves. We now manage our inventory on a daily basis — at times, by the hour, over peak demand.
With regards to our consumers, the ever increasing use of iPads and tablets has challenged our in-house internet network, not only for speed but also for capacity. With this in mind, we invested in greater fibre-optic capacity connections to provide more bandwidth through our local telecommunication internet provider.