A touch of legendary Oberoi service
It says much about the service standards in the Indian hospitality sector but particularly about The Oberoi, Dubai that it has received a number of accolades already within a span of two years, including being named among the best new hotels in
The property is located in a fiercely competitive market, a dynamic and cosmopolitan city, a bridge between the East and West hemispheres, a global financial hub, Dubai, which boasts among the highest number of hotels in the world as well as rooms under construction. With the city expected to add 20,000 rooms by 2016, the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) says Dubai is on track to reach its target of 155,000 rooms by 2020.
No wonder then that The Oberoi, Dubai’s general manager Karim Bizid, says, “One of the biggest challenges we face in this market is the high level of competition. The number of luxury hotels in Dubai is phenomenal.Visitors are spoilt for choice. However, I believe this healthy competition will only help improve the services and experiences on offer here in Dubai and which The Oberoi, Dubai is well-known for.”
According to DTCM figures, the emirate’s portfolio consisted of 84,534 rooms across 611 properties at the start of 2014 and by the end of the year had increased to 92,333 rooms across 657 properties.
But new hotels have benefited from the strong demand in the region. In its first year of opening, The Oberoi, Dubai closed at an occupancy level of over 85% (well over the city’s industry average). “This shows that the hospitality and travel demand is very strong in the Middle East. We are quite optimistic for occupancy levels in 2015,” says Bizid.
And as the government takes several initiatives to position Dubai both as a business and entertainment centre, The Oberoi, Dubai also sees the potential in positioning itself for the business segment.
Bizid expects the MICE segment to become among the more important for hotels in the city. He says, “We are promoting MICE at The Oberoi, Dubai by working closely with destination management companies and major trade shows taking place in Europe, North America, MENA and CIS countries as they are the main feeder markets for MICE in Dubai. With several meeting and incentive venues, personalised service, plush rooms and suites, superior technology in terms of conference equipment and its central location, The Oberoi, Dubai is a holistic MICE venue in the city.”
Indeed, the hotel already gets as much as 20% of its total revenue from the MICE segment, which could well go up to 25% given that it is promoting itself as a MICE hotel. F&B at the hotel also owes as much as 50% of its revenue to its MICE guests.
With the jump in demand post the global financial crisis, Dubai is once again poised for rapid growth. Strategically located, a destination city as well as a transit hub, known for business, leisure, sport, art and culture alike, for hotels in Dubai, this just means business as usual.
However, Bizid believes service will be the key differentiator. He says, “The team and I have ensured that in keeping with the group’s dharma, we bring an ethos of service without compromise to the United Arab Emirates with key team members who have been trained at The Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development. This has resulted in the hotel maintaining a position in the top five of 497 hotels in Dubai on TripAdvisor, by guest reviews. Space, serenity and the legendary service delivered by caring staff have made The Oberoi, Dubai an oasis for discerning business and leisure travellers.”
Having lived and worked in Dubai for over 25 years, Bizid is well-versed with the industry not only in the UAE but also in countries forming part of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Having completed hotel school in Switzerland, Bizid undertook an executive course at Cornell University which, he says helped him greatly in gathering an international perspective.
Conversant in four languages—English, French, Spanish and Arabic—Bizid connects easily with guests of various nationalities in the multicultural melting pot that is Dubai. “It helps to converse and connect with guests and business partners from all over the world,” he says.
In fact, after the day’s work, it’s what Bizid likes doing. He reveals, “I look forward to interacting with our guests and learning about their experiences in Dubai. I love to hear about their cultural background, what brings them to Dubai and their hobbies outside professional parameters. It is such an uplifting and unwinding experience. It enriches me with a wealth of knowledge about different cultures and experiences.”
Indeed, leading from the front, taking an interest in the well being and comfort of all of his guests, Bizid sets the right example in personalised service for his team to follow.
It’s what differentiates The Oberoi, Dubai.