- What does a day in the life of the Managing Director, Day Life Divisions look like?
Well, it’s never dull. No two days are the same. My days always start early, I like to begin with a few hours before work exercising as well as spending quality time with my family. I then head to my office which is located within DRIFT Beach Dubai and visit Sunset’s headquarters regularly, whilst also attending site visits for upcoming projects. Once at work, my day is focused on leading a very talented team of managers and overlooking all aspects of operations.
Moreover, my role varies from keeping in touch with clients to ensuring every customer is having a great experience. My passion for food, entertainment, and hospitality – combined of course with hard work – helped me reach where I am today. I have immense gratitude to be able to do what I love for a living and to be able to do it for one of the leading groups not only regionally but globally. Sunset Hospitality Group has been the perfect vehicle for helping implement positive changes and growth in my career.
- Following the region’s bounce back after COVID-19, what are the changes that you have witnessed in the day life hospitality industry?
The past year has been about levelling up and charting out what’s next in store for our brands under the Day Life Division. While 2020 and 2021 were primarily about activating our post-Covid recovery strategy, 2022 has been full of opportunities not only for the individual brands, but also for the group in its entirety and its global expansion plans.
Now we look forward to expanding our signature brands across the region following a very significant investment by Goldman Sachs Asset Management – the firm’s first investment of its kind in this region. The investment has accelerated our growthy
strategy and will further support our ambitious expansion plans to open an additional 60 venues in the coming year, more details of which will be announced soon.
- Could you please share a few insights on current trends within the industry?
Dubai is now a tourism and hospitality powerhouse and is constantly innovating new ways to attract tourists and potential residents, which benefits beach clubs and outdoor venues overall. Over the last few years, beach clubs have see a large increase in interest, with international brands entering our already very competitive market. We’ve noticed several new trends emerge this year, a key one being the shift towards sustainability by numerous hospitality brands. Consumers are becoming a lot more health-conscious and more aware of their surroundings, so it’s imperative that we as a business match this trend to ensure we’re contributing to a better society.
At SHG, we strive to keep the customer journey and optimal experience at the forefront, at Drift Beach Club we have incorporated solar panels for hot water in our changing rooms, showers and back-of-house to ensure our contribution makes a difference. Additionally, to reduce the use of single-use plastic such as straws and clingfilm, we will soon be upgrading the bottles that are placed by the pool to reusable material. These new bottles will be plant-based and biodegradable and in turn are a lot more environmentally friendly. Moreover, the reduction of single-use plastic is an initiative being introduced across the whole Sunset Hospitality Group portfolio as we strive to becoming more sustainable in line with the current climate.
- How does the group intend to upscale the day life division’s offerings?
In addition to the above efforts to be more sustainable, we as a group pride ourselves on our customer service and ensuring that all our visitors have a memorable experience. This includes but is not limited to the training of team members, following international trends, partnering with influencers and key opinion leaders to raise further brand awareness, launching new dishes, offering additional services, and members of staff personally ensuring every visitor is taken care of; as well as following up with them through our social channels for any feedback they would have had on their experience. It’s little things like that that go a long way. As I say, hospitality is embedded in the culture within this region and we have to live up to this. We’re always aiming and reaching higher at Sunset Hospitality Group, we strive to deliver the best of the best service to our guests.
Our plans to upscale always depend on the current trends, which enable us to determine our diversification strategy. In addition to the Goldman Sachs investment, we are actively seeking further investments from additional investment groups oversees also. We have many plans in the pipeline and are excited to showcase our brand, level up, and make a global stance across the industry. Establishing our business internationally in key identified markets across the globe is a key priority in Sunset’s growth and future positioning – watch this space.
- How has daytime hospitality industry developed throughout the past 10 years since SHG inception and how do you cater to the change of consumer demands?
The F&B industry within the region has evolved massively in the past 10 years with the UAE – and Dubai in particular – now becoming a leading player in terms of all things hospitality. The culture is built upon hospitality here, it’s only right that we do it best. The lifestyle scene has always been a focal point on this side of the world, but of late it’s seen a major increase in popularity. In addition to this, daytime restaurants and beach clubs are becoming growingly favoured among both residents and tourists.
The daytime scene has seen a major shift as trends and consumer interests change, so we have had to adapt to the developing times to keep up with that demand. We’ve seen a major surge in beach developments in recent years, therefore becoming slightly saturated which is why many of the cities’ top hotels take the lead in curating new day life concepts which in hand then cater to additional footfall or those looking for a more contemporary experience. This evolution allows us at Sunset Hospitality Group to diversify our offerings, enabling us to cater to multiple audiences and international markets – both casual and upmarket.