The Hotel Show Dubai – the largest and most comprehensive showcase of everything needed to build, develop or maintain a hotel or restaurant in the Middle East and Africa – is turning 18 this year. As we look forward to its 18th edition at the Dubai World Trade Centre in September, we catch up with industry leaders on their experiences with the event, its key features, conferences and awards.
Lakmall Mawella, executive housekeeper, The Address Boulevard Dubai: “The hotel industry keeps changing yet many people think housekeeping is stagnant, which it’s not. It has moved a lot in the last decade in terms of technology and efficiency and how to clean a hotel room. In the past, it was all about just cleaning, but now it’s about engagement with guests and the efficiency of doing things. A few years back it took one hour to clean one room and now it takes about 20 minutes. Based on this, at The Hotel Show I may meet a supplier that provides a machine which can scrub a floor in less than a minute compared to longer in previous years, so it gives us more insight into how we can do things more efficiently and increase productivity which may help the hotel, revenues or ROI which is the important part.”
Alexander Schneider, general manager, Nikki Beach Resort and Spa Dubai: “It was a real pleasure to be invited to speak in the conference at last year’s edition of The Hotel Show Dubai. As in the past years, the event has truly highlighted the latest trends and shifts within our industry and I am looking forward to 2017. I believe the discussions and panels highlight how inspiring competition can be and how much we need to accept change as a constant element in our business life. Critical brands that are able to change the conversation with their well-established target groups will prevail in this environment whereas the cookie cutter standard model is most likely to expire in the coming years. We have changed the way we communicate and the way we describe our experiences and we can be as attractive as we allow ourselves to be. The conversation and current times have shifted the industry more towards attractive brands, attractive offers and how can you attract your guests by being fun, genuine and simply, different than others.”
Gary Rhodes OBE, Michelin-starred chef & restaurateur: “I think one of the great things about this industry is that you have events including the Middle East Hospitality Awards. They play an important part because they are giving back to the professionals that make it what it is, for all of their hard work. You might be an unknown name, but you are being recognised. They are telling you, yes you know you got the number one restaurant in Dubai or you got whatever it takes to be, but it’s the giving back that matters. It’s making sure that the time, effort and work you are putting into the hospitality landscape here is being recognised, because it can very much wear off if you are forgotten.
“This helps provide us with healthy competition and there is nothing wrong with that. That’s something that I remember from early days and that is what it’s all about. It’s making sure that we can give back and feed the industry with the belief that yes, we can learn something from this. This could be one of those hospitality awards that are so valuable to hold and share great memories from. This year, there are so many new restaurants, so many other hotels are still being built, but I think 2017 is going to be a big year. There are a lot of talented chefs here in the Middle East and I think one of the wonderful things about the awards is they really showcase just how great hospitality can become here.”
Kai Schukowski, general manager, Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square, Vilnius – Lithuania (previously general manager, Kempinski Hotel Ajman – speaking in December 2016): “We have our Italian restaurant that is open six days a week. It was on a Monday when the restaurant was off, I was at The Hotel Show with our PR Manager, to speak at the conference. At the break, I bumped in to five members of staff from the restaurant and it took me by surprise. I was like, ‘guys, what are you doing here you should be off?’ The outlet manager was there alongside the Chef and two waiters – and they said ‘we want to see what’s happening, what’s new and how we can improve our hotel’. They didn’t have to do this – they should be home resting or watching a movie, but their heart is following our vision of constantly improving ourselves. They went on their off day to go and explore what’s out there and for me that was really so inspirational, I really appreciate it and it shows our hoteliers understand the need to innovate. When they take the time to go there – I think there is no better advertising for the show than that.”