Eliza Atriaga, general manager, Vida Downtown, is in the spotlight as she tells Hotel News Middle East about why we should be excited about the emergence of the upscale lifestyle brand
How do you feel Vida Downtown is performing this year? Vida Downtown is performing well this year and I am extremely proud of my team and our achievements.
What are your targets and expectations for next year? I am confident in reaching our targets for Vida Downtown next year. As a group, we are looking forward to open new properties under Vida Hotels and Resorts, the upscale lifestyle hotel brand for the new generation of travellers and entrepreneurs.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the region’s hospitality market? I am exhilarated about the region’s hospitality market and the opportunity it presents to brands and our hotel. When you stay at Vida Downtown you know you are back in a familiar place where everyone has the same mindset, and you feel refreshed and inspired.
A rundown of the renovations at your hotel such as designs briefs, new features and facilities, new F&B and where this will place the hotel within the wider hotel market. Vida Downtown is constantly looking for innovation and creativity. We are always evolving and we have many new plans for Vida Downtown in 2018. Vida Downtown has 156 rooms designed for comfortable elegance, with state-of-the-art technology and amenities, an open-air swimming pool and numerous restaurants and lounges. Vida Downtown explores an array of distinct food and beverage concepts, deriving inspiration from Middle Eastern culture and international cuisine. The outlets 3in1 and Stage2 offer guests a unique and creative concept, where they can connect with friends and family in an innovative way. The hotel is also home to the award-winning La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie and Toko featuring Japanese cuisine in a modern izakaya style.
What are the operational priorities for you as GM? Vida Hotels and Resorts is positioned as an upscale lifestyle brand, where entrepreneurial minds can create, connect and come alive. Vida Downtown is a destination where style meets convenience and interactivity. The priority is to make our guests feel at home and at ease.
Can you define your approach to leadership and staff empowerment? Your team wants variety, learning opportunities and additional responsibilities. If you fail to provide these you will face decreased morale, apathy or worse. As a manager, you should have a goal for your team members to be successful in their careers and their lives. Their success is your success.
With a new hotel how do you fill rooms and drive the rate? We are knowledgeable of our hotel and we know what our guests are looking for when they book Vida Downtown. We provide personalised service, which encourages our guests to return to Vida Downtown, positioned as an upscale lifestyle hotel, again and again.
How do you decide on a sales and marketing strategy? We are constantly brainstorming with our marketing and sales team to get creative and stay ahead, making sure that our sales and marketing initiatives embrace the Vida Downtown hotel concept.
How important is your digital strategy? Connecting to the ‘new generation’ with the power of technology, Vida Downtown features innovative arrival areas, where guests can check in via iPads. Throughout the hotel experience, guests can benefit from technological touches in line with its intuitive service, going beyond the barriers of traditional hospitality. Our associates are always around to offer personalised service. To add to that, engaging digital marketing and social media are at the core of our brand.
How does the hotel fit into the group’s portfolio? Vida Downtown is the flagship property under Vida Hotels and Resorts, the upscale lifestyle hotel brand for the new generation of travellers and entrepreneurs. With its central location in Downtown Dubai, the hotel serves as a social hub for the tech-savvy.
How would you describe to someone who was unfamiliar with it? A lively and vibrant hub where inspiring minds can create, connect and come alive, Vida Downtown welcomes the new generation of travellers, and we will continue to strengthen its appeal to our guests through our world-class service and amenities.
What your own favourite features of the property? I love how Vida Downtown is comfortably aware of art, design, culture and technology trends. Vida, meaning ‘life’ in Spanish, embraces warmth, simplicity and creativity in design-led spaces.
What can you tell Hotel News Middle East about your professional experience and history? I have worked all over the world, namely Miami, New York, Jackson Hole, Costa Rica, Canada, Mexico, Budapest, Argentina, New Zealand, Maldives, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. Understanding every market and trend was extremely important for my career.
How has that influenced your management philosophy? Each role developed me to be the manager I am today. I use the following guidance: leadership, enablement, fairness, communication, quality, positivity, and adaptability. Shaping your own management philosophy is an important step in defining yourself as a manager. It forces you to take the time to define and further craft your own doctrine. Every once in a while, I look back at my list to remind myself and re-align my direction. Remember that great leaders aren’t born that way – you need to work at it, take feedback and never be afraid of changes.
What would you say are the main factors that make a great GM? Communication is key and I have found that most conflicts in the workplace results from a misunderstanding in expectations. The best managers will clearly communicate expectations of their team and of themselves while still giving associates the freedom and tools they need to get the job done.