UAE-based smart and green facilities management (FM) company Farnek has appointed British national Walter Knight as director of its new hospitality division.
Knight will be responsible for structuring and developing a new fully functioning hospitality division, which will provide a comprehensive range of outsourced or third party services. Quite apart from concierge services, housekeeping, property operations, maintenance, energy consultancy (POMEC) and security, Farnek will manage central reservations and front office services.
Talking about how the new vertical will develop, Knight says: “Ultimately we are aiming for a ‘360’ service offering, which will not only embrace traditionally outsourced FM and manpower services we will also incorporate managing revenue driven services, such as central reservation offices and associated sales services.”
One of Knight’s achievements was creating the mid-market brand concept ‘Rove’ from scratch, on behalf of Emaar Hospitality Group, which culminated in the launch of the first property in Zabeel, in 2015. Subsequently, he was handed responsibility for the successful conversion and launch of the four-star, 244 bedroom, QE2 Heritage Hotel, the first floating hotel in Dubai.
Farnek has been supporting the UAE’s hospitality for over 40 years now and has amassed an extensive portfolio of hotel contracts, which include brands such as Marriott, Sheraton, Sofitel and Rotana. Add to that AED 7.5 million worth of recent contract wins and Knight has hit the ground running, especially after taking responsibility for Farnek’s latest contract win, the new Expo Village. Farnek’s scope of work will consist of managing the reservation services, concierge, front office services and housekeeping, for the 2,273 apartments within the Expo 2020 site.
“This will provide us with an invaluable commercial reference,” says Markus Oberlin, CEO, Farnek.
“Successfully managing the Expo Village apartments, will instill confidence in the market that we can close the circle – adding sales, reservations and complete front office services to our existing market proposition.
“And in Walter, we have a natural leader, with solid experience and a successful track record in both hospitality sales and operations. We are looking forward to realising our vision for a truly unique turnkey hospitality division.”
Forming an integral part of the hospitality division will be Farnek Consultancy, which since 2006 has been helping hotel operations become more sustainable. Farnek’s Hotel Optimizer software, can record, analyse and benchmark a hotel’s energy usage and utility patterns, which ultimately provides recommendations to reduce consumption.
Furthermore, Farnek is a preferred partner and auditor for Green Globe the worldwide sustainability accreditation system based on internationally accepted criteria for sustainable operation and management of travel and tourism businesses.