Bruno Hivon has over 28 years of hospitality expertise under his belt, here he tells Hotel News ME about his extensive career and why the brand’s first hotel in the UAE is still thriving almost three years on from its initial launch.
From a personal perspective, what would you consider to be the greatest achievement in your career and why?
I believe that my greatest achievement has been the opening of Warwick Dubai. It was a real challenge to open a hotel that had very little brand awareness across the entire GCC let alone the UAE as well as execute a quick ramp up and great returns over such a short time frame.
What are some of the essential skills required to succeed in the hospitality industry?
To work in the hospitality industry, you need to enjoy the personal, human interaction aspect of it. It truly is the most important skill you can possess in this industry, so if you’re not a people’s person, this isn’t the industry for you. You need to care about the people in the industry, from your colleagues and employees to the guests. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to always remember that the most important aspect of this job is pleasing the guest. The guest should always be at the centre focus of what we do and why we do it. Keeping that in mind definitely makes all the difference in how you do your job.
What tips would you give to the next generation of hospitality professionals looking to pursue a career within the industry?
The tip that I would give to the next generation is to grow into your career. Do the job, work in the different roles, and gain the experience for yourself so that you truly understand the intricacies of the operation and how everything works together. There are so many different aspects to the industry and so many unique job roles to pursue, however gaining a well-rounded view of everything will definitely help you as your career progresses.
Given your experience in the industry, what are your thoughts on how the landscape of the hospitality sector has changed, and what future developments do you foresee in the coming years?
The landscape of the hospitality industry has always been subject to change, growth and development, however the actual speed of change in the last 10 years has become a significant factor. The rapidity of development will continue to accelerate in coming years and this speed will be the most consistent element in changing how we do business. This will influence everything, not just the assets of hotels however the expectations of new generations coming to work in hotels as well as guests’ wants and needs.
What are the main factors driving revenue at your enterprise and how do you strategise for its continued success?
Location, location, location! This is the key factor behind Warwick Dubai’s success. Guests want and need convenience and even in this price sensitive market, will ensure that their stay is not compromised by extensive travel within the city. Our location is one of our main selling points and we continue to use it to our advantage to bring in new guests.
Many hotels have to implement summer strategies to survive the summer months, how does Warwick Dubai avoid an occupancy or rate slump during these months?
Summer will always be a slower period for the hotel industry within the UAE and as the temperature soars, the number of guests arriving into the city will naturally be affected. At Warwick Dubai, we have a volume strategy for the summer months and have been lucky enough to benefit from this since opening. Our larger rooms and convenient location help with GCC families who visit Dubai during the summer for its many attractions, such as The Dubai Mall and Dubai Summer Surprises. Our strong focus on business travellers is also something which more or les sustains throughout the hotter months.
What percentage of total revenue comes from your F&B outlets compared to your rooms?
Food and beverage is responsible for 25% of the hotel’s revenue, but this is something we are always working on increasing.
How has technology changed the way a hotel operates and how do you use technology to enhance your guest experience.
Technology is now central to the majority of hotel guest’s lifestyle. The biggest paradigm shift is that guests are no longer looking to luxury hotels to provide aspirational technology experiences. Many guests have top of the range equipment at home which is better than the majority of hotels can provide. I believe that this trend will only increase in the future and in particular, guests will own increasing powerful mobile phones which will ultimately negate the need for hotels to provide enhanced entertainment systems in the guestrooms.
- Warwick Dubai is the first property in the UAE for the group
- 80% of the inventory is suites and the entry-level room size starts at 42sqm
- Highest rooftop lounge in Dubai, Zephyr Rooftop Lounge is located 185 metres high
- All food is made in-house, including a host of pastries, cakes and Arabic desserts
- The Premium Business Room is 52sqm – an ideal room for business travellers, with a separate bedroom and large living room
- Deli Grind is open 24 hours a day to help with non-stop requests for F&B and also delivers during the day to the nearby office towers
- DIFC metro station is less than a two-minute walk from the hotel and in close proximity to Downtown Dubai and Dubai Mall
- There are 29 nationalities working at the hotel
- The hotel offers seven F&B outlets – often unheard of in a 4-star hotel
- The rooftop pool acts as a hidden oasis with views stretching across the city. On a clear day you can see as far as 28km