Rotana is one of the leading hotel management companies in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey. Since the opening of its first property in Abu Dhabi, the company has pursued an expansion strategy to establish its footprint in every major city in the region and beyond, making it a homegrown success story.
People are a key component of Rotana’s success. Through its TAROT (The Accelerated Refinement of Talent) initiative, the company aims to upskill its passionate employees and also equip ambitious college or university students with necessary skills and knowledge to drive the future of the hospitality sector.
A socially responsible organisation, Rotana places significant emphasis on nurturing local talent through its Duroob programme. It has a keen focus on attracting, training and hiring local students and graduates in every market in which it operates.
Sustainability lies at the heart of Rotana’s operations. The company’s corporate sustainability platform, Rotana Earth, has a vision to become an industry leader in implementing sustainable business practices that minimise harm and maximise benefits to the environment, the economy and the local community.
Rotana’s loyal repeat guests are supported by its product offerings and exceptional level of service it aspires to. Its award-winning Rotana Rewards loyalty programme currently has more than half a million members across three tiers, namely Select, Exclusive and Classic.
President & CEO, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation
How has COVID-19 impacted staff dynamics across Rotana hotels?
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a tremendous impact on the global economy and poses considerable challenges for the travel and hospitality sectors in particular, which are dealing with levels of disruption never witnessed before. Rotana has risen to the occasion by taking proactive steps to adjust to the ‘new normal’.
We were quick to implement a stringent health and safety policy with strict protocols in place designed to protect guests, staff and partners at all times. While travel restrictions have impacted occupancy levels, our pre-emptive approach has been central to our success in weathering the storm and ensuring that guests continue to place their trust in the Rotana brand.
Establishing this level of confidence has been made possible through the hard work and dedication of our team members. In light of the current situation, providing comprehensive training to all staff has become more important than ever.
Rotana remains fully committed to supporting its team members across every aspect of their professional and personal development and has implemented additional training sessions wherever necessary to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of both hotel staff and guests.
What trends would you predict will flourish in the upcoming months?Despite the considerable challenges facing the global economy, I strongly believe that our industry will welcome the green shoots of recovery during the coming months. A growing demand for staycations has already begun to drive improved occupancy levels at Rotana properties, and I’m confident that the number of travellers coming from further afield will increase as international movement gradually resumes.
Trust and confidence will emerge as the most important currencies among travellers in the post-pandemic landscape. The global COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered life as we know it. Travel and tourism, in particular, were hit hard due to the far-reaching measures taken to curb the spread of the virus. As hotels around the world gear up for the return of international travel, our industry is adapting to rapidly changing circumstances and the evolving expectations of travellers.
It appears as though social distancing measures will be with us for some time. As a result, technology will play a vital role in the development of a contactless guest experience. From socially distanced check-ins to keyless room access and paperless menus in dining outlets, digitisation of service delivery is set to take centre stage.
As part of this transformation, the smartphone will emerge as a vital tool for guest interactions. Dedicated hotel apps are no longer something that is ‘nice to have’, but a necessity for brands who wish to cater to travellers’ post-pandemic preferences. This shift towards online interactions will allow us to maintain a safe – yet friendly – distance while facilitating the needs of guests in real-time.
How is Rotana planning on transforming in the near future and what’s in the pipeline?
We’ve developed a comprehensive post-pandemic recovery plan that’s supported by a number of initiatives designed to rebuild our guests’ confidence in the safety of travel. These include our successful social media campaign ‘Reset with Rotana’, which encourages guests to take some time out to enjoy a relaxing experience at our properties and reconnect with the world around them.
In addition, Rotana is planning to open three properties this year: Al Jaddaf Rotana, Dubai (UAE, October), DAMAC Arjaan by Rotana, Riyadh (Saudi Arabia, November), and Centro Mada, Amman (Jordan, December). In 2021, we are looking forward to launching the Slemani Rotana, a new hotel in Kurdistan that is tailored to the needs of both business and leisure travellers. Rotana will continue to push ahead with its ambitious strategy for expansion, which has been largely unaffected by the global COVID-19 pandemic.