In conjunction with the 20th edition of The Hotel Show Dubai, and part of the Middle East Design and Hospitality Week, The Middle East Hospitality Awards (MEHA) is set to recognise and celebrate the most outstanding properties, projects and people in the Middle East’s vibrant hospitality industry.
Among these is Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, who will be recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution, spanning over three decades, in shaping Dubai’s tourism, hospitality and retail sectors.
The award will be presented to him at the Middle East Hospitality Awards that will take place at The Ritz-Carlton DIFC on Wednesday, September 18. The award recognises McLoughlin’s commitment to promoting Dubai globally in line with the directive received from HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai when setting up Dubai Duty Free in 1983. McLoughlin said: “I am thrilled and delighted that I have been selected to receive this award.”
He added: “I attribute it absolutely and totally to our team of staff and the eff ort they make in making our business successful and of course to my chairman HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum who has been terriﬁc support at Dubai Duty Free and our other operations since the beginning.”
McLoughlin explained that the airport retailer spends 2.5% of its annual turnover, which in 2018 reached US$2.015bn, in promoting Dubai Duty Free and the city of Dubai.
Dubai Duty Free’s long-standing association with international sporting events such as Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the horse racing at Newbury and Ascot in the UK, and Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh in Ireland, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open held at Lahinch Golf Club in Co. Clare, Ireland have all been instrumental in promoting Dubai globally.
“Thirty six years ago there were two or three thousand hotel rooms in Dubai. We have seen a big change from that in the industry,” McLoughlin said, while concurring with statistics in Ventures Onsite Hotels Market Report indicating that “Dubai’s hotel room supply alone is expected to reach 132,000 in 2019, with the emirate aiming to complete 160,000 hotel rooms by October 2020.”
He added: “Like shopping malls, airlines and roadworks, the hotel industry is part and parcel of the system that is essential in promoting tourism and visitors to Dubai.” He attributed the exponential growth of Dubai and its hospitality sector to “Dubai Government’s positive and deﬁnite attitude to make it work and make it the best in the world”.
Talking about the relevance of shows like The Hotel Show for the hospitality, and travel and tourism industries in Dubai, McLoughlin said: “I think long-term events like the Hotel Show Dubai, now in its 20th year, are successful. It is the continued growth of shows like this that encourages so many visitors to come to Dubai.”
The Housekeeping Games
The Hotel Show is also zeroing in on the hospitality sector’s housekeeping sector, with the third edition of the Middle East Housekeepers League of Champions, which is sponsored by Restonic, and supported by Diversey and Ideal Standard.
Nizar Ahamed Muthukuni, assistant executive housekeeper at Le Royal Meridien, who started his housekeeping career in the Middle East in 1984, said: “Housekeeping as a profession has grown in terms of technology, training, career growth, and recognition. Today, there are seminars, workshops, awards, competitions available for the housekeeping sector which never happened before.” He added that the League does not only motivate housekeepers but also helps spread a good word about the housekeeping fraternity in the UAE.
Flora Creek Deluxe Hotel Apartment bagged the “Best Housekeeping Team” title last year and will be defending the title this year against more than 50 hotels from across the UAE that have registered for the competition.
The participating teams will be judged on skill, speed, spirit, and teamwork while resetting a thoroughly trashed room.
Pamini Hemaprabha, complex executive housekeeper at Mina Seyahi Complex and one of the judges of the competition, noted: “The Middle East Housekeepers League of Champions is a rewarding and motivating event for housekeeping staff, or should I say housekeeping heroes in the UAE. It gives them a platform to excel in terms of professionalism, creativity and in cultivating winning spirit amongst healthy competition.”
Fairmont Dubai executive housekeeper Lea Ruhimbaccus added: “Participating in the Housekeeping Challenge boosts the entire housekeeping team’s morale; the challenge will help housekeepers to step out of their comfort zone and to further develop a strong rapport with their peers across various properties. It’s a fantastic opportunity for housekeeping professionals to showcase their talent and expertise to a broader audience.”
Teams signed up to battle it out include Address Dubai Mall, Atlantis The Palm, Fairmont Dubai (2017’s champions), Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Rose Rayhaan by Rotana, Rove Downtown, Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai, and Swissôtel Al Ghurair.
Restonic general manager Yousif Kooheji said: “Our decision to participate in the Hotel Show and to sponsor the Housekeepers League of Champions may be the ideal opportunity to test our theory. Having a face-to-face with customers and collectively experiencing the lively demonstrations, which includes the Restonic products, can be beneﬁ cial to all concerned.”
Continuing with its commitment to providing ample learning opportunities for its visitors to The Hotel Show Dubai, DMG events has also partnered with Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) to provide relevant and timely hospitality technology content to industry professionals in the GCC during The Hotel Show through a series of panel discussions and presentations.
More than 50 hotels from across the UAE have registered for this year’s competition.
On September 18, HTNG — which has its headquarters in the USA — will be conducting six education sessions on hospitality technology at The Hotel Show. HTNG is a global not-for-proﬁt trade association that fosters, through collaboration and partnership among hospitality professionals and technology providers, the development of next-generation solutions that will enable them to do business globally in the 21st century.
HTNG facilitates the development of technology models that foster innovation, improve the guest experience, increase the effectiveness and efficiency of hospitality companies and create a healthy ecosystem of technology suppliers.
Topics that will be discussed at the HTNG Tech Strategy Day include next generation loyalty systems, the steps to ensure a more secure hotel, how you can use data to monetise guest sentiment, how to utilise Wi-Fi effectively, what the hotel industry can learn from airlines about technology and more.
Some of the speakers during the education sessions include senior decision makers such as Accor regional director of IT Roger Tabbal, Marriott International director of guest experience Simone Papa, Jumeirah Group head of revenue Vladan Pantelic, Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management director of research and innovation Sanjay Nadkarni, among others.