I have just seen the recent ‘Gold List’ of favourite hotels for 2016 from ‘Conde Nast’ and to my amazement haven’t found a single hotel in the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt or Saudi Arabia with a lone property mentioned in Oman.
The question of course is what happened? Where are all the Middle East hotels with their opulence and architectural significance?
According to Trivago, Booking.com and various other hotel booking sites there are more than 94 5-star hotels in Dubai alone, not to mention Abu Dhabi and the rest of the GCC.
A similar situation is seen in Singapore with just a single mention on the list out of some 40+ 5-star hotels on the island, whilst Hong Kong has just 3 properties from 40+ luxury hotels.
Leading the way again are the major cities in Europe with Paris, London and the main Italian tourist destinations on top. It is great to see that some of these historically fine hotels have kept their standards appearing year in, year out on the list.
One has to ask what has happened to the once renowned service excellence and service with a smile in Asia and the Middle East. it seems that there may be more to being a top of class hotel than bricks and mortar and excellence in service may be sadly lacking in these regions where once it led the world.
Are owners here putting everything into the hardware (buildings) and forgetting that the software (people) are what actually make the hotel great in the long term.
Architectural uniqueness, be it an extreme modern design or traditional opulence with gadgets galore, will only last so long, but good service will always be a winner.
I remember staying at a hotel in Hong Kong many years ago where you could open and close the beige and blue curtains with a touch of a button next to the bed…at the time the level of sophistication seemed incredible, however on my next visit it didn’t work….and never did again! Today the hotel is gone and so are the curtain buttons next to the bed.
Despite its technical problems this particular property generally had outstanding guest service. Their people were trained to the max, so the positive impression remains and today the company is still known as a leader in the hospitality industry.
Maybe some of the owners and management companies will ask why they are not on that list having spent hundreds of millions in building another landmark only to become part of a mediocre mass of hotels.
It can’t all be because they don’t advertise with the magazine or invite their people for a stay with their families. There must be more to these awards and accolades and maybe it is time for the ‘thinkers’ and decision makers to sit back and take a good hard look at their properties and people.
Are General Managers now purely managing the financial site of the business, neglecting the people responsible for the high service standards.
Are owners so focused on returns that they don’t allow GM’S to hire top quality professionals by putting severe restrictions on salaries and packages needed to attract the best people?
From my observation in discussions with GM’s and reading some of the resumes that we receive on a daily basis, it seems increasingly that it all comes down to the financial results, with hardly a mention of creating a culture of service excellence.
To make a top quality hotel you need both high standards of product and service – to neglect either will result in membership of the mediocre.
Get these right and recognition and financial success will follow…
See the 2016 Gold list here
About the author
Karl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.
For more information about Karl and Elite Search visit http://www.elitesearch.com.au and The Elite Hotelier http://www.elitehotelier.net