The Great GM Debate provides the perfect opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones The Great GM Debate provides the perfect opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones

The Hotelier Middle East Great GM Debate 2011 was labelled “a great experience” by general managers across the UAE.

Held yesterday at Jumeriah Beach Hotel in Dubai, the event attracted 180 general managers, tourism experts and industry partners over the course of the one-day event.

The GMs took part in interactive workshops, attended three exciting panel sessions and witnessed keynote speeches from HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and Majid Sager Al Marri, director of hotel classifications at Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

Story continues below

Delegate Fredrik Reinisch, general manager, Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa, said of the event: “I think it’s been a great experience: we had a great session in the morning, we heard from DTCM and it was a good recap of what is happening in Dubai and UAE. I attended a great morning session about revenue management, about how revenue management has been changing and how it will change in the future. We had a great networking lunch as well, and met lots of interesting people and colleagues”.

As well as attending the panel sessions, Lothar E. Quarz, general manager at the The Ritz-Carlton DIFC, ran a workshop on how to deliver world class service.

He commented: “It was a very interesting focus group with about 20 people, it was really interesting to see what is evolving in the customer’s needs and requirements, the challenges we are facing today to cater to those needs.

“It’s a great experience, it’s the first GM Debate I have attended, it’s a fantastic networking event, to get to know your peers, to talk about also your experiences they have and challenges they are facing,” said Quarz.

Raki R. Phillips, area director of sales & marketing, Middle East, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, lead a workshop on boosting ancillary revenue, which he said was “very interactive”.

“There was a heated discussion about the internet, whether it should be free or it should be charged, so there were different opinion on that, and we were also looking at different ways to run our business to get ancillary revenue at the time of booking rather than waiting until the guest is on property and losing that opportunity,” observed Phillips.

The Great GM Debate 2011 was the fourth event in a series of conferences organised by Hotelier Middle East, the first of which was launched this time last year in Dubai.

Returning to support the event was sponsor Saahil Mehta, managing director of ResNet World, who commented: “I think after the success of last year where we saw so many hotel decision makers attending the event it made sense to come back because it’s great to meet so many of the leaders of the industry under one roof. Being the only event of its kind, it was an obvious choice”.

Gavin Dodd, managing director, of A.Ronai, associate sponsor, added: “It’s a great opportunity to meet the general managers — to get so many general managers in one place at one time is fantastic. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere so they’re prepared to talk and chat to you; it’s just really nice to see so many people in one place. It’s a one-day event, which is a very good use of our time as well”.

A new sponsor supporting the Debate in 2011 was hospitality furniture supplier Intermetal.

Sales manager hospitality Lindsay S. Reyes said the experience had been “amazing”.

“It’s just one day but in one day’s time you meet all 200 GMs at all the properties. Where in the world can you have this kind of experience in just one day?”