Remmie de Graaf. Remmie de Graaf.

Taking home the title of the Mid-Market Launch of the Year at the Hotelier Express Awards 2018 was Hilton Garden Inn Ras Al Khaimah after a unanimous decision from the judges.

The property's general manager, Remmie de Graaf, was delighted as he received the trophy from OSN for Business vice president Jim Backhouse.

The highly commended launch was the Rove Healthcare City, which was among a competitive set of shortlisted teams.

The winning hotel opened on May 10, 2017, and since its launch, it achieved the highest quality assurance result within the EMEA region in 2017, and has a high customer satisfaction level. De Graaf commented: "If I could say it was about one thing, I would say it’s about staying close to the guests, that is very important… That means getting out into the hotel and meeting with them and talking with them. That is not just me, but the whole team. We go out and talk with the guest and hear what they have to say.

"We have brilliant team and they made a lot of it happen."

It also has developed a strong marketing and PR campaign, and was  a case study for a successful re-branding exercise from being a Hilton hotel before it closed and rebranded as the first Hilton Garden Inn as well as the first mid scale hotel in the northern emirate. Some team members have stayed on through the re-brand – also highly commended by the judges.

The general manager is also positive about Ras Al Khaimah's future as a tourism destination, and said: "A lot has happened in Ras Al Khaimah in the last five years and there is more happening all the time. There is more room for three- and four-star hotels there."

The Hotelier Express Awards 2018 took place at the Grosvenor House Dubai on February 28, 2018, and was supported by a range of industry partners including: A. Ronai, Duni, Diversey, Guest Supply, MMI, OSN For Business, and Tint.

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