Cluster Power: GM interview with Movenpick's Dan Benzaquen
Dan Benzaquen, the newly appointed cluster GM of Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay and Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba in Jordan, talks about strengthening brand presence in Aqaba
What inspired you to get into the hospitality industry?
I came from a family of hoteliers who appreciate the traditions of this profession, and my father is my inspiration. He used to work in the hospitality industry and being in the business inspired me to get into it from a young age. Seeing him achieve great things at work made me want to follow his footsteps, too.
How have your experiences inspired you to get to where you are today?
I am very competitive and always seek to achieve better heights. Overcoming challenges always gives me satisfaction. My new role gives me the opportunity to manage two stunning resorts which are very different from one another, and so require a lot of attention and drive. I’m really looking forward to it.
How does this job add to your career progression?
The addition of Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba in my work scope expands my responsibilities and opens opportunities for personal growth. It will surely enhance my exposure in both business hotels and leisure resorts.
Tell us a bit about the other markets you worked in and how that compares to your current role?
I am fortunate to have been able to travel since I was a child. A lot of my posts were in Southeast Asia and in the GCC. Being in Jordan is very different in many aspects, and the management is a combination of the cultures you could find in the Gulf and in Asia. We are dealing with a different market and always need to be aware of what we say or do.
What are some of the challenges you foresee, and the opportunities that crop up from them?
There are synergies to having one general manager for two beach resorts in Aqaba, which can be challenging to implement. I see this as an opportunity to improve our competitive edge and strengthen our brand presence, not only in Aqaba, but also in Jordan where our portfolio is strong. With many operational synergies, we can expect more improvements in services and facilities at the Red Sea properties.
What would you say are a few of your most significant career accomplishments so far?
So far, the accomplishment is being where I am at my age, and I feel humbled by the trust given to me by Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts and Zara Investment, our owning company. Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba has been on a great quality improvement with the drive of my predecessor; Maria Lamarche. One of my challenges will be to preserve the great work she did in that resort in the future and work to further improve it.
Can you describe any new initiatives or programmes that you are planning to introduce as part of your new position?
There will be more complementing services between Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba and Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba to form a synergy. For instance, membership will include shared benefits making it more attractive. Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba will benefit from the fun offerings at Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba, while Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba will benefit from the strong meetings and events presence of Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba. Having two resorts in the same area will also strengthen our brand presence and will definitely assist in promoting Aqaba as a destination.