GM Talk: Le Meridien Dubai GM talks regional challenges and exploring new markets

Shaun Parsons is the complex general manager of Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre and Le Méridien Fairway

Shaun Parsons.
Shaun Parsons.

Shaun Parsons, complex general manager of Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre and Le Méridien Fairway, talks about regional challenges for general managers and new source market his hotels are looking to attract.

What would you say are some of the biggest challenges for GMs in the region? Why?

Retention of talent is one of the biggest challenges in today’s competitive market. Millennials have a different work ethic. Due to their increased exposure to current trends, they come up with new, creative ideas but retention of talented millennials in today’s workforce poses a challenge. They’re always on the lookout for roles that promise greater creative liberty and flexibility and get bored at one place easily.

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In terms of occupancy, ADR and RevPAR, what will present the biggest challenge in the region and why?

The Middle East has emerged as a promising market for hospitality, catering business, MICE, leisure travellers as well as backpackers. However, the ever-growing supply in Dubai market will continue putting pressure on average rates. Liberal policies in other GCC markets and their aggressive strategy to attract tourism and investment also provides more options to travelers and investors in GCC. Comparing to many other markets in the world, Dubai’s hospitality revenue numbers are normalizing rather than declining.

What is the key to the success of an operator-owner relationship?

Being innovative while exploring revenue streams to protect owners’ profit is the key to success. Thinking out of the box is essential as cost-cutting is not always a viable solution, as perceived.

What new source markets are you trying to target?

Le Méridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre has grown alongside the emirate of Dubai and is a trend-setter in the region’s hospitality industry. With the turn of the new year, we aim to target China, Africa and the Nordic region more aggressively to maintain our healthy market share.

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