Sponsor Q&A: Transguard

We speak to Transguard's Alex MacDonald and Sam Tucker ahead of Hotelier Middle East's Great GM Debate

Sam Tucker and Alex MacDonald
Sam Tucker and Alex MacDonald

Why is it important that you support the Hotelier Middle East: Great GM Debate?
 The Great GM Debate is an integral part of the hospitality industry within the UAE. It allows outstanding leaders from the finest hotel brands in the world to come together to discuss current market trends and share experiences. As a supplier to over 60 hotels within the UAE, we believe that supporting and participating in this event is crucial to listen and take part in the discussions of the industry and future trends. Alex MacDonald, senior director-manpower and mobilisation

What do you think are the main challenges facing UAE hotel GMs in 2019?
The rapid growth of the hospitality industry in the UAE means that there are new hotels opening on almost a weekly basis. The demand cannot measure up to the supply, so room rates are being cut at an alarming rate and costs are becoming harder to justify when budgeting.

With these issues at hand, hoteliers in the UAE have become smarter, realising the benefits of utilising their group buying power to drive cost improvements and new initiatives throughout their portfolio. We have seen a significant focus on this, with a number of leading groups now working on multiple service line Framework Agreements, helping drive cost improvements across their properties. This is more of a European approach to outsourcing. It makes sense to consolidate agreements to have it all under one contract, when previously, you would have to pay the overheads of five separate companies. (Alex MacDonald)

What most excites you about the UAE hotel industry in 2019?
The use of technology in the hotel industry is increasing year on year, and this can only be a good thing as brands continue to innovate and evolve with the changing demands of the consumers. Areas previously unexplored, such as valet operations, now have the option to use an app, such as one that will let the customer call their car at the push of a button.

I also like the way the market is shifting and evolving with demand and customer preference. Dubai is not just a tourist destination for people looking for high-end luxury. Dubai is a global business hub, and the need to cater to this market, as well as the budget conscious tourist, is driving the development of more mid-range options, all whilst continuing to maintain high service levels. Sam Tucker, head-manpower services

What are the main topics you expect to come up at the Hotelier Middle East: Great GM Debate?
As always, we expect there to be a large focus on customer service as it is one of the main ways hotels differentiate themselves from their competitors. Additionally, I think that the topic of cost reduction across the business will have a substantial focus at the debate. As the leading outsource provider in the UAE, this is a key area that we are able to assist our clients. (Sam Tucker)

What are the latest product launches from your company?
We have recently started deploying a large number of F&B staff to five-star hotels within the UAE. We are planning to venture into the events and banqueting market by the end of this year, delivering these services to a number of hotels to cope with the huge demand in this area. To support this demand, we have just rolled out a new training module that helps our staff deliver the quality of service that our clients and guests expect in this fast-paced area of hospitality. (Sam Tucker)
What other news can we expect from your company in 2019/2020?
In addition to the growth of our current service lines, we are now offering a full solutions package that includes the installation and management of access control systems for all our hospitality clients. While this is not traditionally an area that would be considered under a manpower provision, we’re taking a more holistic view on external spend for our clients and adding our expertise in other areas. This is a unique proposition where we know we can offer a real value add to our clients with a build, operate and transfer model. (Alex MacDonald)

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