New recruit: Georges Farhat
Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina general manager discusses his IHG journey and the growth that Expo 2020 will bring
How has your previous work experience inspired you to get to where you are today?
I have worked in the hospitality industry for over 25 years, dedicating over half my life to climbing through the ranks from a management trainee to a GM within the IHG Group. This succession has not only been thoroughly enjoyable but also hugely rewarding and it has shown me the hard work and talent that goes into creating a successful hotel. Every day, my role continues to encourage me to develop amazing talents who will soon be the hospitality leaders of tomorrow.
Which other markets you have worked in and how do they compare to your current role?
My career in hospitality has always been in Dubai within the IHG Hotel Group, where my true passion lies. Prior to my appointment as GM at Crowne Plaza Marina, I was the GM for the Crowne Plaza on the Sheikh Zayed Road, meaning my transition to my new role was quite smooth in terms of general responsibilities, but the day-to-day activities vary slightly at the moment, given the fact the hotel is at the critical opening phase, which often presents challenges.
What inspired you to get into the hospitality industry?
One of my fondest memories growing up in Lebanon was being at a family wedding that took place at a beautiful mountain boutique hotel. That experience ignited a great passion in me to work in the hospitality industry. Since that moment I decided to make it my life goal to build a career in this industry and lead a hotel that could deliver stellar customer service.
What are some of the challenges you foresee, and the opportunities you expect to crop up from them?
With the progress of significant strategic initiatives such as Dubai Expo 2020 to promote the region, we see tremendous opportunities for growth, especially with our prime location being in the Marina, which will have easy access to the Expo. The event will act as a strong accelerator for hotels in the region and deliver many benefits for visitors such as improved standard of service and a reduction in room rates.
Our main challenge lies in generating demand in a hyper competitive market but we believe that our long-standing reputation in the market and being in a prime location will allow us to overcome this obstacle, and become the hotel of choice for business travellers staying in the Marina.
What are a few of your most signiﬁcant accomplishments so far?
I was fortunate enough to win the award of ‘Highly Commended GM of the Year’ in the Hotelier Awards 2015, an award which took many years of hard work but also delivered huge returns for all key stakeholders of the IHG brand. Being able to lead a team and create room for growth for other talents in that IHG Group is also something I am very proud of and gives me great job satisfaction daily.
In what ways are you planning to add to the success of your new hotel?
My goal is to build a dynamic quality team that delivers customer service second to none. This is something that I have dedicated my life to achieving since the deﬁning moment in my childhood when I discovered my passion to work in the hotel industry. The vision is to create the Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina as the business hotel of choice in the Marina and establish a strong presence in the competitive market. I am conﬁdent that the hotel is unique enough in its value proposition to establish a strong foothold in this market.
What are some new initiatives or that you are planning to introduce?
Sustainability is at the heart of IHG, which is why the Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina will include many eco-friendly initiatives. We are also trying to create a healthy environment in the hotel for guests which is why all rooms are 100% smoke-free (in addition to the meeting room facilities). Initiatives like these will help us attract a new generation of eco-conscious travellers who are looking for a guest experience that is equal parts ethical, eco-friendly and luxurious. Recent studies have shown a growing interest from consumers in experiences that are eco-conscious and sustainable which is why at Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina we endeavour to keep this at the heart of our brand proposition.