Five Minutes With: Group MD, Carlton Hotels and Suites
Hosni Abdel Hadi explains how coronavirus is impacting the industry and reveals his targets for 2020
As CEO of the hospitality division and group MD of Carlton Hotels and Suites, Hosni Abdel Hadi has spearheaded a number of major hotel acquisitions, while also being there for key rebranding and expansion plans. With more than three decades experience, he catches up with us on what his career has looked like over the years.
Describe your path into the hospitality
I started my career with the front office department under the international brands of Le Meridian and the Hilton group with a clear focus to excel and learn. It was a rapid growth up the ranks in a very short span of time focused on the core values of the hospitality industry.
Did you always want to be a hotelier?
The hospitality industry is the melting pot of people from all over the world. I was always keen on learning and interacting with people from walks of life on a global platform. There is no other industry apart from the hospitality industry that gives you the opportunity to do so. Hence, it was always my focus and passion to contribute and be a hotelier.
How would you describe your management philosophy?
I believe in being a front line leader which effectively means lead by example. I have a dedicated core team of seasoned hoteliers sharing the same passion and focus on excelling in their areas. This means to impose and give clear directions to your team and have an open-door policy to provide easy accessibility for better business management.
How do you feel Carlton Hotels has performed over the past year?
We have strategically acquired our hotels under the Carlton banner in the key areas of interest, be it the business district of heritage district in Dubai. The location, along with the hotel product and the diversified business strategies that we have implemented catering to the evolving trends, has helped us sustain our business share and also post growth over the year.
What are your targets and expectations for this year?
We have to face the facts the scenario has changed. Hotels have had to rethink their strategy, the market needs a lot more mid-market hotels to attract business and leisure travellers. The global travel trends are currently evolving due to the socio-economic simulations. Our target, and expectations for this year, keeping in mind that we also have Expo 2020 this year is to sustain reinforce and growth in our group of hotels.
Have you noticed any trends in the hospitality industry over the past year?
The travel trends are evolving globally with a considerable percentage of the global travellers now consisting of millennials who are smart and savvy. The gusts nowadays want to experience the authentic way of life in the location they visit, and we are catering to these demands by promoting eco-friendly products from simple vegan restaurant options to smart energy-saving systems, also, by offering up-to-date and user-friendly technology.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the Dubai hospitality market?
Our occupancy target for this year is 87%. However, while analysing daily data for the market, the levels of these declines in response to the outbreak of coronavirus. Many hotel employees already on mandatory leave. The forecast of market recovery should not be overly downhearted, but realistic in the short term with our focus on maintaining rational thinking and assuring travellers with a sanitary, safe environment for healthy and productive travel using proper operations, marketing, and sales strategies. Leaving that aside we are looking forward to continuing adding signature hotels to our growing profile by strategic acquisitions with upholding our commitment to eco-friendly practices, increasing market share, grow brand loyalty, and guest care.