Transguard Group's Alex Macdonald talks about the company's challenges

Hotelier speaks to the senior director manpower and mobilisation of Transguard Group about the forthcoming conference and the latest launches

The hospitality sector in the UAE is ever expanding with new brands
The hospitality sector in the UAE is ever expanding with new brands

Ahead of the Hotelier Middle East 2019 Executive Housekeeper Forum Hotelier speaks to Alex Macdonald, senior director manpower and mobilisation, Transguard Group, about his and the company’s views on the forthcoming conference being held June 19 2019 at Grosvenor House, Dubai.

Why is it important that you support the Hotelier Middle East 2019 Executive Housekeeper Forum?
The Hotelier Middle East 2019 Executive Housekeeper Forum is synonymous with Hospitality in the UAE. As a long-time provider of high-quality hospitality solutions in the UAE, we look forward to supporting the event and discussing market trends and the future state of Housekeeping with our clients and partners in the industry.

What do you think are the main challenges facing housekeeping professionals in 2019?
Although occupancy rates are improving, there are still fluctuations in demand that can make it difficult to maintain the right level of resources to ensure customers’ expectations are not just met but exceeded, especially during peak periods. In addition to this, being able to attract and retain the right talent across the industry is a major challenge. For example, employee attrition is a challenge, with new properties frequently being launched and their recruitment strategies targeting experienced staff. In addition, training and development of replacement staff is costly.

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What most excites you about the UAE hospitality industry?
The hospitality sector in the UAE is ever expanding with new brands, and existing brands are continually introducing new and extended offerings. I particularly like the direction hotels like Studio One and Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens, are taking because of their modern styles and contemporary outlook. 

What main topics are you expecting at the Hotelier Middle East 2019 Executive Housekeeper Forum?
Some of the topics I expect to come up at this year’s forum include continuously improving the customer experience while remaining cost competitive, and a strong emphasis on how to retain trained and qualified staff. It will also be interesting to see how much is discussed regarding outsourcing and if there is a shift towards the European-style model of housekeeping.

What are the latest product launches from your company?
Transguard’s Center of Excellence — a purpose-built training facility — opened in July 2017 with more  than 590,000 training hours completed in 2018 alone. During this time, we have expanded our training team with employees that have 5-star hotel experience, who have helped shape our training programme to ensure that we are always working towards the high standards our clients know and expect.

What other news can we expect from your company?Transguard provides hotelier services to many brands within the region, including housekeeping, security, kitchen stewards, cash services, F&B and concierge services, to name a few. For 2019/2020 we are looking at how we can best offer flexible solutions that match our clients’ high and low seasons. Furthermore, we are really pushing our career framework and development programmes this year, looking at our hospitality stars and how we can further support their career growth and development within Transguard.

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