Cen­tara’s rapid ex­pan­sion to the Gulf

The Gulf re­gion is an im­por­tant part of Cen­tara’s growth plan. Hence, two new prop­er­ties are sched­uled to come up this year in Muscat and Doha re­spec­tively with one re­cently announced in part­ner­ship with Nakheel in Dubai, set to open in 2020. Paul Wil­son,



Can you give us

over­view of the Cen­tara prop­erty in Dubai?

Cen­tara in Dubai is a very ex­cit­ing prospect for us, it will have over 500 rooms in an up­scale beach­front prop­erty with wa­ter park, din­ing fa­cil­i­ties, busi­ness cen­tre, kids’ club, spa and fit­ness cen­tre. What will be­come Cen­tara Deira Is­lands Beach Re­sort Dubai is go­ing to be very fam­ily ori­ented and is lo­cated on Deira Island, Nakheel’s lat­est prime real-es­tate devel­op­ment project. As this will be the first Cen­tara es­tab­lish­ment in the UAE, we are tar­get­ing a mixed au­di­ence, with va­ca­tion­ers from Saudi Ara­bia and through­out the Mid­dle East, as well as Europe and Asia. We’ll stay true to what Cen­tara does very well, which is the fam­ily mar­ket. Q What about the MICE fa­cil­i­ties at the ho­tel?

The ho­tel has an ex­cel­lent con­fer­ence fa­cil­ity, which can han­dle 400-500 per­sons. The main con­fer­ence hall will have no pil­lars and plenty of nat­u­ral day­light, thanks to the group’s abil­ity to brief that very early on, so it will be very unique and very tech­nol­ogy fo­cussed. There are so many ho­tels in Dubai with con­fer­ence fa­cil­i­ties lack­ing in nat­u­ral day­light and bro­ken up with pil­lars, we see our spa­cious and light fa­cil­ity as a key dif­fer­en­tia­tor. Qu­niqueA ho­tel that

would be hav­ing a lot of USPs, can you en­list some of the big­gest at­trac­tions of the prop­erty?

The four star mar­ket is some­thing that’s def­i­nitely needed in this re­gion and that’s the big USP for Cen­tara’s new prop­erty in Dubai. Then of course, Thai hos­pi­tal­ity is the best in the world and is ex­em­pli­fied by the em­i­nent Cen­tara brand. We re­flect our “Thai­ness” in the de­tails of ser­vice we pro­vide; au­then­tic Thai cui­sine, tra­di­tional Thai spa treat­ment, the Thai ser­vice mind vested in our op­er­a­tions staff, as well as our lux­u­ri­ous room ameni­ties with the Thai touch. In ad­di­tion to this, the size and the mag­ni­tude of the Dubai prop­erty is some­thing that hasn’t been seen be­fore in the four star cat­e­gory, to the level of the wa­ter park, the var­ied F& B out­lets, the club lounge and the chil­dren’s recre­ational club. Ser­vice and ex­pe­ri­ence are amongst the main key­words for us. What are the feedQer mar­kets that you are plan­ning to tap for this prop­erty? Cen­tara is blessed with a num­ber of ac­tive global sales of­fices and Dubai is the sec­ond most vis­ited city in the world af­ter Bangkok. We would like to tap the lo­cal ex­pat crowd within the GCC and very soon we are open­ing our very first ho­tels in the re­gion, in Muscat and Doha re­spec­tively, so we will be shar­ing our client port­fo­lios there. The UK mar­ket is vi­tal in Dubai and the min­i­mum length of stay in Dubai is in­creas­ing. Ear­lier, Vir­gin Hol­i­days used to achieve an av­er­age of only a 2-3 night stay in Dubai, now this has risen to 5-6 nights. Dubai is def­i­nitely good as a drop-in des­ti­na­tion for our long-haul mar­ket. We’ll be fo­cus­ing on the UK, Ger­many, Scan­di­navia, and of course In­dia. In short, ev­ery main mar­ket is a feeder mar­ket for us and we are very spe­cific on the strate­gies we fol­low. Qmore

Could you tell us

about Cen­tara’s foray into Doha?

The Doha prop­erty is a five-star prop­erty, set in the new busi­ness and shop­ping district West Bay. The prop­erty will have 261 rooms and suites plus an at­tached suite ho­tel with 96 apart­ments that vary from one to three bed­room units. Cen­tara Grand Ho­tel Doha will have Cen­tara’s own sig­na­ture Thai restau­rant, Suan Bua along with four other F&B out­lets. The rooftop will fea­ture a unique restau­rant and a rooftop bar with stun­ning city views along with a swim­ming pool and re­lax­ation zone. Other fa­cil­i­ties in­clude the award win­ning SPA Cen­va­ree with 16 treat­ment rooms over the en­tire floor, with male and fe­male fa­cil­i­ties and pri­vate ham­mams, Club level busi­ness rooms and Cen­tara Club Lounge, ball­room and meet­ing fa­cil­i­ties. We are bring­ing some­thing unique and au­then­tic to the mar­ket. As one of the big­gest hos­pi­tal­ity play­ers based in Asia, Cen­tara is a very well-known brand and now it’s ar­riv­ing in the Mid­dle East. Qlux­ury

So, be­ing a su­per

prop­erty will your tar­get crowd change?

For the Doha prop­erty, the tar­get crowd is FIT and leisure and of course the cor­po­rate crowd. We have a lot of cor­po­rate busi­ness from Saudi Ara­bia, and will fo­cus on that mar­ket. To com­ple­ment this, we have state-of-the-art cus­tom meet­ing fa­cil­i­ties, a ball­room, break­out rooms, and rooms equipped with high tech­nol­ogy. Tech­nol­ogy toQ­day

plays a piv­otal role in hos­pi­tal­ity. How im­por­tant is tech­nol­ogy for your prop­er­ties?

Tech­nol­ogy for Cen­tara boils down to the fact that it needs to work. If you are in the room you need to be con­nected, your lap­top, phones etc., need to be con­nected. Con­nec­tion speed, I think, is very im­por­tant and we fo­cus on that. Con­fer­ence and tech­nol­ogy fa­cil­i­ties are mas­sive for us. Qtrends

What are the

that you have wit­nessed in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try in the Mid­dle East

For hos­pi­tal­ity in the Mid­dle East, the vol­ume is just astro­nom­i­cal. When deal­ing with such large vol­umes you need to have the best rev­enue strat­egy tools and the best en­ergy man­age­ment tools. In­creased fo­cus on data man­age­ment and anal­y­sis tech­nol­ogy is the big­gest change I’ve seen. Now, it’s all about how fast you get ac­cess and at what time. Qto

How do you plan

work with travel agents?

Thai­land is a big tour oper­a­tor des­ti­na­tion; we have fan­tas­tic re­la­tion­ship with our agents and we re­ward our key clients. We of­fer in­cen­tives, and it’s about work­ing on the 80/20 rule, 80 per cent of your rev­enues from 20 per cent of your clients. We fo­cus on the ones who con­tinue to sup­port Cen­tara. What’s your stratQ­egy

for the Ara­bian Travel Mart tak­ing place in Dubai from April 24-27?

For us, the trend is to keep it sim­ple. We’ll be there on the stand with all our mar­ket­ing col­lat­eral to make sure that peo­ple know that we’ve ar­rived. We have also set up meet­ings with larger cor­po­ra­tions and travel part­ners. We have a very good rep­re­sen­ta­tion team, and we are tak­ing up lots of ap­point­ments, ta­ble top ses­sions etc.

We would like to tap the lo­cal ex­pat crowd within the GCC and very soon we are open­ing our very first ho­tels in the re­gion, in Muscat and Doha re­spec­tively, so we will be shar­ing our client port­fo­lios there. The UK mar­ket is vi­tal in Dubai and the min­i­mum length of stay in Dubai is in­creas­ing. Paul Wil­son Vice Pres­i­dent of Sales Cen­tara Ho­tels & Re­sorts

Pre­mium Lounge, Cen­tara Muscat Oman

Suan Bua, Cen­tara Grand WQ doha

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