In addition to the popular in person Member Spotlight Networking Series, we offer BBG Members the chance to answer questions “Under the Spotlight”
1. What brought you to Dubai?
I moved to Dubai from Abu Dhabi to open 3 hotels for Marriott. This month is my 13yr anniversary here in the Middle East – 7 great years in Riyadh, 2 in AD and now 4 in Dubai. I’ve been an active member of the local Business Group on and off in all three ME locations locations – starting with some great times / events in the RGBB. As a hotelier you’re fortunate to have the venues available to host events so it’s the obvious connection to be made.Over 30 years in the hotel industry, predominantly with Starwood as it was. I’ve been lucky to live + work in many fabulous locations – London, Warsaw, Brussels, Helsinki, Riyadh, Mathas Vineyard …to name a few. From the bottom up, starting as a barman / waiter / valet and then via a management program with Hilton UK before spending a wonderful 20+ years with Starwood. I also spent 5 years in Quality Improvement (Six Sigma / LEAN Operations / Blue Ocean Thinking) across Europe & Africa learning about all parts of the business and this really gave me a great grounding to be a GM.
2. Who is your ideal client?
Here at RED Dubai Silicon Oasis we believe that the last thing the world needs is another hotel that plays it safe or takes itself too seriously. RED is known for its forward-thinking style, strong design ethos, laid back service and contemporary flair. RED stems from a new breed of hotel that rips up the playbook, offering a bold and playful alternative. A hotel with attitude and personality where guests can mix business with leisure allowing them to create their own experiences. Technically we’ve had three openings in 2020 - the hotel, OUIBar + Terrace + RED Roof pool deck venues launched in February, pre-COVID, then our 59 branded RED apartments opened during the pandemic, as did our meeting centre, capacity 1000+, which hosts 10 conference rooms and a multi-event space of 600 sq m – so it’s been a full on! During summer last year we introduced a pet staycation package. Radisson RED is famously a dog-loving brand, with our sister properties around the world proudly housing a doggy mascot that lives at the hotel. It was important to us that UAE residents are aware that we are pet friendly. With the time for summer staycations coming up, we wanted to stand out from the crowd and what better way to do it than with our ‘pawsome’ pet staycation package.
3. What business advice would you give your younger self?
Get out of your comfort zone! Don’t keep doing the same thing…e.g. if you’re a hotelier in F&B get into Rooms and visa-versa. Get yourself invited into other depts + disciplines. Ask ask ask – don’t underestimate other department activities, get to know other roles / jobs and how they impact on you & how you can help them. Lastly if there’s a problem look at yourself first – are you the problem (?)…..could you change / adapt so that you tackle the root cause of the issue. Oh and PS – don’t take yourself too seriously…if you’re having fun then your team are having fun and if they’re having fun you can guarantee your guests are much happier! Having been fortunate over the years to have been a part of / led the openings of 15 different units from hotels to theme parks, restaurants to conference centres the key ingredient for me is to hire right first time, communicate the goal, adapt to change & as said before….have some FUN along the way!
4. What do you look to achieve through your BBG Membership?
There has never been a time that properties needed to stand out more. For RED it always comes back to those local collaborations and also ensuring we are delivering fun and engaging activations throughout the year. We’ve already chalked up some incredible partnerships with College of Fashion and Design to help design our merchendize, KUKRI Sports for our crew kit (uniforms), an ALL SAINTS retail pop up, GEMs school on a mural competition for students, renowned artist Maria Iqba and Warner Bros for the launch of SCOOB! to name a few. Bringing the local community together through creative collaborations and championing local businesses is what it’s all about for us.