What is your vision for the Gulf Hotel Bahrain as well as the Gulf Hotels Group in general?
The vision is to diversify the group’s activities and expand its portfolio. For many years, the focus was the Bahrain market, where we acquired and managed several properties. We ventured to Zanzibar, managing a beautiful resort following which we bought a property in the UAE, and now we have acquired the expertise to manage and acquire projects in all potential markets. Georgia is the first property we are managing in Europe, and we are currently looking at other properties in Eastern Europe and Saudi Arabia.
What have been your biggest challenges (and successes) over the past difficult years?
The travel restrictions due to the pandemic caused an unprecedented situation for the travel and tourism industry. We had to down-size our operation and even close some facilities following government instructions. This led to a great talent loss, who chose to go back to their home countries. The remaining team learned to multitask, acquiring new expertise, and that has helped us become more resilient. Today, as the business is picking up, we are able to operate more efficiently, and we have become more cost-conscious, enabling us to maximize our profits.
Other than a great team, what qualities does Gulf Hotel have that make it stand out in Bahrain?
Being the first five-star hotel in Bahrain, the property has an unparalleled legacy; it is known and has been visited by almost every national and expat in Bahrain. Our genuine Bahraini hospitality complimented by quality products and dedicated service has allowed us to gain a great reputation over the years and maintain our position despite multinational brands entering the Bahrain hospitality market.
What does hospitality leadership mean to you?
As in any leadership, you need to lead by example, empower your team, keep them motivated, encourage teamwork, improve efficiency, and achieve goals while keeping a close focus on customer satisfaction and exceeding guests’ needs.
Is there a particular saying or motto that guides you?
There are no secrets to success; it is the result of hard work and looking at the opportunity in any difficulty you face.