Interview with Swiss-BelHotel’s new GM, Alban Dutemple

Welcome to Bahrain. How long have you been here, and what do you think of the place?

I’ve been here 2 months and I’ve been totally focused on work so not yet had a chance to explore, but I must say that I find the people here welcoming and easy to meet.

What makes Swiss-Belhotel different from other hotels?

Well, with regards to this property, it’s ultra-modern, has unusually large rooms, the level of service is particularly high, we are conveniently located in the Seef district, and our chef specializes in designing quality cuisine made specially to suit different personal tastes.

What do you plan to achieve?

I intend to increase our share of the market by providing exceptional service to our guests, create offers and incentives that appeal to our clientele, and quickly adapt to market conditions which would consequently increase the owner’s ROI. We are very fortunate to have a visionary and supportive owner who understands the market. We are currently in the process of optimizing hotel space and services to cater for more MICE business.

Does Swiss-Belhotel International have any expansion plan?

Swiss-Belhotel International will be opening a new five star property located near Reef Island next year, and the Swiss- Belresidences Juffair later this year.

There’s lots of new luxury hotels opening, yet no sign of an increase in demand. Do you have a view on this?

The market is already over saturated so it will be interesting to see how things play out. I believe if Bahrain is to follow the regional trend and host more big events and continue to develop tourism through the enhancement of its beautiful natural resources, that would definitely play a role in increasing the demand. Currently Bahrain tourism is overly dependent on visitors from Saudi Arabia and private events. Bahrain’s major international event is Formula One, but Bahrain has the capacity for so much more.

Saudi Arabia is changing, hosting public events and opening Cinemas etc. Will this make Bahrain less attractive for Saudi visitors?

In the longer term quite possibly, but it takes time to establish many of these changes so I predict at least for the next few years it shouldn’t have too much of a negative impact. This means Bahrain has time to prepare accordingly.

What do you most like, and dislike, about your job? I love the travel and the experiences I have. This industry has passion and no two days are the same.

There is a strong team spirit with those you work with. As for dislikes, I don’t like low occupancy.

Any motto that guides you?

The only truth is the one of the moment, everything can change in a second. The past has taken you to where you are now but it will not show you where to go.

How do you relax?

I run every day. When I was living in Brazil I used to run on Copacabana beach each morning at 5.30 am. I would use that time to think and plan my day. By the time I was showered and in the office I had my day already planned and I was ready to activate it.

Are you married?

Yes. My wife joins me at the end of this month. She is a trainer with the DeRose method, a methodology that enhances mental clarity and focus to enable high performance, whether in study, work, sports, or a hobby. This is achieved through breathing techniques, focus, and relaxation. Its ultimate aim is to develop a high performance life.