Bahrain Confidential interviews Philipp Economou, General Manager of InterContinental Regency Hotel.
Tell us something personal – how would you describe yourself in one word?
More like two words… people oriented and fast-paced.
If you can change one thing about hospitality in general, what would it be?
I would like to enhance the focus on sustainability. Together, both as the hospitality industry and consumers (being our guests), we have a responsibility to reduce the negative impact on the environment. We have already started developing a culture within our organisation in which we encourage our colleagues and guests to start playing an active role by reducing their ecological footprint and to be part of our environmental-friendly practices. In addition, we are also active about instructing our suppliers to reduce waste as well.
Can you shed light on your vision for the hotel this 2020?
In an increasingly competitive environment, InterContinental Hotels Group is well placed to accelerate the growth of our core business.
With the Middle East leading the emerging market population boom over the past decade, demographic and social change is a key issue that we will need to tackle, and tackle fast. Whilst historically designed to cater to middle-aged business and leisure tourists from advanced economies, we must today transform to cater to a wider variety of visitors, age groups and backgrounds. From virtual reality to artificial intelligence, technology is innovating at a faster speed than ever before. And to stand out in the competitive hotel industry, we are shifting focus more and more on providing an outstanding guest experience by incorporating technology.
Some of the key focuses still remains on our exclusive culinary offerings providing guests elevated experiences and a targeted focus on MICE segments to bring in corporate meetings and local weddings.
Lastly but most importantly this year’s attention is on sustainability. It’s quickly becoming a priority — if not a moral imperative. We are implementing many sustainable efforts to match our guest’s needs.
What have been the biggest challenges and successes of the past year?
The challenge remains the market conditions with an influx of new hotel rooms in spite of reduced demand and prolonged economic challenges which directly affects all aspects of our business that includes meetings & events, restaurant, bars and other facilities within the hotel. However, 2019 has been a successful year in many aspects; the re-launch of Ramadan tent, a new Brunch concept, Spanish week and the introduction of a themed New Year’s Eve party for the very first time. A major success story for our property, is the launch of our newly refurbished Club InterContinental rooms. This complete facelift of our top three floors will provide our valued guests with a modern twist on a classical look that they have known and loved for many years.
Is there a particular saying or motto that guides you?
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein