TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How would you summarise the past months?
PIERRE SOKHON: For Al Khoory Group of Hotels, this year has maintained occupancy levels with a slight drop in average room rate compared to 2015, however, the last quarter looks more promising and positive for us.
Our hotels’ location and accessibility give us a unique advantage against others where we cater for various segments, mainly for families, vacationers and exhibitors.
Having a good portion of repeat guest to our hotels – due to guest recognition and the quality of service – makes us proud, and we do our best to always call our guests by their names and make them feel at home.
As for Dubai, with the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, and the support of Dubai Department of Tourism Commerce & Marketing (DTCM), the plans outlined for Dubai to become the number one city in terms of visitations by 2020 [are] possible with the new theme parks, opera house, adventure tourism [opportunities], as well as an array of conventions and shopping festivals throughout the year.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are the latest developments at the company?
PIERRE SOKHON: Al Khoory Group presently operates three hotels and is already developing another four properties which will be ready by 2020.
The operational hotels are Al Khoory Hotel Apartments Al Barsha, Al Khoory Executive Hotel Al Wasl and the newly-opened Al Khoory Atrium Hotel Al Barsha.
New hotels in the pipeline include the 69-room Al Khoory Inn Bur Dubai, due to be launched by 2017, the 370-room Al Khoory Plaza Hotel Deira as well as the 99-key Al Khoory Central Hotel and 159-room Al Khoory Courtyard Hotel – both set to open in Al Quoz in 2019.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: With supply in Dubai growing apace, what are the main issues that need to be addressed in order to avoid sacrificing quality for quantity?
PIERRE SOKHON I believe that with the high standards set for Dubai, quantity will not [affect] quality.
To be able to exist and survive in Dubai, quality has always been the priority whether if it is a one-star or a five-star hotel.
However, I believe more hotel management institutions should open to have more qualified staff, offering better services in this industry in various fields.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Dubai’s Tourism Vision has set ambitions goals for the next few years. Could Dubai reach its full potential by 2020?
PIERRE SOKHON: I have been in the UAE since 1985 and have witnessed the growth step by step. [Given] the positive energy and attitude of its promoters encompassed with the vision of its rulers, I believe Dubai will always have room for growth and will surprise us with what it will offer in the near future.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are your immediate plans?
PIERRE SOKHON: We have recently opened our new four-star Al Khoory Atrium Hotel in Al Barsha. The hotel has been delighting guests from day one and has been getting a lot of positive reviews.
We at the Al Khoory Hospitality corporate office are here to make sure the hotel operates smoothly.
At the same time, we are in the process of developing four more hotels […] and the group is also soon launching a loyalty programme for its guests to ensure that our loyal guests can avail the best value proposition every time.