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Vasken Vartanian Vasken Vartanian

Vasken Vartanian, Director of Sales and Marketing, Crowne Plaza Muscat Hotel

WITH ITS LATEST INFRASTRUCTURE AND HOSPITALITY DEVELOPMENTS, OMAN APPEARS ON THE RIGHT TRACK TO DRIVE IN MORE ATTENTION OF BUSINESS TRAVELLERS AND MICE PLANNERS.

VASKEN VARTANIAN, DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING, CROWNE PLAZA MUSCAT HOTEL REVEALS HOW THE PROPERTY ADDRESSES THE TRENDS SHAPING MODERN CORPORATE TRAVEL AND WHY THERE IS A RIGHT TIME FOR A FRESH APPROACH.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How did your establishment and the hospitality market perform in the first half of this year (H1) and how does it compare to 2016?

VASKEN VARTANIAN: In H1 our hotel has achieved a tremendous growth in occupancy around eight percent compared to the budgeted occupancy for year-to-date June.

This has relatively shown growth in overall room revenue by four percent compared to budget looking at the same period year-to-date June. Despite a drop in the overall average room rate for our hotel and market, we still have strongly managed to drive occupancy.

Demand has been growing compared to 2016, with an increase in room occupancy around 5.9 percent for all Omani market during the period.

Having said that, at the same time supply is expanding and providing more rooms in the market with new facilities as well.

This has made the market to come up with challenges in room rates and caused somehow price sensitivity between the hoteliers. Average room rate has shown a decline compared to 2016 by nearly four percent.

Our hotel market mix has recorded a very healthy mix between leisure, which is around 36 percent [of guests] coming purely for holidays during festive seasons and breaks.

Corporate guests have achieved around 64 percent from the overall rooms sold for the first part of the year.

The summer is relatively on bar versus 2016 with some growth in room occupancy, but still decline in average room rate. […]

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: In your opinion, what factors shape the corporate travel nowadays and how do you approach it in terms of offerings and services?

VASKEN VARTANIAN:At Crowne Plaza Muscat Hotel we believe in making business travel work by bringing humanity to business travel. In every market in the world, business has changed and so has the way we work.

It is more digital, more flexible, more mobile, more connected. But business travel has not kept pace with the changing world of business, or the modern business traveller, it is a sea of sameness. It is time for a fresh approach.

We are entering an era in which work and life are blending. Productivity matters to our guests but they also seek energising experiences and inspiration.

They are lifeaholics and even in their time-pressured worlds, they embrace the aspirational side of business travel. […] Life does not stop when business begins.

Crowne Plaza Muscat Hotel aims to be a hotel brand for modern business, challenging the status quo and delivering for today's business traveller.

We align business with humanity, impact and attitude, grounded in the new values of the modern world – collaboration, flexibility and empathy.

Our hotel provides spaces designed to help our guests be productive, be better restored, and be inspired with our globally recognised WorkLife room, signature Sleep Advantage programme, fitness facilities, and partnerships that enhance downtime and work time.

We also deliver big on meetings of any size, with innovative break out spaces, large conference venues, and dedicated Crowne Plaza meetings directors, in addition to casual flexible meeting spaces in the lobby.

We know that what our guests do outside of business, makes them better at the business they do.[…]

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How has Oman's business travel sector developed over the years and what is expected in the months to come?

VASKEN VARTANIAN: The business travel in Oman has been gaining momentum over the years and it is evident with the year-on-year increase in the number of business travellers arriving in Oman.

Major investments to expand the hotel and tourism infrastructure facilities by Oman's tourism and hospitality industry have successfully resulted in a significant growth of roughly 15 percent in visitor numbers.

With the recent opening of Oman Convention and Exhibition Center and soon to be opened [new terminal at] Muscat International Airport are only some of the indications of the government's vision to make Oman one of the leading business travel destinations in the region. […]

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