PETER SCHULER, GENERAL MANAGER, SYMPHONY STYLE HOTEL KUWAIT, DISCUSSES WHAT KUWAIT HAS TO OFFER.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How was business in the first half of the year (H1)?
PETER SCHULER: H1 has been a very good period for the Symphony Style Hotel Kuwait. We have constantly worked to stay ahead of the competition and continue to set the highest standards in hospitality and customer service.
We have witnessed strong occupancy levels during challenging times. The hard work of our teams also paid off as we received The Green Key programme certification for our efforts to preserve the world’s natural resources.
We were also honoured to collect three awards at the Luxury Restaurant Awards 2017, with our iconic Italian Tuscany; Luna restaurant named as the regional winner in the Italian Cuisine category, Country Winner in the Fine Dining Cuisine category and Best Ambiance/Romantic Atmosphere in Kuwait.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are the demographics of your guests?
PETER SCHULER: Kuwait remains largely a business destination so the main source market for us remains business travellers from across the GCC.
However, this year we have seen a rise in the number of leisure travellers choosing to stay with us, particularly families.
That is testament to the hard work and concerted efforts we have made to attract this segment of traveller.
We converted the third and fourth floors of the hotel into Kids’ and Teen Floors to improve our entertainment offering for younger guests – a first for Kuwait.
The Kids’ Floor has a spacious, interactive play area, staffed by trained professionals, a cinema, games room and dedicated sleeping and dining areas, while the Teen’s Hub, which is on the fourth floor and aimed at children aged 10 and above, includes the latest video game consoles and entertainment equipment.
These facilities, together with our Six Senses Spa and our suspended pool area on the second floor, range of dining outlets, ensures we are in a strong position as a preferred destination for leisure travellers.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Kuwait has a target of welcoming 440,000 visitors a year by 2025. What has been implemented to help diversify the country’s tourism industry?
PETER SCHULER: Kuwait continues to diversify as a leisure destination. We are increasingly seeing a trend of tourists seeking experiential travel. More and more visitors want to experience authentic Kuwaiti and Arabian hospitality.
The continued rollout of visas on arrival for nationals from a number of countries has helped increase the appeal of Kuwait as a leisure destination.
Kuwait is viewed as something of a hidden gem in terms of tourism but has a number of sites that are easily accessible, from museums to Kuwait Towers, which is a cultural and tourism landmark that perfectly represents the country’s progressive and economic reawakening.
Liberation Tower is also a popular attraction for obvious reasons and is a poignant reminder of how the country has progressed. Kuwait also has a number of islands off its coastline that are known as havens of relaxation.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How is your property working to attract visitors to Kuwait?
PETER SCHULER: We have been very considerate in ensuring that we have the facilities and services that cater to all of our guests, including the availability of connecting rooms, and we consistently strive to exceed customer expectations. We also pay particular attention to the growing trend of experiential travel.
Symphony Style Hotel Kuwait is designed to reflect the local Kuwaiti culture and this is what makes us unique in our offerings.
Our commitment to offering an authentic Kuwaiti experience extends to the creation of Bait Al Dimnah, a lounge in the hotel’s lobby area dedicated to showcasing Kuwaiti culture and traditions.
Visualised and realised by talented Kuwaiti nationals working within the hotel, Bait Al Dimnah is styled on a traditional Kuwaiti home and featuring artefacts and artworks depicting the country’s past. We are also part of the Quorvos Collection app, which enables travellers to book their stay and interact with us on the go.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: In your opinion, what more can be done to grow Kuwait’s tourism industry?
PETER SCHULER: In a challenging climate and a tough industry, it is important to be innovative to keep attracting visitors. Having the ability to offer guests an authentic experience is crucial to retaining that loyalty in the hope that those guests will then pass on the positive message to others.
As diversification continues Kuwait will continue to offer a valued proposition for tourists.