Leading Hotels of the World opens regional office in Dubai

Travel News Asia 9 February 2005

Leading Hotels of the World has opened a Middle East regional office in Knowledge Village, Dubai. This is the groups 25th regional office worldwide.

The presence of a regional office in Dubai will enable Leading Hotels of the World to offer an enhanced range of services to both member hotels and potential customers throughout the Middle East, according to company Chairman Jean-Jacques Gauer.

Mr. Gauer said, Key to our offering is the inauguration of a new dedicated central reservations office, providing easy access to more than 420 hotels worldwide. The office will be manned with Arabic and English speaking professionals, well-versed in the needs of the regional traveller, to enhance our service delivery.

While the company currently has 12 hotel members in the Middle East, including eight in the UAE, the prime purposes of the new facility will be to promote the companys central reservations office, as well as the hotel school network and its quality assurance programmes.

The phenomenal growth of the hospitality sector both in Dubai and the surrounding region means there will be pressure on human resources, added Paul M. McManus, President & Chief Executive Officer. 

With constant additions to the hotel stock in every city in the region, quality standards will become a vital benchmark to enable individual properties to maintain their competitive edge and it is here that Leading Hotels can help.

The company was formally known primarily for its global distribution, reservations and marketing conduit for premium hotels, representing more than 420 hotels, resorts and spas in 80 countries. However, recent initiatives have focused on both training and quality assurance programmes designed to address requirements of its members in these areas.

Many of our hotels are either independent or belong to smaller groups, such as Jumeirah International and Rotana in this region, and it is these properties in particular that are looking for assistance with the development of human resources and benchmarking assessments to ensure quality standards are met and enhanced, explained Mr. McManus.

Located at Knowledge Village, the regional office will provide a base for its joint venture companies, The Leading Hotel Schools of the World and Leading Quality Assurance, as well as hosting a reservations centre to boost outbound sales to the companys hotels worldwide.

The Leading Hotel Schools of the World represents accredited hotel schools from around the globe, and was set up to augment links between members of Leading Hotels and this potential labour pool, adapting the standard educational curriculum to address specific employment requirements.

We can facilitate the placement of qualified graduates and interns within member hotels, provide staff training programmes; customise private-label training for hotel companies and deliver on-site, on-campus or e-learning experiences, said Mr. McManus.

As every hotel opens, there is continued pressure to recruit the most experienced or qualified staff, and from our new base in Dubai, we will be able to offer a single resource for our members to give them an added advantage in this area.

Turning to Leading Quality Assurance, Mr. Gauer said this joint venture had also been created to support member hotels by offering them a full-service quality inspection service aimed at improving levels of operating performance.

Incognito inspectors acting as guests check out more than 1,500 points at a member hotel, from check-in, food and beverage and public areas through to room comfort and maintenance, and their reports enable management at that hotel to recognise areas that may need refinement.

Mr. McManus said, The data means an individual property can set standards, identify training needs, improve service delivery and benchmark its operation against other luxury operators.

As the reputation of the Middle East as a thriving commercial and tourism centre grows, it will no longer be enough to build a hotel and open the doors the winners will be those that can offer a quality of service to match that of the architecture and dcor, and it is this requirement that has propelled The Leading Hotels of the World to open its own doors in Dubai, he concluded.

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