Having just been appointed to the position of general manager with the prestigious Kempinski-operated Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, Holger Schroth here sits down with Breaking Travel News to discuss his career to date, the importance of hosting major events, the latest developments at the property, and the role of tourism in the emirate.
Breaking Travel News: Can you tell us how this development came about, and how it feels to be in control of such a prestigious property?
Holger Schroth: Being the general manager of the Emirates Palace is a great feeling.
When you go to work every day in this wonderful hotel, you face opportunities and experiences that are unparalleled in most hotels, and which are quite different from any of the other hotels I have had the privilege to lead within the Kempinski portfolio so far.
The sheer size and scale of our operation, and being the icon of hospitality for Abu Dhabi make this a unique experience for me.
I have an incredible team of nearly 2,000 people who are as passionate as I am about delivering unforgettable experiences to our guests.
BTN: What are the latest developments at Emirates Palace? Can you tell us a little about any investments, events or promotions which are presently underway?
HS: We have opened the world-class Emirates Palace marina and we are now in the early stages of developing of the area surrounding it, which will be transformed into complex of restaurants, retail space, a magnificent ballroom, state-of-the-art fitness centre, and most importantly a luxury yacht club.
We are also celebrating today with the launch of a Ramadan Tent.
BTN: Emirates Palace has a long relationship with the World Travel Awards, with the property being consistently recognised as one of the best in the region. What do you think it is that separates Emirates Palace from its competitors in Abu Dhabi, and the wider world?
HS: Emirates Palace is an icon and a destination within a destination, but most importantly it is a palace, in the truest sense of the word.
BTN: Have you noticed the demographics of your guests changing over the past couple of years, reflecting economic difficulties in western Europe? Are you working to attract more holidaymakers from China, South America, or India for example, to tap into growing economies there?
HS: Abu Dhabi is fast becoming the cultural centre of the Middle East and has gained the reputation for hosting world-class events.
With all of the project developments such as Sadiyaat and Yas Island, Formula One and the growing social event calendar we are on track to lead the world as a leading destination that welcomes the future.
We are proud to be the icon of Abu Dhabi’s hospitality and to be able to offer new and returning visitors to the UAE something extremely special in terms of experiencing true Arabian hospitality.
We will continue to work closely with our partners at the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority to coordinate our efforts to reach out to new markets to attract visitors to Abu Dhabi.
The BRIC countries remain key targets for building awareness of Abu Dhabi as a destination for business and leisure travellers.
BTN: Has the Abu Dhabi government been supportive of tourism in the country over the past few years? What measures would you like to see in order to assist the development of the sector?
HS: As part of the 2030 vision, Abu Dhabi Government has been very supportive.
The incredible progress that we’ve all witnessed in the Abu Dhabi over the past few years reflects the great vision of the leadership of the UAE and the people who believed in that vision and came to contribute to the growth of the country.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, the next 20 years will be no different in terms of growth and the development of an open, efficient, effective, and globally integrated business environment and tourism destination.
Emirates Palace will benefit from the growing destination awareness.
With increasing global interest for the business, sporting, film, musical, and exhibition opportunities in the city, Emirates Palace is set as the perfect venue to welcome new events and visitors to the city.
BTN: Do you feel the development of Etihad Airways has boosted Abu Dhabi as a tourism destination, and Emirates Palace specifically?
HS: By working closely with our partners at ADTA and Etihad Airlines we have been able to maintain continued growth in line with the growth of Abu Dhabi as a destination. Emirates Palace is intrinsically linked to the capitol and reflects the diversity of experiences that Abu Dhabi has to offer so we continue to attract new guests, as well as become part of the traditions of returning guests who value our excellent service standards.
BTN: In what ways does Emirates Palace benefit from its relationship with Kempinski? Does being part of this globally recognized chain offer significant advantages to the property?
HS: As Europe’s oldest luxury hoteliers, Kempinski understands luxury.
We are known for our stunning properties, but the real luxury comes from our signature personalised service.
Emirates Palace offers the true luxury of comfort through our exceptional service that anticipates the needs of our guests and exceeds their expectations.
BTN: How important is the hosting or major events to the development of Emirates Palace? I understand you are hosting the Ramadan & Eid Festival, World Luxury Expo and the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, for example?
HS: Holding most of major events at the Emirates Palace reflect our commitment and draws the world’s attention to Abu Dhabi as a leading cultural and tourism destination.
Emirates Palace is considered the World’s Leading Hotel Suite by the World Travel Awards.
Take a look at the official website for more information on the property.