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FHS Q&A with Mr. Fahad Abdulrahim Kazim, CEO of Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA

FHS Q&A with Mr. Fahad Abdulrahim Kazim, CEO of Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA

The sixth in our series of Interviews with Industry Leaders attending FHS Saudi Arabia taking place on the 29 April - 01 May 2024 at Mandarin Oriental Al Faisaliah, Riyadh. Today we speak with with Mr. Fahad Abdulrahim Kazim, CEO of Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA

BTN: What are your core areas of focus when it comes to investment? I.e in the areas of innovation, sustainability, human capital and/or technology?

MH: At Millennium Hotels & Resorts, we recognize that successful investment strategies must align with our core values and long-term vision to contribute meaningfully to the hospitality industry. Our primary areas of focus encompass innovation, sustainability, human capital, and technology.

We believe that sustainability is not just a trend but a fundamental responsibility and have been actively investing in eco-friendly practices across all our operations. Our “Millennium’s Green Path Brand Playbook” embodies this dedication by establishing ambitious targets, including a 27% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Through partnerships with local SMEs, we prioritize sourcing goods and services sustainably, fostering community relationships, and minimizing our environmental footprint.

Innovation is at the forefront of everything we do, and technology plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of hospitality. We’re constantly exploring fresh concepts to elevate the guest experience. This involves introducing extended-stay residences or co-working spaces within our hotels, or implementing cutting-edge technological solutions that streamline operations, enhance guest convenience, and personalize their experience. This translates to implementing digital check-in/out processes, mobile key access, and AI-powered guest service chatbots, all contributing to a more personalized and interactive guest experience.

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Our employees are the cornerstone of our success. We heavily invest in training and development programs to cultivate a highly skilled and motivated workforce. Receiving the prestigious Great Place to Work® Certification™ is a testament to our commitment to employee satisfaction and well-being. With a 20% drop in employee turnover rates, we are confident that our initiatives to create a workplace where employees feel valued, supported, and motivated to contribute to the company’s success have been effective.

By focusing on these core areas, we aim to stay ahead of the curve. We’re dedicated to delivering exceptional experiences for our guests while creating a sustainable and rewarding work environment for our valued team members.

BTN: What is your outlook for the hospitality industry in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East in 2024 and beyond?

MH: The Middle East hospitality industry is on the cusp of significant growth and the future of hospitality in Saudi Arabia is incredibly promising. As economic diversification efforts continue to flourish and tourism initiatives gain momentum across the region, we foresee a robust expansion in both domestic and international travel.

Firstly, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan is a real turning point with massive investments in tourism infrastructure, including giga-projects like NEOM and Diriyah Gate that are creating entirely new destinations.  This surge in development will undoubtedly attract a wider range of tourists, eager to explore the region’s rich tapestry of offerings.

Traditionally, religious tourism has been a cornerstone of Saudi Arabia’s hospitality industry. However, we’re witnessing a welcome shift towards attracting tourists seeking cultural experiences, leisure activities, and business opportunities. This diversification will create a more robust and sustainable tourism sector for the long term.

Travelers today are increasingly tech-savvy and environmental consciousness which necessitates continuous innovation within the hospitality sector. We need to cater to their preferences for seamless digital experiences, mobile integration, personalized service along with prioritizing eco-friendly practices and sustainable operations.

BTN: What does your panel/presentation/workshop at FHS focus on and what will delegates be able to take away from your session?

MH:Our panel at FHS would cover the topics of ‘Sustainable Horizons: Catalyzing Change Through Green Investments,’ which focuses on the transformative power of eco-friendly practices in the hospitality industry.  We will explore the financial benefits of going green, along with practical strategies for hotels to implement sustainable practices. Real-world examples from Millennium Resorts & Hotels portfolio will showcase the positive impact these investments can create.

We believe collaboration is key to driving meaningful change in sustainability and our session at the FHS will foster open discussion and encourage delegates to ponder on this pressing topic which we share experiences and challenges.  Our goal is to empower attendees with the knowledge and tools to take concrete steps towards a more sustainable future for their hotels.

BTN: What are you looking forward to most from your attendance at FHS Saudi Arabia?

MH: FHS provides an exceptional platform for fostering dialogue and collaboration around the future of hospitality. With the Middle Eastern market experiencing phenomenal growth, I am eager to connect with industry leaders, share insights, and learn from their experiences. Exchanging ideas and best practices will be invaluable in navigating this dynamic landscape.

Moreover, I am looking forward to showcasing Millennium Hotels & Resorts’ commitment to sustainable practices. We are at the forefront of implementing innovative green solutions, and my team and I are excited to share our experiences and inspire others to embrace a more sustainable future for the industry.