The BTN Interview: Jacques Peter, GM, SOHO Square
Breaking Travel News catches up with Jacques Peter, SOHO Square general manager to find out the latest news from this spectacular development.
Breaking Travel News: How is business at SOHO Square?
Jacques Peter: SOHO square is doing quite well these days as it has now established a strong reputation. We are currently experiencing 2000 to 2500 visitors a day and on special nights more than 3000 visitors.
BTN: What impact has SOHO Square had on tourism in Sharm?
JP: SOHO Square has definitely brought a new image to Sharm el Sheikh, with its multiple concepts, restaurants, bars, night clubs, entertainment, kid’s areas, outdoors facilities and shops.
We deliver on out promise of; quality, service, value for money, prime products, high standards of hygiene, safety and discipline.
There is an array of cuisine to sample from the food court, ranging from fine dining, to casual or semi-formal bars. In addition there daily entertainment for the whole day, daily shows and bands, hassle free shopping, price labelling, cleanliness and safety. We are trusted by our patrons, tour operators, travel agents, locals and residents.
SOHO is now a landmark part of Sharm el Sheikh and a must see for all travellers.
BTN: Can you comment on the evolution of the amazing development?
JP: We have succeeded in creating a major attraction combining entertainment, dinning, shopping and night life. With weekly very well attended parties in Pangaea and Caligula night clubs. Dining spots such as Bombay and l’Entrecote restaurants are now rated as number one in Sharm el Sheikh by visitors and residents. The dancing fountain has become one of the most visited spots in Sharm el Sheikh. Countless events are held on a monthly basis including birthday parties, kids’ days, special dinners, bowling and squash tournaments for visitors and residents. SOHO has become trendy and is the place to be!
BTN: What new developments have taken place at the square over the last 12 months?
JP: Due to the current situation in Egypt most of the developments are on hold. We are therefore concentrating on uplifts, renovations, staff training. Strengthening our position in the market is a priority.
Major projects currently on hold include:
• A three story Egypt Mall, which sells Egyptian products only including a food court.
• The 150 room SOHO Hotel
• A Boulangerie (Bakery)
BTN:What plans do you have in the pipeline in coming months?
DJ Judge Jules will play a spectacular outdoor party on 16th April, while the Kachacho Cuban band will play live performances between April and May. In addition there will be Easter parties and promotions and we are planning the transformation of the Teppan-yaki restaurant, to include an additional grill table.
BTN: What types of travellers do you mainly target?
JP: SOHO Square targets and welcomes all visitors including Western and Eastern European and Middle East travellers, not to mention Egyptians, residents and expatriates! And all types of travellers are catered for from families to children, couples and clubbers.
BTN: What types of activities do you have to cater to children?
JP: There is a wide range of activities for children including:
• Child Game Zone including computer games
• Soft Play Zone, which is a room with slides, obstacles, fun climbing
• The Children Zone offers a carousel, mechanical cars, planes, helicopters, fairy grounds
• A Bowling Alley with six lanes
• Akuna Matata, which is a food court serving fast and easy food
• In addition to these facilities, we celebrate kids’ day, with shows and animation, face painting, dancing and competitions. We also host kids’ birthday parties for visitors and local residents.
BTN: Which emerging markets will you look to tap into in coming months?
JP: Following the Sharm el Sheikh market-trends as mentioned before, we welcome everyone! In terms of current emerging markets, we are targeting Poland, Romania, Bulgarian and Ireland
BTN: There has been a lot of focus on musicians and DJs playing in SOHO Square. What effect have these gigs and events had on the destination?
JP: International stars and DJ’s have helped to place SOHO and Sharm el Sheikh on the “map” for providing top entertainment. It has ensured huge exposure to the British and middle-eastern markets. We currently have a number of on-going campaigns with UK radio stations promoting the SOHO and Savoy group.
BTN: What are your main goals for 2012?
JP: Out goals include continuing and focusing on providing the best service and entertainment to our patrons. We are also reaching out to the maximum target audience with the SOHO VIP card, extending the applications to Cairo and Egypt’s main cities. On-going marketing campaigns are mainly taking place in the UK, Middle East and locally.