The Wyndham Grand Regency in Doha has been in the spotlight over the past few months, most recently reopening under the Wyndham Grand flag. Breaking Travel News sits down with Ayman Lotfy, general manager of the iconic property, to find out what is planned for Qatar’s Leading Hotel in 2012.
BTN: Having reopened under the Wyndham Grand flag in spring of last year, how has the transition been? What benefits has the changeover brought to the hotel?
AL: The transition was very smooth, pre-planning was the secret behind our success and since then we have never looked back. The changeover definitely brought a lot of benefits, in terms of international presence, SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) and world class training. We are honoured to be the first Wyndham Grand collection managed hotel in Middle East, while the company has 7200 hotels worldwide.
BTN: The World Travel Awards Grand Final recently took place in Qatar – what do events such as these bring to the destination?
AL: It was a great event and Doha needs these type of important & prestigious events to bridge the gap and let the rest of the world know Doha’s capability and show case its infrastructure and facilities that YES we can host and handle all kind of events in every sector.
BTN: What differentiates the Wyndham Grand Regency Doha from other properties in Qatar, where competition is becoming increasingly steep?
AL: Wyndham Grand Regency is known in the market for its luxury, genuine & personalised service and proven results. I personally believe competition is always good as it helps us to do more for our guests and associates.
BTN: How are occupancy levels and forward bookings at the property?
AL: Within our competition set our occupancy levels are excellent and we are the leader and expect this to continue.
BTN: What types of travellers do you mainly target?
AL: We mainly serve business travellers and we are branching out our leisure business to offer the best Spa experience in town with Angsana from Banyan Tree.
BTN: Which emerging markets will you look to tap into in coming months?
AL: Our main focus is business traveller from GCC and with all the business happenings in Europe and UK, while in the long run there is plan for Asia.
BTN: To what extent are the internet, social media and mobile technologies a priority for the Wyndham Grand? Do you have any new tech innovations to announce soon?
AL: In today’s world, technology (internet, social media and mobile technologies) is the name of the game; Wyndham Grand Regency offers the best available services in town. There are a few initiatives in the pipe line such as Ipad navigation at Concierge, IP TV etc.
BTN: What has winning the bid for FIFA 2022 meant to the destination?
AL: It has changed and put Doha on the world map, all business segments escalate from fast to super fast speed.
BTN: Can you comment on how Qatar has evolved over the past few years and emerged as a leading tourism hotspot?
AL: Seeing Doha’s future plans tells you a story by creating a positive identity in the globe, all the credit goes to the Qatari leadership and their vision, certainly this will have a positive effect on all kinds of businesses including tourism.
BTN: What do you consider to be the main challenges for Qatar this year
AL: Political & economical challenges in the region and around the world.
BTN: What travel patterns / trends are emerging in the Middle East?
AL: The other day I was reading a article which indicated that there are nine daily flights from only one airline landing in Doha, which tells us what is happening in the Middle East and the need for new airports in the region.