Guy Hutchinson is President & CEO of Rotana, one of the leading hotel management companies in the region with hotels across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey. Hutchinson is responsible for developing and executing the strategic direction of Rotana and devising and implementing short- and long-term strategies to help the company realize its expansion plans. In addition, he provides executive oversight of all aspects of Rotana’s day-to-day operations.
Hutchinson joined Rotana as Chief Operating Officer in January 2014, bringing with him extensive experience in the hospitality industry from markets as diverse as Japan, Australia, China, and India, in addition to a previous stint in the Middle East.
As reported in BTN last week Guy Hutchinson is soon to become the new president of Hilton for the Middle East and Africa. The role puts him in charge of 285 hotels in the region, either open or in the pipeline, and a combined workforce of over 29,000 people. He starts the role early next year.
It marks Hutchinson’s return to Hilton for the first time in a decade. He was previously the group’s VP of operations in India. Since 2014, he has been with Rotana, serving as its president and CEO since 2020.
Outside of his nine years with Rotana, his entire career was with Hilton. He has held roles such as regional GM for China North for a year as well.
We caught up with him before his attendance at FHS in Abu Dhabi to find out a little more about Guy and his views on the industry.
BTN: What are your / your organization’s core areas of focus when it comes to investment? i.e. in the areas of innovation, sustainability, human capital and/or technology?
GH: Sustainability remains a key priority for Rotana as we continue to develop “Rotana Earth”, our Global Corporate Sustainability Platform to address the environmental, economic and social responsibility impact across our hotel portfolio. At Rotana, we actively strive to do our part in reducing our carbon footprint by reducing energy and water consumption, adopting clean technologies and optimising operational efficiency. Most recently, we launched a sustainable and locally sourced breakfast offering across our UAE hotels. Guests are now able to enjoy an enhanced breakfast including vegan varieties, plentiful organic and homegrown produce
Technology is another area we are focusing on to improve guest experiences and drive efficiency. Last year, we partnered with Thynk.Cloud to simplify and automate sales, operations, decision-making, and data management for our hotels. This investment in technology streamlined operations and made better data-driven decisions optimised for each hotel, leading to cost savings. As new technology develops and gains further traction, we continue to work with existing and new partners and technology-enhanced ways of working to remain agile and at the forefront of the industry.
BTN: What is your outlook for the hospitality industry in the Middle East in 2023 and beyond?
GH: The travel and tourism industry in the Middle East is thriving as it continues to adapt to ever-changing customer demand. With inspiring initiatives such as the ‘We The UAE 2031’ Vision, the Emirates continues to enhance the country’s sustainable infrastructure and foster a competitive business environment. With mega-events such as COP28, GITEX, F1 and more already lined up for Q4, we are gearing up for a significant uptick in hotel bookings across the emirates. These conferences and events attract a global audience, and our teams are preparing accordingly to ensure we deliver Treasured Times for all guests staying with us. Similarly, the Saudi Vision 2030 outlines a comprehensive roadmap to becoming one of the leading tourism hubs globally, aiming to create unique destinations and attract international investment. With great collaboration between the public and private sectors, the region’s ongoing efforts to diversify its offerings and personalise experiences are key to maintaining growth and competitiveness.
BTN: What does your panel/presentation/workshop at FHS focus on and what will delegates be able to take away from your session?
GH: We are working with The Bench team on several panels related to sustainability, Human resources, lifestyle hotels, among others. The entire FHS and the topics in discussion will no doubt offer great value to all delegates, and we are excited to see it held for the first time in Abu Dhabi
BTN: What are you personally looking forward to most from your attendance at FHS 2023?
GH: I am looking forward to catching up with industry peers and learning more about the latest emerging trends that are shaping the industry’s future. With key leaders and industry stakeholders in attendance, FHS offers a great opportunity to meet new and existing partners and discuss potential collaborations as we continue to grow our footprint in the region and globally.
The Future Hospitality Summit is being held on 25-27 September 2023 at the Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island for more info visit https://www.futurehospitality.com/