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Karim Bizid Karim Bizid

Q & A with Karim Bizid, General Manager, The Oberoi Business Bay

MOVING AWAY FROM ITS RELIANCE ON OIL REVENUES, DUBAI HAS IDENTIFIED KEY STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES TO MAXIMISE THE DEVELOPMENT OF ITS TOURISM INDUSTRY BY INCREASING THE NUMBER OF REPEAT VISITORS.

KARIM BIZID, GENERAL MANAGER, THE OBEROI BUSINESS BAY EXPLAINS HOW REPEAT TRAVELLERS WILL SUSTAIN THE EMIRATE’S HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM INDUSTRY.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How successful has the first half (H1) of 2017 been and how does this compare to 2016?

KARIM BIZID: H1 2017was very encouraging for The Oberoi Business Bay. In particular, during the first quarter of 2017 we saw a very good growth of nine percent in revenue, led by the demand from the GCC and European segments. The Oberoi Business Bay was perhaps one of the very few hotels in Dubai which managed to grow its ADR during this period. Meanwhile, the second quarter of 2017 witnessed a growth in occupancy particularly from India, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, however the ADR dropped marginally due to the market dynamics during the summer period.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are your guests’ demographics and what are their expectations?

KARIM BIZID: Our guests are a mix of discerning business and leisure travellers ranging from single travellers to couples and families wanting to be in and around Business Bay. The resort’s top nationalities derive from the UK, the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, India and Germany. They seek a luxury experience which is customised to their personal taste and preferences and they expect state of the art facilities with dependable service in a caring environment […].

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) identified increasing the number of repeat visits as one of the key objectives in its Tourism vision 2020. What is the resort doing to support DTCM’s objective?

KARIM BIZID: Right towards the beginning of 2017, DTCM had shared its vision of supporting its initiative to position Dubai as a destination that inspires global travellers to visit it again and again. To achieve this objective, it was important to listen to what the travellers had to share. The initiative was covered under the 2016 DTCM Digital Reputation Report, managed by DTCM, which focuses on the comments and experiences posted by travellers in all digital mediums including social media. The Oberoi Business Bay’s objective resonates with Tourism 2020 vision and our endeavor is to delight our visitors in a manner that they only have pleasant memories to share. It was very encouraging to see that with a high score of 92 percent, the hotel secured a spot in the top 12 for the entire city of Dubai in the 2016 DTCM Digital Reputation Report.

This report encompasses all critical area of a hotel and we were recognised by the guests especially for exceptional service, food, rooms and Wi-Fi.

Further to this, we regularly collaborate with DTCM by offering our hospitality and experiences to the key influencers such as travel planners, bloggers and travel industry leaders who have the following and power to influence many.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Why should travellers return for another trip to Dubai and what more can be done to promote repeat visits?

KARIM BIZID: Dubai has consistently created unique and new experiences that the global travellers can always look forward to, for example the Dubai Canal which is a new and beautiful feature in the Downtown Business Bay area which has not only changed the landscape of the area but offered a chance for visitors to admire another engineering marvel.

In order to promote repeat visits, all hospitality and tourist service establishments should give great importance to the quality of experience of the travellers. At The Oberoi Business Bay we go out of the way to customise the stay and experiences of our guests by offering personalised service such as in room check in for guests, the legendary Oberoi butler service in every room including the entry level room, a la minute customised breakfast for guests over and above a great buffet spread, mix of 32 nationalities as team members to assist the guests.

As far the physical room product experiences are concerned, the hotel offers one of the largest entry level room size at 52 m2, thus making them comparable to junior suites of most city hotels.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are your priorities going forward?

KARIM BIZID: Our priority is to establish The Oberoi Hotels & Resorts as one of the best not just in Dubai but also in the region. In order to achieve this, we are taking certain initiatives of further developing our brand awareness and presence in the Middle East and GCC. Following the opening of our newest hotel, The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah in Ajman, the company is expecting to open more new hotels in the near future in key markets such as The Oberoi Marrakech.