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Hotelier of the Month : Desmond Hatton

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A native of Ireland, Desmond Hatton brings a wealth of experience with a career spanning over 34 years. He has held progressive management roles within leading hotels and resorts including the Shangri-La resorts in Fiji, Malaysia, Philippines and the extensive Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa in Oman. His career has also spanned multiple hospitality disciplines in kitchen, food and beverage, rooms and accounting. Desmond most recently held the position of General Manager at Dusit Thani Maldives before joining Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi.

What’s the most challenging aspect in running your hotel?

It is about managing the expectations of both the owning company and the corporate office. Though the profitability objective of both stakeholders is just the same, however on certain occasions the approach and strategy differs. Therefore, it is important to ensure that fine line of balance.

Increasing the guest loyalty factor presents in the face of today’s fierce competition in Abu Dhabi. With multiple accommodation and dining options around, it is not easy to sustain guest loyalty.

Have you ever been given any advice that proved not to be true?

I don’t believe in seeking advice from others. Rather I follow my own self-instinct and go by the expertise that I gained so far in my career. One should never give up under any circumstances. Also, most people give up once you stop following up on progress. The need of the hour is to stay on top of the things at all times.

What was your darkest moment in your career?

Honestly speaking, I never had any dark moment in my career. The journey has been exciting for the last 36 years. Also, I don’t have any regret. In fact, all moments have been fortunately bright for me. People who think of dark moments should not be in the hospitality industry in the first place.

If you could turn back time, what would be the one thing you would have changed in your career?

Simple. Nothing to change as I don’t have any regrets at all.

What are your preferred sources when it comes to learning about hotels?

I prefer reading online hospitality magazines and journals to keep myself updated with the news and developments in the industry. Most importantly, my networking and contacts with the industry professionals, stakeholders and beyond also keeps me acquainted with the latest happenings in the hospitality sector, especially hotels.

It is also important to personally visit other hotels of the city on regular basis to keep up-to-speed with latest developments in the industry.

Are you a ‘Lobby GM’ or a Numbers GM?’ – And what is the importance of being a Lobby and / or a Numbers GM?

It is actually a mix of both attributes. You can’t be just a ‘Lobby GM’ and vice versa. Successful GMs are known to have exceptional set of both soft skills and analytical competencies. However, in the recent years the GMs are spending more time in the office due to technological advancements and increased number of reports.

What kind of marketing tools you find to be effective in PR & Marketing in the hotel world today?

In today’s era of digitalization, it is crucial to be up-to-speed with multiple online marketing opportunities. The hotel strives to implement the best PR practices through timely dissemination of press releases, organizing media FAMs and participating in the editorial media story initiatives. Besides, the hotel also ensures that the social media content of the hotel is up-to-date and engaging enough.

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