Amit Arora, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert, and The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, has been driving the operations for both properties for the past two years.
Amit has been in the UAE for 16 years and his tenure with the Ritz-Carlton brand is 14 years. He has extensive experience in successfully managing transitions, including new openings and reflagging of properties across the Middle East and Europe.
What's the most challenging aspect of being a hotelier?
On a business level, the rapid growth of 5-star brands and properties. The room inventory in the region keeps growing which is great for guests however as it impacts the offerings, service, average rate and revenue directly. On a personal level, long hours and keeping morals up with a smile facing more and more demanding guests in real time round the clock.
What does it mean to be a 'True Hotelier'?
Being a ‘True Hotelier' means to tackle every challenge, to rise above the competition and continue to provide the best services to our guests. A true hotelier must exceed expectations by being more than just good; one needs to be the best!
What's unique about your property? And what's the challenge of running this property?
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah resorts, Al Wadi Desert and Al Hamra Beach, are unique in every aspect. Both properties have unique concepts and they both resorts complement each other, both offering private villas with temperature-controlled swimming pools. At Al Wadi Desert, guests enjoy a vast variety of desert experiences including the equestrian center, bike riding, wildlife, a stunning Spa, unique Rainforest, and more. At The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, from arrival by boat to a floating breakfast in your pool, magnificent sunset overlooking the Arabian Gulf at the most exclusive island-inspired retreat in the UAE.
Sustainability is rapidly climbing as the biggest challenge, driven by people’s growing interest in and concern for the environment. Hotels spend a large part of operating costs on heating, light and power, so energy and utility bills keep climbing. Corporate responsibility programs can help win customers whilst benefiting employees, the environment and earnings.
What kind of challenges is our industry facing right now in your opinion? - And how do we solve them?
Technology is an integral part of everyday life. Innovative use of technology that benefits customers not just hotel operations, helps hotel chains to stand out from the competition and attract new customers. Hotel guests demand a basic right to be connected in any hotel, in any location, around the world. Technology is a constant travel companion.
Nowadays, it is impossible to dismiss the overwhelming power and influence of social media. It is important to track what guests are saying online and understand how guests are rating you. It is also important to ensure to grow guest testimonials through your website and email engagement pre and post stay.
For those hoteliers heading to the Middle East, what would be your advice to them?
The Middle East is a great region to be in as a hotelier. Being part of such growth of the industry, you get to witness so many changes and be exposed to such a fast-paced and competitive region, and this is a privilege.