What is the contribution of each of your business lines to your long-term goals in Qatar?
Chris El Khoury Having several business lines allow us to differentiate ourselves from other hotel brands in the market. First, we have the five-star flagship Millennium Hotel Doha, an elegant boutique style hotel. Next on the list is the four-star Millennium Central Hotel, which is located close to the Hamad International Airport. Millennium Central Hotel is practical, convenient, and corporate oriented. The Kingsgate Hotel is our three-star offering. What makes Kingsgate different is the fact that every room is equipped with a kitchenette. Moreover, it is located just across the street from Souq Waqif and the Corniche, so its location is unbeatable. All the hotels in our portfolio cater to both corporate and leisure clients. However, every hotel has its own unique selling targets; this is how we differentiate ourselves.
What initiatives and partnerships do you plan to engage in to ensure a balance between leisure and business customers while keeping an edge in the luxury segment?
Martin Schnider Offering an atmosphere that balances business and leisure is a key priority at Mandarin Oriental, Doha. With a focus on being an urban retreat in the heart of the city, we offer facilities including an impeccable spa and a fully equipped fitness and wellness center to provide business travelers with the opportunity to relax and prioritize their wellness. In cooperation with Qatar National Tourism Council and Qatar Airways, we continue to promote Doha as a luxury stop-over destination, highlighting our key position in Msheireb Downtown as an ideal representation of Qatari heritage.
How do you expect Millennium Hotels Doha's client base to evolve over the next few years, and what factors are playing the biggest role in transforming Qatar into a tourist destination?
CEK At present, the business tourism segment is performing better than the leisure one. It won't be until we get closer to late 2022 that the leisure tourism segment will boom in Doha. The Tourism Council is working on marketing initiatives to promote Qatar in international markets, the major targets being Russia, Germany, the UK, India, and China. We have already witnessed the success of the Discover Qatar initiative, which promotes Qatar as a stop-over destination for people traveling to Asia. We are cooperating with the Tourism Council on this marketing activity, which is already bringing tourists to our hotels. There are some factors that are helping us to achieve this goal. The biggest factor is the weather; Qatar enjoys warm weather all year-round. Undoubtedly, this is a major factor in the eyes of tourists. Second, Doha has the largest range of hotels and resorts in the region, as well as an increasing cultural and leisure offering. Finally, Qatar Airways is flying to an increasing number of destinations, which also helps to develop the tourism industry.
What role will international events play in the growth of the hospitality sector in Qatar, and what are the most relevant events and cultural openings to attract luxury tourists?
MS The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be a great opportunity for the world to see all that Qatar has to offer. The event will attract tourists from across the world, while also broadcasting Qatar's key advancements in sustainable development to an international audience. As part of the nation's economic growth and advancements, we can always expect exciting up and coming events that will continue to attract luxury tourists. At Mandarin Oriental, Doha, we are eager to welcome all audiences visiting Doha for events.
What are your strategic priorities for 2020 and 2021?
CEK Millennium Hotels and Resorts has ambitious expansion plans. We are willing to increase the number of hotels in Doha and we will soon release important news in this regard.
How can the sector continue innovating to keep up with demands from the most exclusive clientele?
MS As Qatar's hospitality sector continues to grow and climb the rankings, the bar continues to be raised on the standards within the region. Mandarin Oriental, Doha has contributed to such standards by being the first hotel in Qatar to receive a Forbes Five-Star award in its first year of operations.