How did Ramada start its operations in Dubai and how has the company developed since?
Ramada Chelsea Hotel started its operations in May 2010. At the time, we were the fifth hotel in the Al Barsha region, though there are now more than 90. Competition here is extremely intense; there are approximately 8,000 to 9,000 rooms available to tourists within a several-kilometer radius. The unique selling point for all of these is their proximity to the Mall of the Emirates, and they all capitalize on this point. This hotel has five restaurants and bars and presents its guests with unique choices regarding rooms. We cater to different tastes in order to make each guest feel at home. Inside the hotel, we offer five main cuisines to cater to the main demographics of our guests, who mainly come from China, the US, the UK, Europe, and the Arab world. The government of Dubai has also opened up its visa policy to cater to more nationalities by offering visas on arrival, which has opened new markets for us. We have had nearly nine years of successful operations at the hotel. We thank all our guests for their patronage and are grateful for the various awards we have received based on guest satisfaction.
How do you optimize costs and make sure your operations are progressing in the most efficient way?
We place great emphasis on effective cost management and making sure all our resources are put to the best possible use. We are meticulous when it comes to cost control. We are also mindful of expiry dates and the shelf lives of everything we use, and we are extremely serious about preventing losses. We make tractability reports, specifying when raw materials are received, when the food is cooked, when it is shelved, and how much of it is sold. Every six months, we do a popularity analysis on the menus; if an item's popularity is below 20-30%, that item will be dropped from the menu. We also have a suggestion card given to guests after they finish their meals to receive more feedback about their dining experience with us.
What are your goals and objectives for the Ramada Al Barsha in 2019?
Since 2016, our occupancy rate has been steadily increasing. In 2017, the occupancy rate grew by almost 4%, and although 2018 was a challenging year, we still aim for 4% growth. 2019 was even more challenging. The supply of hospitality services increases every day in Dubai, and we have to stay competitive and make sure we stand out. We sit down with our sales team three to four times a week to look at our gains from our strategies and see what changes need to be made. We never implement a strategy and wait for a month to see what happens; we monitor the developments closely, and this sets us apart.