Jul. 10, 2018

Syed Mohammed Asad Zaidi

UAE, Dubai

Syed Mohammed Asad Zaidi

General Manager, Ramada Chelsea Hotel Al Barsha

“Middle-income travelers typically come in the summer because the rates go down 25-30%, which is when there is a great deal of activity from Asia and the Far East.”


With 20 years in hotel management, restaurant management, F&B outlets, training and development in India and overseas, Syed Mohammad Asad Zaidi focuses on developing effective strategies to retain brand loyalty, maximize business, and ensure stability and growth. He holds a bachelor’s in hotel management and an MBA in Marketing and HR.

How has the last year been for the Ramada Chelsea?

In 2016-2017 we have increased occupancy by 4%, which is a remarkable achievement. Our market share has also increased despite many new hotels opening in the locality. We saw great growth in 2017 and expect to grow by 4-5% again in 2018. There is a big rise in tourism in general due to certain decisions by the government and Dubai tourism, such as visas on arrival for Russian and Chinese visitors. The Dubai brand is doing extremely well and the government has been focused on tourism, which is the backbone of Dubai. It arranges platforms for all hoteliers to come together and discuss how we can promote Dubai all over the world. The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) plays a vital role in promoting the Dubai brand and brings us around the world where we promote Dubai and our hotels as a brand. We invite people to come to Dubai and experience and explore Dubai.

What are your current guest demographics?

Our main demographics are tourists from Europe, especially Germany, Austria, and France, as well as the GCC and China. In the last few years, the number of Chinese guests has been growing, which is beneficial to our business. They are attracted to the budget rates that we provide in summer. In the long term, eastern Asia will likely stay the same, though other markets like Vietnam and Indonesia are developing. There is a great deal of activity in Malaysia as well. Expo 2020 is the big event that we are waiting for and looking forward to. 65-70% of our guests come to explore Dubai as a tourist, 20-25% are business travelers, while 5% are from walk-ins or retail from the market. Being close to the Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City helps us with corporate travelers.

Is there a gap in middle-income tourism?

In recent years Dubai has been a different market. In winter we see a larger number of travelers from Europe and the US. Middle-income travelers typically come in the summer because the rates go down 25-30%, which is when there is a great deal of activity from Asia and the Far East. In August and September 2017 we were able to retain 90-92% occupancy. This is why Dubai maintains great occupancy rates all-year round. The business is there but hotels have to put the right strategy in place at the right time to meet its targets. Dubai is a cutthroat market that is extremely competitive.

How does your location benefit tourists?

Our biggest advantage is the Mall of Emirates, which is just a 10-minute walk from the hotel. When we started, we were the fifth hotel to open in the Al Barsha area, while now there are over 70 hotels. This is a shopping hub, which helps significantly. We have 299 rooms in the hotel and our food and beverage options are exemplary. We have different outlets that cater to Chinese food, Arab food, a European pub, and an Indian restaurant. All these are also an attraction in getting tourists to come to our hotel. Wyndham as a brand is one of the largest chains in the world with around 9,000 hotels. The brand image plays a major role and brings people into our rooms.

Is there a move toward Emiratization and local branches?

There are many local companies that have started; however, a local brand does not give guests the standards that a global brand does. The DTCM has set up certain standards that we must have been audited for every year before we get our license renewed. All those standards maintain the particular standard. Dubai is extremely particular and this helps significantly in making sure people come to Dubai, have a wonderful experience, and act as ambassadors for the Emirate.

What trends in the hospitality sector will define the coming period?

Competition will grow significantly in the future. We expect many hotels to open in the run up to Expo 2020. Competition is always great; it makes you realize where you stand and what you need to do to stay relevant. Demand will change in the coming future and the strategies will have to change accordingly. It will definitely be a challenge. Dubai is growing and expanding rapidly and there will be many new things to see and experience.