MOHAMMED AL-REFAI

Saudi Arabia 2021 | TOURISM | VIP INTERVIEW

InterContinental Jeddah is working hard to meet the needs of its guests and offer a luxury lifestyle while adhering to improved standards of health and safety.

How have you weathered the storm of COVID-19 and navigated the health and organizational challenges associated with it?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, our hotel was the base of the Ministry of Health to host the civilians who returned from all over the world, whereby our team members gained experience from this partnership. IHG has also established its Clean Promise to keep each and every guest safe and healthy.

How have you kept the customer at the center of your work through the pandemic?

The combination between the IHG Promise and the country's process and procedures, which are the best in the world, supported our image and experience where each team member was trained on both the IHG Way of Clean and doctors' recommendations and procedures to keep each and every guest safe. Spreading both cultures supported the confidence among our consumers to return to the hotel once we reopened our facilities to welcome our guests again along with our promotions of Stay and Meet with confidence where we have promoted our accommodations for a full refund policy as an understanding to each consumer's situation.

What projects will you target in a post-pandemic world, and have your priorities shifted as a result of COVID-19?

Indeed, our priorities have changed significantly, from temperature checks upon arrival, sanitizing, paperless to digital processes during check-in until guest's departure to keep every guest healthy, not to mention our partnership with one of most famous labs in KSA for PCR tests to be included in our hosting packages. The world after COVID-19 would be very much wiser, more focused, and prioritized. We do care about our guests needs after the pandemic carefully to deliver their demands and offer a luxury lifestyle in many different ways from room packages to restaurants and fitness center to keep our guests balance during their stay or visit.

What are your key strategic priorities in 2021 and beyond?

Our strategic priorities are based on creating demands for our guests and play a huge role in the Saudi Vision 2030 to enhance the economy of interior and exterior tourism via providing the most demanded services as one of the luxurious hotels in the commercial capital city, Jeddah.

What do you believe are the most important long-term changes in your business that have happened as a result of COVID?

Developing digital windows to shift all the services is the biggest change in the business, including our focus on outside catering and other food services, aside from the adaptability and flexibility in our promotions to align with the new standards of the country for health and safety, as well as the new partnerships with government's sectors to offer the finest services and serve the tourism's economy.