Sponsored by France 24, Hotelier’s General Manager of the Year is one of the most coveted awards in the industry.
This year’s shortlist encapsulates the best of the best, with general managers who have gone above and beyond and those who have produced fantastic results in difficult conditions.
It was impossible to keep the shortlist to just five names so this one includes 10:
Philip Barnes, general manager, Fairmont Dubai
Taking responsible hotel management to another level, Barnes formalized one of the first environmental positions in the hotel and indeed in the city, with an Environment, Health & Safety Manager who is responsible for hotel sustainability through operational practices and community outreach. As well, as part of the property’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) mandate, you’ll find him running alongside his team at the annual Terry Fox Run and hosting a colleague barbecue afterwards at their residence to thank them for their support.
Paul Bridger, general manager, Premier Inn Dubai International Airport
When the airport [after the volcanic ash crisis] re-opened Paul and his team worked all night to ensure our 800+ guests across our 3 hotels were aware and got transported back to the airport. Nearly everyone got away on that first day, because they were well forward in the queue and whilst we could have had another night’s business from many if we had not acted so fast, most of the goodwill Paul had generated would have been lost.
Since our guests left we have been inundated with letters and e-mails from them, praising the way in which Paul and his team looked after them and the personal care they received.
Oliver Key, general manager, Armani Hotel Dubai
Due to the success of The Address Dubai Marina opening, Oliver was singled out by Emaar’s Chairman, Mohammed Ali Alabbar to spearhead the opening of Emaar’s flagship development The Armani Hotel Dubai. Even with the high expectations involved, Oliver did not let the company down, the hotel opened to incredibly positive publicity, has been exceptionally well received by Dubai’s residents and has already received recognition on a global scale for its spectacular food and beverage offerings, the warmth of the hotel’s ambassadors and the service levels offered to the guests of The Armani Dubai.
Mohamed Ibrahim, general manager, Staybridge Suites Cairo Citystars
On the staff level, Mohamed is constantly looking for ways to boost the staff performance. He launched a “shower break” among the staff. This allows staff to take a half an hour break to go refresh themselves and shower. This exercise positively reflects on the service provided to the guests, it is also a great tool to promote grooming and the way the staff presents themselves to the guests especially in a city as hot and dusty as Cairo.
Jean Martin Fleisch, general manager, Holiday Inn Citystars
Holiday Inn Cairo Citystars was nominated Best Hotel for the year 2009 within InterContinental Hotels Group in Europe, Middle East & Africa. Jean Martain Fleisch is a very enthusiastic man, he is very honest, passionate and has a great sense of humour. Jean Martin also has a passion for photography. He has taken the initiative to change all the pictures in the hotel with truly Egyptian pictures (that he took) with the Holiday Inn spirit. The pictures are placed in the staff cafeteria, cake shop and various areas throughout the hotel.
James Young, general manager, Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi
James Young’s infectious energy and passion has had profound effects on every member of the Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi’s team, both personally (health and fitness, impact on the environment and social responsibility) and professionally (achieving results, career development, corporate responsibility and self awareness), his impactful leadership style has resulted in the Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi‘s Team delivering extraordinary result s in every area of their business including financial results, guest survey results, employee engagement satisfaction as well as making Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi a pillar and role model of the local and wider community.
James R. Wilson, general manager, Dusit Thani Dubai
In the one year that he has been at Dusit Thani Dubai, James has initiated and implemented many changes throughout the hotel. He revamped the Dusit Deli and MyBar, creating almost a completely new look in both outlets by simply
changing the location of some furniture and upholstery. Under his guidance, the hotel’s food and beverage revenue has seen a steady increase against the previous year, as well as exceeding the targeted amount in most months. James has also led the Dusit Thani Dubai team to put increased efforts in their CSR initiatives. He himself has a great passion for giving back to the community and has a strong track record of successful and impactful campaigns implemented by him.
Cora Conceicao-Stuart, general manager, Media One Hotel
Demonstrating co-operation and trust with her immediate team Mrs Stuart thrives in a highly innovative and energetic setting and encourages the Department Heads to think out of the box to achieve results. She is extremely persistent, determined, perceptive and intuitive, creating a culture of honesty and transparency with everyone to ensure the style of the hotel ‘personality’ is uniquely translated to the guests. Her dedication has resulted in launching an independent hotel in the city during a recession, developing a new brand and establishing a good reputation in less than 12 months.
Moritz Klein, general manager, Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi
Moritz has an amazing talent of remembering almost every single name of our 1000 employees. Their well-being is extremely important to him. Not only does he meet regularly with colleagues to get insight into their issues and thoughts, he will also be launching a ‘think tank’ by the end of this year which rewards employees for any ideas they have that contribute to business results.
Saeid Heidari, general manager, Doha Marriott hotel
Mr Saeid Heidari is an exceptional leader within his hotel but he is also a very prominent person outside of the hotel. He never misses an opportunity to use his position to make a good cause progress, to help his community as much as possible every time he can or have the hotel participate in good causes and awareness campaigns. This year, Saeid has proudly finalized one of the big projects close to his heart with the opening of the new Marriott laundry and what is important to Saeid is the impact this new unit will have on the environment.
The winner will be announced on Thursday at the Hotelier Middle East Awards being held at the Madinat Jumeirah Resort.