Currently, the group operates around 50 hotels and 15,000 rooms in the region.Deldelian was number eight in our Power 50 list in 2019. Here he tells us how Millennium Hotels and Resorts has coped during the Covid-19 pandemic.
What are some new initiatives that you have implemented since reopening?
Millennium Hotels & Resorts – Middle East & Africa has always been perceived by guests to operate at the highest level of cleanliness. Under the large umbrella of our initiative, ‘We clean. We Care. We Welcome.’ we employed a wide range of preventative measures including regular sanitisation of guest rooms.
We also introduced new venues, equipment, tools and technology that help us more to live up to embrace the new norms and bring it on board. We revised all our Standard Operating Procedures bringing in new methods and processes in our day to day operation.Millennium Hotels & Resorts – Middle East & Africa also partnered with Ecolab, one of the most renowned companies in water, hygiene and infection prevention internationally, to deliver the highest level of cleanliness across all its properties in the region. Through this collaboration, we launched new venues, used new innovative tools, and adopted new technologies that will help us embrace the new norms and bring it on board.
We went beyond conventional cleanliness by providing comprehensive training programs to every staff member while maintaining strict measures and world-class health and safety standards at all times.Have you made any changes to your product offering?
We introduced several measures to help our guests including waiving cancellation fees, flexibility in check-in & check-out, hosting stranded passengers, and supporting concerned authorities in each country throughout the region in fighting against the pandemic.
It’s no secret that tourism is a seasonal industry by nature, so Millennium Hotels & Resorts MEA will continue to focus on domestic guests by introducing specialised packages. Our properties under various brands echo a deep understanding of what domestic tourists seek. With a diversified portfolio, Millennium Hotels & Resorts MEA covers a wide range of tourists’ segments through its creative brands such as Grand Millennium, Millennium Place, Studio M and Millennium Central. Each brand provides its guests with unique experience starting from in-house recreational activities to nearby attractions.
What has been your biggest challenge during this time?
Millennium Hotels & Resorts MEA is one of the fastest-growing regional hotel management companies in the Middle East & Africa and is the operator with the least hotels being closed and the main reason is our tight ship style of operation, which has always been based on driving our Hotels with efficiency, which in this situation caused a much lower impact on the cash flow and allowed our hotels to persevere.
Have any positives come out of the situation?
The situation provided us with the opportunity to get closer to our customers and we have outperformed last year performance during the same period on the company level.
Forty-one out of forty-five Millennium properties across the region were operating and delivered a positive bottom line to the company and operated at best standards during May. Closed hotels were mainly located in the holy cities including Makkah and Madinah due to the suspension of Umrah by the government of Saudi Arabia as a precautionary measure to fight Covid-19.Have you received support or guidance from any organisations during this time?
Recently, we have partnered with Ecolab to deliver to our guests the highest level of hygiene and cleanliness across all properties in the region. Backed by scientifically proven methods and latest technologies, we are now capable of offering guests with a hospital-grade environment without compromising on the comfort and uniqueness levels of our services.
What do you think the long-term effects will be on your property and the hospitality industry in general?
The Middle Eastern hospitality sector has evolved throughout the years to emerge immune against regional and international crisis.
Regional and global indicators reflect a rapid restoration of local travel markets. We expect a vigorous and speedy recovery from the international travel overlapping with the easing of preventive measures in various regions. Major events are scheduled for next year, and the commercial key players will accelerate their efforts to secure their market shares.