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SAUDI ARABIA - Tourism

Ayman Zaki

GM, Sofitel Al Khobar the Corniche

Bio

Ayman is the General Manager for Sofitel Al Khobar The Corniche, he has a proven track record of Success in the hospitality industry. With over 25 years of experience within hospitality, Ayman is recognized for his exceptional leadership skills, strategic thinking, and ability to drive revenue growth while maintaining high levels of guest satisfaction. Throughout his career, Ayman has consistently delivered outstanding results that are associated with the Success of many hotels across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia not limited to Movenpick Nawras Jeddah, Movenpick Hajar Tower Makkah, and Banyan tree AlUla. He has a keen eye for detail and is known for his ability to motivate and inspire his team, resulting in exceptional performance and a positive work environment. Under Ayman’s leadership, his hotel has consistently achieved top ratings on popular travel site. Ayman’s passion for the hospitality industry is evident in his dedication to providing guests with exceptional experiences. He is committed to delivering personalized service, ensuring that each guest feels valued and appreciated. Overall, Ayman’s exceptional leadership skills, strategic thinking, and commitment to excellence make him a highly respected and sought-after hotel general manager in the industry.

"As a leading hospitality brand, Sofitel is likely contributing and  playing a significant role in achieving the goals of Vision 2030 through its operations in Saudi Arabia."
TBY talks to Ayman Zaki, GM of Sofitel Al Khobar the Corniche
, about trends in the industry, Saudi Vision 2030, and medium-term objectives.
How would you assess the current trends emerging within Tourism and Hospitality Industry, here in KSA?

Tourism and hospitality industry in KSA is experiencing growth and positive trends. The government’s decision to open up the country to the world by facilitating all types of visas and offering a variety of travel options has encouraged more travelers to visit KSA. Additionally, there has been a 25% increase in domestic and overseas tourism in the KSA market. The hospitality industry is flourishing in the whole region, particularly in Riyadh and the western region. However, it is important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the hospitality sector in KSA, resulting in falling key performance metrics across all cities in the country. Despite this, the country is working hard and expected to double the number of tourists to more than 15 million by 2025 . Overall, the trends emerging in the tourism and hospitality industry in KSA are positive and show potential for continued growth in the future.

Can you share with us your concept of Hospitality? How does the brand apply it applied to its properties in KSA?

Our Hospitality concept is centered around providing authentic Saudi hospitality through personalized services that cater to the needs and preferences of its guests we aim to be part of growing & diversifying the economy , increase localization and strengthening Islamic and national identity.

How is Sofitel contributing to the country’s goal of Vision 2030 to empower and promote Saudi leadership?

As a leading hospitality brand, Sofitel is likely contributing and  playing a significant role in achieving the goals of Vision 2030 through its operations in Saudi Arabia, its role is and not limited to redefining tourism, job creation, economic diversification, and sustainability.

How do you stay updated with the latest trends and developments in the hospitality industry?

The brand’s commitment is to promote cultural experiences and delivering exceptional guest experiences and being part of Accor gives us the leverage of continuous training, research, and attending industry related conferences and Road shows

What steps do you take to ensure the hotel remains competitive in the market?

To ensure a hotel remains competitive in the market, there are several steps that we take. We are focusing on customer experience and satisfaction by providing personalized and exceptional service. We are staying up-to-date with industry trends and technology, such as implementing contactless check-in and mobile room keys. We are developing a unique brand identity and marketing strategy to differentiate the hotel from competitors. We offer competitive pricing and promotions to attract and retain customers, and we are investing in employee training and development to ensure a high level of service and expertise

Can you share any initiatives or projects you have implemented to enhance the guest experience or improve operational efficiency?

In terms of improving guest experience Accor has invested Millions to develop a tool called ACDC that shares globally guests experience, preferences and feedback as well waste reduction and recycling programs,  these initiatives improve operational efficiency and demonstrates a commitment to environmental responsibility.

What are the key markets you are working on to ensure a stable and profitable occupancy for your property?

Achieving stable and profitable is very competitive in eastern province market, therefore penetrating Riyadh, Jeddah and Dubai as a main feeder market is key to achieve our goal

Can you anticipate your main targets set in your agenda for the next year and what are your medium-term objectives?

With the great exposure towards hospitality driven by the Support and direction of the government many great hotels are being introduced in the market, therefore we aim to maintain our presence through continuous development and the first project to start will be renovating the rooms, and the hotels lobby, with other Outlets refurbishment plans on the way.

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