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Spencer Wadama General Manager, SLS Hotel

UAE - Tourism

Spencer Wadama

General Manager, SLS Hotel

Bio

With 30 years of experience in managing luxury hotels, Spencer Wadama was appointed General Manager of SLS Dubai. He has held senior management positions for 12 years and has worked across North America, Asia, and the Middle East. After 10 years in Dubai, previously working at establishments such as The Palace, Address, Armani Hotel and Jumeirah, Wadama has received accolades and awards for his achievements. Prior to his current position, he served as general manager at Jumeirah Living Marina Gate as well as Jumeirah Al Naseem, where he directed the operating, sales, and marketing efforts for the properties. He also served as general manager at the Armani Hotel in Dubai.

"Our goals and activities at SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences demonstrate our commitment to the hospitality industry’s ambitious global goals and eco ambitions."
SLS Hotel’s initiatives demonstrate its commitment to the global hospitality sector’s sustainability and eco ambitions.
What is your overall assessment of the hospitality sector’s ability to navigate the pandemic and recover post-COVID?

The last few years have been incredibly challenging for the hospitality sector, but I am confident in the sector’s ability to bounce back stronger than ever. Companies have had to adapt to the new normal that we found ourselves in, as we faced lockdowns and changes in customer’s behaviour, needs and expectations. The pandemic has been extremely challenging, but it has made the sector stronger as we adapted to the situation. The biggest challenge that we face, as we navigate past the pandemic, is the ever-evolving restrictions from feeder countries all over the world. Dubai has done a fantastic job handling the pandemic, and we will continue to work with the government and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) to ensure we are creating and maintaining a safe environment for all. Unfortunately, most of the markets that we rely on for business, did not do as well as expected during the pandemic, which created great uncertainty and instability in the market. I have confidence that the hospitality sector will recover, especially as people have been unable to travel in the last few years without some kind of restrictions.

With national lockdowns and an uptake in domestic tourism what has been the impact for the hospitality industry?

We have seen a fantastic amount of support from the local market, which has allowed us to grow business month after month, in a very difficult environment. This increase in domestic tourism, combined with our planning and precautionary measures, have allowed the SLS brand to thrive as the world slowly returns to normality.

What can you tell us about the growing use of technology in this hotel and in the company and how it improves the customer experience?

Utilising technology is key to the success of any hotel and how we can improve guest’s experience. The main impact of the growing use of technology has been the speed of the delivery of service and how is has raised the bar for guest expectations. We are continuing to grow and expand the technology that we use at SLS Dubai, making sure that we stay ahead of current trends and to ensure that our guests’ expectations are met and, when possible, exceeded.

What is SLS’ strategy to be more ecofriendly, and what further plans are there to adapt to the increasing global environmental demands?

Our goals and activities at SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences demonstrate our commitment to the hospitality industry’s ambitious global goals and eco ambitions. The activities that we have in place in Dubai are designed around four strategic priorities. The first is to work with our employees in terms of training and participating in CSR activities, second is to involve our customers in our activities, the third is to work with our supply chain partners and finally, the fourth priority is to work with local communities. The two key issues that we will be focusing on within the next year are food waste and waste management.

Dubai never stops growing and more hotels are being built constantly. Do you have any plans of expansion in Dubai or in the UAE?

Dubai is the most exciting city in the world—there is a reason why all the major brands, hotels, restaurants and even night life brands are opening in Dubai. We have exciting expansion plans such as growing our presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are proud to be a part of Ennismore and to have multiple sister brands in the region including Hyde Hotel and 25hours. Each brand has their own distinct character, offering something unique and appealing to every kind of traveller. Being part of such a carefully curated group of brands sets us apart in the region.

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