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Tue 15 Jan 2008 04:00 AM

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Going down the road to Riyadh

Four Seasons Riyadh general manager Rami Sayess tells Hotelier Middle East about his decision to join the team in Saudi Arabia, and speaks about the hotel's plans and projects for the new year.

Four Seasons Riyadh general manager Rami Sayess tells Hotelier Middle East about his decision to join the team in Saudi Arabia, and speaks about the hotel's plans and projects for the new year.

You came to the Four Seasons Riyadh in November 2007 from the Four Seasons Amman; what prompted the move?

Four Seasons has always been committed to its greatest asset - people - and to continuing to develop their careers in order to cater for the expansion of the group worldwide, hence this was a natural move.

Stay focused on what really matters: keeping the dream alive and having fun while enjoying the ride

So far, what are you finding are the main operational differences between the two markets?

There are several similarities in business terms, however the volume of our operation in the Saudi Arabian market is much larger and more diverse.

What are the Four Seasons Riyadh's unique selling points?

For discerning travellers, Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh's sleek and futuristic surroundings, as well as the impressive structure of the hotel and its facilities, speak for themselves. We have built a reputation for our luxuriously elegant accommodations with panoramic views of the city and a formidable array of business amenities, meeting and function space, as well as direct access to the city's most exclusive boutiques.

But what really makes us unique is our service, which comes through our people. We have had the distinction of bringing a fresh and sophisticated product with the style and personal warmth that is Four Seasons. We have added further to these with the recent refurbishments of our Seasons restaurant, Tea Lounge and Quattro restaurant. The introduction of Wi-Fi in the suites, restaurants and meeting facilities complement the recently enhanced business centre, and to maximise our guests' enjoyment we've upgraded our health club facilities with state-of-the-art equipment and an extended spa menu, which includes more treatments.

You have excellent business and leisure facilities; who exactly is your target market?

Our repeat guest ratio is almost 50%, and our target is basically anyone who appreciates quality and shares our values.

Where do most of your guests come from?

Like other Four Seasons, we tend to attract guests from all markets and have enjoyed a nice mix of GCC, Middle Eastern, European, US and other visitors.

Which properties do you see as your biggest competitors?

We constantly strive to enhance our own product and service in order to offer our guests more value and memorable experiences; hence our biggest competitor is us.

What changes are you planning to introduce at the Four Seasons Riyadh?

I am very fortunate to take on the helm of this outstanding hotel located in the iconic Kingdom Centre at its peak in terms of business levels.

My plan is to build on this success with my team and take the hotel to the next level.

What are your future goals for the property?

In our continued commitment to leading the market in terms of product and service, we have planned major enhancements in guest rooms, the spa and public areas. All these upgrades will lead to an even more superior product, especially with the introduction of competition in the upcoming years. Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh will maintain its position as the premier venue of choice for luxurious accommodation, high-end events and top executives travelling to Riyadh.

How do you think Saudi Arabia's tourism industry has changed over the past couple of years, and what impact is this having on industry growth and development?

The unprecedented positive trend over the past two years is the best indication of Saudi Arabia's tourism strategy, which has proven successful. We are extremely optimistic that the upward momentum will continue, along with the continued increase in oil prices and the government initiatives to open up the economy to more foreign investors. Security and stability still remains a key factor to the overall economic growth of the country.

What are your personal long-term career ambitions?

To stay focused on what really matters: keeping the dream alive and having fun while enjoying the ride.

What does the hotel have planned for next year, and how will this affect business at the property?

We aim to keep Four Seasons Riyadh the hotel of choice not only for overseas visitors but also for local residents who have enjoyed our services from restaurants to the health club and spa since the hotel's inception. Their patronage has reflected positively on our business performance and we are anticipating a very positive trend for the coming year.

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