1- The recent surge in hotels has brought a new set of risks and challenges for hotel owners and managers, how much you felt the impact of such risks and challenges?
There has been a shy increase in the number of new properties in Lebanon; most of which are not part of international brands and mostly outside Ramada Plaza’s geographic area. Our Risks & Challenges were not only impacted by these new hotels, rather by market dynamics, namely low demand, political instability in the region and slow economic growth. In recent years, the region, and sometimes the country, secured a consistent top spot in the world news due to both our internal instability & the spillovers from turmoil in neighboring lands. The slight oversupply, led to a fierce competition in the market, and hotels were forced to cut average daily rates in attempts to try to stimulate their traditional levels of high demand.
2- In fulfilling your duties, how much do you feel the weight of exposure to social media?
Social media has completely changed the way we communicate with each other and how businesses reach out to their customers. Having a presence on social media is no longer optional but a requisite. Undoubtedly Social media participates in contributing to our occupancy rate. However, the Middle Eastern market still has a lot of work to do in the field of social media marketing. The support of conventional marketing methods is crucial in filling the reach gap to the audience, hence, increasing the overall business conversion.
3- The negative and positive aspects of Hotels’ presence on social media?
Social Media is a double edged sword. As much as it provides in terms of positive exposure it keeps almost the equivalent in negative voice, due to uncontrolled and unfiltered data processing. We appreciate constructive feedback and use it as a tool to enhance our shortcomings. However, in some cases guests use the platform as a mean of venting personal dislikes in an out of proportion manner, not truly reflecting their concerns but more as a mean of retribution for what is mostly a minor shortcoming from the hotel. However, Ramada Plaza Beirut has for the past four consecutive years been awarded five times by TripAdvisor, the “Travelers’ Choice Award” and the “Certificate of Excellence Award”
4- Are the rates given by Ramada to online booking sites different from those given to travel agencies?
Ramada Plaza Beirut online travel agents rates are similar to what we offer online directly through our website.
5- Do you address micro-markets? Specific brand niches? What about macro-markets?
We focus mainly on the macro level being the pan Arab region. Our guests’ mix stems from neighboring countries and the segments being fed from those countries are very mixed.
6- Packages, promotions, discounts upon booking?
We regularly organize special promotions and discounts upon booking, mostly being translated into in-kind discounts, i.e., upgrades and other miscellaneous benefits.
7- When we talk about Ramada Hotels Worldwide, do we talk about a hotel branding philosophy?
Like all Ramada Plaza worldwide, we fall under a unified branding policy with room to maneuver on the local level, branding & marketing.
8- Where do you join the mother company in her management strategies and where do you split?
We have a joint International Marketing strategy spearheaded by Wyndham Hotel Group Global marketing team based in London for the Europe, Middle East & Africa region, and again on the local level we tailor make our marketing strategy in an overlapping manner with the Global one in an effort to maximize reach of voice.
9- Introduce yourself
– Fadi F. Kaedbey is the General Manager of Ramada Plaza Beirut. He gained over twenty five years of cultural and hospitality industry experience across three countries including Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Canada. In his distinguished career, Fadi has been associated with some of the world’s leading and most prestigious international hospitality brands such as IHG – InterContinental Hotels Group, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, and WHG – Wyndham Hotel Group. He was also privileged to be associated with legendary and landmark hotels; the Phoenicia Hotel Beirut and the Four Seasons Riyadh at Kingdom Centre. In addition, Fadi was honored to be nominated General Manager of the year at the Wyndham Hotel Group 2015 Global conference in Las Vegas, U.S.A.
10- Last word
2017 was a challenging year due to political, economic, and security instability in the Middle East.
Ramada Plaza Beirut is part of a company that has expanded to all corners of the world and weathered the ups and downs of a global economy.
We learned at Wyndham Hotel Group how to successfully navigate change. The secret to this success is our steadfast belief that although change is inevitable, focusing on the items we can control and delivering world-class hospitality at our hotels is always our right course of action.
Over the past month we have seen many troubling headlines in our region, which have shaken the confidence of travelers. Although it is easy to get caught up in the headlines, at Ramada Plaza Beirut we are staying focused on the trend lines.
The world has never been more interconnected than it is today and we believe in the long term resilience of our industry. There will always be a need for travel and by keeping our focus strong on delivering incredible experiences for guests, we’ll traverse through this stronger than ever.
Ramada Plaza Beirut has proven to be a resilient property, overcoming various challenges, both locally in Lebanon and Regionally. We will remain dedicated to providing the service, price, quality and convivial atmosphere to our guests all year round.