Hospitality talk with Bilal Arnaout, cluster general manager of the Lancaster Group

Hospitality talk with Bilal Arnaout, cluster general manager of the Lancaster Group

Bilal Arnaout believes that success doesn’t happen by chance; it’s a mix of hard work, perseverance, determination and passion. In an exclusive interview with Hospitality News ME, the cluster general manager of the Lancaster Group tells us how he lives by his mantra.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced at Lancaster?
I joined the Lancaster Group in 2013. Back then, we only had three hotels in Lebanon. Today, the group manages nine hotels in Lebanon, Africa and soon in Europe. It was a challenging task to join a local brand and grow its presence on the international hotel map while facing an economic crisis and a global pandemic. Whereas many hotels were forced to close, we faced the challenges head-on and managed to keep all our hotels operational without downsizing the workforce.

What news can you share with us?
In July 2022, two new properties in Ghana were added to the Lancaster group portfolio: Lancaster Accra, with 238 keys, and Lancaster Kumasi, with 166 keys. We also opened Sardinas, a Lebanese seafood restaurant, at Lancaster Eden Bay, and Prime 18, a cigar lounge with sushi and international cuisine at Lancaster Plaza Beirut. The Lancaster Group will soon add around four properties in Europe and Africa to its portfolio.
In addition, we welcomed Grand Lancaster Brazzaville in early December.

What plans do you have to enhance the guest experience?
We believe in Lebanon’s hospitality sector and have confidence that the upcoming period will signal prosperity for the sector. That is why we are sparing no effort in elevating Lancaster hotel’s image. The majority of our hotels have been partially renovated to enhance the guest experience. We will soon launch a loyalty program, which will also play a crucial role in building strong guest loyalty and commitment to our group.

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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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