With over two decades of experience in the hospitality sector across the Middle East, Eddy Tannous has held prominent positions at major hotel brands. Most recently, he served as senior vice president of operations at Fairmont, overseeing the operational performance across the brand’s Middle East and Asian properties. In this exclusive interview, we learn more about his appointment as COO of Rotana and what lies ahead.
What have been some of your greatest career highlights?
Reflecting on 24 years in the world of hotels, there are many memorable moments that come to mind, such as signing my first sales account, successfully taking a hotel through a worldwide financial crisis and renewing a hotel management agreement that was once considered obsolete. Those KPI-related wins are important; however, what has always been most valuable is the special and often humbling interactions I’ve had with people, from housekeeping attendants to managing directors, CEOs and hotel owners. Interactions with special individuals can mark you for the rest of your life, and I have been fortunate to have had many such moments throughout my career.
What motivated you to join Rotana Hotel Management as COO and what do you hope to achieve in this new chapter of your professional life?
Rotana is a company with a very strong culture that is clearly rooted in its employees, some of whom have spent almost their entire professional lives with the organization. The company has had respectable and steady growth since its inception by the founders in 1993. The current leadership has created a robust infrastructure that can support further growth to carry the company forward internationally. I am excited to work with the president and CEO Guy Hutchinson and the rest of the team to build on the strengths of our brand promise “Treasured Times” and to support the group in its anticipated growth journey.
How do you plan to leverage your past experiences and expertise in your new role at Rotana?
What I have learned from my experience in the various roles I held in commercial and operating departments both property-based and at the corporate level with exposure to more than 40 hotel brands in the last two and a half decades is that every successful organization possesses proprietary strengths that make it unique among its competitors. I chose to join Rotana because I believe it has those unique strengths and I will leverage my experience towards capitalizing on those unique attributes in order to maximize performance for the organization.
How would you describe the Middle East’s hospitality industry?
The travel and tourism industry in the Middle East is thriving as it continues to adapt to ever-changing consumer demands. With inspiring initiatives such as the ‘We The UAE 2031’ Vision, the Emirates continues to enhance the country’s sustainable infrastructure and foster a competitive business environment. Similarly, Saudi Vision 2030 outlines a comprehensive roadmap to becoming one of the leading tourism hubs globally, aiming to create unique destinations and attract international investment. With great collaboration between the public and private sectors, the region’s ongoing efforts to diversify its offerings and personalize experiences are key to maintaining growth and competitiveness.
How have the needs of travelers evolved and how are you planning to future-proof the hotel brand?
Rotana’s adept flexibility to meet guests’ ever-changing needs is what sets the brand apart, making it a prominent player in the global hospitality landscape. Whether in prioritizing advanced technology, reinforcing sustainable practices, or developing human resources, Rotana is catering to these demands, making it popular among travelers and an industry leader for the region.