John Raffoul, GM at Cheval Maison The Palm Dubai, brings two decades of diverse hospitality expertise, from sales to F&B. He has demonstrated success in team leadership, team development, customer satisfaction, revenue generation, and enhancing profitability. Here, he shares his plans for the upcoming chapter with Cheval Maison The Palm Dubai.
What drew you to be the GM at Cheval Maison – The Palm Dubai?
Cheval Maison – The Palm is Cheval Collection’s first property in the Middle East. It has promising and exciting growth opportunities in the wider GCC Thus, I was keen to get involved in the early stages of their expansion. Furthermore, the brand has been operating in the UK for over 40 years. It consequently has already established a name for itself with Middle East guests travelling to London and Edinburgh.
You’ve received several accolades. How will you use your expertise to elevate Cheval Maison – The Palm Dubai’s industry standing?
I intend to build on the property’s success since opening by implementing best practices from my previous roles. Furthermore, I intend to ensure that the team works together harmoniously. Notably, it is vital to connect with our guests so we can personalize their stays. Afterall, a happy guest is a repeat guest. More importantly, I want to foster a healthy and inclusive work environment for my team. Thus, enabling them to thrive and to continue delivering the highest level of service excellence.
Leveraging local market knowledge, how will you connect with the community, especially with collaborations like Black Coffee by Café Younes?
Being an active part of our vibrant community will be a key focus of mine. Furthermore, we take pride in giving back and participating in local initiatives. For example, we support clothes donations, beach cleaning and blood donation campaigns. Black Coffee by Café Younes is a well-known Lebanese brand that has been serving diverse communities since 1935. Furthermore, it offers creative and innovative culinary experiences. They are also active participants in every local authority where they are based.
In your opinion, what differentiates the hospitality market in Dubai from any other country?
Dubai is renowned internationally for its booming hospitality industry and the superb levels of service guests receive. The city attracts millions of tourists and business travellers each year. Consequently, it creates a high demand for well-trained hospitality professionals, leading to a virtuous circle: talent attracts even more talent. Furthermore, the wide range of tourist attractions on offer in Dubai is matched with the range of accommodation options. You can find ultra luxurious resorts to the more affordable end of the scale. It’s also of course about the people, and Emirati hospitality is deeply rooted in the traditions and values of the UAE. Thus, emphasizing generosity, kindness and warmth towards visitors.
What makes a hotel award worthy?
It’s an amazing feeling when your hotel is recognized by the wider industry and by your peers. Furthermore, it is also incredibly motivational for the operational team who see their efforts being acknowledged.
What noticeable changes have you observed in the guests?
I have observed several new guests’ travel behavior. Nowadays, they are more technology savvy and looking for contactless solutions throughout their guest journey. Furthermore, they are more interested in local culture and history. Additionally, sustainability and eco-friendly policies and actions are becoming much more important considerations when they are booking accommodation.