The friendliness and welcoming nature of the Sudanese people are combined with world-class service to create a unique experience for guests at the Al Salam Rotana Khartoum Hotel. General Manager Adnan Dayoub (AD) explains how staff training and international promotion have contributed to the hotel’s success
I N T E R V I E W
LE: What makes the Al Salam Rotana Khartoum Hotel so unique and what keeps guests coming back?
AD:The Al Salam Rotana Khartoum was established in 2007. Ever since, we have been focusing on the high quality of services and the best hospitality experience for our guests. We give regular training to our staff, enhancing the ethics of Rotana hospitality.
It’s not easy to have trained local staff, as the concept of hospitality schools is not as common as in other countries, such as United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Sudan is new in the industry and there are professionals who need to gain more experience. However, Al Salam Rotana blends the friendliness and accommodating culture of the Sudanese people with the five-star, world-class hospitality of the Rotana chain, to deliver a memorable experience to each and every guest.
LE: The Rotana has a lot of partnerships with other companies. How important are partnerships in making sure you deliver this high-quality service to your guests?
AD: Our partnerships really do help us to provide excellent services. They give greater exposure to our brand, and additional ways to invite people to patronise our hotel and services.
We also visit different universities, with which we have partnership deals. Intensive training courses are being offered to the students and certificates are given at the end of each one. This helps improve service quality and raise awareness about hospitality among the graduates.
LE: Most tourists that come here are business travellers. What is your brand doing to attract them?
AD: The truth is that there is no real tourism here in Sudan. It’s mainly businessmen who visit for investment opportunities. We have our global sales offices all over the Gulf and one in the United Kingdom to raise awareness about Sudan.
LE: In what other ways are you promoting Sudan and the presence of the Rotana chain in the country?
AD: We participate in different exhibitions and trade shows worldwide that are focused specifically on promoting the Al Salam Rotana hotel and Sudan. For example, tourism and hospitality exhibitions in the United Kingdom, ITB, the world’s leading travel trade show, in Berlin, the leisure show in Moscow, GIBTM, the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition in the United Arab Emirates, and ATM, the Arabian Travel Market.
LE: You have been here for two years. What most stands out when you look at Sudan and the Sudanese people?
AD: For me, their simple nature and honesty; they are easy to deal with, they provide support to expats and they have a very warm and welcoming nature. The Sudanese people are approachable and they seek improvement everywhere. There are lots of obstacles here, but I hope we will overcome them and see Sudan grow into a much visited country.
LE: Where do you see the growth for your hotel? In occupancy? Events?
AD: We are looking forward to continual growth in all aspects of the business, including occupancy and events. From 2013 to 2015, we had an increasing number of frequent visitors and we expect 2016 to be even better.
LE: What motivates you personally to deliver such high quality and added value to your clients and guests?
AD: We are really motivated to improve the hospitality industry in Sudan. The support and continuous patronage of our valued guests, partners and the Al Salam Rotana family are more than enough motivation for us to deliver a consistently high level of service.
Knowing that the infrastructure needs to be improved, I would like to invite people to explore the richness of Sudan, its archaeological sites and its undiscovered beauty.