Constantinos S Gavriel, General Manager, Le Meridian
Dhaka : Bangladesh is a dynamic market for five-star hotels. Fortunately, the business is extremely good in the country. Now we are excited to have established Le Meridien as number one hotel in Bangladesh.
"It is exciting time to be in Dhaka, I am here for 15 mon-ths, time flies," Constantinos S Gavriel, General Manager, Le Meridien said in an interview with The Bangladesh Monitor. "I am working very hard, never before in my career. It was a phenomenal growth of business."
Since last year, the hotel business could not have been better. This new hotel has achieved double digit growth on sales. Normally a new hotel's gestation period is 5-years, but this hotel in three-year period, have been able to make double-digit profit. This only happens with a great team.
The four restaurants are positioned on the top floor, are our enterprise, and are doing very well among the 656 hotels and 656 restaurants Marriott hotels worldwide, Gavriel said.
"As a hotel operator, if one restaurant is among the top ten restaurants, according to TripAdvisor, that is in Le Meridien Dhaka. This hotel is a superstar," said Gavriel.
Recently Le Meridien Dhaka has been honoured by World Travel Awards as Bangladesh's leading top hotel. "Now we are best in Dhaka and next we aspire to be the best in the world," said the General Manager.
International restaurants need international chefs. "We are very fortunate that we have lots of different chefs from around the world. The hotel has an executive chef from UK. He brought new initiative, introduced new recipes, which have been added in the menu card, said Gavriel.
The Italian restaurant has an Italian chef. In the Indian corner, they have an Indian and a Chinese chef. Besides them, there are lots of Bangladeshi chefs, which adds up to variety of taste and flavour in food.
The Indian chef cooks authentic Indian menu and same with the Chinese chef, who has introduced genuine Chinese food in Dhaka city. The restaurants offer the best customer experience.
There is a world class spa. The spa is run by Thais. Also the hotel has world-class gym for the guests.
Our room occupancy is 70 per cent, which is possibly the best performance among hotels in Bangladesh. To attain another 10 per cent and more, we need to have weekend leisure guests. If we are able to attract weekend guests, then we will be able attain 90 per cent occupancy.
"Last year it was our record year, but this year we will do much better. We will grow in occupancy and revenue too," said Gav-riel, expre-ssing optimism. Guest mix is 90 per cent corporate cli-ents. The restaura-nt's customer wo-uld be 60 per cent from the capital city.
Le Meridien has plans to organise Halloween on the October 31. This would be an extremely busy event. Last year the hotel made record sales. We anticipate 500 to 600 participants for the Halloween.
"Of course, we will have the New Year celebration, the Christmas and other festive events too," he added.
There are also plans in the calendar to hold a food festival in the last quarter. Promo launching will be announced for the food festival after dates are finalised.
In the foreseeable future, the new properties, the InterContinental, Marriott, Sheraton, Holiday Inn which will enter business between one to three years, will invite healthy competition for the industry and as well as for the consumers too. With new hotels, customers will demand services, he pointed out.
"We foresee good growth in supply, and the demand for the next three-four years. Obviously new properties encourage us to do better. New competition will drive us to improve customer experience. We have given additional efforts in product launch, exhibition and festivals to deliver world class service, which brings with it creative promotions," said Gavriel.
"At the end of the day, it is money of course. Back of our mind we keep up with world class service to the customers. But at the end of the day the customer experience will be in the heart and mind," Gavriel added.