GULF HOTEL Bahrain, the Gulf Hotels Group’s flagship five-star hotel in Bahrain is looking forward to a busier year in 2012, its general manager Garfield Jones told TTN ahead of the annual Bahrain Grand Prix.
“We have set a target of achieving 80 per cent occupancies this year,” he said. The hotel has planned a summer promotion that will run from June 15 to the end of Ramadan, details of which will be made available soon.
“Our aim is to drive in business from the GCC markets. There is no better way to reassure visitors that Bahrain is a safe country than to come and see for yourself. The recently concluded Spring of Culture festival in Bahrain has given the island a much-needed positive outlook already.” He said.
Jones and his team are also working to improve business in the face of increased competition. He is quick to add that the addition of new international hotel brands on the island is only a new challenge rather than an obstacle. “Despite the market conditions, we continue to hold the highest market share in Bahrain.
We offer the best in location, room and meeting facilities, safety and security as well as an extensive range of fine-dining options to our guests,” he said.
At the time of going to press, ahead of the Formula One race, Jones indicated that occupancies would not run to normal levels during this year’s race.
“The Grand Prix period will be quieter this year due to the political tensions across the island. However, ticket sales have continued to pick up and while we might not see 100 per cent occupancies like the previous years, we are confident that the event will be a success and bring much relief to Bahrain’s tourism scene,” he said.
The hotel also plans to launch a spa, expected to open in 2013. This is in addition to the on-going refurbishment programmes in different areas of the hotel.
Among other new developments are last year’s launch of a new hotel website aimed at reaching new groups of customers. “We have witnessed a change in corporate bookings trends with guests choosing to make their bookings online. Our new website will help drive this group, improving brand recognition with the international markets. We have already seen a 70 per cent increase in online bookings since the new website went Live,” adds Jones. The hotel has bust followed this up by launching a dedicated mobile website in a mobile-friendly format.
Meanwhile, Mice continues to be an important segment for Gulf Hotel Bahrain as it brought home the title of ‘Bahrain’s Leading Business Hotel’ award for 2011, in the World Travel Awards. The hotel further added five executive boardrooms to their conference room inventory, taking the total number of meeting venues to 28. Its 4,870 sq m Gulf Convention Centre, with a 2,200 seat Al Dana Hall, makes it’s the ideal choice of hotel for conference organisers and Mice groups.
“Following the political tensions that started last year, several planned conferences in Bahrain were cancelled or postponed. We are hopeful that with the success of the recently held Bahrain Airshow, the Spring of Culture and now the Bahrain Grand Prix, these conferences will make their way back into Bahrain,” Jones added.
Gulf Hotels Group also operates the four-star K Hotel in Juffair with a third property planned on the Island in early 2013.