As Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights Hotel GM, Vipin Khattar has to lead his hospitality team and the property to success. According to Khattar, this takes communication, mentorship and above all else, teamwork. Hotelier Middle East chatted to the GM about his time in the hospitality sector.
Describe your path into hospitality
I pursued post-graduate education in Hospitality Operations at IHTTI School of Hotel Management in Switzerland, inﬂuencing my decision to pursue an international career. I started my journey with Hyatt in October 2002 and quickly rose within the organization, holding several key positions including that of director of sales and marketing at Hyatt Regency Dubai & Galleria, followed by area director of sales and marketing with Hyatt Hotels in Dubai. In December 2014, I undertook my ﬁrst assignment as General Manager at the iconic Hyatt Regency Sharm El Sheikh. Since 2016, I've headed the remarkable team at Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights Hotel & Residences.
Did you always want to be a hotelier?
I caught the hospitality bug very early on. Being a go-getter, I persistently pursued my dream career and landed in Dubai where hospitality and tourism are at its core. With over 18 years of experience in the industry, I take pride of being part of the Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights Hotel & Residences success story — a property that captures the essence of Dubai.
How would you describe your management philosophy?
I strongly believe that teamwork multiplies success. I believe in open communication, and in fostering an environment of care, trust and support, where we tackle both the good and the not so good together, and in so doing, create the conditions where any milestone is well within reach. In short, we care for people so they can be their best.
What would you say are the main factors that make a great GM?
The key lies with people. The formula is that CQ + PQ is greater than IQ, meaning that curiosity and passion will always take you farther than only intelligence. A person with grit and an inquisitive nature will achieve everything they set their mind to, and my role as GM and as a mentor, is to provide a safe, positive and supportive space where they can harness that intrinsic potential.
How do you feel the hotel has performed over the past year?
Our hotel saw a remarkable continuous three-year strong growth, consistently outperforming the competition, leading within the MICE segment and driving robust business growth via online channels. The year also saw an exponential interest in our 405-unit Residences offering, further diversifying our business-mix.
Additionally, we launched formidable initiatives like the Discover Programme, aimed toward developing our female associates into leadership roles, and opened the fabulous Eve Penthouse & Lounge, a rooftop venue that broke with all the Hyatt restaurant molds currently in the region.
What are your targets and expectations for next year?
We are committed to a year where we continue to deliver operational excellence, prioritise customer satisfaction and uphold our commitment to corporate responsibility, green environmental practices and to our ethos of care. Our business goals for 2020 include driving stakeholder value across the board, identifying new market segments, increasing market share, and continuing to grow brand loyalty across MEA and beyond.
Above: Eva Penthouse & Lounge
Do you feel hotel properties have a responsibility to adopt more sustainable practices?
As global citizens, we all have a responsibility toward the protection of the natural environment. As operators, employers, decision-makers and stakeholders in this world, the responsibility in on us to preserve the planet for other living beings, for our children, and for future generations. It is people like us, people in a position to make a difference, who should stand up and do something. No effort is too small.
Have you implemented any sustainable initiatives at your hotel?
Aligned with Hyatt’s 2020 environmental sustainability goals, we are committed to operating responsibly, having set clear targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption while increasing recycling processes.
Some initiatives championed include the use of grey water, the installation of LED lamps across the complex, the discontinuation of single-use plastics, in addition to the use of compostable to-go containers and locally sourced seafood.
We are also rolling out green meetings and events packages, aimed at having an impact on a greater scale.Finally, please share your thoughts on the current state of the Dubai hospitality market?
We foresee a very busy and vibrant time ahead as more competitors enter the market and I believe that the Dubai hotel market will hold on to its strong fundamentals. This enables us to welcome a record number of international tourists and events, while also continuing to shine as a beacon in the region for investment, trade and innovation.