THE EXCHANGE sat down with the CEO of Johari Rotana Hotel, Mr. Joerg Potreck to discuss about the hospitality industry in Tanzania and what the future holds for Johari Rotana.
Briefly tell us about the history of Rotana Hotels?
We are a hotel management company from the United Arab Emirates founded in 1992 by Nasser Al Nowais and Selim El Zyr. Operating as Rotana, we opened our first property, the Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi in 1993 and today we are one of the leading hotel management company within the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey with a portfolio of over 100 properties in 26 cities.
Rotana combines a unique understanding of the culture and communities of the Middle East with the collective expertise of an executive team contributing to years of international experience in the service industry.
What sets apart Johari Rotana from other world class hotels in Tanzania?
The level of service and the level of facility we have is that of a true five star international hotel. A lot of hotels especially in Dar es Salaam that have been for many years in the market have been built for the trends of those days but with Johari Rotana it is different, the hotel is a 28 storey structure built up to maximize square meter space. Our rooms start from the 13th floor giving our guests a magnificent view of the city. Our rooms are bigger than most hotels in the country. Rotana is very strong on food and beverage, stronger than other brands. We are very particular about detail, how we present our services is very important to us.
Why did you think hotel investors choose to work with your brand?
We offer a very professional hospitality management service, we are the strongest Middle East player in terms of e commerce, distribution systems and we can tap into markets others are not there yet. We are very strong in developing people, strong in our food and beverage.
What we ask of the owner is that he works with us on the standards of the hotel. We actually work with the owner to assist in planning, designing and furnishing the hotel.
Where do you see Johari Rotana in the next ten years. Does the hotel have plans of expanding in other regions?
We do have plans in expanding in other regions. We hope in other regions where there are hotel investors that we are one of the preferred partners with one of our brands. We currently have five brands and these are Rotana Hotels & Resorts, Arjaan Hotel Apartments, Centro Hotels, Rayhaan Hotels & Resorts and The Residences by Rotana.
Each of these brands are unique in their own way. The Rotana Hotels & Resorts portfolio includes 4 & 5 star properties that cater to both the business and leisure traveler and include some of the most renowned restaurants in the world.
Arjaan Hotel Apartments offer elegant home-away from-home experience with fully furnished multi bedroom hotel apartments with access to fitness and recreational activities.
Centro Hotels holds convenience, cost effectiveness and connectivity to the budget conscious traveller.
Rayhaan Hotels & Resorts are one of a kind 4 & 5 star alcohol-free hotels and resorts where every need of the guest is met with utmost discrection and respect of their culture.
The Residences by Rotana is the latest addition to the Rotana portfolio. These are studio to 4 bedroom furnished or unfurnished apartments and villas geared for guests looking for a permanent home. The Residences include a dedicated concierge, hotel-style gyms and swimming pools.
How is Johari Rotana adding value to its employees? What sort of programs do you have that uplift employees at Rotana?
As a management company we value the future of our employees and have invested a lot in our people. We have a fully fledged training department within the hotel that conducts training every week. Our goal is not just to make profit but to invest in young Tanzanian talents who will be future hospitality leaders in the country.
After its successful introduction in Tanzania, Rotana is committed to giving young people the chance to transfer to any other hotel in the Gulf region to give them international exposure that will make them more better and confident by seeing other sets of standards so that when they come back they will be an enrichment to the Tanzanian hospitality sector.
We have a lot of programs for our employees, we look after our team and value them. A hotel can be as beautiful as ever with the best rooms and the best outlook but if the team is not happy to work in the hotel you will not get good service and this is what we strongly believe. We are convinced that only happy people give good service.
How do you price the hotel rooms?
We have an American revenue management system that we use called IDEAS that works with rate plans. It works in a such a way for a room there are different rate plans that apply and the computer calculates on the balance of probability which rate applies. If business is low, the lowest rate applies and vice versa. So for the standard room it starts at 180 USD and can go up to USD 320 based on the rate plan.
How do you project the tourism sector in Tanzania to be in the next five years?
The tourism sector in Tanzania is growing but is currently underestimated and underrepresented abroad. In order to see the full potential of the sector more needs to be done to promote the country outside.
What do you think can be done to grow the tourism sector in the country?
If I was an investor, I would take the entire coast area which to me is the future waterfront in Africa and build hotels, restaurants, clubs, fashion houses, shopping malls, recreation parks and near the shore build embankments for cruise ships and boats. You do this in such a way that people can move around and enjoy what the coast has to offer.
For other tourist destination in the country they should be made affordable to middle and low income earners rather than just focusing on high end customers. By doing these you can make Tanzania a top tourist destination.
What do you say to those wishing to visit Johari Rotana. What should they expect?
You will be welcomed by a highly motivated team who will provide you with an international experience of service and facilities that are at the moment unmatched rounded up by culinary experience you wouldn’t forget.