SERVING WITH SOPHISTICATION

SERVING WITH SOPHISTICATION

December 18, 2017

IN CONVERSATION WITH CONSTANTINOS S. GAVRIEL, GENERAL MANAGER, LE MERIDIEN DHAKA

With over two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, Mr. Constantinos S. Gavriel is a certified aficionado of the hotel business. He has seen it all and managed it all, from his birthplace of United Kingdom to Asia and regions far west. Mr. Gavriel has held senior positions with a number of leading luxury hotel operators including, Renaissance Moscow Monarch Centre hotel property in Russia, Grand Millennium Hotels in The UAE and Al Fasialiah Hotel & Al Khozama Rosewood Hotels in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His experience and work ethic helped him stretch his reaches to Kazakhstan, where he held the position of General Manager at Renaissance Aktau Hotel for over 2 years. This is when Le Méridien Dhaka had the opportunity to bring him in as the General Manager.

Starting from June 2017, Mr. Constantinos S. Gavriel has been looking to spearhead the hotel’s growth and success for the future. He shared all of this and more, in an exclusive interview with Bangladesh Brand Forum.

 

BBF: What is your impression of Bangladesh so far?

Constantinos S. Gavriel: It is a very exciting time to be in Bangladesh. I have the opportunity to work for one of the leading hotels in Dhaka. The people, the food and the culture is really vibrant. I very much look forward to meeting and integrating into the community as much as possible. And as I have said, it is an exciting time to be in Bangladesh. I think the economy is doing extremely well and the hospitality industry is growing rapidly.

BBF:  How has the experience been while managing Le Méridien Dhaka?

Constantinos S. Gavriel: I actually came on an inspection trip back in April of this year and I was absolutely astonished to see such an amazing property in Dhaka. It is a brand new property and it is the biggest one that is operated in Bangladesh. The level of service, our facilities and the services that we offer are world class. I am very proud to be managing a flagship property in South Asia.

BBF:  How has the hospitality industry changed in the 22 years you have worked within it?

Constantinos S. Gavriel:  When I first started, I started with the Hilton International Hotel in London. This was in the early 1990s. When I first graduated, in the hotel, we only had one email address for the whole hotel and if you had to send an email, you had to go to the general manager’s PA and you had to put a business case as to why you need to send an email. So, when I started there was no email. The technology has seen phenomenal growth in the past 20 years. It has made our jobs simpler to communicate and it has made our lives a lot easier in terms of having access to new markets. It has given our customers an opportunity via Facebook, Instagram and websites to learn about our products as opposed to reading off brochures. We are much more interactive now with our guests than we were 22 years ago. Also, the guests now have an opportunity to learn about our properties around the world, wherever they are, through the internet.

BBF:  What are some key aspects that have made the hospitality industry the booming industry it is today?

Constantinos S. Gavriel:  I think we have become a lot more professional over the last 22 years. We have become much more accountable, focused on different aspects of our business, whether its rooms, food and beverage or catering. We have more analytical information now than we ever did. Therefore, all of these facilities provide us with the opportunity to learn where our customers are coming from, what their experiences are, what they are looking for, etc. I think the standard of hotels opening now, are the highest standards of hotel I have ever seen. I think it is a much more complete product. Also, the demand from a service level is much higher than it was when I started. 22 years ago, a room had a television, shower and air-condition and that was it. But now it is about the experiences, it is about the integrated technology and it is about, offering the guests something local and something different at the same time.

BBF:  According to you, what aspects of development must hotels in Bangladesh strive towards in order to develop a better hospitality industry?

Constantinos S. Gavriel:  I think as an organization and as an industry, it is all about service. The customers are becoming a lot more sophisticated. They have access to information, to reviews, to the level of service we offer at the hotel. In order to win customers, I think it is all down to the customer service. We have to do things differently from our competition. We have to focus on delivering world class service. We work extremely hard on a daily basis to deliver the most award winning, high level service. As long as we focus on customer service, I think in the years to come, this will give us the competitive advantage.

BBF:  What are Le Méridien Dhaka’s future plans in Bangladesh and how do they reflect the needed changes in the industry?

Constantinos S. Gavriel:  We are in the process of positioning the hotel as the number 1 destination in terms of dining experience for our local guests as well as for our events and catering facilities. Another key goal of ours is to provide world class service in terms of our bedroom products. Our proximity to the airport gives us a huge advantage and I think as the city moves out towards the airport in the coming years, we will be very well positioned and well located. There are more industries moving and offices moving close to our location as well which is quite beneficial for us. I understand the stock exchange, or part of the stock exchange, will open next door to us in the next few months so henceforth, I see more business coming towards this direction. We will position ourselves as the leading corporate hotel event venue in the city in the near future.

BBF:  Share a few words for people who want to work in the hospitality industry.

Constantinos S. Gavriel: Hard work and perseverance. This is a very wonderful and very rewarding industry to be in as it is a people’s industry. Every day is a different day. You come to work and no two days will ever be the same. But, you have to love what you do in order to excel. And as I have said, you have to be passionate. Take advantage of as much training, especially the ones we offer as company, try and educate yourselves and really focus on the best service and doing the best for the customers. The key to success is to love what you do.

Interviewed by Asif Ayon

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.