With nearly 30 years in the hospitality industry whilst serving diverse markets such as Europe, America and the Middle East, Karim Bizid, General Manager, Oberoi Dubai, is a legend in the industry as he has witnessed the growth of Dubai over the past two decades.
Karim Bizid’s love for meeting new people with diverse backgrounds and cultures has landed him up in this trade. “Since I enjoy meeting people, I have built an incredible family over the years and I consider having them close to my heart wherever I go,” Bizid reveals. Having graduated from Swiss School of Hotel and Tourism Management in Chur, Switzerland, Bizid studied at the Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and completed his MBA from the University of Economy and Management. In the UAE, he has served in senior positions at Jumeirah Group, Jebel Ali Hotel and Golf Resort, and as pre-opening General Manager for The Meydan Hotel.
Relationship with the Oberoi
From the pre-opening stage, Bizid served as the General Manager at Oberoi Dubai but he says that the relationship extends much beyond. “My relationship with The Oberoi Group started even before The Oberoi, Dubai came into existence. My fascination with the company started due to the inspirational interactions I used to have with our Executive Chairman PRS Oberoi during his visits to Dubai. The Oberoi Hotels’ approach to hospitality is not only legendary but also quite distinct as compared to other hospitality companies,” he said. In his role as General Manager, Bizid applied his local experience and market knowledge to successfully position the hotel amongst the best luxury hotels in the city and the first international city hotel for the brand in the Middle East. The successful story of the hotel has proved to be a stepping stone towards further growth of The Oberoi Group’s portfolio in the region.
Changes in the industry
Bizid shares that Dubai as a city has seen immense growth and he has been lucky to witness this over the last two decades. “From humble beginnings, the hospitality platform is now a major GDP contributor. Dubai now has the second highest number of five-star hotels for a single city worldwide, placed only after London and even ahead of New York.” He reiterates that this exponential growth has presented itself with new opportunities in terms of digitalisation of the distribution channels. Technology has made the process very simple and easy for consumers to not only purchase their products and services but also share their opinion and reviews publicly. All of this has made the industry extremely competitive, not just in terms of acquiring customers but also in terms of winning their genuine loyalty. Therefore, hotels which have the highest level of commitments towards developing a product and delivering warm hospitality are the ones which succeed.
Oberoi Hotels & Resorts is synonymous with providing the right blend of service, luxury and efficiency. These factors contribute towards attracting guests to The Oberoi, Dubai. The hotel enjoys almost 40 per cent of repeat guest ratio, placing it amongst the highest in the city in terms of customer loyalty, shares Bizid. Whether it is in Dubai or anywhere around the world, guests are more exposed to many options and to drive them to a specific brand and ensure their loyalty is an exercise which needs to be conducted rather carefully.
Relook at the industry
Today, more properties turning to ‘millennial friendly’ ones due to the growing demand for this segment. Bizid shares, “Millennials expect more convenience, and rely strongly on the internet and social media to stay connected globally.” Technology should be seen as an enabler but not as a replacement of the human element. Talking about OTAs, Bizid explains, “The popularity of online travel platforms is increasing due to its unique proposition to offer instant rates, availability and confirmation.”