Tom Hui, Marketing Executive at Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel, a leading name when it comes to the Hotel industry, has even been ranked as one of the Top 75 marketing talents on Hotelier ME Marketing Power List. Adding another feather in the cap, Hui is currently in Manchester judging UK’s National Miss as well Miss Teen Pageant. In an exclusive interview with Filmfare Middle East, Tom Hui talks to Aakanksha Naval-Shetye about introducing Dubai hospitality to the world through international beauty event sponsorship and Aligning the elegant symbol between luxury hospitality and beauty
You have been ranked as one of the Top 75 marketing talents on Hotelier ME marketing Power List, what has been the biggest draw for you? Did you always want to be a part of this industry?
I am very honoured to be on the Hotelier ME Marketing Power List 2022. Since I was a kid, I had a strong passion for the tourism and hospitality industry. When my parents invited their colleagues and friends to be guests at our home, I was always the one who proactively opened the door, and greeted them with a smile. I believe that small things matter. A handshake, a hug, a hand-made gift, can create lasting impressions for the guests. My altruistic and detail-oriented personality gives me an edge in this industry, because when I see my guests are happy, I am happy. This spirit keeps me going the extra mile in my occupation. As a Marketing Executive of Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel, I am not only given the opportunity to host high-profile guests, but also introducing Dubai hospitality to the world by international beauty event sponsorship. Aligning the elegant symbol between luxury hospitality and beauty makes me stand out in this competitive field.
What are the key factors that you think make Dubai an ideal tourist destination globally?
The iconic architecture, amazing tourist spots, and customer-oriented service culture are the key factors that attract international travellers to visit Dubai. Before the tourists come to Dubai, they may have heard about our world-famous architecture such as Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa, which picturized their impression about the place. When they enter Dubai, the well-organised tourist spots, from Museum of the Future in the city centre to safari camps in desert areas, provide them with a comprehensive experience of Dubai culture. During their stay, the helpful service they receive from hotels, shopping malls, and the like, add colour to the journey. It is the coordination of hardware, such as architecture and tourist spots, and software, like professional customer service, that makes Dubai a famous destination welcomed by international travellers.
What have been the marked changes in the hotel industry that have been game changers?
Information technology is a game changer in the hotel industry. 20 years ago when I was a kid, the term “hotel” to tourists was a place to stay when travelling in a foreign country. I still remembered when my parents and I were planning our family trip, we paid more attention to the tourist spots that we would be visiting than the facilities in the hotels that we would be staying. Thanks to information technology, hotels now become the first tourist spot that travellers visit after arrival. From smart TV in rooms to touchless menus in restaurants, hotels try to “wow” the guests by providing them with a unique experience. It is not only a place to stay, but also a spot where long-lasting memories are created.
What would you say about the industry bouncing back post Covid?
COVID has negatively affected tourism to a large extent, since tourists are discouraged to travel due to the quarantine policies set in many countries. In the post COVID period, I can observe a bounce back in Dubai hospitality industry, driven by EXPO 2020. This mega event attracts international travellers to visit hundreds of pavilions and enjoy culture performances at the EXPO site, which boosts the demand for hotel rooms in Dubai, benefiting the revenue per available room (RevPAR) of hotels. The drive is still very strong even EXPO ended three months ago, since Ramadan and the upcoming Dubai Summer Surprises stimulate the demand for staycation. These events and festivals bring an optimistic future to the hospitality industry in Dubai.
What has been your vision for Dukes The Palm and what has been its USP?
Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel is elegant, cosmopolitan, and family-friendly. Our unique selling points are the outdoor and room facilities, as well as award-winning restaurants. When the guests stay with us, they are given complimentary access to our private beach, infinity pool, and lazy river. Enjoying the panoramic views of Dubai Marina while chilling at our pool and beach creates a memorable stay experience. Little travellers can also enter the DUKESY Kids’ Club where they can participate in various “edutainment” activities, such as origami and paper quilling. After relaxing, the guests can taste the theme night dinner buffet prepared by Great British Restaurant or authentic North Indian cuisines by Khyber, to perfectly end the day.
What would you say have been your high points professionally and achievements?
A marketer is a storyteller of the brand. I am very lucky that during my days at Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel, I have successfully sponsored Miss Great Britain 2021, UK’s National Miss 2022, and Miss & Miss Teen Pageant Girl UK 2022. These three international sponsorships align elegance, which is one of the core brand values of our hotel, with beauty events, and they generated positive impacts to our hotel. Take Miss Great Britain 2021 sponsorship as an example. It gave us over 128,000 per cent return on investment in media value, as well as significant brand awareness in the United Kingdom. Most importantly, we created word of mouth among the Miss Great Britain 2021 participants, since our support to female empowerment was shown in this sponsorship. Followed by the success in sponsoring beauty events, I was invited to be a VIP Guest Speaker at the Hotel Show 2022 to share my insights about data analytics and decision making in marketing and sponsorship.
Tell us more about your initiative for the international sponsorship campaign with Miss Great Britain 2021
When I joined Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel, I have decided to align the hotel brand with beauty events, since both of them share a similarity in core values: elegance. The collaboration discussion between us and Miss Great Britain (“Miss GB”) started in April 2021. Thanks for the support from Kate Solomons, former National Director of Miss GB, and Jemma Simmonds, former Event and Operations Manager of Miss GB, we successfully signed the sponsorship agreement by offering the winner of Miss Great Britain 2021 and her plus one guest two complimentary nights’ stay at our hotel with breakfast at Great British Restaurant. To show my personal support to female empowerment, I also attended the grand final as a judge and prize presenter in Leicester on 17 September 2021. On 9 March 2022, we hosted Eden McAllister, winner of Miss Great Britain 2021, and her guest Harriotte Lane, Miss International 2019 4th Runner-up at our hotel. We provided them with two room nights complimentary stay with breakfast, as well as a welcoming dinner at the Sushi Lounge. Both of them had a wonderful time in Dubai.
What has been your secret to being such a respected and much loved name in the industry today?
Stay true, be thankful, and embrace the world. These three principles have made me a respected member in the hospitality industry. I am a goal-oriented person who understands myself very well. Being clear of what to achieve in Dubai, I have my definition of success, and I never feel jealous of other people’s success, because everyone has his or her own unique career path which cannot be copied. When running marketing campaigns and sponsorship projects, I always thank the media, my business partners, and team members for their trust on me, because success in the business world depends heavily on mutual support. When I come across different cultures and work styles, I appreciate their positive sides, which makes me an easy person to work with. This explains why I am welcomed by the hospitality industry.
What would you advise young aspirants who wish to be a part of this industry?
Hospitality industry focuses a lot on the relationship with guests. Even information technology is playing an important role in hotel facilities design, we should not forget about the “human touch” which can create lasting memories for the guests. A smile, a handshake, a souvenir, these gestures seem small, but can make a big difference to the stay experience of guests.
What have been the biggest challenges for you?
In hospitality marketing, a lot of our campaigns are measured by return on investment. When it comes to sponsorship, I believe we should also consider the moral values of the event. For example, when we sponsor beauty events, we do not only pay attention to the room revenues brought by the event participants, but also the support to female empowerment, which is a kind of corporate social responsibility to be fulfilled. How to accurately reflect the impact of moral values in sponsorship evaluation is a topic worthy to be discussed by the marketers in the hospitality industry.