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When the world comes to a grinding halt, the need to look forward and plan the way ahead takes centre-stage. With this philosophy in mind, and the overarching need to bring the hospitality and tourism industry under one umbrella, Travel + Leisure India & South Asia is launching a series of webinars, #TnlOutreach, which aim to decode the travel trends of 2020-21. In the first part of session three, we – along with international veterans of the industry – decode the new face of hospitality and outbound travel After Coronavirus (AC).
#TnlSalutes – Part I: The New Face of Hospitality & Outbound Travel AC (after Coronavirus).
The hospitality industry has really stood up to the fight against COVID-19, and #TnlSalutes all the bravery and hard work of every single individual who has been a part of this journey. To re-emerge as a safe haven post the pandemic will be a challenge, and our third session (part one) of the webinar – moderated by Luxury Travel Blogger and Journalist, Riaan George – will be addressing how the biggest hospitality chains abroad are gearing up for this run. Travel + Leisure India & SA brings together some of the top international hospitality veterans to throw light on all the initiatives being taken to ensure the safety of travellers post-COVID, and what to expect when you plan your travel abroad in the months to come.
Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale
General Manager of The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts
Since 2010, hospitality industry veteran Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale has helmed The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts in his position as General Manager. Under his leadership, The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts, which encompasses The Fullerton Heritage precinct in Singapore, experienced a new era of growth and has been awarded numerous international awards and accolades for service excellence and heritage preservation. In 2018, he was bestowed with the Executive of the Year for Hospitality & Leisure award at the Singapore Business Review Management Excellence Awards for Hospitality and Leisure.
Giovanni also led the Fullerton brand towards international expansion with the debut of The Fullerton Hotel Sydney in October 2019. Autumn 2021 will also see the opening of The Fullerton Ocean Park Hotel Hong Kong. He has a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector which spans over 30 years. Despite his time away from Hong Kong where he was Resident Manager at Conrad Hong Kong for a decade, his ties with Hong Kong remain. Since July 2014, Giovanni was appointed as the executive director of Sino Hotels (Holdings) Limited which is the hospitality management arm of Sino Group and an affiliate of Sino Land Company Limited. In this capacity, Giovanni also oversees the Group’s six hotels in Hong Kong: City Garden Hotel, Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel, Island Pacific Hotel, The Royal Pacific Hotel & Towers, The Pottinger Hong Kong, and The Olympian Hong Kong.
Executive Vice President South & South East Asia, Middle East, Africa and Australasia, Preferred Hotels & Resorts
Saurabh Rai steers the development and business of Preferred Hotels & Resorts in the region, overseeing offices in Dubai, Singapore, New Delhi, Cape Town and Sydney. Since joining the company in early 2008, he augmented the group’s presence in the region to a six-fold expansion, currently overseeing about a quarter of the company’s global portfolio. With impetus on growth in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa, he is successfully spearheading and ramping up the company’s portfolio development in the region. Ranked among the “Power 100 – Top 100 most influential people in the hospitality industry” by Hotelier India 2016 & 2013, he has been directly responsible for developing and consolidating strategic business partnerships with iconic industry brands like The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts, ITC Hotels, Palazzo Versace Dubai, Paramount Hotels & Resorts, among others. A dynamic leader with a deep understanding of the global business environment, he is a keen and strategic thinker with a proven P&L Maximisation, Business Development, Sales and Marketing record in mature and emerging markets, with an ability to lead large multicultural and cross-functional teams with diverse skill sets. He is also a passionate father and husband, and a high energy service industry professional. This connoisseur of luxury experiences has travelled across over 50 countries and counting. He is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School and a member of Young President Organisation, in pursuit of defining leadership of tomorrow.
Vice President of Sales and Marketing at JA Resorts & Hotels, Dubai
2019 has been marked as the year of change for JA Resorts & Hotels, with transformation including a forward-thinking brand refresh, an all-new food and Beverage portfolio and significant international expansion across the Indian Ocean and Asia. Transforming the JA Resorts & Hotels Commercial function is German national and 20-year sales and marketing veteran, Thomas Grundner.
Born in Dusseldorf, Germany, Thomas spent his youth in Malawi South-East Africa, where his desire to work amongst different cultures was set. He furthered his education in the UK and was selected for several accelerated, high-performance courses including Cornell Financial Management Training and a Future Leaders Program conducted by Dubai Holding through the London Business School. He began his hospitality career in Germany where he attained multiple roles across Sales and Marketing in the year 2000, he started his first international assignment with Iberotel in Egypt as the Regional Director of Sales & Marketing. In 2002, he joined the Rotana Group as the Regional Director of Sales & Marketing Abu Dhabi & Al Ain before spending two years in the Canary Islands with Seaside Hotels looking after a collection of privately owned luxury hotels as Director of Sales & Marketing.
In 2005, Grundner relocated back to the United Arab Emirates to take on a position as Director of Key Accounts within Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts and so began his reputation for excellence in strategic market penetration and global commercial initiatives within the region. Within one year he had progressed to Regional Director of Sales & Marketing for the Gulf Region. In another rapid advancement, he was appointed as the Vice President of Sales in 2008 where he managed 18 global sales offices, the Global Contact/Reservation Centre, Sales Automation, Distribution and coordinated all sales activities, locally, regionally and globally for the group. Not only did he drive significant revenue increases and establish commercial strategies, but he also played a major role in the expansion of Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts as it grew from seven to 23 properties. In 2013 he spent a year as a Consultant with the Emirates/ dnata Group, where he successfully supported establishing a BedBank concept amongst other major projects, before being headhunted by Meydan Hospitality and Millennium as Head of Sales & Marketing and thus Vice President Sales and Marketing. Grundner pioneered several commercial projects and transformative initiatives including a companywide rebrand and loyalty program implementation besides opening multiple hotels within the Middle East for Millennium.
Joining JA Résorts & Hotels in May 2017 as the group’s new Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Grunder leads a team of 40 associates across Dubai, Seychelles, the Maldives and its global commercial structure. Recognised as a talented team builder, Grunder leads the cross-functional and multi-cultural Sales, Revenue, Marketing and PR divisions in reshaping the vision, driving commercial success and expanding the Footprint of JA Resorts & Hotels.
A legacy UAE brand, JA Resorts & Hotels was born in 1981 and has a widely recognised reputation for excellence in the management and operation of award-winning resorts and hotels. Taking its name from the original Jebel Ali (JA) Beach hotel, JA Resorts & Hotels portfolio new features eight distinct properties across the UAE and the Indian Ocean, each dedicated to curating unique experiences and creating unforgettable memories. Tropical escapes include JA Manafaru, the idyllic luxury island resort in pristine, lagoon-ringed Haa Alif Atoll, at the northern tip of the Maldives and JA Enchanted Island Resort, an ultra-luxurious hideaway of 10 exquisite villas on a private Island, in the middle of the protected Saint Anne Marine Park. Within the UAE, the portfolio offers five-star JA Ocean View Hotel, as well as the deluxe hotel apartments of JA Oasis Beach Tower, both located along ‘The Walk’ in unforgettable beach memories. Tropical escapes include JA Manafaru, the idyllic luxury Resort – Dubai’s largest experience resort, with 1 million square metres of thrilling activities and 3 unique hotels offering 795 suites and rooms between them – JA Beach Hotel, the all-suite JA Palm Tree Court and JA Lakeview Hotel a stunning new Golf Course adjacent property due to open on September 1, 2010. The JA Hatta Fort Hotel completes the portfolio as Dubai’s only mountain resort, a secluded getaway amidst the turning Hajar Mountains landscape.
Grunder’s vision for Sales & Marketing across the A Resorts & Hotels portfolio Includes a focus on driving global expansion, maintaining a brand promise of unique and unforgettable memories, and attracting and developing talent to deliver market-leading performance. One of his credo’s is inspired by a Michael Schumacher quote – “Once something is a passion, the motivation is there.” In addition to spending time with his wife Uta, and his 14-year old daughter, Felicita, Grudner is a dedicated fitness enthusiast who enjoys running and golf, having almost reached professional levels teen, before he discovered his passion for hospitality.
President of Dream Cruises & Head of International Sales, Genting Cruise Lines
Michael Goh first joined Genting Cruise Lines in the year 2000 as the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Star Cruises and as General Manager for the Singapore sales and marketing division.
In 2008, he expanded his portfolio as the Senior Vice President of International Sales for Star Cruises and subsequently for Dream Cruises and Crystal Cruises’ sales and marketing in Asia – in line with the company’s brand expansion over the years.
With over 30 years of extensive experience in the Asian hospitality, travel and tourism industry, he was also part of the Advisory Committee for the Hospitality Programme at the Singapore Institute of Technology in nurturing the next generation of hospitality professionals. At Genting Cruise Lines, he has been instrumental in developing the three cruise line brands and also the Asia Pacific cruise tourism industry in the last two decades.
With his appointment as President of Dream Cruises & Head of International Sales, Genting Cruise Lines in July 2019, he is set to lead Dream Cruises into its next chapter of growth as “Asia’s Global Cruise Line”, strengthening the brand and paving the successful arrival of the first of two 204,000 gross ton Global Class ships in 2021.