New GM Embraces 2020 Travel Trends for Self-Engagement and Local Experience

Digital transformation is driving enhanced guest satisfaction within the hospitality sector, according to Wajdy (Wes) ElChaar, the newly-appointed general manager of the mid-economy Ibis Amman hotel.

ElChaar, a seasoned Lebanese hospitality professional, says that 2020 customer experience (CX) trends are weighted towards digital engagement and that the Ibis Amman, a business and leisure property recently celebrated its 10th year of operation, would fully embrace them.

“The top CX trends include social marketing, social selling, personalised engagement, and immersive experiences and these will be keenly in focus at Ibis Amman this celebratory year,” he said.

ElChaar was citing recent reports* showing that 67% of respondents appreciate digital self-help tools, especially in the tourism and hospitality sector, suggesting that guests are opening up to the benefits of ordering room service straight from in-room or personal devices.

Last year, the 158-room hotel in Amman’s business district introduced a first for Jordan with ‘digital Flip Flops’.

“Digital flip flops represent the latest wireless technology for the self-management of meetings and conferences, meaning you can swiftly display content direct-to-screen using a smart phone or other personal device,” ElChaar explained.

Other 2020 trends include mobile engagement, such as smart room keys and multi-channel communications.

However, ElChaar emphasised that while digital services are useful to guests, including voice commands and predictive speech, they would not replace direct contact with well-trained hospitality professionals.

“The digital era is an exciting time to be in the hospitality business and digital can be helpful, efficient and transformative. But nothing beats authentic 1-to-1 conversations.

“Corporate guests especially are often eager to get the first-hand insights of team members and we have noticed they are often tagging on an extra night or two to take in the sights.”

ElChaar said while the decade-old Ibis Amman is in the Jordanian capital’s business district it is in a picturesque spot increasing its interest to tourists as well as a location destination for film makers, fashion shoots and special celebrations. It also offers easy access to Jordan’s burgeoning healthcare sector, government offices and shopping districts.

And the GM noted that within the Kingdom, enhanced collaborative public-private sector efforts have resulted in the wider appeal of Jordan’s heritage sites from Ajloun Castle, the King Talal Dam or the bucket-list day trip to Petra.

“The travel trends for this year include culturally immersive experiences, and Jordan is full of such,” says ElChaar. “Indeed, the development of the many heritage sites, in tandem with the government’s open skies-open markets policy has greatly enhanced the Kingdom’s appeal to local, regional and international travellers.”

Last year the Ibis Amman achieved an average 71% occupancy, a figure ElChaar is looking to build on in 2020.

“My team has sights set on closing this year with a notable increase in occupancy as well as room rate. While we are focused on efficiency for the business guest, we are also launching combo packages to take advantage of Jordan’s Business-Vacation experience.”

The ibis Amman is one of the flagship properties of Action Hotels, the Dubai-based leading owner, developer and asset manager of branded three- and four-star hotels in prime locations throughout the Middle East and Australia. Action Hotels is often acclaimed as the pioneer in the region’s mid-economy sector currently with 14 properties, 12 flying an Accor flag.

Later this month, the Ibis Amman is also set to join Accor’s new global lifestyle loyalty programme, ALL Accor Live Limitless. The programme gives members access to Accor’s 34 brand portfolio across nearly 4,000 hotels in 110 countries with none of the black-out dates often associated with such programmes.

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