The recently-concluded 2019 IAAF World Athletic Championships in Doha underlines the country’s rigorous preparations as it anticipates the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, according to Ziad Mallah, director of Sales and Marketing at Sharq Village & Spa, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel Doha.
“These championships are serving as a healthy build-up to not only the reputation for the destination but also a business base for the hospitality sector that is a large contributor towards revenue being generated,” he told Gulf Times.
Mallah said Qatar provided sufficient accommodation for delegates from various countries around the world – a testament of its preparedness in hosting an event of such magnitude, complementing the demand during that period. He added that the World Athletic Championships served as an opportunity for luxury hotels in particular to capitalise on increasing visibility for their brand to some of the visitors, “which necessarily constitute as ambassadors of their (respective) countries, thereby increasing positive reviews for the hotel through word-of-mouth.”
The prestigious event was held between September 27 and October 6 in Doha, welcoming around 2,000 athletes from more than 200 countries competing in 49 sports disciplines. “The city business has seen close to ‘sell-out’ dates through this duration and food and beverage revenues too have soared significantly at most hotels,” Mallah noted, highlighting the positive impact of the competition to Qatar’s hospitality and retail sectors.
Apart from having a varied portfolio with a range of select and full service to ultra-luxury brands in the market, Mallah said a big factor that hotels can adopt in making these international events memorable for visitors is to infuse the rich local heritage of Qatar in every aspect to suit their guest profile. “Ranging from a warm traditional ‘welcome’ to arranging personalised guided city tours for visitors to imbibe the sights and sounds of the destination fully,” he said. “Impressing with a memorable personalised amenity reminiscent of their stay to regional and international options at dining venues, customised to the guests’ liking.”
Mallah stressed that guests travelling for these kinds of events need to be shown a touch of the local flavour, without forgetting their adaptability capacity at the same time. “Hotels in Doha must endeavour to make ‘a home away from home’ for these special guests.”
He described Qatar as “a bold nation with a very strong global voice”, resonating with its decision to open doors and host an event of such a large magnitude to be attended and viewed by millions of people from all over the world.
“It is this vision and forward-thinking practice that has shaped the country into a modern traveller’s delight, with all the treasures of the past safeguarded at the same time,” Mallah said. “From a tourism standpoint, every aspect of infrastructure and visa service flexibility is in favour of making inbound travel a much smoother process in the current scenario.”