In focus: Burj Rafal Hotel

2 years ago by

In an exclusive interview with, Saeed A. Al-Aseeri, Hotel Manager at Burj Rafal in Riyadh talks about the brand values and the focus on customer happiness. He also highlights the extensive training programs in place for staff, the discount packages being offered and efforts being made to ensure guest safety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In focus: Burj Rafal Hotel

Q: Tell us a bit about Burj Rafal Riyadh and what sets you apart from your competitors in the hospitality sector in the capital?

Saeed A. Al-Aseeri: Burj Rafal Riyadh, A Marriott International Hotel is located in one of the most iconic buildings in Riyadh in the new part of town called New Riyadh. The hotel will soon become a first JW Marriott Hotel Riyadh, and the team and I are very excited to officially join the esteemed Marriott portfolio. At this stage, all of our restaurants and lobby are undergoing renovation, and our priority is to ensure minimal disruption and guest satisfaction during this transition. However, on daily basis I am truly inspired by my colleagues who ensure that guest satisfaction is our top priority. Adaptability is key in longevity, and this led to an outstanding year with several success stories, where the team was able to create unforgettable guest experiences during a rather challenging period. I am very proud of my team and we look forward to debuting the JW Marriott legacy and brand pillars of culture, culinary and well-being to the Kingdom.

Q: Can you highlight some of the facilities and amenities that you provide which enhance the guest experience?

Saeed A. Al-Aseeri: Currently, our facilities are limited as we make the transition to a JW Marriott property, however, one of the unique selling points of our hotel is the view, especially at night when the entire city lights up. Personally, I am eagerly awaiting the launch of the six Food & Beverage outlets once we are flagged as JW Marriott. We have been working on a number of concepts over the last year, and all I can disclose is that they are all very unique in their offerings and will be a great new addition to Riyadh’s dining scene.

Q: What is your philosophy when it comes to ensuring customer happiness? What feedback mechanisms do you have in place and how do you deal with the negative feedback from your guests?

Saeed A. Al-Aseeri:  Guest satisfaction is at the core of any successful hotel, and as a Marriott International hotel, we have a number of tools to help access and ensure our guests have the most pleasant stay- be it for business or leisure. With the Guest Satisfaction Survey that is shared with all guests as soon as they check-out, we are able to review service and quality and areas that require fine tuning. We hold regular meetings and review the scores with the Quality Manager to ensure an action plan is put in place. With the new facilities and unique culinary offering that our guests will be able to enjoy in the Q1 of 2022, we are certain that guest satisfaction will soar.

Q: Do you offer any loyalty programs or discount packages for your customers?

Saeed A. Al-Aseeri: We offer a number of packages for our guests, for examples, celebrations such as honeymoon, wedding anniversary, birthday, and graduation. Our Guest Relations team will be able to assist with the set up and ensure the celebration is flawless from start to finish.

Furthermore, we are proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy™, Marriott’s award-winning travel program. The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments and unparalleled benefits including earning points toward free hotel stays and nights toward Elite status recognition.

Q: Do you offer online customer support on your digital platforms and is this support 24/7?

Saeed A. Al-Aseeri: Our At Your Service (call center) is available to assist guests 24/7, whereas our social media platforms are monitored on a daily basis for prompt and thorough responses, and active community management. There is also a dedicated, 24/7 Marriott helpline that can also support the guests with all of their inquiries.

Q: In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, what are some of the changes and safety measures in place at your hotel?

Saeed A. Al-Aseeri: Right at the start of the pandemic, Marriott International created a series of standards that all of the hotels must adhere to. The Marriott Cleanliness Council was made to redefine the cleaning and safety standards, where the team actively monitors and evolves the solution to ensure a continued focus on the health and safety of our guests and associates, which we still practice to this day. To learn more, please visit Marriott Cleanliness Council | Marriott Bonvoy

Q: Do you have any staff training programs in place and what key soft skills do you focus on?

Saeed A. Al-Aseeri: Absolutely! Our training scheme is activated at every level, including the Senior Leadership team with the Leadership Performance Acceleration platform, where goals, personal development plan, as well as monthly progress is monitored. We also have an incredible online platform called Digital Learning Zone (DLZ) with hundreds of online trainings. Every associate in our hotel has a specialised development plan to assist with understanding departmental goals, as well as putting in a plan to assist with their career development. Everyone has access to DLZ and the management team of the hotel regularly encourages the team to spend 2-3 hours a week to complete trainings in their respective field or time management, giving feedback, emotional intelligence and so forth.

Q: How do you plan on making customer experience better in the future?

Saeed A. Al-Aseeri: We are very excited to be flagged as a JW Marriott Hotel Riyadh in Q1 of 2022. It is also going to be an important milestone for the portfolio of Marriott International in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With 6 bespoke F&B outlets, 349 rooms and suites, luxury spa, outstanding meeting space facilities and the support of a remarkable team of professionals with years of hospitality experience, we look forward to welcoming guests.

About Saeed A. Al-Aseeri

Saeed A. Al-Aseeri, Hotel Manager at Burj Rafal Riyadh, is an award-winning hotelier with over 25 years of experience in the hospitality field. Specializing in hotel operations Mr. Al-Aseeri is also a member of the Saudi Society for Tourism Accommodations as well as one of the renowned hospitality speakers approved by the Ministry of Tourism in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.