In focus: Swiss International Hotels & Resorts Middle East & North Africa

3 years ago by

In an exclusive interview with, Naji Alshiha the CEO at Swiss International Hotels & Resorts Middle East & North Africa, talks about the brand values and facilities which sets them apart from others in the industry. He also highlights the extensive feedback mechanism in place, the loyalty program being offered and efforts being made to ensure guest safety during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In focus: Swiss International Hotels & Resorts Middle East & North Africa

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

Naji: Today, Swiss International Hotels & Resorts is an international hotel company, with 30 hotels under agreement of which 14 are in operation. In addition, the company has 10 International Development & Representation Agreements in place with national hotel companies in 10 different geographic areas.

Our Mission/Vision/Values set us apart from our competitors in the hospitality sector. Living up to the reputation of Swiss Hospitality! To be different and recognized! And the VALUES:

“Much more than just a brand” and “Best in its Class” are the best ways to describe Swiss International Hotels & Resorts.

The eight values that Swiss International Hotels & Resorts honors are to be:


The values described are the corner stones of what true hospitality stands for. So many players in the industry have deleted some of these values in search of their company or personal objectives. To have all of these values returned into the way of our management is essential for all stakeholders of Swiss International at large.

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

Naji: Swiss International Brand comes with exclusive concepts for each category, like F&B Concepts, SWISS CAFÉ, TICINO and so on….Business Concepts like EVENTIVES and SWISS-FLEX, Leisure concept – INSPIRATIONS, also we have a Loyalty program for our discerning guests called SWISS SELECT and for bookers – SWISS DARLING.

Q: Tell us more about your loyalty program and discount packages.

Naji: Through our loyalty program, “SWISS SELECT” guests can earn points for each Riyal spent at the hotel and they are rewarded with redemption partners, around the globe from hotels to airlines to shopping.

Our hotels often create promotions and discount packages for different events and festivals and they are promoted on all our social media channels, email & SMS campaigns and so on.

Q: Please share with us the customer journey at your hotel from the moment a guest enters till they check out?

Naji: As we are living in a pandemic period, we have taken utmost care for the guests to feel safe and secure, with all the safety measures from the entrance to the lobby, we have installed Sanitizers, Masks and Gloves for the guests to use before arriving at the Reception Counter, where they are welcomed with Cold Towels, Candies and a Welcome Drink. Keeping in mind the social distancing and risk factors, the Front Desk Crews do a quick check-in, where the guest is taken to the room by the Bell Captain where he briefly describes the facilities of the hotel and the contacts to reach them.

During the stay, our duty manager makes sure to call the guests to know their experience at the hotel and to attend to their needs if any. Check-out is also promptly done to ensure that safety is followed at all times.

Q: What steps do you take to ensure customer happiness?

Naji: Customer satisfaction is our main objective and we push our boundaries to be different and recognized. We have SWISS SELECT LOUNGE for loyalty members, where they are considered as VIP guests at all times even before check-in and after check-out. Our database reads guests birthdays and anniversaries where we surprise our guests with gifts.

Q: What processes do you have in place to gather feedback from guests?

Naji: We have a wonderful tool called SWISS REP, where guest reviews are answered within 24 hours, received from various channels in one platform. The SWISS REP also has a survey system, where guests receive an email from SWISS REP Satisfaction Survey, immediately upon check-out. With this tool the hotel management is able to identify the weaknesses and problems of each department and rectify immediately.

In addition to the above, we also have comment cards placed at the reception counter, rooms and in our outlets. As stated earlier, we ensure the General Manager or Duty Manager attends to the guests during his/her stay or upon check-out.

Q: How are you incorporating the latest technology to make the customer experience better?

Naji: We ensure all our hotels are equipped with high Wi-Fi connections. In the rooms there is a smart system present. A digital survey through SWISS REP tool is provided where guests can share reviews anywhere, anytime. Also we are working to incorporate online check-in and self-check-in facilities in the near future.

Q: What kind of changes are you bringing about at your hotel in light of Covid-19?

Naji: This is a very significant question, as we are already in midst of the Covid-19 season. Our hotels are strictly following all guidelines from Ministry of Health and WHO. We have Sanitizers, Masks and Gloves in all our public areas. We ensure that temperature is checked at each hotel entrance.

Swiss International has come up with SOP’s to tackle the present environment, also we have relevant posters in all our public areas. Hotels have been provided checklists to fill, where they were awarded with ECO-VITAL LIFESTYLE Certificate from Swiss International Hotels & Resorts, which has been placed at the hotel lobby, for the guests to see and feel comfort on the safety measures followed.

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

Naji: Yes, we have many staff training programs on daily, quarterly and annual basis.

We have On-Job Training program conducted every day by the department heads with the SOP’s and the attendance shared with Area Office. Likewise, we have a monthly training program for the Front Office Team. We have a very effective program for Service Crew called “SWISS WAY” where each champion of the hotel does trainings on batches on Quarterly basis. In this program, attendees are awarded with certificates.

Also, we have Swiss International Hospitality Academy where the training is provided to all General Managers and Area Office with License Formula Management Training, GM’s Certification Course etc.

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

Naji: We focus on Guest Reviews as we always believe Reputation is equal to Revenue. Therefore, our main aim is to achieve the GRI (i.e Global Review Index above 80%) among competitors.

Through SWISS REP program, General Managers can create cases for the concerned department heads for the poor reviews to take immediate action and come up with a solution within a given timeframe.  We are also working on many such programs where social distancing is maintained without any compromise on the hospitality. We are also talking to suppliers about digital programs to be installed at the hotel premises, where guest safety and comfort is kept on a higher priority.

About Naji Alshiha

Naji Alshiha is the CEO, Swiss International Hotels & Resorts. He holds a degree in Hotel Management from Chur University -Switzerland.