Friday, December 19, 2008

Bellboy (not Hellboy)

I became a bellboy one day two weeks ago. The actual bellboy was busy with other guests and there was only one receptionist at the front desk. Onena (pronounced wanna), the receptionist, called me that she needed somebody from sales department to “assist” guest with their luggages.

She looked very busy, and decided to rush to our office. “Mo, can you please assist our guests at the lobby?”

“Are they long term or transient?” I asked detail.

“No, they are check-in,” Onena replied.


“You know, I am the only one here and I am checking-in other guests and William is with other guests, upstairs. I already check-in the guests in the system and they are waiting for somebody to carry the luggage” she explained quickly.

“If I am free, I will do it. Please, Mo…” she asked.
“Wow, you mean you want me to be a bellboy?”

“Please..,” she was bagging

Only need one second, then I decided to rush to the lobby. I saw people moving around, there was only Onena standing behind reception desk, busy with Opera and there was a group of Saudis flocked right her eyes.

“Onena, where is the guests,” I asked.

“Please, this way,” she pointed me to a family who was sitting down at one of the sofas at the lobby.

They are Saudis, I guess. They are family, a parent with two kids. The father gave me his car key and told me to take the luggages from his car. I went out and trying to press the key. After couple times of pressing the unlock button and pointing it to some cars, I found a vey fancy car blinked its light. Sound like zeed…zeed, very quick.

Wow, a fancy car…
I did not realize that the father was following me until he showed me how to open the trunk when I experience difficulty to open that big ranger car. It is a really big, I guess it’s hammer or something like that.

I pull the bag, and lift it and carry to the lobby. Onena told me the room was 1073. Or 1-07-3 means... tower 1, floor 7, apartment number 3.

I brought them to the tower one and going inside to the elevator. They didn’t talk much, until I started greeting and talking with them, the kids were so cute. They were quite impressed with my spoken Arabic. You know, my English is not good and my Arabic is terrible, what a perfect combination, hahaha….

Then we reached the 7th floor. I pleased and directed them to the apartment, opened the door and left the luggages at the living area. And as usual, as a sales person I automatically explained the facilities, blah… blah… blah… I did not realized that I was a bellboy at that time, until we had a handshake and I found 5 Saudi Riyals at my palm.

I was so surprised… wow, he tips me..!

I suddenly remembered on our spirit to sales basic no 1 “Even the GM has to pick up the phone” then I told myself…. Alright, I have also spirit to serve of mine… “Even a salesperson has to be a bellboy…” At your service...!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Made in Indo

One friend told me there is a new mall open recently in Manama. It is City Centre. Located around seef area, Manama, Bahrain. It is said by far the biggest shopping mall in Bahrain.

I was excited to visit the mall, until one day during my three eid days off, I grabbed Teruna and Sebastian to go to the mall. It is really big for Bahrain. Much bigger compare with Seef Mall and other department stores, here in tiny Bahrain.

We visited some outlets, mainly electronic stores, like virgin and charaf. You know, all of us like to update with new gadgets… Teruna and Sebastian were so excited with then new release blackberry and Ipod touch. I just stayed cool, not to show that I also really wanted to have that gadgets…, but I we didn’t buy. Just look around..

Then we drop by Nike and North Face. Teruna was the first to be exuberant. “Wow, North face is here,” he shouted.

“I don’t believe, this must be abal-abal,” replied Sebastian. He didn’t trust this brand is original.

“Of course it is original. Look at the price, can you afford it,” Teruna yelled at him.

“Ok, I will buy one, this jacket. Yeah, this is cool man,” Bastian grabbed one North Face jacket and showed to us.

I said, “Cool down, man. Don’t scream, check the price tag. It is BD 200”

I don’t care the price, next month I will buy it, once I got my salary, heheha..” Bastian laughed.

But one second later, his face changed. Something wrong, I thought…

He was still starring at the price tag.

“See, this is an expensive brand, man…,” Teruna tried to advise him.

“No, it is not about the price… It is made in Indonesia..!” Bastian showed the text at the bottom of one of the tags.

Wow, we are so surprised… North Face made in Indonesia? I couldn’t believe it until I took some other clothes. I looked at also a bag. Yes, it is true, made in Indonesia.

“Then I won’t buy,” Sebastian said. “Me too,” Teruna agreed.

I said, why?
Cause we buy it to send home to Indonesia.

Yeah, you’re rite..!

Finally we left the outlet. We decided no to buy the brand, not because we are not proud of our product but, it seems funny to send home something that we actually have it in our country.

This experience re-occurred when we visited Nike and some shoe shops. Beside Thailand and China, most of Nike products are Made in Indonesia. You dont believe it? Just visit City Centre Manama.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Marriott Now in Town

First Check-In at the Marriott Executive Apartments in Bahrain

Manama, Bahrain - November 28, 2008The Marriott Executive Apartments Bahrain has officially checked in its first guests, November 27, 2008 at 11.24 am local time. Mr. Joseph Richards and his family were greeted by the entire pre-opening team and the General Manager Hossein Garan. “It is a remarkable day for us and Marriott International as we are herewith opening the first Marriott property in Bahrain.”

The soft opening period will officially start today, November 28, 2008.

First Check-in: Mr. Joseph Richards and his family were welcomed by (from right) General Manager Hossein Garan, Director of Sales Marwan Haddad, and Director of Rooms Operations Teodor Ardeleanu.

The Marriott Executive Apartments Manama Bahrain is strategically located in Al Fateh/Juffair, near to the diplomatic area, the city’s financial district, Bahrain International Airport and Bahrain International Investment Park. The luxury serviced apartment hotel offers 188 elegantly appointed one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments overlooking the Kingdom skyline and Arabian Gulf as well as Skyw@lk café, gym and swimming pool.

# # #

Marriott Executive Apartments, the upscale serviced apartment brand of Marriott International (NYSE: MAR) will nearly double in size in the next 36 months to respond to a growing need in many emerging markets for long-term stay lodging for executive expatriates needing spacious housing and hotel amenities. Including Bahrain, Marriott operates 17 Marriott Executive Apartments in 14 countries outside the U.S., and 14 more hotels are planned in countries such as Qatar, Thailand, Egypt, China, India, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.


MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) is a leading lodging company with more than 3,100 lodging properties in the United States and 66 other countries and territories. Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Bulgari brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club, Horizons by Marriott Vacation Club, The Ritz-Carlton Club and Grand Residences by Marriott brands; operates Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott ExecuStay division; and operates conference centers. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., and had approximately 151,000 employees at 2007 year-end. It is ranked as the lodging industry’s most admired company and one of the best companies to work for by FORTUNE®, and has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the 2007 Sustained Excellence Award and Partner of the Year since 2004. In fiscal year 2007, Marriott International reported sales from continuing operations of $13 billion. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Marriott Team Gets Started with “In the Beginning Orientation”

Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain, has recently completed a three-day training course and orientation for associates. More than 100 team members participated in the seminar, which included group discussions, workshops, gatherings, games and energizers. The event was the kick off to prepare the Marriott team for its soft opening, scheduled on the November 28, 2008.

Members of Bahrain Marriott pre opening team pose together forming letter “M” for MARRIOTT in front of the premises on the last day of the training.

General Manager Hossein Garan said, “The orientation In the Beginning is one of the essential developing tools that Marriott uses to promote the companies heritage and culture, as well as education on how to be a Marriott Ambassador. The aim is to ensure that we, as a team, are the perfect hosts for our residents and guests.”

Areas of learning included the Marriott history, culture, hospitality, guest skills, Marriott International’s vision and mission as well as local area information.

“We believe in training and its important role in achieving our business goals. We do encourage associates in continuous learning process from day one. We focus on building, sharpening and developing skills in order to achieve career goals,” said Loay Mamdouh, Human Resources Manager at the Marriott Executive Apartments Bahrain.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Today's Lesson: Brand Voice

Today, I learn something new during my traning program with Marriott. The program told me about the meaning of Brand Voice.

According to Marriott Extranet, Brand Voice is the combination of the "tangibles" and "intangibles" that together create and communicate a brand's personality. It's the products, the services, the communications, the collateral.

Each brand has a unique brand voice that reflects the personality and positioning of the brand. What it sounds like. What it looks like. What it feels like.

The Brand Voice infuses everything we do for a brand, down to the smallest detail. How we interact with the guest, what the in-room collateral looks like, the color schemes, and the music we play -- it's all Brand Voice!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


The distinctive Bahrain apartment hotel will cater to executive expat travelers

Built for business, the Marriott Executive Apartments Manama will be the first Marriott International (NYSE:MAR) branded hotel to operate in Bahrain when it opens in December 2008. The exclusive Bahrain apartment hotel ( is designed for extended-stay business travellers and long family holidays, offering 188 beautifully appointed one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments overlooking the Kingdom skyline and Arabian Gulf. It is strategically located in the Al Fateh/Juffair, near the diplomatic area, the city’s financial district, Bahrain International Airport and Bahrain International Investment Park.

At the Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain each apartment is furnished to be a home away from home, with elegantly appointed bedrooms with ensuite bath, an entertainment center, fully equipped kitchen and high-speed Internet, satellite television, DVD and CD players. Five-star amenities include dual-voltage electrical outlets, direct incoming and outgoing telephone line, cordless speaker phones, private voicemail accessible from outside, interactive TV, wired and wireless internet connection, housekeeping services, room service, grocery shopping and dry cleaning service.

A fully serviced apartment hotel, the Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain, offers its residents a private area -- the Resident’s Lounge – to unwind or socialise with other residents. The monthly residents’ hospitality events and social activities will allow guests and their families to develop a sense of community in their executive expat home. In addition to the Residents Lounge, recreation and leisure facilities include the fully equipped “Sky Fitness” health club and rooftop swimming pool, steam room and sauna.

Dining options at the Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain include room service and the Skyw@lk Café serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests can also enjoy a Grab-N-Go option, providing an ideal solution for business travellers on the go.

For reservations, contact the Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain:
telephone:+973 (17) 363 999; fax: +973 (17) 363 888; e-mail:; web site

Monday, November 3, 2008

Being MARRIOTT way

This is the first time I post an article on this ugly blog since 2 months ago. There were many things happened to me, most of them were great things, happiness.. and I enjoyed my times. One of the most remarkable events, to me, is to be part of Marriott family.

Why do I say “family” Because the company treats me like member of family. In some cases, they pamper associates like baby. They rally do take care us, because the Marriott philosophy is “Marriott takes care associate, then the associate will take care guests and finally, the guest will come back to the Marriott.”

Yes, it is just like a circle..! and not only that, Marriott put associates in a very important level, even in its core value. What are they?

Spirit to serve guests,
Spirit to serve associates,
...and spirit to serve communities.

I joined the company just recently but I can see how much they respect and appreciate me. You see, they put us on the second number, after the customers. What a great company..!

For more detail, please read below fact or go further with the website (

Marriott International, Inc (MAR:NYSE) is a leading worldwide hospitality company with more than 2,700 lodging properties, totaling approximately 499,000 rooms, including more than 10,000 vacation ownership villas, in the United State and 66 other countries and territories. The company is headquartered in Washington, D.C. It is ranked as the lodging industry’s most admired company and one of the best places to work for by Fortune magazine. In fiscal year 2005, Marriott International reported sales from continuing operations of 11.6 billion, and the company had approximately 143,000 employees at year-end 2005.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

War to Corruption!

I am very happy today to read one of the GDN’s (Gulf Daily News) headlines: “Bahrain wages corruption war”.

It is stated that Bahrain will carry out a study on level of corruption in the government, private sector and among political groups. It is the first time of its kind in the Kingdom. I just like it..! What do you call that, a transparent report?

Yes, and I agree that the report is vital to expose corruption and its publication will boost the confidence of foreign investors.

And what I am proud of this matter is that Bahrain does it without involvement of any foreign institution..!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Tourism is booming in Bahrain. Yes, the Booming Bahrain (BB). This industry is becoming one of the leading sectors to boost the country’s economic development. Both government and private sector have been enjoying benefits of this smokeless industry, such as bringing in foreign exchange, increasing trade, creating employment and improving the country’s visibility abroad.

Choosing tourism as the main sector is based on the growing trend (in the region) to diversify economy. Bahrain just simply copied UAE, which one step forward success in managing tourism. Those GCC countries realize its need to reduce high dependency on oil sector and moreover planned to diversify its economy. They believe that one day, they can not depend on oil anymore and therefore, since now they are preparing to find other alternatives: TOURISM.

And, as a trend of international travel, tourism is increasing in almost every part of the world. Tourism is becoming one of the most promising sectors to improve economy. With this in mind, the Bahrain government has been seeking to tap into the Kingdom’s tourism potential as a key pillar of its diversification policy.

The country has been witnessing a rapid increase in the number of visitors in the past few years. Arrivals by foreign nationals reached a record of 7.5 million in 2006, up from about 6.6 million in 2005 and 3.33 million in 2000. The government has set an ambitious target to double tourism revenues and increase the sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP to 10% by 2014. From hospitality subsector only, tourism has given $1.5 billion to Bahrain economy and investment. The Kingdom’s hospitality sector is poised to enjoy healthy growth rates, where hoteliers in other parts of the world can only dream about.

Bahrain is also keen to establish the country as a tourism hub in the region. This keenness is endorsed by the fact that private sector initiatives, with over $10 billion in tourism projects in the pipeline, will help to offer enough rooms at any given time, especially during global events like Formula One Grand Prix.

And the F1 Grand Prix itself, has been increasing visitor numbers from outside the region, particularly Europe and the US. The event attracts nearly 100.000 visitors in three days and contributes $548 million to the Kingdom’s economy in 2008.

In the future, 50 high profile projects at value $22 billion are underway such as the City Centre, Marina West, Durrat Al Bahrain, Al Jazair Beach, Bahrain Bay, Diyar Al Muharraq and scores of new international chain luxury hotels, lead the kingdom to be one of the most favourite business and leisure destinations in the Middle East.

Data from Tourism Affair of Ministry of Information showed eighteen international hotels are under construction that will support Bahrain tourism with additional 4,500 starred rooms. These rooms will need approximately 3,600 employees, working directly for the hotel. And, by its multiplier effect, the new hotels will absorbs roughly 10,000 indirect workers from various sectors. Can you imagine that..!

What about Indonesia? As I explained earlier, while Bahrain is now enjoying the growth, other parts of the world like Bali, Batam, Bunaken and Lombok can only dream about. Again, it’s gloomy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Market Segments for Bahrain Hotel Industry

Today, the market for travel and leisure activities is growing throughout the GCC countries. Business travellers are also predicted to grow significantly in the next coming years.

Saudis account for the vast majority of visitors to Bahrain, who are attracted to the country largely because of its traditionally liberal attitudes to entertainment, leisure and recreation attraction. More than three-quarters of visitors to Bahrain enter via the King Fahd Causeway from Saudi Arabia. However, competition from Dubai for high-spending European visitors is intense. In 2006, Bahrain had 7.5 million visitors, with average tourist stays only two nights, reflecting the prevalence of weekend visits.

Based on my study, below are the major segments of tourism and travel market in Bahrain. I think, the characteristic will be applicable for other GCC countries. The segment market for tourism and travel industry is generally divided into four categories, business travellers, leisure travellers, F1 season and weekend excursionist.

Business travellers are divided into two sub-segments. They are individual business travellers and grouped business travellers. Individual business normally consists of people who travel from GCC countries to visit Bahrain for business purposes, and some percentage of European businessmen who have regular meeting with clients. Mostly they are executives or top management in the company who travel frequently to Bahrain. Some of them are owners of small to medium scale enterprises whom due to expansion of the company, they need to travel aboard.

Grouped business travellers have large proportion to fill up the market share in Bahrain MICE industry. Under “corporate account”, most hotels in Bahrain put a special attention to attract this market. Generally, corporate account is divided in a 10 percent from government and 90 percent from private companies. A 50 percent of private sector is supplied from companies in Bahrain, 30 percent from Saudi Arabia, and the rest is distributed from other GCC countries. This segment is used to using room and banquet services.

In addition, Bahrain is a host for international business events such as exhibition, conference and expo. Bahrain hosts 20 to 25 local and world’s scale events every year, which attracts a huge number of both individual and group business travellers. A 20 percent of the current market segment of Novotel Al Dana Resort is derived from people who attend those events. Although most of them do not spend expenses for banquet service, but their expenditure in room and F&B is considerable valuable contribution for the total sales.

Leisure travellers are classified into two sub-segments; individual leisure and family. Individual leisure travellers are mainly young people from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and UAE. They travel purely for vacation and wish to enjoy holiday packages offered by travel agencies or visit family, shop and relax in the less restricted social environment, such as alcohol, cinema and even illegal prostitution.

Bahrain has been also famous as a family oriented destination. The family segment usually contains of the parent and two children or more. This segment usually visits Bahrain during school holidays and especially summer time which normally happens in July to August, yearly. Some families also tend to spend their vacation during weekends and other public holidays such as Christmas, Ied Fitr, New Year, and Valentine.

Weekend Excursionists are one of potential customers for most hotels in the kingdom. They are mostly categorized into three major groups, young couple or young people, family and expatriates. They do not use the room but spend noteworthy expenses in F&B service, leisure and recreation facilities.

Bahrain has maintained a pro-Western stance since independent. There are roughly 8,500 British expatriates in Bahrain, employed mainly in finance, construction and the government. Other European and American nationals have contributed significant numbers of expatriates living in Bahrain, making themselves as potential market for hotel and leisure sector.

F1 season is one of the greatest events that everyone expects in Bahrain. With over $540 million entering the economy during the Grand Prix, Bahrain has emerged as a focal point in the marriage of sport and business. The F1 Grand Prix has a huge impact to the room sales of all hotels and lodging properties in Bahrain. Since the last four years, Hotels in the kingdom have enjoyed double price of its room rates solely for F1 teams such as Renault, Ferrari, BMW Sauber and the F1 spectators not only from GCC countries but also countries around the world.

According to FIA Formula One World Calendar, Bahrain will continue hosting the prestigious event till 2016. This is good for the region and hotel industry in term of entertainment, business and tourism. The revenue for hotels during the F1 season is forecasted to double within 3 coming years.

On the final note, as an hotelier who is currently working in Bahrain and experienced working with Bali Tourism Board, I am just jealous to know Bahrain tourism is booming with tourist arrival reaches more than 8 millions in 2005. All the market segments are drastically increase year by year and are predicted to grow progressively in the next 5 coming years. While Indonesia, with more resources and lots of beautiful places of interests can only attract 5 millions international visits. It's gloomy...

Monday, July 7, 2008

my little cute model

Let me introduce my new little model. Her name is Isabelle from Austria. I met her and her mom on the Novotel's beach one day couple weeks ago. They were on vacation at our hotel. I saw her was playing alone on the beach and I was interested to shoot her as my model for our weekend ad. The idea was to depict a family who is enjoying weekend with leisure and recreation activities.

I met the mom and asked whether she could give us permission to use her daughter as a model for our promotional visual. The mom agreed but it was pretty difficult to encourage the girl act in front of my lens. Isabelle might think i was a stranger so that she initially did not want to show her "move". But after couple of minutes playing with her, this charming and smart girl showed her exuberant shouts. She was so excited when I gave her a dolfi toy. She even splashed the brine to me, lucky not to my camera. Kids sometimes are unpredictable. Take a look at her exhilarating photos below. She's so cute, isnt she.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

First Impression

It’s just similar with winning somebody’s heart, to win your customers, you must get them impressive at the first sight. Particularly in the hospitality industry, first impression is very important. Staff at the Front Office (FO) Department will play significant role to make the guest imposed. Whether receptionist, bell desk, porter, or pick up driver, he or she must be careful even when the first time they greet the guest.

Remember, if a guest is already happy with our treatment when they meet our staff during the airport pickup, or during check in process, I am sure the guest will have good comments on the rest of our services and facilities, even though, he finally experience some unpleasant services, perhaps in one of the restaurants. The guest will easily forget it. The guest will say, ”It’s ok, the receptionist is friendly, they are nice.”

But when the guest has already experienced distasteful treatment for example during check in, or he complains about hotel’s driver who is unfriendly, or he met an unhelpful staff at the airport, I am sure the guest will have bad judgment for the rest of his/her stay. Although later on, we deliver excellent service at the restaurant or we give him special service when ordering some snacks at the pool bar. He will not easily appreciate it, because he is already upset at the beginning. What is in his/her mind is just negative thinking, and that’s normal.

One thing is important. Generally, a complaint about bad service is more difficult to handle compared with a complaint about bad facilities. For example, if one guest complains about not cooling AC in the room, it is easy to solve. Just call the engineering staff and fix it or if need to replace with new AC, recommend the guest to move to another room while the staff is repairing the AC. Express an apology and that’s it, finish.

But there will be a big story if we do not take care the guest’s request, if we delay the job, or if we serve them without pride. What the guest needs actually only “there must be somebody assist him and deliver his request immediately”. If we do not show our “good will”, that we really care about him, that we want to help him, the guest will simply think that we just ignore him. Then the story will be more complicated and the case will be difficult to solve, although we offer him a free room night.

It means, complaint about attitude is considerably hard to handle rather than problem with malfunction on facility (let say a window which doesn’t work properly). I don’t say that there will be no big deal when there is something wrong with coffee machine, but we can repair it immediately. Surely, it is a big problem if there is a guest complains about attitude of one of our staffs. Believe me.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Summer FUNtastic a la Novotel

Summer is heating the Kingdom, and Novotel Al Dana Resort is celebrating the season. The resort which recently gained a gold trophy in the Best Leisure Hotel category of MENA Travel Awards 2008, is offering one stop leisure activity, making sure every guest experience memorable summer holiday.

Either you spend your nights or just visiting the resort for weekend excursion, Novotel’s summer experience begins from its uniquely resort atmosphere and warm greetings from the attentive staff. The resort’s spacious Arabian style rooms are the comfy mansion to hide away from hectic routines, while other facilities are set to make your holiday dreams come true.

Chill out the heat at the resort’s large swimming pool and let the friendly staff serve you with varied selections of drinks and snacks. While you are laying down under the shaded blooms of brightly coloured garden, your partners are enjoying sumptuous brunch by the pool. A barbecue station is prepared every weekend to complement wide range of scrumptiously International, Arabic and Seafood menu. All are freshly cooked to meet your enjoyment.

For fitness enthusiasts and health conscious individuals, Al Dana Sport & Leisure Centre presents one of the most advanced and well-equipped gyms in town. You have many choices to fill up the summer holiday with activities at the fitness studio, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and even massage therapy. If you are family traveller, our indoor and outdoor kids club will exhilarate your children’s exuberant.

If you like sunbathing, you could get a perfect tan by relaxing at the resort’s private beach. And there the action starts, where you splash the brine and slither down the sand, punctuated by laughter and screams of excitement. Then challenge your partners to ride jet ski, banana boat, kayak and other adventurous water sports. It’s truly FUNtastic.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Bahrain's Business Friendly

As the economic development in Bahrain is growing rapidly, tourism in the kingdom is also booming. Bahrain is keen to establish its tourism sector as one of the key drivers of its economic development with ambition to become a tourism hub in the region.

The government has been ambitiously supporting the private sector to invest over $10 billion in tourism and leisure projects which are currently in the pipeline. Of course, later on, those new projects will offer enough rooms at any given time, especially during global events like Formula One Grand Prix. Everyone knows, during F1 season is like during Haj season in Macca, where visitors face difficulties to book even a single room, due to its limited availability and high occupancy in all hotels throughout the country.

Another initiative to complement current inbound-tourism activity is by attracting global seminars, meetings and conferences into the kingdom. Data from Bahrain International and Convention Centre (BIECC) statistics shows a sharp upward trend in term of business and occupancy for conferences in 2007.

The MICE industry (meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition) fetched $280 billion. The ambition to attract more MICE market is not only pioneered by the Ministry of Information and Tourism, but also fully backup by the Economic Development Board who has recently launched the country’s latest destination brand “Business Friendly”. I think Bali and other tourism authorities in Indonesia should learn from this fact.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Racing Ad

I like these ads. There are unique, distributed during F1 season, couple months ago. To me, this ad supported Bahrain as one of the world's sport destinations, and of course an international tourist destination. Any comment?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Love it..!

just love this article. thanks Asma and Stan for the great job you've done. Excellent... Appreciate it!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Let me Get Back

It has been long time, i guess i dont update this blog. I dont share many things i witnessed. I feel like lazy to upload any news, although there are lots of happings i wish to write.

There are atleast three major things happened to me. I recently got promotion, to be a PR Manager. Then also I lost my notebook, which means i lost all my files, my important documents. God, please tell him/her to return all data in drive D. He can take the rest. hehehe... impossible thing.!

I attended BITE (Bahrain International Travel Expo), together with Marcia, my friend at sales and marketing dept. I wish i can write a feature on it. I like to share how Bahrain, Malaysia and Dubai working together to boost tourism and investment in their country.

yup, lets see later...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


After telephone conversation, people here will be surprised when they meet me at the first time.

my name is mohammad iqbal which is pakistani name or arabic name, whether my face is like philippino. My dialect? of course indonesian english. my arabic pronounciation is just terrible.

mostly they ask, "where are you from?"
No, guess again.!
"hmm.., you speak different from most philippinos," he gave up.
because i am Indonesian.
"i see"

another case...
"who is incharge for marketing?" receptionist will tell the guest my name. the guest thinks i am bahraini. when the guest meet me they think i am philippino. When I start speaking, they just wonder.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Large Waiting Room

I have been waiting for the day.

"but it's too long, too hard for me."

"promise me we can make it!"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Work, work and work...

Hm.. been hectic with my job. Daily routines...

Work, work, and work... no time for even blog walking... howcome?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Kubica, Yes...!

“It was not easy behind Kimi, I just push him when I can,” statement from my favourite F1 diver Robert Kubica following his result on the third place today’s race.

Kubica, F1’s first polish driver, snapped a Ferrari-Mc Laren monopoly on the top spot and boosted BMW Sauber’s 2008 title aspirations after claiming pole position for yesterday’s Bahrain Grand Prix. But eventually, Ferrari is the winner.

For the second time, Felipe Massa won the prestigious Bahrain grand prix. Last year race, he was in the pole. Today, the second place is Kimi Raikkonen, who was always blocking Kubica particularly during the last laps. As he said, it is too hard for Kubika to get even the second position.

To me, he was just not lucky because he had “not good start” at the beginning. “Yeah, I got good start and he (Kubica) got bad start,” said Massa to medias.

What’s happen to Hamilton? I saw him banged another driver. The last position I saw him was 14. Then, I didn’t see him anymore. In fact, he was in the second row at the starting grid. Too bad.

Anyway, I guess Kubica and his MBW team will host another party tonite. And everyone in this hotel will go crazy to serve them.

Kubica with his team (BMW Sauber) at one party before the race

my boss, GM Novotel with Kubica at our resort.

Fernando Alonso with my DoP Romano

Maya and Giancarlo Fisichella

Nick Heidfeld enjoys drink by the pool

front: Hassan of Bahrain, Nick of BMW, Safras of Sri Lanka
back: achute of Nepal, Roka of Morocco

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Due to the excellent results achieved on the first quarter of the current year, GM was pleased to entertain us.

We went to Jaradah island, a very small island here. Although it's windy, but we had fun. We enjoyed boat trip, bbq, games, kite boarding, swimming, sunbathing, etc.

Take look at pictures below. You'll like it.

kite boarding

Elvis prepares kite boarding; ready to launch.

somebody help me..!

all crew

GM, me and Elvis

ran bahadur and me

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

F1 Ad

I name this ad as a destination ad, because the exposure is internationally spread.
This is one of collaterals in Bahrain current destination campaign, kind of marketing effort to sell Bahrain tourism through sport. I also enjoyed watching the tv version, it’s amazing.

BIC (Bahrain International Circuit) is really proud of this ad, which I think is not that nice. Why do they show some landmarks at the background? Why do they show photographers? What identity do they want to show?

But I like the three young ladies. They are all pretty, even though not very Arabic. They are more to Mediterranean. With pictures of some beautiful female models, it will attract more attention. Compare with the other ad showing two Arabic looking men, to me it’s not eye catching. Why do they carry Bahrain flag? It’s like over nationalism rather then patriotism. What? Do they want to go for war?

The slogan, “Our Race” or “Sabaquna” (in Arabic) is very strong, I like it. The BIC tower with Bahrain flag is a good idea, I like also putting the stage, showing spectators make it more lively.

A friend told me, this ad is another kind of woman exploitation. I asked why? He said, because there was no even a single female driver to compete in the race. I replied there were lots of beautiful-sexy sunbrella girls during the race.

He whispered, “You know, all men are basically like to exploit opposite sex, that’s why I like this ad…”

What the Fu*%@!..!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Feel the F1 Spirit

The world-class motorsports event that has everyone on the edge of their seats is fast
approaching, with the Formula One fever spreading across the kingdom.

The Novotel Al Dana Resort welcomes all participants, and is proud to announce that once again it is to be one of the official hotels for F1 teams such as Renault F1 and BMW Sauber.

Formula One racing is all about speed, shrill levels of engine roar and tight competition, but after a whole day of adrenaline-fuelled driving, where do the drivers escape to? The Novotel Al Dana Resort is the perfect place to rest those weary bones, where everyone can enjoy the luxurious settings of a resort, dine out by the beach or simply relax in the elegant lounge bar.

The resort features an exclusive pristine beach and majestic Arabian-style rooms overlooking a tranquil sea setting. It is a peaceful enclave where F1 participants and spectators can relax and experience Arabian hospitality.

Giancarlo Fisichella, Heikki Kovalainen, and Nelson Piquet of Renault F1, and Robert Kubika of BMW Sauber, are well-known names in F1 racing who have had the pleasure of experiencing this bliss, and have acquired the taste to revisit for more.

You can be assured that the Novotel has the finesse and panache to represent the kingdom for
the biggest event of the year.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Accor's GM get Together

Accor’s hotel General Managers across Saudi Arabia and Sudan recently completed a three days meeting at Novotel Al Dana Resort. The 21 hotel’s GM and Accor Directors discussed some critical issues in the field of hospitality industry, particularly on finance management.

The meeting was combined with hotel familiarization and sightseeing in some places in Bahrain, Dammam and Al Khobar, KSA. A special dinner was hosted by the management of Mercure Grand Hotel Seef at Neyran Restaurant and a Gala Dinner was held at Al Yacout Moroccan Restaurant to welcome the participants.

Accor group is an Eropean leader in hotels and tourism, a global leader in corporate services, operates in nearly 100 countries with 160,000 employees. It offers to it's individual and corporate clients nearly 40 years of expertise in its core business. Accor's hotels includes over 4,000 hotels and 475,000 rooms of Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure, Suitehotel, Adagio, Ibis, All Seasons, Etap, Formule 1, Motel 6, Studio 6, and Thalassa brands around the world.

Seen in the picture, KSA & Sudan General Managers pose together at the Novotel Al Dana Resort, Bahrain. Picture was taken before lunch on the second day of the meeting.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter 2008

We celebrate Easter, today. Hotel is fully book as well as Zytoun, the Mediterranean Resto we have. Everyone enjoyed the feast. The parent, kids and staff.
There were games and gifts for Kids, they are so funny and cutes. I coldn't stand watching them, I grabbed one of them, lift and carry her... "get me down, get me down, i want egg more," she yelled.
While the parent were enjoying the brunch, the kids searching Easter eggs. They all had fun.

Belinda (back, third from right), Alesia (back, first from right) with the kids and some parents.

Kids searching eggs

Some guests indulged in sunbathing, the weather just great, love it!

Eat, eat and eat...! tips, bonus, money...!

That is Bobby, he's from the Philippines, busy with one of our guests.

Easter Brunch by the pool.

Friday, March 21, 2008

EDB Photo Shooting

Following their successful film shooting last time, the Economic Development Board of Bahrain, asked me to shoot one more time at our resort. This time was not film but photo shooting, on the beach, four crew and took only 2 hours.

Using a model, a Bahraini good looking young man, this shooting would be materials for their printed destination collaterals. The agency was Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the biggest advertising (and marketing) agency in Bahrain, and of course in several countries, including the US, France countries in the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

When I asked the photographer why they didn’t use female model as well, he said “If I could find a Bahraini lady, I’d love to.”

“It must be?” I wondered.

“Must be Bahraini and you know, it is not easy to find,” he replied.

What is the big deal? As long as a beautiful lady, Arabic or Mediterranean looking face, there are lot out there… They can get Moroccan, Lebanese, Egyptian, Kuwaiti or any other GCC nationals. I even have three agencies who can easily supply the model.

“Gimme a Bahraini, I’ll shoot her,” he smiled at me.

I couldn’t reply. He’s right, I have never met a Bahraini female photo model.

Just imagined, I found one, giving me some vibrant moves in front of camera, on the beach, wearing bikini, and she’s Bahraini.

Wake up..!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Wanna share with you. Two weeks ago, I had film shooting, quite big, I think it was the biggest film shooting I have ever had in Bahrain. I do film or photo shooting at my hotel (a hotel where I work for) at least once a month. Mostly small scale shooting, with 3-4 up to 10 crew. But this time, I handled 30 pax.

The production house (PH) was FilmWorks from Dubai. They were filming in Bahrain on behalf of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB), the very important, strong and rich board of the Kingdom. This board are currently taking care of the country’s commercial film. They have been preparing everything, from the national tourism master plan, empowerment, implementation, and branding.

EDB approached us to be one of the film locations. They chose our La Bellevue lounge bar, because of the view and the ambience. Other sites were the Bahrain shouq (traditional market), mall, Manama city, Exhibition road, etc. According to Gino, the production coordinator of the filmworks, they like our lounge because it is very suitable for business lunch, the mood is calm and relax, the lighting is dimmed, the service is attentive, and what more…? Hmm…representing gulf hospitality.

The commercial itself talks about Bahrain hospitality, tourism, trade, investment, and economic development. With title “smiling Bahrain”.

It’s pretty funny watching the director, i tell you. He was giving instructions to the model only with words… ”come one… action…. smile, serious… smile… serious again, smile…” (I don’t understand what was he doing, he’s directing or playing, haha…).

The clip captures some Bahrainis who are smiling while doing their routines, kind of depicting people as the main asset, but you know, in the real life, everything’s is lack here, including shortage of human capital. But it’s okay, seems the government recognizes their weaknesses and tries to solve the problem through promoting the people as part of tourism and economic development. That’s smart enough!

There were four models working that day, one was a beautiful girl who was smiling all the time with background of a couple having drinks and a young lady passing by the lounge.

I had to scarify my off day because of this shooting. The most possible day to shoot was Friday and we had to work from 6am to 11am. No worry, as far as I enjoy it, and I think I need this experience, you know, learning by witnessing… lol.

I had to prepare the location, the car park, the catering and of course, permission from by boss. The production house is pretty professional, we had 3 four times meeting before we decide to shoot the location. Just to ensure everything is alright. The day before the shooting, I double checked with other departments, especially with F&B, Housekeeping and Engineering.

I had to wake up early morning, because I had to coordinate with the security to park the crew cars. I woke up 4.30am, got shower and already at the resort at 5.45am, hmm… the weather was just great. At 6am, Saddam and Gino came and inspected the location, just to make sure everything’s in the right spot.

At 6.30am, three big trucks came and other vans headed to Muharraq wing (the hotel’s southern area), the main access to La Perle restaurant, Hawar Ballroom and the La Bellevue Lounge. I asked Hamed, to arrange the cars, especially to locate the silent generator as close as possible to the film location.

There were 30 crew, including one director from the UK, some crew from Dubai, local make up artist, fashion artist, gaffer, cameraman, head of production, lighting from Bahrain and some guys that I don’t know, I know them as only film crew. I saw one guy, Arabic, wearing glass, he was an engineer specialized in camera. He prepare the giant came, in which, according to Gino has 500 frames in one shoot, while normal camre has only 24 frames, can you image that?! It means, this huge camera can run very slow motion.

I suddenly wondering if Indonesia or atleast Bali has a very strong body like EDB. It makes me jealous to know EDB, I covet to have this body in my country. Haha… I must be dreaming…

EDB knows how to manage tourism properly, even professionally. They started through research and auditing the whole stakeholders of tourism, after understanding the importance of tourism for the country. They are very serious managing the sector, the people is aware and ready to welcome tourism. And one thing they really understand but we (Bali, Indonesia tourism authority) don’t , is that managing tourism is not only promoting the beauty of natural and cultural resources, it is more than integrated coordination among stakeholders, consolidation, working together to reach the common and agreed goal. Like pressing one button, linking to all systems…

Promoting the island through films, exhibitions, collaterals, events, arts, ambassadors is not only a matter of tourism, but overall development of a nation. This is an investment to attract investment…