Interview: Hilton London Metropole’s Nancy Daccache on how to attract GCC markets

Interview: Hilton London Metropole’s Nancy Daccache on how to attract GCC markets

With 80% of summer guests coming from the GCC, the new Commercial Director aims to add value to their stays

Hilton London Metropole’s newly appointed Commercial Director Nancy Daccache has an impressive background in hospitality spanning more than 15 years, nine of them within the Hilton portfolio in the UAE. Having recently relocated to the UK capital, she is poised to further enhance the Hilton London Metropole’s offering to GCC markets. 

With around 80% of the hotel’s guests coming from the GCC during the summer months, the market is critical for the property’s success, and Daccache is well placed to build on it, given her firsthand experience of being in the GCC region. 

Increasing the number of Middle Eastern guests is high on the agenda of many international hotel teams; these travellers are big spenders, often travelling in large parties and prone to becoming repeat visitors. Understanding how to attract them is a valuable lesson. Connecting Travel met with Daccache to find out more about her strategy for achieving more GCC-inbound bookings this summer. 

Connecting Travel: The GCC region is among the top 10 source markets for the UK. How do you ensure the Hilton London Metropole has a competitive edge in a capital city filled with exceptional hotels?
Nancy Daccache: The GCC is a very important market for us, especially during summer. Usually, up to 80% of our guests are from this market in the summer season, so you see a big transformation from winter to summer when we start catering for that demographic. The focus is on adding value for GCC guests. For example, we work with our chefs to create exciting halal menus. We also create a prayer room and add Arabic coffee stations so we can give guests a traditional Arabian-style warm welcome. At the same time, we’ve increased the number of Arabic speakers on the team to better serve our Middle Eastern guests. 

CT: Middle Easter travellers are known for travelling in large extended family groups. How do you accommodate that?
ND: This summer, Hilton’s London Metropole hotel has added a new room category specifically for Middle East travellers. The new two-bedroom family suites can sleep up to six guests. They feature a communal living room, a master king size bedroom and a second king size bedroom, both with ensuite bathrooms, TVs and all-important air-conditioning. There’s even a kitchenette. Offering family rooms enables us to accommodate these large groups and we make sure the kids are catered for. We have special kid's menus and activities, like face painting, to keep them entertained.

Two-bedroom family suites

CT: Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for Middle East markets. What’s Hilton London Metropole’s policy?
ND: Sustainability is key for us and woven into so many parts of our hotel’s story. At our restaurant, Tyburn Kitchen, we source 90% of ingredients from within 100 miles of the hotel and prioritise local sourcing to use ingredients when they taste their best. This applies to our halal options, too. 

We have two beehives on the 6th floor of our East wing terrace named ‘Buzzingham Palace’ and ‘Hive Park’, which help to pollinate 20sqkm of our surrounding area, including the gorgeous London parks

Our staff uniforms are also made with recycled plastic bottles rescued from our oceans, among other sustainable materials, and we use recycled and recyclable packaging at our Tyburn Market, as well as 100% renewable electricity across our hotel.

Sustainability is truly in all of our little and big details. Guests may even notice our stylish artwork in our hotel corridors, which is actually made with recycled London maps!

Tyburn Market

CT: What is the hotel’s biggest USP?
ND: Location, location, location! It’s especially important for the GCC market to be conveniently and centrally located as London is not the easiest city to get around, and the hotel is next to Paddington Station, with direct access to the Heathrow Express, and tube stops on the Circle, District, City and Bakerloo lines, and within easy reach of attractions such as Madame Tussauds, Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace. 

CT: In your career so far, what’s been your biggest lesson?
I've learned a lot, but I think the most importance thing is to not only sell your property but to also sell the destination. When I worked at Hilton Hotels on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, Yas Island was the added value that I was able to sell to guests – and now I have all of London on my doorstep. And the Hilton London Metropole is a destination in itself.

For more information, visit www.hilton.com/en/hotels/lonmetw-hilton-london-metropole. For al travel trade enquiries, email nancy.daccache@hilton.com

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