ShahidusSadequ is the Director Marketing & Business Promotion at INTERCONTINENTAL, Dhaka. With the twelve years’ experience in hospitality management, he has established himself as one of the pioneer of brand promotion in this sector. Recently The Pages teamcovered an interview over his professional life and the future prospect of INTERCONTINENTAL, Dhaka.
INTERCONTINENTAL Dhaka is one of the largest and oldest hotel chain of the world, do you have any plan to attract the foreigners?
I can say Bangladesh is a destination for foreigners but we still don’t have enough good star hotels. We’ve some tourist but not enough in the five star categories. What we’ve, almost all of them are corporate clients. Intercontinental is off course in a destination which has potential for business travelers. I think it is a positive sign that brand like LeMeridien, Westin, Hyatt are coming up and that will encourage more people to come to Dhaka.
We’ve often seen that, several big companies of the country hold their yearly conferences in foreign countries. Do you think that we’re depriving from a big amount of economic loss or how to make them do conferences in Bangladesh? What steps can be taken?
Well, as a destination, Bangladesh is really new and we’ve seen that lot of international carrier are coming to Bangladesh and we are becoming a popular destinationand a business hub. Tourisim or business interest are creating in other districts also. So chances of new conference business is getting higher day by day. We need to popularize our destinations and I think there are lack of hospitality infrastructure i.e. hotel, international standards airports and other logisticsto attract the global conference, seminar market. We only have two international conference facilities like BICC and the International Conference Hall of Bashundhara. But to make it more popular conference destinations there should be a qualitative and quantative improvement in the infrastructures. So, if we want to grab conferences business, supply side should grow as far as the demand side grow.
Do you have any plan to make BICC or INTERCONTINENTAL, Dhaka as the biggest event place of the country?
As youknow that INTERCONTINENTAL Dhaka was operated as Ruposhi Bangla and before that as Dhaka Sheraton. It also operated earlierasINTERCONTINENTALDhaka in the 60’s and 70’s. It was the pioneer among the five star hotels in Bangladesh. It started its operation in 1966. So we passed five decades in hospitality business. We’re blessed with our location. It is really accessible by all modes of transports as we’re just middle of the city. We’ve seen lot of conferences, get-togethers, and expo happen in our hotel earlier. So it is already a popular destination. Also international booking channels of InterContinentalcan pull a lot of MICE (Meeting Incentive Conference Exhibitions) business. We’ve strong affiliation with our other sister concern networks. So we hope to make it a popular MICE Hotel. And as far as the BICC concern, it is customizedas a conference center. Any prestigious conferences whatever happened in Bangladesh, happened in BICC for the last ten years. So we believe that after the last year refurbishment BICC has become a more competent center. We restored our big LED screen and also up SIS system and facelifted the whole facility.
Why has Hotel INTERCONTINENTAL, Dhaka decided to start business in Bangladesh again?
Actually we were looking for the options to come here again. Bangladesh has seen as a potential country for hospitality business. Bangladesh GDP is 6.5% for almost in last half decades and it will be a middle income country very soon. So Intercontinental as a multinational company see its potential. They want to tap their business. They want to be in thisfast growing market. That is why they decided reentering in Bangladesh again.
“Success isn’t shortcut, you’ve to climb every ladder of it. So there is no shortcut. You can’t climb or you can’t jump twice or jump three. If you jump twice, there is possibility that you’ll fall down. So you’ve to climb gradually”.
From when are you involved with this International Luxury hotel brand? Please let us know the history behind your achieving today’s position.
Well, I’m almost passing twelve years in hospitality business. Before that I was in Bank and telecom. From 2005 to 2017, I’m in different phase of sales and marketing of Sheraton, Ruposhi Bangla and now in Intercontinental. It’s been a very pleasant journey and it’s really very enjoyable. Otherwise I couldn’t been here. It is really enjoyable.
How does Hotel and tourism business contribute our country economy?
Well, it has lot of potential. I think Bangladesh didn’t have the potential or didn’t have the scope to tap all its possibilities. If we’ve the right infrastructure, tourism can contribute a lot. As far as natural beauty concern, Bangladesh is blessed with pristine sea beach like Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban which are like heaven in earth. We don’t know how to projects our country to the overseas again we’ve some negative thoughts about our country. If we can remove all these barriers and if we can project the country to the people and to the right platform, I think Bangladesh can do very well in tourism.
Which Bangladeshi hotel brands can be the opponent of INTERCONTINENTAL Dhaka in your opinion? What do you plan to compete them?
Well, in a competitive landscape, we consider almost all the five star hotels of the city as our competitor hotels like Le Meridien and Westin. Our main competitor is Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel because we share the same kind of market. But in a larger business landscape brand like Le Meridien, Westin and InterContinental are competitor to each other.