Interview with Bill Keffer – General Manager JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. He is leading the hotel team of 1,200 associates and more than 70 nationalities.
What is the vision about Welcoming Art at JW Marriott hotels?
At JW Marriott we believe in doing everything mindfully – so that even our smallest tasks are not work, but works of art. The moment our guests walk into the lobby, we want them to feel at home.
I believe that first impressions are everlasting. You often have only a single chance to get things right but when you do, the result is the start of an outstanding guest experience. It is this first impression that sets the stage for your guests’ overall satisfaction with their stay, their perception of the JW Marriott brand, and even their choice of accommodation in future travel. Creating this outstanding guest experience involves all of the senses – from what guests see, hear, and touch when they arrive and therefore signature scents and music are an important part of the arrival experience.
To cater to the needs of the ‘accomplished’ traveler, we have recently launched Mobile Check-in. With this mobile app our loyal Marriott Rewards members are able to check-in before arrival in the hotel, which saves time at check-in. Especially for this target customer time is the most precious commodity and this ensures an express check-in. We strive to provide a seamless arrival experience for all guests, with 15 check-in desks and cold towels and drinks to welcome our guests during the hot Dubai summers.
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai focusses on Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events. Hosting groups up to 1000 people, our group check-in process is very important. We offer dedicated check-in desks for groups as well as a traditional welcoming experience involving local elements for our international groups, such as a falcon and Arabic coffee/dates.
Bill Keffer’s biography:
General Manager Bill Keffer is leading the hotel team of 1,200 associates and more than 70 nationalities. Having spent two years as Hotel Manager in the hotel, Keffer was well placed to take on the position of General Manager in April 2014, having already led the team to significant operational successes from the early opening stages.
Hailing from the Southern state of Tennessee in the US, Keffer has held managerial positions with Marriott International for 25 years. Beginning his career in the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Keffer joined Marriott International in his home state of Tennessee some time later, followed by positions in Florida and New York. In 2000, Keffer decided on a move to Asia and spent two years in Japan as the Food and Beverage Director of the Renaissance Hotel, Sapporo, followed by three years in South Korea as Director of Operations in the JW Marriott, Seoul. 2005 saw a move to Europe taking on the role of Area Director of Operations in the United Kingdom and Ireland until 2009, when he came to the UAE as General Manager of Marriott Dubai Harbour Hotel and Suites.
Throughout his career, Keffer has been the recipient of a number of prestigious awards including Continent General Manager of the Year 2012, Continent Hotel of the Year 2011, Global Hotel of the Year for 2011, three individual recognitions for Leadership and Engagement Excellence between 2010 and 2012, Food and Beverage Excellence in 2011, Operational Excellence in Asia Pacific Region 2005 and a special award for ‘Investor in People’ in Middle East and Africa, 2011. In his past assignments he was actively engaged in local community projects and business councils, winning a “Contribution to Culture” award in the Marriott Business Council and “Spirit to Serve” Community award in Dubai.
Laurent Delporte, an editor and conference speaker, is a strategic expert in the sector of hotels. A visionary, he brings his unique look on hotels in service to the decision-makers in the industry, whether to enhance the development of new projects or strategic visions.
Laurent has visited and audited over 350 hotels across the world and also participates in mystery visits to provide quality control for the world’s finest hotels.