Rustom Vickers, Vice President of Development, Dusit International

Posted in People on 1 June, 2016

Leading Asian hospitality group Dusit International’s Group Vice President of Development, Rustom Vickers, talks to Can Faik on what Dusit International have planned for the next few years…

For over 65 years, Dusit International has been synonymous with world-class hospitality, delivered with the iconic touches of service and artistry of Thailand.

From pioneering hospitality and education to leading development in emerging destinations, Dusit International offers an encompassing range of hotel, resort, spa and educational experiences.

Today, each Dusit brand endeavours to create a personalised welcome under the brand promise that started it all: the delivery of an “experience that enlivens the individual spirit, no matter the journey”.

What was your background prior to working for Dusit International?

Having always had an interest and passion for the hotel business since an early age, I have worked in a wide range of roles from operations to consultancy across nine different countries.

Where are you based in the world?

Now based in the land of smiles; Thailand! Bangkok is our home and a great base for a hospitality company.

What exactly does your role involve?

I am responsible for the future growth of the company, primarily through sourcing, negotiating and signing new hotel projects. I lead a great team with regional offices in Dubai and Shanghai whom have secured great hotels & resorts in Asia, Middle East and Africa.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Taking Dusit forward to new frontiers and helping to write a new chapter in the company’s long history. Also every project is different, from the individual partner to the market dynamics to the local cultural practises, keeping me on my toes.

What are Dusit International Unique Selling Points?

With our heritage, we very much aim to deliver genuine Thai gracious hospitality. Coupled with our extensive activities in the hospitality education business we believe Dusit is unique in its offering.

The past year Dubai has seen more hotel openings, with a number of new hotels due to open in the next two years.

So why did Dusit International still decide to open in Dubai and what will Dusit International have to do to stay one step ahead of its competition?

Despite the increase in supply, we are confident that this will be matched with the increase in demand as Dubai continues to add more airlift and attractions. That said, there will certainly be also increased competition and thus differentiating and delivering a unique guest experience is key.

What will be next for the Dusit International especially after what’s planned with this years openings in Khao Yai, Thailand; Shanghai, China and a second Dubai, UAE property in 2016? – And will Europe soon be on your list of future openings?

We have a very exciting pipeline of over 40 projects confirmed to open in the next four to five years. We do continue to seek the right opportunities in Europe and are currently looking to close our first project there.

Have you noticed any particular trends in hotel design in Asia compared to Europe and the US?

No, design I think has become quite global; for example a Thai interior design firm can work on projects in the Middle East and Africa.

How important do you feel hotel design has become when launching a new hotel?

Hotel design is particularly important for the launch. Having one or two ‘signature shots’ of a unique feature of the hotel design is the best way to capture the necessary interest to get the hotel up and going.

How important do you feel technology is when designing your new properties?

Highly important but that does not mean having too much technology, but the right technology. Connectivity is the most important aspect.

What would you say are the three best places you’ve ever stayed?

Other than a Dusit property of course… Jumeirah Port Soller on Mallorca, Four Seasons Ubud on Bali, and perhaps surprisingly a wonderful Airbnb in southwest England!

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

Helping London secure the 2012 Olympic Games by looking after the visit of the IOC’s evaluation commission!

Let’s finish with the issue of personal and work life balance. How do you aim to achieve a good balance and what do those closest to you think of your attempts?

Sports both playing and spectating give me a good source of mental and physical balance, which I believe my wife thinks I get more than plenty of!

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