For his stellar handling of the Wyndham Garden Brooklyn through the tough phase of the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining the best safety standards, Omar Bouchaar has been awarded the Hospitality Manager of the Year Award. We sat down with him to talk about his experience during the pandemic and more. Find out what he has to say below.
1. How was your experience in guiding the hotel through the tough COVID-19 situation? What challenges did you face?
1. Low Occupancy
Most operators require a minimum occupancy of 50% to simply break even. We were at 70% due to some contract business we had, so we never shot down we were one of the few hotels that kept the business open in New York City.
2. Pricing Elasticity
Lower prices, a lack of significant demand, and low occupancy rates do not bode well for revenues and profitability for the next 36 months.
3. Renewed Lockdowns
We are already witnessing spikes in COVID-19 cases in countries and cities that have re-opened too quickly and people that are not observing proper social distancing protocols, vaccination denials, and travel bans.
2. What changes did you implement to adapt to the new normal while maintaining the same quality of hotel experiences?
Managed & controlled well fixed, variable expenses, cash flow, cost per room, cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing challenges. In addition, we did implement Count on Us Covid-19 Wyndham protocols, guest safety first, staffing and payroll post furlough, and redundancies are another major focus.
3. How did you manage the massive hotel team during the COVID-19 period and keep their morale high?
We created a task force team staying in the hotel by building a healthy and safe work environment, helped them manage schedules, gave in-room hotel accommodation, training on Count on Us COVID-19 protocols, and incentive bonus.
4. Are there any new trends in the travel industry that you’ve noticed post the pandemic?
Yes, I did notice that the recovery continues under storm clouds, the economy will fuel a rebound, labor markets present a major challenge and finally, the recovery will come in stages by 2025.
5. Tell us a little about your working experience in the hospitality industry
Success-driven, astute, and results-oriented professional, offering extensive experience in hotel management and administrative functions for the past 20 years. Armed with expertise in developing business plans and strategies, implementing policies and procedures, and improving processes to meet or exceed corporate objectives and sales goals.
6. Which cuisine do you enjoy, and which is your favorite restaurant in NYC?
Japanese cuisine from our FUSHIMI Group Restaurants in New York City.
- Certification in Antiterrorism Awareness—Hospitality Industry, 2015
- Certification in Cyber Security—Hospitality Industry, 2016 & 2018
- Professional in Hospitality Industry—Executive Leader—Wyndham Worldwide University, 2014
- Task Force Certification Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Operations 2010
- Hotel and Restaurant Management Certification — New York Food & Hotel Management Institute, 2001
Awards & Recognitions
- Proclamation 2021 from Eric Adams new mayor winner for in NYC 2021
- Selected one of TOP 50 leading GM’s is US 2021 by American Hotel & Lodging Association/AHLA
- Travel & Hospitality Award Winner for Award for Excellence in Leadership and General Management 2020
- Gold Stella Award winner 2021 Best Boutique Hotel Northeast USA
- TRIP ADVISOR TRAVEL CHOICE AWARD 2020
- Citations received in 2016 & 2018 from Brooklyn Borough President New York
- Selected as Ambassador for Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce 2021