The Hilton Riyadh Hotel and Residences is synonymous with not just exceptional guest experiences. It is also well-regarded as a hospitality brand that is committed to sustainability practices. In this interview, General Manager Hans Schiller shares some of the hotel’s eco-conscious solutions that have put the brand at the forefront of sustainability in Riyadh and Saudi Arabia.
Economy Middle East: What sets Hilton Riyadh apart from other hotels in the area?
Hans Schiller: Hilton Riyadh stands out through its unwavering dedication to exceptional service and world-class hospitality. We prioritize creating unparalleled guest experiences, and our strategic location complements a diverse range of facilities and amenities. Our remarkable 3,833 sqm pillarless ballroom, the largest in the EMEA region, adds to our distinctiveness. Additionally, our commitment to sustainability, as reflected in our participation in Earth Hour and energy-saving measures, underlines our dedication to eco-conscious solutions.
Economy Middle East: What are your top priorities when it comes to the guest experience and how do you measure and track guest satisfaction?
Hans Schiller: Guest satisfaction is paramount at Hilton Riyadh, and we achieve this by utilizing SALT (Satisfaction and Loyalty Tracking), a sophisticated system implemented consistently across all Hilton hotels. SALT enables us to rigorously measure, assess, and enhance the guest experience, providing invaluable insights that continually guide us in improving our services. Our dedicated team members are instrumental in ensuring a seamless and pleasant stay for our guests. What sets us apart is our unwavering focus on the overall experience, ensuring that every aspect of a guest’s stay exceeds their expectations. We also prioritize anticipating our guests’ needs to provide an exceptional and personalized experience.
Economy Middle East: How does the hotel cater to the needs and preferences of both local and international visitors? and how do you promote Saudi Arabian culture to international guests?
Hans Schiller: Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences is dedicated to accommodating the diverse needs and preferences of our guests, whether they hail from the local community or arrive internationally. With Saudi Arabia’s growing appeal as a tourist destination, we’ve implemented cultural sensitivity training for our team members to create an inclusive and welcoming environment that respects and celebrates various cultures. Our efforts extend to promoting Saudi Arabian culture to our international guests, where we’ve curated remarkable experiences. During Saudi National Day, for instance, our hotel transformed into a captivating showcase of Saudi heritage.
We featured a grand traditional tent, complete with live camels, majestic falcons, and the tantalizing aroma of freshly brewed traditional Saudi coffee. A special dessert corner in the lobby displayed culinary delights from different regions of the Kingdom. To further immerse our guests in the festivities, we provided uniquely branded giveaways and presents. In a notable collaboration with the Saudi Tourism Authority, we introduced special co-branded room amenities, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Saudi culture from the moment guests checked in. These endeavors reflect our commitment to embracing and celebrating the local culture. Additionally, as part of this cultural embrace, Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences has collaborated with several Saudi artists. We proudly display their exceptional work throughout the hotel, creating an immersive and authentic cultural experience for our guests.
Economy Middle East: What are the current trends and challenges in the hospitality industry in Saudi Arabia today?
Hans Schiller: Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences actively participates in the major trends of the Saudi hospitality industry for 2023. Our involvement in sustainability initiatives, support for Saudi tourism, dedication to talent development, and collaboration with local businesses align seamlessly with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, marking our commitment to the sustainable development of the Kingdom’s tourism industry.
As part of our sustainability initiatives, we’re proud to be an integral part of the Travel with Purpose Hilton initiative. During Travel with Purpose Week, we engaged in various activities, such as cleaning a public park and initiating repairs at the Abdullatif Center for Cancer Early Detection. We also participated in a social walk with the Leajlihum association, where we donated 150 meal bags. These actions exemplify our dedication to making a positive and lasting impact on our communities.
Economy Middle East: What are your thoughts on the future of Riyadh and Saudi Arabia as a tourist destination? and how is Hilton Riyadh positioned to capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead?
Hans Schiller: Riyadh and Saudi Arabia as a whole are poised for a promising future in tourism. With the Saudi Vision 2030 plan, Hilton Riyadh is actively contributing to the country’s transformation. We’re focusing on job creation, talent development, and supporting local businesses. Sustainability remains a priority, with a strong commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and fostering community engagement. Hilton Riyadh is well-positioned to capitalize on the opportunities this transformation presents. It is playing a pivotal role in the sustainable development of the tourism industry in Saudi Arabia.
About Hans Schiller, general manager at Hilton Riyadh Hotel and Residences
Hotelier and German national Hans Schiller has been working in the hospitality industry for around three decades now. At present, he is the general manager of Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences, a position he has held since January 2020. In this capacity, he oversees the brand’s operations in one of the leading destinations in the region: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Prior to this, Schiller held key roles such as cluster general manager for Hilton Abu Dhabi and Hilton Al Ain. He was also formerly director of operations at Hilton Abuja in Nigeria and Hilton Alexandria Green Plaza in Egypt. He’s also had managerial experience at Doubletree by Hilton Riyadh and Hilton Garden Inn Riyadh Olaya. His career journey further spans various leadership positions in renowned hotel chains like Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, Mövenpick and Holiday Inn. He is a graduate of the Dr. Speiser Hotel Management School.
For more interviews, click here.