The Malta Independent 9 March 2021, Tuesday

Db Seabank growing from strength to strength

Monday, 1 December 2014, 18:02 Last update: about 7 years ago

Hubert Debono General Manager, db Seabank Resort & Spa speaks with The Malta Independent on Sunday about the hotel's recent prestigious TripAdvisor ranking and the brand's plans for the future, which include the launching of a resort hotel chain

TripAdvisor has just given a prestigious ranking to one of your hotels. Can you tell us about it?

We are very proud that db Seabank has been ranked by TripAdvisor as the eight best all-inclusive resort in Europe. It is significant that we climbed from the 17th spot last year to the eight this year. To complete the picture, and increase our pride, keep in mind that we opened our doors less than three years ago.

Commercially, what is the effect of such a ranking?

That TripAdvisor is followed by millions around the globe is no news. It is the barometer consulted by all tourism operators everywhere and the first cyber port of call of prospective clients. TripAdvisor has revolutionised our business because it is driven entirely by the clients themselves.

For db Seabank to be ranked as the eight best all-inclusive resort in Europe means that those looking for quality are automatically directed our way. In fact, many of these clients told us that they chose our resort because of our ranking in 17th place. Now that our ranking has shot up to the top 10, this positive trend can only get stronger.



You run one of the largest resorts on the island. How does this feature in the achievement of such ranking?

Yes, it is true that db Seabank is large. But what is even more significant is the size of its operation. And in this business the commercial fulcrum around which everything turns is the ability to maintain excellence in operations, in everything and at all times. To give you a sense of our challenge, this year we welcomed 50,000 guests who spent 350,000 nights and to whom we served 1,500,000 meals. It is in this context that TripAdvisor's recognition of excellence is to be appreciated.

What is distinctive about db Seabank?

This is a resort unlike any other. It is not just rooms, restaurants, swimming pools and facilities. It was and remains a new concept for Malta. We are the only real allinclusive resort here. Quite simply, this means that from the moment our clients check in to the time they check out they never have to put their hands in their pockets, never.

Was it financially risky to put this concept into practice?

We knew that we were taking huge risks, that taking what we drafted on paper and turning it into reality would mean that we had to invest around €40 million. And we also knew that we had to do so in the middle of a global financial crisis. But we believed in our ideas, in ourselves and in our country. Here we are today, less than three years later, ranked as one of the ten best all-inclusive hotels in Europe.



What do you attribute your success to?

Success in hotel and resort operations is rarely a matter of luck. In our case, the guiding principle was and will remain that the client always comes first. In everything, and at all times. This is not a slogan but the driving force of our entire operation - from the way we serve at table to the way we administer, from the way we deal with complaints to how we make our rooms welcoming.

Every decision the directors and management take is always seen from its client impact assessment, if you will. And the ongoing investment is always focused on enhancing the client's experience and improving on our value for money offer.

Do you have repeat clients?

We are delighted that awards such as that of TripAdvisor steers new clients to our doors. But the most telling certificate of excellence is given by those who come and keep coming. These are the men, women and families who keep choosing us as a result of their own direct experience, not as a result of some marketing hype or scheme. These are the true ambassadors of our brand.



You just used the word 'brand'. Is the db this brand? If so, what can you tell me about it?

Next year, we will be launching our own hotel and resort chain called db. The Seabank and the San Antonio in Qawra, which we just restructured and renovated, will be the first two links in this chain. We have ambitious plans and we are also exploring prospects beyond our shores.

The basic idea is that the db chain will have its own characteristics and charisma. When the time comes to launch it, we'll go into more details but for now, I will only say this: db will be about excellence, in everything and at all times.

What do you see in the future for you brand?

That db Seabank is now the eight best resort in Europe, a place reached in less than three years, is an achievement we are very proud of. But we are going to remain more focused than ever because competition in Europe is tougher than ever. In addition, if we make one mistake or two when clients have high expectations, as ours do, it is easy to go into free fall.

Our attitude is to keep feet on and ears to the ground. Our clients have already told us what changes they'd like to see. We listened to them and we are working hard to make them happen. This is the way that we run our resorts and hotels. We will continue to do so.




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