Do The Impossible: An Interview With Hospitality Leader, Philipp Economou

Bahrain Confidential speaks with the General Manager of InterContinental Regency Bahrain and Area General Manager, Oman & Bahrain – IHG Hotels & Resorts

What does it take to be a Hospitality Leader? In an industry that never slows down, it takes utmost dedication and a mindset for excellence to deliver quality guest experiences day in and day out. Each year, Bahrain Confidential highlights leaders across the hospitality industry on the island to understand what’s new, what’s next, and what makes them the best.

What was the best-ever lesson in leadership that you learned, and from whom?

The biggest lesson that I learned in leadership was to inspire people to have confidence in themselves. Give people the space to grow, the permission to fail, and the opportunity to shine. You will be amazed at the results! This involves creating an environment that is both secure and comfortable and encourages people to explore their true potential and capabilities and expand their horizons. By embodying these values, I was able to inspire, trust, and motivate my team and create a culture of excellence.

What have been your biggest challenges (and successes) over the past few years?

One of the biggest challenges for the hospitality industry as a whole was bouncing back after the COVID-19 pandemic. The abrupt halt in travel and tourism was a major setback. Nevertheless, these challenges provided us with valuable lessons as a team, which ultimately contributed to our success in 2022. It was the most prosperous year after 2014 for InterContinental Regency. Furthermore, our success in 2022 was not limited to financial achievements. It was also a testament to our strength and flexibility as a team while demonstrating unwavering resilience and ensuring our guests received our full attention during their stay.

Other than a great team, is there one unique quality that makes your hotel stand out in Bahrain?

With an exceptional 43 years of history, our hotel has had the privilege of becoming an integral part of countless guests’ lives. Furthermore, over the years, we have had the honour of hosting and serving individuals who have chosen InterContinental as a backdrop for their most cherished and memorable moments. It has also been there for guests during their achievements, such as graduation or even landing their first job. The hotel has been a haven for those seeking solace during times of transition, such as finding their first home. We are grateful to have played a part in their journey. At InterContinental, we take pride in understanding the significance of the stories that have unfolded within our walls.

What challenges and opportunities do you see for Bahrain’s hospitality industry in the coming years?

Bahrain’s hospitality is on the rise due to its iconic attractions, including the newly renovated Bahrain International Airport, the expansive World Trade Centre (the largest in the region), the impressive Al Dana Amphitheatre, the upcoming Sports City, as well as the recent agreement signed between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, making both countries a unified tourism destination. Bahrain’s hospitality industry will definitely thrive in the coming years.

Is there a particular saying or motto that guides you?

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible! On a deeper level, defying the notion of impossibility allows us to challenge societal norms and inspire others around us.