A Vibrant Personality Leading Growth of JW Marriott Riyadh

In a Booming Saudi Market. Who is the Khaled Al Jamal?

  • Publish date: Monday، 30 October 2023
A Vibrant Personality Leading Growth of JW Marriott Riyadh

A vibrant background and career in hospitality spanning over 3 decades across many continents. Who is Khaled Al Jamal?

I am a self-starter who worked my way up from the lowest ranks in hospitality operations, I take pride in my 36 + years journey and the experience gained from different parts of the world starting from home (Jordan), a lengthy period marked by both challenges and successes. Over the last two decades, I have held the role of a general manager in various countries and hotel Brands. What brings me immense joy is my commitment to nurturing and enhancing the skills of my employees, this is actually a principle I've wholeheartedly embraced in pursuit of my professional objectives.

My strong belief lies in empowering people, guiding them to harness their abilities, and bolstering their self-confidence, fostering the belief that their aspirations are attainable. This endeavor demands patience, in simpler terms, focusing on this mission enables me to endure the daily challenges and work routine while relishing the sense of achievement with every step towards our objectives. Sometimes, striving for a more conducive work environment leads us to the happiness we desire.

A Vibrant Personality Leading Growth of JW Marriott Riyadh

From finance to hospitality. Not a straightforward career, yet you have excelled in the hospitality. How?

I am a sociable person who thoroughly enjoys interacting with people and forming meaningful connections. Being of assistance to, helping, and serving people and connecting with them, whether they are family, colleagues, or hotel guests, greatly enhances my inner satisfaction. I simply prioritize human interactions over numbers!

A genuine passion for delivering hospitality plays an important role in achieving success. Those who thrive in hospitality typically have a profound love for creating unforgettable experiences for their guests.

Why JW Marriott Riyadh? Is it the love for challenge or the passion for success?

In fact, both. JW Marriott Riyadh is part of Marriott International where I had the privilege of working for more than 28 years. Furthermore, JW Marriott Riyadh is Saudi Arabia's first-ever JW Marriott hotel to open in Riyadh. This is not only a significant milestone but also a challenge to work on strengthening the brand's presence within the Saudi market. As we know, KSA is now the focus of the world's attention, as the kingdom records achievements in various sectors at all levels. We aim for our hotel to be an integrated part of the Saudi Vision 2030, thereby embodying the core principles of this vision, particularly in the Human Capability Development Program.

JW Marriott properties are known for their unbeatable welcome, service and staff. What drives this passion?

The Founder of Marriott, J. Willard Marriott, inspires this passion by his approach to life, JW Marriott provides a haven where every detail is taken care of, so guests are free to focus on themselves—mind, body, and spirit.

The growth of Saudi market is the envy of many. How do you see JW Marriott Riyadh leading?

In fact, personally, I believe there is a significant opportunity for the JW Marriott Hotel Riyadh to take the lead in the Hospitality Market by focusing on the importance of developing the skills of Saudi employees in the tourism sector. The outstanding hospitality and heartfelt welcome extended to every visitor to Saudi Arabia leave a lasting impression in their memory. As the Saudi people embrace social values, that are a reflection of their rich and deeply rooted Arabic traditions. I aspire to see a future where Saudi talents play a leading role in the hospitality sector and we would love to have a role in developing these talents.

What would the visitor to Saudi expect when they visit your property?

A warm welcome that conveys a deep sense that “all is well.” Projecting authenticity through everything we do. Ensuring that every guest experience is memorable while making them feel as if they are in the comfort of their own home.

What are your plans for 2024?

As a General Manager, I am aiming to support Saudization by increasing the involvement of young Saudi nationals in the hotel and promoting upcoming talent in the hospitality and tourism sector. We also aim to put JW Marriott Riyadh on the map in Saudi Arabia bringing the brand’s reputation for delivering warm and thoughtful experiences. Additionally, our goal is to position the hotel as an enticing new destination for dining and weddings at the heart of Riyadh.

With anticipated growth of tourism in the kingdom, combined with commitment from the leadership to attract 150 million tourists by 2030. What steps are you undertaking to plan and welcome the millions of tourists?

Marriott International's rich loyalty program contributes to attracting travelers around the world to travel to tourist destinations, as the program now covers Saudi Arabia as an important destination and displays the entertainment calendar and seasonal activities in the Kingdom. As part of the Marriott Bonvoy® Moments program, our guests gain exclusive access to a world of extraordinary experiences and members can use their points to indulge in concerts, culinary extravaganzas, premier sporting events, and more.

Considering the hotel's strategy to attract tourists and highlight Riyadh as a desirable and distinctive tourist destination, JW Marriott Riyadh has designed the first Marriott Bonvoy® Moment experience in Saudi Arabia at the “Edge of the World!”. This experience is being shared with over 180 Million Marriott Bonvoy® members around the world.

How big is domestic tourism? What is your focus? Domestic, regional, or global?

The domestic tourism market is increasing and is expected to grow more in the coming years. Our primary objective is to appeal to various segments of guests, such as bolstering domestic tourism on weekends and attracting global and regional tourists, as well as corporate travelers, during the weekdays.

Would you mind sharing with us one characteristic that most of our readers would find interesting about yourself?

I strongly believe in pushing the boundaries. I have always been an advocate of change and taking risks whether on individuals to achieve their potential or on trying new ideas. As a result, I am open to fresh thoughts and often question established norms in order to pursue something. This proactive approach enables me to spot possibilities. Create a vision that empowers those, in my circle.  

As examples to illustrate the above, in 2005, I was in Beirut; we needed to hire a new Doorman, this position was typically held by males, so I pushed the team to hire a “female” door person. This was the first female dressed in a classical doorperson’s uniform in our area and made a huge impact on our guests and employees alike and it was a great PR for the hotel.

I also take pride in the fact that I played an essential role in developing 16 general managers throughout my career.