Tijana Lazarov

Interview with Tijana Lazarov


Interview with Tijana Lazarov - Complex Director of Marketing

Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre

Currently in her role as complex director of Marketing , Tijana Lazarov oversees a portfolio of six hotels, comprising of 1,247 guest rooms, 28 restaurants and bars and one spa. Under her leadership, since her new appointment in September 2021, Lazarov and her team have developed innovative strategies across all divisions.

Tijana’s responsibilities include the development of 360 marketing strategies with the objective to increase market share and competitiveness. She evaluates consumer and industry trends, develops strategic partnerships and reacts to the business needs of each property. She is also required to liaise with internal and external stakeholders to drive innovation.

What strategies have you implemented to successfully manage a large portfolio of hotels?

There are several strategies and methods that go into successful marketing, from search engine optimization (SEO) to imperative content, and for six hotels this is a constant upkeep and requires relevant enhancements. As we are now heavily immersed in a digital generation and often seeing new trends, I believe it’s important to embrace these changes and implement them as this is the only way to stay relevant.

How do you balance the needs and demands of multiple properties while maintaining brand consistency?

I divide my time in the week by visiting each property so that I can sit down with the teams and discuss what is in the pipeline and which areas need attention. This supports me when planning my marketing strategies and knowing where exactly to focus.

What are your goals for this portfolio in the next year, and how do you plan on achieving them?

We are always working towards reaching more people and building a presence in the market. In the first quarter of 2023 alone, Dubai saw an influx of 4.67 million tourists, hence the tourism sector is currently thriving and with that benefit comes even more competition to stay on top of the list. There are so many exceptional hotels in the UAE and we are now seeing upcoming GCC properties making the benchmark, it is now more crucial than ever to stand out. My team and I are constantly researching, discussing and working together to create compelling marketing practices that can make waves in the industry.

Last year we had an overall social media reach of over 230 million people through and tactful content and this year the target is to double that.

How do you prioritize your tasks and responsibilities as a Cluster Marketing Director?

I stick to strategic planning and timelines, especially as we would regularly be executing campaigns that run parallel to each other. I sit with my team at the start of each week to discuss the priorities for the week ahead, it helps to scope out urgent tasks and create a structure for priority tasks. I assess every area from property level/ rooms, food and beverage and leisure as well seasonal and calendar events that we can plug certain launches into.

In your experience, what unique challenges do women face in leadership positions in the hospitality industry?

We are steadily growing out of the stereotypical gender roles and are seeing more females thriving in leadership positions, especially within the hospitality industry, and with the support of various empowerment programs introduced at Marriott International. Any leadership position comes with challenges on its own and I don’t see that differ between a male or female. I believe it is essential to support your team regardless of their gender and that is what impacts a better workplace environment.  

How do you ensure that each property under your management maintains its own unique identity while also aligning with the overall brand image and message?

All of the properties in my portfolio have their own identity when taking into consideration the branding, locations, target audience and messaging. These are all factored in when implementing strategies and campaigns to ensure that we are feeding the right content to the right people.  We align with brand guidelines when it is needed, however, it’s always more impactful to colour out of the lines.

With so many restaurants and bars under your management, how do you ensure that each one is able to stand out and attract guests in a competitive market?

At Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre we have 18 restaurants and bars on the property, so rather than competing with ourselves we positioned the hotel as a dining destination where guests can take advantage of the extensive options all under one roof.  Since each outlet has a different cuisine and USP, it makes it easier for us to navigate through campaigns and target audiences. In 2022 we celebrated one of our restaurants, Kiku, featured amongst 130 of the UAE’s best venues by Gault & Millau and have proudly picked up several nominations from restaurant industry awards over the past year.

Tijana Lazarov

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