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Four Seasons Hotel Doha

  • The Corniche, P.O. Box 24665, Doha, Qatar
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Kemal Bayik

Director of Marketing
“Our aim is to be the leader not only in sales, but in the hearts and minds of our clientele.”

 

Four Seasons Tenure

  • First hired 2008, now since 2017
  • First Four Seasons Assignment: Sales Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

Employment History

  • Raffles Istanbul; Four Seasons Hotel Baku; W Istanbul; Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet; Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay, Bodrum, Turkey

Birthplace

  • Izmir, Turkey

Education

  • MBA in International Business, Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida; Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

Languages Spoken

  • Turkish, English

Every team needs a leader, and every leader needs a team. As Director of Marketing at Four Seasons Hotel Doha, Kemal Bayik believes he has just the team he needs to keep the region’s market leader moving forward. “Our aim is to be the leader not only in sales, but in the hearts and minds of our clientele,” he says, noting that whatever the hotel’s position, no market is static. “Motivation is the crucial component for the efforts of our sales team. What we do really matters – and a team that loves what they do can do wonders.”

The Doha property is Bayik’s third posting for Four Seasons, which has engaged him for nearly half of his career in luxury hospitality. Whatever the address or the hotel group, he has always made a point to approach his assignments with gusto. “I like to make a dent in the universe. I want people to say, ‘Kemal was here.’”

Just as every hotel has its strengths, so every destination has its own unique challenges. As elsewhere, the competition in Doha gets “bigger and harder every day,” says Bayik. “You may not be able to change that, but you can adapt and evolve around it.” The key, he concludes, is “to become a pioneer of new ideas and new strategies, and to show the market what you’ve got.”

He believes the strength of the brand goes a long way toward keeping the business strong whatever the situation or location. “The comfort and service Four Seasons provides are well known to international travellers wherever they go.”

Bayik and his sales team target the local corporate market in Doha, posing the Hotel to the largely expat community as a great place to frequent and Four Seasons as the right company do business with. “I always say that salespeople build relationships and trust. That’s particularly true in this region, which has a Western way of doing things and an Oriental way.” The message the team gets across is “Four Seasons only has one way of doing things. We personify professionalism, and professionalism sells.”

Bayik can remember the exact day he decided to pursue a career on the luxury edge of the hospitality industry. Raised in Izmir – “the pearl of the Aegean” – along the western edge of Turkey, he was a seventh grader enjoying Sunday brunch with his family at the five-star Ciragen Palace Kempinski in Istanbul when his father requested a site tour. “We were blown away, all of us,” he remembers. “I’d stayed at hotels before, but nothing like that one. I remember, I told my dad I wanted to get into tourism. He just smiled. He said I always talked a lot, so it would be just the right fit for me.”

Indeed, it was. After earning an undergraduate degree in hotel management, Bayik picked up an MBA in international business in Florida and then plunged into a sales career at another Kempinski hotel in Turkey. He joined Four Seasons two Istanbul hotels as a Sales Manager in 2008, zipping around to various markets to sell the company’s unique take on hospitality. He departed for a couple of years and then returned again in 2011 for a four-year run as opening Director of Marketing of Four Seasons Hotel Baku before moving on again.

Finally, he came back to the Four Seasons fold in fall 2017 at the start of a new chapter of renovation for the “elegant lady” along the Arabian Gulf. Though they bear no resemblance physically, Bayik says the Doha property reminds him of Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet. “They’re both magical places with a team spirit that is second to none,” he explains, adding that what he remembers most about the Sultanahmet was how the team came together as a family. “I feel the same thing here. It’s almost like a homecoming for me.”

Speaking of family, Bayik arrived in Doha with his wife Damla and their young son Levent. Between work and fatherhood, he doesn’t have much free time for extracurricular pursuits these days, though he likes to snap photography as he can. His camera of choice is a mirrorless Fujifilm X-Pro2. “I like the old way of shooting with a viewfinder camera. It gives me something to focus on.”