Viva Holding – Achieving Excellence, taking the Palm by storm.

In a fast-moving tourism region, Viva Holding really has grown with the Dubaian and Emirati tourism sector. They have gained a local reputation of providing world class Diving, Water Sports, Yachting, Photography and retail experiences to thousands of people staying within the Luxury Hotels in which they operate from. Mr. Mahmoud Torky, Founder and Managing Director of the Viva Group and its subsidiaries explains to us the importance of adhering to the strict operational rules across Dubai and their stance on Safety & Quality over anything else.

Viva Blue and the Viva Holding originated in 2018 when Mr. Torky saw an opportunity he wished to peruse further. This opportunity was to sell his share in the previous company he owned and rebrand as Viva Blue, Viva Blue provide the water sports within the group. With the previous company only operating out of 1 of the Palms leading hotels, setting up Viva Blue has allowed this to expand to 3 hotels in just over 7 months.

When speaking to Mr Torky, he modestly believed that the reputation he had developed in the Palm with his previous company, he could then use to grow a new business by providing the services they do today.

“In 2014 I came to Dubai to explore business opportunities which were providing Diving and Water Sports experiences to tourists.

“Knowing that it was a big risk to go straight into investing and setting up a business without knowing the costs, profits and operational expectations within the region, it was decided that I would join a close friend who at time was working in one of the Palm’s most sought-after hotels”.

“It was in the time I was working there that I could assess and determine that this would in fact be a great opportunity to do something I had always dreamed of. We approached a business operating within the hotel providing the aquamarine services to the hotel customers I was working for. I wanted to see if they would be happy to sell a share of the business. It was lucky for me that the previous owner was looking to sell 100% so he could pursue other opportunities, and with that, I had made my first step into local business”.

For Mr. Torky and his business partner, it was just the start of something special. “Buying and investing our money into this business was a massive risk, a risk worth taking explains Mr. Torky

“When we acquired the business, we were aware that the tender was up for renewal over the coming months and we were up against 5 other competitor businesses who definitely had a lot more experience as well”.

“We knew what we had to do to win the tender and that was to show the hotel that we have bought this business to invest in and make it even better than before” This ranges from online digital creation to the expenditure on new equipment for the products which the business provided, this ranges from your typical water sport equipment like Jet Ski’s, Power Boats, Inflatables and their stand out investment, new Yachts”.

The risk paid off for Mr. Torky and his business partner as they were awarded the tender. The tender was operational for the next 3 years from 2015 until 2018. Mr. Torky then goes on to explain that the business was a circle of events, “In the early part of 2018, I was approached to see if I wanted to sell a share in the business which reminded me of myself in 2015, after consideration and my aims to rebrand, I then sold my share in the business whilst there was time left on the contract and used this money to invest and establish Viva Blue”.

With the Palm Jumeirah being a very small area in comparison to the Hotels situated, it’s a case of all the hotels know one another and reputation is vital to be successful. If you’re not well thought of or known, then there will little room to expand. With the reputation of Mr. Torky, it wasn’t just because of the water sports business, Viva Holding also have the following subsidiaries, Grand Pyramid, Blue Coast Photography and Sea Marina Adventuress, which all have impeccable reputations as well.

“When me and my business partner set up the previous company in 2015, we set out to make sure that we were going to gain a fine reputation and over the following 8 months, we approached another hotel, due to there already being a company providing water sports, they offered us the chance to charter our Yachts and Boats out of the hotel which was exciting for us to say the least. I really have to say it was down to the professionalism and hard work of my team that just four months later, I was then offered a full rolling contract to provide all the Viva Blue water sports facilities”.

“Although the staff work for me, I don’t see my staff as employees, I see them more as partners to a successful business”.

With the second Hotel being one of the world’s leading Hoteliers and one of the largest and most luxurious on the palm, this was a massive stride forward for Viva Blue.

Mr. Torky goes on to explain proudly and quite fondly, that this hotel is very close to his heart, “it was this opportunity that made me realise that I am onto something very special here and it was the platform we needed to hit the next level”.

Like any successful company it was important for Viva to build a competent team who could carry the Viva flag and more importantly be an ambassador to the hotel which they are operating from.

The team grew rapidly along with the business and with their being people all over the world visiting the Palm is was crucial to employ a variety of nationalities speaking multiple languages.

Viva Blue now operates out of 3 Hotels and they aim by the close of 2019 for this to reach a total of 6 “Now we don’t just operate in Dubai, but we have an operation in RAK with a leading hotel there too, this operates under the name Sea Marina Adventures. It really has been quite humbling to expand so quickly and the reputation to provide a service which prevails in Business Best Practice and Operational Excellence.

Initially the focus point of concentration for my company was diving and other water sport activities, which you would come to expect in some the world’s most pristine resorts.

However, when people were making memories with their families, there wasn’t anyone to capture these and that’s when Blue Coast Photography was propelled onto the scene.
“For us it was a no brainer and it took off very quickly indeed, not only were people able to capture their diving and water sports adventures, but they were able to hire our photographers for a day or two to follow and capture natural pictures of the family enjoying their holiday and trip of a lifetime and Blue Coast Photography now operates from 4 hotels around the Palm and this business is definitely going to expand next year as well”.

“Even though you expect to have beautiful hot sunny days when staying Dubai, there are the occasions where we even get horrible conditions, so when the guests couldn’t enjoy the beaches and most importantly the services we provide, it was important that we looked at further revenue streams.

We came up with the idea of boutique shops where guests could buy local authentic jewellery, souvenirs and gifts for people back home”
This was when Grand Pyramids llc was born and they now operate out of two hotels, serving tourists from all over the world.

Mr. Torky goes onto explain that with Dubai becoming more and more popular for Tourism and Employment, “It’s so important that you don’t just sit there and wait for the business to expand, you really do have to go out and be proactive, basically looking down on Dubai as a city and thinking hard to how we will grow, we know that once we get into a certain position, we have the essential factors to be successful”.

After just starting with 2 people when originating the business in 2015, Viva Holding now employs just over 100 people across all their subsidiary operations.

Even though each member of staff is important, there are 4 people who have been the foundations and pillars to the success and they are experts in all areas from strategy to sales growth.

We lead onto the importance of supply chain relationships and learn how businesses have worked closely with Viva in line with their expansion.

“I have to say it wasn’t as simple as just buying Boats, Yachts, Water Sport and Diving equipment, we really had to look hard at the harsh climates that presents itself to Dubai, the salt levels in the water are some of the highest in the world and with summer temperatures easily peaking at 45 degrees Celsius it was crucial to buy the right equipment, it just isn’t sustainable to keep repairing or buying new”

“We had to work with international suppliers for our diving and water sport equipment, one of my key management looks after all purchasing for this area and I have to say he has built a fantastic relationship between all the businesses concerned”.

“I look after our Yacht and Boat procurement related services, it’s the most expensive part of our spend within the business and I have to ensure that everything is right whether it’s a diesel or petrol engine on the yacht to the sharpness of the boat to deal with waves and salt levels, if it’s not right then it’s going to cost”.

“We have built a perfect relationship with one of the region’s leading Marine Engineering companies who regularly maintain our Yachts & Boats so they’re continuously operational. Again, reputation is so important, we always maintain our suppliers are paid on time, with this we can form a trustworthy partnership which in this region is a traditional way of doing business, a handshake still goes a long way here”.

Finally, we look further into the plans of Viva Holding and Mr. Torky for 2019. After a highly successful past 12 months Mr. Torky adds “As mentioned earlier we aim to grow our Viva Blue business to at least 6 hotels the next 14 months”.

With this you will need to add new staff to the business and I see us employing at least 180 people within the group by then.

“I am also partnering into a Media business next year which will add an extra dynamic company within the group’s subsidiaries. The future of our business looks amazing and the next 14 months will be very exciting”.

“What I would like to add is, the success of our group comes down to hard work all over the business, maintaining our impeccable customer service standards and listening to one another’s points of views and suggestions, as we can all learn from each other’s experiences.

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