What inspired you to take up a career in hospitality?
One of the main reasons hospitality was an automatic career choice for me was because of my love of interacting with people. I am also an open-minded person and love to learn about different cultures. Once I started my career, I began to enjoy assisting guests, and providing information they might require during their trip. This ultimately ensured they had a memorable stay, getting the most out of the destination.
What are some of the responsibilities in your role?
As assistant concierge manager, I provide information to our guests regarding local attractions, transportation options, and I assist with reservations as well as customising itineraries.
Having begun your career in hospitality in housekeeping, what prompted you to make a shift to front-of-house?
I started my career in hospitality as a housekeeper with Marriott in Saudi Arabia. In 1993, I moved to Dubai to be part of the pre-opening team of the JW Marriott, and have been here ever since. I made the switch from BOH to FOH to broaden my knowledge about the hotel and to fulfil my passion to learn more about people and different cultures.
Tell us a bit about you career progression?
I held different positions after moving from housekeeping to front office, gaining experiences as a bellman, concierge shift leader, bell captain, and chief concierge before being promoted to my current role — assistant concierge manager — five years ago. Thanks to the many years I have spent at the hotel, communication with the different departments is easy for me. It’s like a family atmosphere for us here.
How do you keep yourself motivated, given you have been with this particular hotel since 1993?
It motivates me so satisfy my guests and receive positive feedback about places they have seen and to know they have enjoyed their vacation. No two situations are ever the same in our job, giving us a chance to help guests resolve their issues and challenges in a unique manner. Nothing is routine for me.
How do you manage guest requests, especially during peak hours and busy periods?
It can get busy during peak times. But I try and be resourceful with whom I call to assist me to fulfil my client’s needs. I am an expert at what I do.
What are some of the challenges you face in your role?
The availability of tickets [to shows or attractions] during the peak season throws up some interesting situations especially amongst a few guests who can be a little difficult.
Is it a challenge to always keep smiling and be cheerful, even when guests are being difficult?
It’s not an issue for me, to be honest, I always put my guest first. I leave my personal matters at home and I’m always ready for my guests.
What would you say are a few of your most significant achievements in your career thus far?
I started ‘from scratch’ as a housekeeping attendant and today I am a department head handling 40 associates: bellmen, valet, drivers, concierge and the business centre. They look up to me as their leader and I am happy to guide and motivate the team.