New Recruit: Cove Rotana director of rooms
Bassem Zakaria outlines his environmental ambitions for the RAK resort
Bassam Zakaria, the new director of rooms at the Cove Rotana Resort, outlines his environmental ambitions for the Ras Al Khaimah property
What first inspired you to get into the hospitality industry?
I first experienced the hotel industry while travelling with my father who had to stay in hotels frequently on business. These experiences inspired me to begin my career in the hotel industry and created a passion for quality of service that has helped me reach my achievements to date. I have since been fortunate enough to work in different parts of the world and across many different areas in hotels, as well as with many nationalities and cultures. This has enabled me to see hospitality from all angles and shaped my management skills and philosophy.
What has been your most memorable experience in your career to date?
Back in 2000, I worked as a receptionist at a hotel in Paris when I had the pleasure to welcome a Japanese guest in a wheelchair who had come to participate in a local swimming competition. A few days later I found out that this gentleman had won first place in the competition before leaving to travel back to Japan by himself. This made me realise that if this gentleman in the wheelchair can travel all the way from Japan to France by himself, and manage to win first place in a swimming contest, then I can achieve whatever I put my mind to in the hospitality industry.
How does your new position at The Cove Rotana compare to your previous hotel jobs?
Looking back over my hospitality career to date, every destination, company and hotel where I’ve worked had its own unique experiences and ‘flavour’, which differentiated it from the others, all of which have contributed to my current management and hospitality philosophy. Now that I have joined the Cove Rotana Resort, I find that I’m faced again with more completely new experiences and challenges. One, in particular, is that because The Cove Rotana is one of the biggest resorts in UAE, I find myself taking every opportunity whenever I can to walk through the hotel’s grounds, where I see and learn many things that you just can’t see when you are stuck behind a desk.
What new ideas or initiatives are you hoping to bring to your role to add to the Cove Rotana Resort's success in the future?
Well, having realised that most of the resort’s guests are from Europe, I would like to try to enhance our prominence within the local market by using the resort’s facilities to create an atmosphere that is both exotic for our foreign visitors, but which also has an air of European glamour for our local guests. The resort is also blessed with large grounds, which allow us to showcase the remarkable local nature, trees and wildlife. This is something that I believe we should work hard to protect so I’m currently working with departments across the resort to convert the Cove Rotana to be 100% green certified and environmentally sustainable. At the moment we have only taken initial steps but the early signs are looking very positive.
2010 – 2012 Al Ain Rotana Hotel, UAE, director of sales and marketing
2008 – 2010 Al Ain Rotana Hotel, UAE, assistant director of sales and marketing
2006 – 2008 Rotana Area Sales office, UAE, sales manager
2005 – 2006 Hilton Al Ain, UAE, sales executive
2004 – 2006 Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort, UAE, sales executive
2002 – 2004 Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort, UAE, front office supervisor
2001 – 2004 Hilton Valetta, Malta, front office receptionist
1998 – 2001 Balmoral Hotel, Paris, front office receptionist