FOH Interview: Al Bandar Rotana's Deema Sartawi
Deema Sartawi says spotting the right medium to communicate key messages to the stakeholders in the hospitality industry on a daily basis is a challenge she’s game for
What is your career background?
I am a hospitality professional with over 16 years of experience in the industry – 10 of which I have spent in marketing and communications at Rotana properties, where I have supported the marketing function in a number of leadership roles at Rotana Hotel Management’s corporate office in Abu Dhabi and various properties in Dubai, UAE.
What inspired you to take up a career in marketing?
I have always been very passionate about communications and brand building and management. Pursuing a career in communications in the hospitality sector has allowed me to expand my creative potential while also giving me a platform to meet new people and explore new cultures.
What are your responsibilities at the hotel?
I am responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies to ensure effective positioning and viability of the new properties, as well as building brand awareness and promoting customer loyalty through effective marketing campaigns and public relations.
How do you keep yourself motivated for your job?
I thrive on the sense of newness my job offers. No two days are the same. With the global and regional hospitality sector undergoing a massive transformation, change is a phenomenon you embrace with open arms and responding to this change keeps me motivated on a daily basis. As a marketing and communications professional, having a strong foundation in place is both a challenge and an opportunity. It’s a challenge because you have to set the bar even higher and an opportunity because you are working on a brand that is already top-of-mind. At the end of the day, what’s most rewarding for me is to see our communication strategies translate into ‘treasured experiences’ for our guests day after day.
What are some of the challenges you face in your role?
Identifying the right medium to deliver the right key messages to the right stakeholders is a challenge communicators face on a daily basis because what is the right medium today is no longer relevant tomorrow. The same holds true for your messages and stakeholders. This is because communications is a highly dynamic industry. As new tools of communication present themselves, brand audiences have more choice than ever in terms of accessing information. The importance of finding the right combination of communication mediums, messages and audiences, has therefore, never been more critical.
How do you keep your staff motivated?
The workplace dynamic has undergone a significant shift in recent years with the traditional hierarchical system becoming more and more obsolete. With innovation becoming one of the most important ingredients of business success, organisations are increasingly focusing on developing a culture of creativity; and creativity is an output of collaborative action. At Al Bandar Rotana, we believe in a teamwork-based approach to creating unforgettable experiences for our guests, leveraging their individual strengths and diverse backgrounds of our colleagues to develop impactful campaigns. That, in a nutshell, is how we keep our team motivated — enabling them to be an equal participant in our brand strategy and an equal stakeholder of our success.