FOH Interview: Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates's Elena Guseva
Elena Guseva says communication skills are extremely important for butlers. The role demands a high level of emotional intelligence to ensure all dialogue is tailored to each guest
When did you join Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, and what previous experience or training have you had as a butler?
I joined the Kempinski team in April 2018. I previously worked as a butler for one year at the Belmond Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg. As for education, I have completed my butler training at Heilbron Hospitality School in Cape Town this September.
Why are butlers important in luxury hotels?
In my opinion, butler service is the core of luxury hospitality. Our job is to make every person that enters the doors of the hotel feel special, which is why people choose luxury in the first place.
How is the role evolving?
Every day is different, and there are always new things coming up, which means that we will have to constantly develop to stay on top of our game. With the luxury hotel industry being more accessible than ever before, butler service isn’t that rare for people anymore. This means that we need to go above and beyond with our initiatives and solutions every second of the day to ensure that guests feel a better experience that what our competitors offer.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
There is nothing quite like the feeling of greeting guests and representing the hotel. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you are the one to set the standard and give them an impeccable impression from the beginning and offer an experience like no other.
What are the biggest challenges of the role?
It can get extremely hectic, and there are never enough hours in the day, it seems. You never know what’s around the next corner so you have to be ready to tackle anything that is thrown at you.
How do you monitor guest feedback?
Communication is extremely important, and demands a high level of emotional intelligence to ensure all dialogue is tailored to each guest. It’s critical to make each guest feel like you are always present, attentive and ready to communicate. Most importantly, we are conscious about building a positive and trusting relationship with all guests.
How do you deal with difficult guests or other tricky situations?
Patience is of course essential, but self-awareness is also key. Frustration can occur if the mind is not calm and focused, and this will prevent you from finding the ideal solutions you need in these situations. It’s important to always be empathetic and understanding, because at the end of the day guests have the right to be themselves, and we need to respect that to maintain and build relationships.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I am thankful to have a very rewarding job, where I don’t need to look too far to feel inspired or motivated, as I get to meet amazing people from all over the world every day. It’s an incredible feeling to know that I am a key element towards making their day a lot brighter!
What part of your role at Kempinski are you most proud of?
The fact that we deal with VIP guests who can be demanding personalities with high expectations, by constantly adapting, listening and impressing them with the service we provide.