FOH Interview: Nassima Royal Hotel's Kudzanayi Chigwedere

Kudzanayi Chigwedere, the winner of AICR UAE's Receptionist of the Year award this year, has been working at the Nassima Royal Hotel for nearly two years

Kudzanayi Chigwedere
Kudzanayi Chigwedere

When did you join Nassima Royal Hotel? What previous experience do you have?
I join Nassima Royal Hotel in 2017, upon arriving in the Middle East. Prior to this, I was in a different cultural environment in Melbourne, Australia, where I received thorough training and gained professional insights in my role as receptionist at Rydges on Swanston.

What are your responsibilities?
I am responsible for consistently delivering results that contribute to the mission and overall success of the hotel by accomplishing performance objectives covering the front desk. I welcome guests to our hotel, making future reservations for them, and generally attend to any needs during their stay. In order to achieve this, I endeavour to ensure that guests experience maximum satisfaction, presenting an excellent image of our hotel that ultimately leaves a lasting impression.

How is the role evolving?
The world of hospitality is vibrant and always interesting, especially at Nassima Royal Hotel. I believe in being vocal, as knowing how to  effectively communicate is a big part of being a good teammate. Working in a multicultural environment, with colleagues from all over the world gives rise to tremendous personal growth and great exposure. It’s also an exciting time with Expo2020 Dubai around the corner. I am also happy that the hotel is nurturing my talents and encouraging my further development.

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What do you most enjoy about your job?
The importance of teamwork is most evident in my role as receptionist. Working with both customers and behind the scenes, I have learned the intricacies of running these complex operations. I thrive on establishing and crafting connections, a primary attribute required in hospitality. I love interacting with guests and colleagues and it is what makes my job most attractive.

What are the biggest challenges in  your role?
Dealing with people from all over the world with different mentalities and cultures, it is important to acknowledge their diverse experience and expectations. It’s paramount to always stay calm in the moment and work hard to address any challenge at hand.

How do you monitor guest feedback?
We personally connect with our guests often before they arrive at the front desk. We monitor feedback and respond to it, and take note of improvements we can make based on those responses. Naturally, a large portion of guest satisfaction ratings has to do with us, the frontline colleagues. This is why I recognise the significance of guest satisfaction and working to improve the guest experience.

How do you deal with difficult guests?
I put myself in the guests’ shoes and empathise with them, stay calm and keep them calm, and always assure them that my first priority is to assist them and find a solution to their issues.

How do you keep yourself motivated?
Always remembering why I do this in the first place keeps me inspired to be the best I can. My colleagues support my passion further.

What are you most proud of?
Being part of a young and skilled team and providing every guest with unforgettable moments they will cherish for years to come.

What advice would you give someone who wants to excel as a receptionist?
It is the same that was given to me by one of my managers some years ago: always treat your guests how you would like to be treated, with respect, and remember there is no such thing as perfection. Imperfections should not mould you, but rather teach you.

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