FOH Interview: Premier Inn Dubai Investments Park's Mohamed Elkholy
Mohamed Samir Helmy Elkholy, reception team member, Premier Inn Dubai Investments Park, says that it is important to listen to the guest and treat what they have to say with seriousness
When did you join Premier Inn, and what previous experience have you had before joining the reception team?
I joined Premier Inn in 2016 as part of the housekeeping team. I had planned to study for my diploma in Egypt, and travel to Italy. However, things changed and I took the opportunity to come to the UAE and work with Premier Inn. After a year, I was able to train as a receptionist, working double shifts alongside my housekeeping role. My hard work paid off, and I am now a reception team member at Premier Inn Dubai Investments Park.
Why duties does your role involve?
As part of the reception team, I deal with guests face to face. Every day, I start with a small joke, it makes my team happy and puts us all at ease. With guests, anything can happen. If they have a problem, I listen and try my best to solve it. Sometimes their children may be sick, and I need to help them find a hospital; or they may have left their luggage in their taxi, so I help them to locate it. This is on top of checking in guests and making reservations to ensure all guests have a great stay.
How is the role evolving?
At Premier Inn, the reception team is the first point of contact for guests in the hotel. The role goes beyond checking guests in and out. Now, we also share with them the extra benefits of staying with Premier Inn, such as the Premier Inn Passport, and how they can make the most of their stay. We also receive more sales training, to recognise corporate guests and share their details with our sales team for future reservations. For me personally, I have developed my skills; when I arrived in the UAE I could understand English, but could not respond. Now I chat away with guests all day!
What do you most enjoy about your job?
The best part of the job is communicating with guests. I love helping them, and improving their stay. Even if a guest is having a bad day, I ask them about it and try to make it better for them. When I receive positive feedback face to face, or see a positive TripAdvisor review, that makes me feel good inside and out.
What are some of the challenges you face in your job?
Initially, the biggest challenge for me was responding to emails. I found it difficult to follow the standards set by Premier Inn, especially when it was a complaint or negative feedback. But with practice I have improved this. It’s also challenging when the reception is busy and full, and you have to focus on your guest, whilst looking at the computer screen and have another eye on the children running around – it can be chaotic, but I love it.
How do you monitor guest feedback?
Many guests share feedback during their stay, both positive and negative. If it is a complaint, we usually solve it during their stay. Some guests are short tempered, and we have to deal with that by understanding the mistakes made and focus on the guest. Many guests leave us feedback on review sites, and mention our names – this is monitored by our regional operations director and each month we are rewarded for positive feedback. This is great motivation for our team.
How do you deal with difficult guests or other tricky situations?
If we have a guest who has a problem, or is in a difficult situation, it is important to listen to them. We most also treat the situation with seriousness, so the guest believes we will follow up and take action. Usually I am happy, and like to smile and share a joke with guests, but if there is a tricky situation, you must be respectful and understand their problems.