Front of House: Meet Ahmed Amer

Director of front office Park Rotana & Park Arjaan by Rotana, Abu Dhabi, talks about his role

'My interest and passion for hospitality started at a very young age'
'My interest and passion for hospitality started at a very young age'

Ahmed Amer, director of front office Park Rotana & Park Arjaan by Rotana, Abu Dhabi, talks to Hotelier Middle East about his job and the best way to deal with those tricky situations.

My job in 50 words
It’s a highly exciting job, as you have the opportunity to provide great experiences or ‘treasured time’ (as we call it in Rotana). Passion, pro-activeness, teamwork, excellent customer service, problem resolution, guest satisfaction and genuine interest to serve are the key words in our jobs in the front office.

My hospitality journey
My interest and passion for hospitality started at a very young age as my father used to run a business in the industry. My older brother is also a hotelier, hence he inspired and guided me to be one. While studying hospitality management at the Faculty of Hotels & Tourism when I was 17, I started working in a 5-star property in Cairo. I subsequently joined Rotana in 2010, after the opening phase of Park Rotana & Park Arjaan by Rotana, Abu Dhabi. I had the opportunity to build my career and was transferred to different hotels within Rotana. In November 2018, it was great to be back to where it began, re-joining my first property as director of front office.

The biggest challenges 
It’s the alignment of mind-sets of individual team members to work towards every front office department’s ultimate goal of guest satisfaction. Considering the diverse backgrounds of colleagues, you have to lead using various techniques to ensure everyone is on board and that each person sees the big picture.  Once this challenge is overcome, the success manifests naturally in all aspects – guest satisfaction, revenue, teamwork and commendable guest service.

Why I enjoy my job
It’s the fun brought about by being surrounded by colleagues who share the same passion for the industry and the opportunity to interact with different types of people on a daily basis. Guests stay for the first time and then you get to know them better. When they return and ask for you because you made an excellent impression or was able to overcome a challenge during their first stay, it’s an amazing feeling of achievement. It’s always a very dynamic working environment and it’s always evolving.

M previous experience and training
I have been in the same role at The Cove Rotana Resort, Ras Al Khaimah since April 2015, where I have gained a lot of experience in the stunning resort. Previously, I was also part of the pre-opening team of what used to be Al Ghurair Rayhaan & Al Ghurair Arjaan by Rotana in Dubai back in 2012.

Monitoring feedback, good and bad
We have efficient CRM systems in place to monitor guest feedback, whether they are still in-house or have already checked-out. We ensure that comments, both positive and negative, are acknowledged and actioned within a specific timeframe. As Director of Front Office, my role is to get into the root cause of the negative feedback, understand the scenario from different points of view, resolve and rectify any shortfalls, if any, and ensure that it does not happen again to other guests.  

Tricky situations
Dealing with difficult guests is a combination of talent and specially acquired skill gained from experience. It requires a lot of active listening, patience and interpersonal skills. The key is to understand the guest’s point of view to be able to appropriately handle whatever the situation. Each guest who complains has something to share. When dealing with difficult guests or an unusual situation, the key is to ensure that the guest is able to speak without being interrupted, and you are able to take notes and only ask questions. This allows you time to analyse the situation and find a proper solution.

Self-motivation hacks
I already do what I love to do so the motivation is already there to begin with. I studied hospitality and almost all of my friends and family are in the same field. I even met my wife at work. I keep myself motivated by focusing on my role and responsibilities as a leader. Motivate yourself only by believing in yourself and your abilities. For sure, there will always be some challenges along the way, but any obstacle you overcome is a win and an experience to make you grow and reach your goals.

What makes me proud 
It’s the leadership part of it; having the opportunity to work with a considerable number of colleagues, building the team spirit and working on their skills and development. Giving off-job training and sharing experiences with others, seeing them grow and remembering you as a leader brings a sense of pride and accomplishment, as you know that somehow, you made a difference in that person’s life. Most of the time, it only requires simple words of motivation to make a difference in a person’s life and career.

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