Interview: Saadiyat Rotana and Resorts’ guest experience co-ordinator, Abdellah Al Balushi

Hotelier Middle East speaks with Saadiyat Rotana’s guest experience co-ordinator, Adellah Al Balushi who discusses his career path into hospitality and paid tribute to his father for his success.

Saadiyat Rotana and Resorts' Abdellah Al Balushi
Saadiyat Rotana and Resorts' Abdellah Al Balushi

Could you sum up your role in 50 words?

As a guest experience coordinator, I’m responsible for facilitating the guest’s arrival and departure by streamlining the operation and communication to ensure a memorable experience. I make sure to complete all the queries in a professional manner. To achieve that, I coordinate daily with the full team of the front office.

What made you want to work in hospitality?

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I've always been passionate about hospitality and guest services. In the Arabian culture, and especially in GCC countries, we are very well known for our traditional and warm hospitality. Working with Rotana was an incredible opportunity, which encouraged me to start my career in hospitality. I found great support from the people surrounding me, especially my father, an unbelievable source of motivation and encouragement. Everyday, he shares his best advice with me.

Any career obstacles?

Unlike other industries, working in a hotel is different every day. Each day is a new adventure and a challenge. One of my biggest "obstacles" is the language barrier, when a guest walks into the resort, but doesn't speak English, it's always difficult to communicate and understand the query. Nevertheless, you may always get support from your team and find someone who speaks the same language.

What makes you thrive in your place of work?

Having a great team and management, who shares and believes the same vision, makes everything easier. Working in this environment pushes us to give our best every day and have a sense of commitment that helps you to thrive in any situation. 

Background/experience?

I started working in customer services in a local retail company for two years. After that, I moved to a five-star resort in Ras Al-Khaimah. I started as a reservations agent and in two years I was promoted to reservations supervisor. During my free time, I took the advantage of the Rotana cross-training program and spent a few hours in events, sales, and front office departments, which helped me to improve my knowledge and skills in different areas in the hotel. After almost two years as a reservations supervisor, I moved to be a part of Saadiyat Rotana Resort and Villas team (pre-opening) as a guest experience coordinator in the front office department.

How do you monitor feedback?
I always seek feedback and listen very carefully as I believe improvement is one of our key self-development. Once feedback is received, I always make sure to create an action plan to help and support with any issues. There's always an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and avoid them in the future.

What is the trickiest situation that you have had to deal with?

The pre-opening stage was full of challenges considering the fact that we established the new system. We put procedures in place and started from nothing. Moving forward to the soft opening stage, we had to face some issues in the room, sometimes new for colleagues, but we were there to guide and support them. In the later stages, this allowed us to have a stronger team who can handle the trickiest situations.

What do you do to self-motivate yourself?

Staying motivated is one of the key things in your routine. Every day, I set achievable goals and work to achieve them, but also enjoy every moment.  I always change my negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. In a simple manner, I push myself because no one else is going to do it for me.

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