Front-of-house interview: Guest relations manager at Voco Dubai

Adnan Zafar, the guest relations manager at Voco Dubai talks about his role, the challenges and gives tips for guest satisfaction

Adnan Zafar
Adnan Zafar

Sum up your role in 50 words.
I am a voco™ Host and my responsibilities are primarily to serve as a guest relations manager, ensuring that each and every individual guest feels comfortable. I am committed to providing a personable and reliable service, in a manner that is synonymous to the brand experience. A good example would be that guests at our hotel are given traditional Emirati dates upon arrival.

What made you want to work in the hospitality industry?
It has been my dream to work in the hospitality industry since I was a child, as I loved to welcome guests home. I’m also a very people-oriented individual, a trait I consider really important when interacting with guests. I truly love the opportunity of engaging with people from all cultures, nationalities and walks-of-life as part of my job.

Any career obstacles?
Every career has obstacles and I believe it is really important to remain focused and have a clear idea of what you want in order to succeed. It’s also essential to be confident and put 100% into whatever it is you are doing. The rewards always speak for themselves.

What makes you thrive in your place of work?
Loving what you do, thinking outside the box and continuous professional development. I am always trying to learn more and proactively participate in training sessions, in order to ensure that every guest at voco™ Dubai has an enriching and seamless experience. I also believe that this outlook will best serve me in my future endeavours, be that professional, or personal.

How many years' of experience do you have in the industry?
I had been working in Nassima Royal Hotel Dubai for three years prior to the conversion, when I was subsequently offered the opportunity become a host for voco™ Dubai. As a completely new brand, I was really interested in the opportunity and new company ethos and it has been an incredible and challenging experience. I started my career in hospitality at the age of 18 with a job in Serena, Pakistan, following a course at the Institute of Hotel Management (ITHM). As a people-oriented person, I realised very early on that the social environment of a hotel front office was ideal for me. I progressed from telephone operator to receptionist and received recognition in numerous awards that I have participated in.

How do you monitor feedback?
I consider any feedback, both positive and negative. In particular, negative feedback should be addressed and resolved as quickly as possible. In any industry, but especially ours, it is extremely important to be able to receive feedback and learn from it.

What do you do to motivate yourself?
I really love my job and interacting with guests; this keeps me motivated and content. When you enjoy your job role, guests can see that. I also love exploring Dubai and giving recommendations to guests to ensure that they get the maximum from their stay in the emirates. I have received positive comments on TripAdvisor from previous guests and knowing that they have had a great trip definitely gives me a boost and ensures that I remain motivated and engaged at work.

Tips for guest satisfaction
1. Think about things from the guest’s perspective
2. If problems arise, own them from start to finish
3. Listen and repeat. In hospitality, you are dealing with people from all over the world so it’s important to fully understand their personal needs
4. Follow-up on feedback and check satisfaction of guests. This ensures that I have a great relationship with guests and also that they have a great experience when staying at the hotel

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