Front-of-house: Meet the hotel manager at the House Hotel Bomonti, Turkey

Zuhal Karakaş Güllü, hotel manager at the House Hotel Bomonti, Istanbul talks about her role, why she joined the hospitality industry and shares five tips for guest satisfaction

Zuhal Karakaş Güllü
Zuhal Karakaş Güllü

Tell us about your role.
I am responsible for operations across multiple departments including the front office, housekeeping, technical services, food and beverage and the kitchens. Liaising with the sales and revenue teams to ensure we deliver healthy hotel revenues is also part of my remit. However, the most important task – and one of the most enjoyable – is chatting with our guests. It is crucial to engage with our customers to get their honest feedback as ultimately my role is to make sure guests are happy before, during and after their stay with us.

What made you want to work in hospitality industry?
I am a sociable person and enjoy talking to people from all walks of life. The hotel industry has given me the opportunity to not only meet guests from all over the world but work with a multi-cultural team of passionate hospitality professionals.

What are the career obstacles you’ve faced?
Adapting to different management styles has sometimes been challenging, but the experience has benefitted my career by teaching me to be adaptable to new situations.

What makes you thrive in your place of work?
I enjoy the team spirit and camaraderie that is unique to the hotel environment.

Tell us about your experience in the industry.
My introduction to the industry happened in 2008 with an internship at Dedeman Hotels in Istanbul, which set me on a successful career path. My first official role was in the front office department at Mövenpick Hotel Istanbul where I worked for five years and was promoted to front office supervisor. I then spent four-and-a-half years at Sofa Hotel Istanbul as a front office supervisor and later, as acting operations manager. These roles prepared me for my move to The House Hotel Bomonti as hotel manager in May 2019. It is a beautiful property with a wonderful team.

How do you monitor feedback?
Liaising with guests is the best way to discover what we are doing right and how we can improve. I chat with guests when they are in the lobby, checking out, or having breakfast to get their feedback about the hotel and members of our staff, which I really enjoy. Guests appreciate that we value their opinions and want to hear their thoughts. I also monitor and respond to guest comments made through online channels. Guest satisfaction is always our top priority.

What is the trickiest situation that you have had to deal with?
At a previous hotel we held a Halloween party and as you can imagine, some of the young guests were very excited and making more noise than usual. One of our guests became upset by the noise and asked to move rooms, but we were fully booked. He became quite angry and asked to see the general manager. Unfortunately, when the GM appeared, he was wearing a Halloween costume, which the guest did not appreciate. It was a very tricky situation to resolve.

What do you do to motivate yourself?
I really enjoy my job, so I don’t lack motivation, but it can be quite demanding, so I focus on keeping calm to keep on top of every task and detail.

Five tips for guest satisfaction
1. A friendly and hearty welcome is a must – first impressions last.
2. Attention to detail is essential.
3. Serve in a way that guests leave with good memories.
4. Make your guests feel comfortable and at home.
5. Remember your guests’ special occasions and leave small gifts to surprise them.

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