Front-of-House interview: Meet the general manager at Millennium Hotel & Resort Salalah, Oman
Amr Hussein, the general manager at Millennium Hotel & Resort Salalah, Oman talks about his work, challenges and five tips for guest satisfaction
Tell us about your role.
I have to keep both the parties, guests and staff, happy. Plan, direct and coordinate the service of food and beverages, guest services, SPA, maintenance, employee development, housekeeping, revenue, sales & marketing. On the other hand, I also have to maintain financial status including forecasting, prepare an annual and long-term budget; monitor variances; identify trends; recommend actions, control costs, maximise revenues; secure hotel by establishing and enforcing precautionary policies and procedures; respond to emergencies and manage the security within premises.
What made you want to work in hospitality industry?
I entered the hospitality industry by chance, not at first but ultimately I got to like it. In the beginning I had a feeling that I was carried away by strong wave and when I got to know things and gained more experience I realised that have control over situations. It was a long path but I have to confess that I am enjoying it.
What are the career obstacles you’ve faced?
We live in such a fast-paced world; the greatest challenge is to keep up with new trends and to adapt to them. Our business is constantly evolving, for example, the booking industry has changed. Guests have many choices nowadays; we have to keep up with the changes. We have to be present in all sales channels. The other challenge is that you need to understand what is important for today’s generation. Our industry often faces a challenge to find good and motivated young people to join us. You need to know that their philosophy and values in life have changed so much in comparison with my generation, and adjustments in management styles have to be made to accommodate this change.
What makes you thrive in your place of work?
This is a wide-open question. Wide-open because the health of the hotel is like your body and every inch counts and needs to be properly looked after because it all adds up. The best answer here is: as the GM, my job is to lead all aspects of the hotel. Understanding the latest trends, market situations, competition analysis, and a little bit of creativity is all you need, in order to succeed.
Tell us about your experience in the industry.
My career path was long and not easy; I started from scratch, as a sales and groups coordinator at Hilton. I worked over year at Hilton then I joined IHG as a reservations manager. After that I got a chance to work as an assistant revenue manager in Jumeirah brand, then as a director of revenue in Jebel Ali Hotel and Golf Resort. I was happy to get the opportunity to work as a general manager at Rotana and now I have joined my new team at Millennium Resort Salalah.
How do you monitor feedback?
I will not break new grounds by saying that it is impossible to have 100% happy guests. Luckily, I’ve got a great team who is constantly monitoring the guest's feedback and I am myself a person who is very active on social media. I read all the comments and reviews on all the platforms, whether it’s social media or any other Online Travel Agency. But what is more important, I tour around the hotel regularly and approach guests to get their first-hand feedback and to assist whenever needed. Interaction is very important and you can eliminate about 85% of the negative comments if the cases are sorted on the spot. What really matters for the guests is to know that they are very welcome, that this is their “home away from home” and we will be looking forward to seeing them time and again.
What is the trickiest situation that you have had to deal with?
As mentioned above, we cannot have 100% happy guests. There are factors that can affect the guests’ mood, and those matters are not in your hands. I had a case when one of the guests was storming at the front office desk and I approached him. There was no evident reason for his behavior. I invited him for a coffee and figured out that he had been going through a tough time. After some time, he started joking and I realised that the situation was resolved. You might not believe it, but the guest made it a habit to pass by every other day for a coffee and I made sure I was always available for him. Now we have become good friends and I can surely say, that a warm word is worth of gold at times.
What do you do to motivate yourself?
What keeps me going is my family, my team and our achievements.
Five tips for guest satisfaction
- Treat every guest like a VIP
- Make training an everyday priority and not just a one-time event
- Provide personalised customer service
- Tie your staff's actions to the hotel’s overall performance
- Take measure of your customer service performance