Front-of-house: Meet the GM at Millennium Hotel & Convention Centre Kuwait
Ahmed Serafi, the general manager at Millennium Hotel & Convention Centre Kuwait speaks about his role, the challenges he has faced and five tips for guest satisfaction
Tell us about your role.
As a general manager at Millennium Hotel and Convention Centre Kuwait, my role involves the development of new growth strategies that strengthen our leading position in the market as well as total revenue. Ultimately, I oversee strategic and daily operations across all departments considering guests’ satisfaction and industry trends to provide exceptional and sophisticated customer experience, as well as maintaining an outstanding hotel reputation in the market.
What made you want to work in the hospitality industry?
Hospitality is a challenging industry for ambitious people. Dealing with different nationalities and various cultures is what attracted me the most. In hospitality, we aim to draw smiles on our guests’ faces, we attend to their needs, and above all, we are keen to give them a memorable experience.
What are the career obstacles you’ve faced?
Offering a product that suits all segments of travellers without compromising on quality and the level of services we provide, especially in a five-star hotel, is not easy to deliver. I do listen to every idea that comes around whether from my team or guests to curate tailored-packages for every segment while keeping an eye on our market rivals. At Millennium Hotel and Convention Centre Kuwait, my daily challenge is to exceed the expectation of clients as we are the largest convention centre in Kuwait aside from their different standards and work scheme.
What makes you thrive at your place of work?
I am a result-driven professional, but what motivates me is the positive energy and high spirit that I see and feel in my team.
Tell us about your experience in the industry.
I have more than 30 years’ experience, during which I have accepted several assignments as general manager in many international hotel chains such as Movenpick, IHG and Millennium. As a hotelier, my core motive is to gain as much as possible from each assignment to elevate my career potential.
How do you monitor feedback?
In addition to our regular procedure of reading guest feedback and daily reviews on social media and at the hotel reception, my team monitors guests’ reviews on our services across all booking platforms. I conduct a daily tour around the hotel to talk to our guests and check in case they have any concerns. Happy guests and employees are the true capital for any successful hotel.
What is the trickiest situation that you have had to deal with?
The trickiest situation any manager might face is solving an issue for one of the guests such as changing his room while the hotel is fully booked. In such situations, I usually address the issue indirectly by remunerating the guest with complimentary vouchers or discounts for future stays.
It is definitely a challenge to operate a large hotel with 295 rooms and 21 different function rooms including a ballroom and more than 6,000 sqm of conference space, especially during large-scale events and global conferences.
What do you do to motivate yourself?
Success motivates me. Once you taste success, you will crave it more. It is the kind of addiction we all want, and seek in our careers. Recently, we achieved many awards in 2019 including Kuwait’s Leading Conference Hotel from World Travel Awards Middle East as well as 11 awards at HORECA Kuwait.
Five tips for guest satisfaction
• Give them a warm welcome.
• Service with a smile.
• Provide a home-comfort experience.
• Pay attention to your guests’ needs and feedback.
• Details matter, so pay attention to that.