Front-of-house: Meet the front office manager, Grand Plaza Movënpick Media City

Claire van’t Hull, the front office manager at Grand Plaza Movënpick Media City talks about her role, why she chose the hospitality industry and shares five tips for guest satisfaction

Claire van’t Hull
Claire van’t Hull

Tell us about your role in more than 50 words.
My role is to manage the reception area whilst handling guest needs. I act as the ‘face’ of the company and ensure visitors and guests receive a heart-warming welcome. I coordinate all front desk and concierge activities. I have to combine my pleasant personality with a dynamic professional attitude to supervise and lead the team. I am required to handle complaints efficiently and ensure that my sole focus is to develop, guide and support my team.

What made you want to work in hospitality industry?
It was actually a friend who made me want to work in the industry. It was just a job in the beginning however it grew on me. I enjoyed being able to form new relationships and make memories with those who crossed my path. Making guests feel welcome and at home made me happy and that became my passion. Since the beginning, the hospitality industry chose me.

What are the career obstacles you’ve faced?
There have been multiple obstacles and milestones throughout my career that have challenged me and helped me develop the skills I am required to demonstrate daily, but leaving my home country at the age of 20 was my biggest obstacle as I had to learn to adjust and adapt as well as accept different mentalities and cultures.

What makes you thrive in your place of work?
I thrive in an environment that encourages change and equality and my company provides such an atmosphere.

Tell us about your experience in the industry.
My journey began in the year 2012, where I started my career as a guest service agent for a 5-star hotel in my home country South Africa. After cross training in the Events department and moving to Reservations, a few years later I was offered a position as a guest service agent in an international hotel chain in Dubai which lead me on to the career path I currently am on.

How do you monitor feedback?
By using platforms that allow us to track guest feedback through social media, hotel surveys and feedback logs. Internally, we reach out to guests by verbally requesting their feedback whilst they are accommodated in the hotel in order to maximise their experience and acknowledge any concerns they may have prior to their departure. Communication is key.

What is the trickiest situation that you have had to deal with?
Starting over in new properties or hotel chains as you are required to adapt to different procedures and service cultures.

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What do you do to motivate yourself?
I motivate myself by believing that what I learn today will help me grow tomorrow. I believe that everyone can make a difference.

Five tips for guest satisfaction.

• Empathy, have the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.
• Avoid assuming things, it leads to misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
• Personal touch, do something that makes your guest feel special.
• Work to make a difference, do something that is significant to others.
• To imagine oneself in the situation or circumstances of another person, to understand or empathise with their perspective, opinion, or point of view. Before being quick to judge someone for their actions, you should always try to put yourself in their shoes.

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