Women in Hospitality: 1 - Elaine Watson

Marriott International cluster general manager

Elaine Watson
Elaine Watson

The first female general manager for Marriott in the Middle East in 2001, Elaine Watson has had a diverse career, working across several of the hospitality group‘s brands.

As well as the UAE, She has held assignments in Egypt and South Africa and, in 2008, won the Hotelier Middle East award for General Manager of the Year.

She says: “I have always been a pioneer and happy to tread the unexplored paths and enjoy challenging assignments whether that be establishing new brands or working in new locations. I would like to think that I paved the way for some of my sisters to follow.”

Her greatest professional accomplishment to date was being able to transfer from the finance sector as a qualified ACCA into an operational role which is where her passion lies.

Talking about the keys to her success as a leader, Watson says: “Business acumen of all managers is critical. This has been a huge focus since my arrival as it is vital that each and every team member realises the positive impact they can have on the business regardless of role.

Mentoring team members to grow their careers is something that I enjoy and I love to see people grow their careers and live their dreams.”

The three hotels (Aloft Me'aisam, Element Me'aisam and Aloft Dubai South) that she currently manages are continuing to develop their presence both in the larger UAE market and within their respective neighbourhoods.

Watson and her team are on a continuous journey to increase revenue and improve efficiencies and consistency in operations to ensure maximum returns for all stakeholders.

By the numbers

  • 1 year in the role 
  • 30 years in the company 
  • 18 years in the region 
  • 30 yeas in hospitality 

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