Coping with COVID-19: Industry Insights with Radisson's Panos Panagis

Hormuz Grand Muscat general manager Panos Panagis speaks to Hotelier Middle East about the effect that the pandemic has had on operations

Panos Panagis
Panos Panagis

Panos Panagis spoke exclusively to Hotelier Middle East about his experiences over the past few weeks.

How has your role changed in recent weeks?
We have gone from a buzzing hotel where we are delivering exceptional guest experience and welcoming guests from around the globe, to a very challenging time for the world which has had a major impact in the hospitality and travel industry. My role has changed in so many ways, from keeping the team together and motivated in these times when many colleagues since are far away from their families and feel isolated and worried but also our continuous work to ensure financial stability for our hotels. I aim to give my team as much information as possible, constantly update them and be creative in order keep them motivated. Overall, we keep the team motivated by continuing to train them and focused on a return to normal operation, hopefully sometime in the near future. 

It is inevitable that the crisis will end but I want to make sure that our teams are prepared and fully trained to welcome back our guests. We use the down time to focus on training, pick up things that have been delayed due to busy operations and we try to face these times with some humouras well.  after all, we are all in this together.

Are you learning any new skills?
I have dedicated a lot of time using our Radisson Academy, the online training platform of Radisson Hotel Group to follow some courses myself but also assigning a number of courses to our team members. It assists in getting a perspective that no matter what, things will return back to normal and we will all be stronger afterwards. I tell my team it’s a great time to pick up new skills and extend our knowledge.

On a personal level, I think we all are learning how important human social interaction is, and it should remind us of the things that are really important. Yes, we are colleagues but being far away from family and friends, also means that we are family for our team members, and I want to make sure I am there for them.

What are you doing to stay safe and keep guests safe?
I am making sure to keep up with all the guidelines of the government of the sultanate of Oman as well as those of the World Health Organization and Radisson Hotel Group. We ensure to practice social distancing, correct handwashing, increased cleaning and sanitation and we make sure our team are continuously trained and reminded of those practices. In addition, our team wears PPE when at work and uses training from the WHO to correctly don (put on) and doff (take off) such PPE.

How do you stay motivated?
We have been able to contribute to the community in Oman by welcoming and housing Omani students traveling in from overseas during their 14 day quarantine. Being able to care and keep the next generation of Omani’s brightest safe, is an honour and a great motivation.

Conversations with team members and guests give me a lot of energy and hope that things will be back to normal soon. I consider myself to be an optimist and hope that as a global community, we will have this behind us soon and hopefully becoming wiser about the way we live our life and what is important. At RHG we are already preparing for the safe reopening of all our properties and how we can continue to create memorable moments in the new normal after COVID-19.

Panos Panagis is the general manager of the Hormuz Grand Muscat, A Radisson Collection Hotel, and Radisson Hotel Group district director for Oman

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