Coping with COVID-19: Industry Insights with Anantara’s Khaled Sharabassy

Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel GM Khaled Sharabassy reveals how his property has adapted to the current situation

Khaled Sharabassy
Khaled Sharabassy

Khaled Sharabassy took the time to reveal to Hotelier Middle East how the COVID-D-19 pandemic has impacted operations over the past weeks.

How has your role changed in recent weeks?
I must say this pandemic is not like any other crisis we have gone through before. The major changes in my role has been shifting strategies from maximising revenue and profit in regular days to minimising losses/expenses and damages during these declining times globally. I have been constantly working on developing recovery plans to minimise disruptions and to preserve business continuity and of course ensuring the safety of my guests and team members. 

Are you learning any new skills?
There are countless life lessons I learned as I am passing and managing though the COVID-19 outbreak. Patience and increased levels of team work is a skill that we are learning more as most of us are working from home and managing our meetings and projects using software’s such as Microsoft Teams.

I have learnt to accept that there is no such thing as a perfect formula during pandemics and it’s the wrong thing to pursue. I stressed on striking the skill of keeping a balance between being an inspirational and comforting leader and pushing my team to keep maximum productivity despite all the stress and emotional distractions the pandemic is causing. I had to keep up with the team through unconventional methods and meet via videoconference and try my best to keep everyone on the same page virtually. 

The skill of adaptation - With the everyday limitless news, changes, and surprises that the pandemic bring us, I have to continuously and openly accept, cope and deal with the ever-evolving situation. 

Communication is key -  As the outbreak goes far and beyond, the level of anxiety and sense of uncertainty continue to rise in people. With the many and frequent questions from the employees and stakeholders, I have to project calm and assuredness to all those involved. I remain active in monitoring the situation closely, and define what, when and how to communicate the accurate, honest and consistent message in an adaptive context at the right time in the best way. 

What are you doing to stay safe and keep guests safe?
We are working closely with local authorities and hotel personnel to ensure the highest levels of safety for all our guests and team members which is an absolute priority at this time. The hotel is fully compliant with local health authority regulations, and additional measures have also been implemented to ensure the highest standards of health and safety at all times. All our team members have all gone through multiple trainings and our corporate office ensures that we are fully updated with global trends and processes making us be on top of safety. 

How do you stay motivated?
There are multiple motivational factors that inspire me to keep going and clinging to hope. The continuous support of the UAE leaders, their wise vision and proactive planning and readiness in dealing with the global pandemic is extraordinarily diligent. Their actions in containing the virus is something all UAE people are grateful for. The strong and determined team with me at Anantara is what makes work more motivating, positive and incredibly rewarding. Indeed a high functioning team can achieve incredible results. And here at Anantara Eastern Mangroves we act upon the renowned phrase: Teamwork makes the dream work. What keeps me excited is the day when we once again open our hotel doors to welcome travellers from around the globe. Anantara promises its guests with luxury hospitality, genuine places and indigenous experiences with lifetime stories and memories. Stay tuned, because Anantara Eastern Mangroves team is fully ready and impatiently waiting to welcome you and extend you extraordinary experiences!  4. Above all comes my faith and confidence in God. He puts the miracle into motion. I keep believing, praying, and hoping, because God is for us. I trust Him and embrace the good things He has in store for our future!

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