Coronavirus Diaries: Hotel manager at Dubai's Meydan Hotel
Mohamed Shawky shares his daily routine during Covid-19
As I sit here reminiscing over the past few years, I have come to realize that this year has become very different. Working from home is a completely new experience and somehow there’s more time for everything be it personal or professional. I am more available for my family now and I believe I have a better connection with them. I truly agree that working from home has a lot of advantages though I still miss face to face communication. Take a look at my daily routine during Covid-19:
6.30am: I wake up early for a 45-minute workout in the house, followed by a shower. During Ramadan I am fasting until 7pm. Therefore, I have a lot of time on my plate and am not rushing into things like before. I actually enjoy this time to myself because I can focus on how I want to execute my day.
7.30am: I am a morning person and by now my mind is fresh, ready to process information that I take in. I usually ensure to update myself on what has been happening in the market – this includes hospitality news, press releases, financial reports etc.
8.30am: Then I go through all my emails and prioritize my work, organizing the day accordingly.
9.30am: After that I am prepared for a ‘Virtual Morning’ meeting with all heads of departments via Skype business. Here, I receive updates from the team on all operational and commercial aspects/challenges, if they are faced with any. The hotel is temporarily shut down and our main focus is on preparing for the reopening soon.
This is a strange time, so I try to keep the team spirits up by motivating them to stay positive.
10.00am: The early morning meeting is then followed with online individual meetings with marketing, revenue and sales HODs to discuss updates and review the rolling commercial action plan.
11.00am: Once I am done with the internal marketing and sales team, I call hotel partners, OTAs account managers and industry peers. I try to stay connected with them always, consequently, show my support that we are all in this together.
Noon onwards: The other half of my day, I connect with the respective teams (Engineering, Housekeeping, Health and Safety and Crisis response team) on Rooms, Restaurants and common areas PPM, as well as follow up on execution of energy efficiency plans.
Sometimes, a follow up with the ground team is required, to discuss rearrangements of the lobby and restaurant furniture. This is done to stick to social distancing guidelines, that includes routine disinfection and sterilization activities using hospital grade chemicals and processes.
During mid-day I dedicate my time to our Revenue Management strategy review. I go through business on the books, pick up trends, RMS forecast, room rates competitiveness reports, E.Distribution and Occupancy, Rate, Rev PAR bench mark reports as well as other industry reports. Our goal is to be ready to capture early signs of demand recovery and refocus our sales and marketing plans to be ahead of the curve.
Another priority nowadays is on reviewing the reopening plans with our operations team, emphasis on guest and colleague’s safety. This also requires continuous follow ups on disinfection supplies, machines, other technologies purchases and the estimated delivery dates.
Social media is very important to keep us active online and we have brainstorming sessions for social media posts and promotions with the marketing team.
I have also been busy attending online webinars on hotel performances during covid-19, best practices in operations and marketing to polish my skills, in general just try to learn more and keep up to date with the ever-changing landscape.
I try to be accessible at all times, so the team can get round the clock support and guidance.
7.00pm I enjoy Iftar with my family tremendously as we all sit together around the table and bond over a delicious Arabic feast. These are the special moments my family and I cherish deeply as we break our fast together enjoying food, sharing interesting stories of the day, talking about our lives and connecting with one another.
8.00pm: After Iftar, we get into a more leisure time of the day as the family comes together to watch TV or partake in various family discussions. We sip on tea, laugh, connect and unwind together before kids go to sleep at 9pm.
9pm-10pm: As I retire to bed, I like to check social media or press news to see if there are any updates which will be relevant to my plan for the next day. This is usually when I just doze off while reading.