Nicola Hochgruber from the UAE's National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels on working through coronvirus

The director of hotel operations tells us how she’s staying motivated and keeping her team safe

Nicola Hochgruber
Nicola Hochgruber

How has your role changed in recent weeks?
Given the ongoing condition concerning the COVID and its impact on the business, everyone’s role in the organization has become significant in facing this challenging period. Since the changes apply swift and fast on short notice, being vigilant in monitoring the situation has been part of my daily top priority. It requires a faster decision making to come up with a timely strategic plan in optimizing our resources and its effective implementation. Usually, forecasting makes sense, but in the current situation, it is rather like looking in the great glass bowl and trying to do the right thing at the right time together with my teams. Also, I  personally committed to keep constant updates and communication with the team, to our valued guests and shareholders to keep them informed of the preventative measures we have in place to reassure that their safety and wellbeing remain our first priority. I’m encouraging each team member to stay positive and motivated at all times. 

Are you learning any new skills?
The learning process is never ending and that’s what makes it very interesting right now. Making use of the various online tools for communication while working from home or office is a good example of technical skills my team and I have developed. I am thankful to those tools as it keeps us connected either for managing meetings, online trainings or the personal interaction with the family and friends. At the same time, I feel that the current scenario allows me to strengthen my relational skills by taking advantage of the free hours and the various communication tools to be closely engaged with the team, supporting and motivating them to stay positive during this challenging situation. I would also like to mention that my knowledge was expanded by discovering new source of business, a new purpose for stay and the logistic arrangements to serve this purpose, which I wouldn’t have considered prior COVID-19 such as the Healthcare and the Emergency and crises management sectors

What are you doing to stay safe and keep guests safe?
We have introduced #WeCare campaign in all Danat hotels & Resorts. We are closely monitoring and following the recommendations and guidelines of the local government and health authority in terms of thermal screening, maintaining social distancing, sanitizing, and disinfecting and setting regular fumigation for all hotel areas team members have been provided with COVID 19 protocols and trained to adapt the best hygiene practices to stay and keep the guests safe. We use all social media platforms, email campaigns and the audio visual tools available in the hotel to constantly communicate with our guests and staff members and keep them informed of the necessary preventative measures, best practice and procedures taken by the hotel to keep them safe and well.  Most of our team obtained certificate on “Let's Break the Chain of COVID-19 Infection” course by Mohammed Bin Rashid University. 

How do you stay motivated?
The current situation brings everyone together to fight and continue moving forward. Keeping the goals in front of the line helps me to stay motivated and positive. I have to plan and look forward to the future and acquire new skills. We have shifted our focus to planning the different creative initiatives to prepare for when business is back. Most of all, my team gives me strength, hope and support.

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