New Recruit: Elliot McKenzie
He is the F&B manager of Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City
How has your previous work experience inspired you to get to where you are today?
Through all of my roles, I have paid a key interest into the overall running of a hotel, in morning meetings or operations meetings I’ve always listened carefully to the other managers around to room to understand how they make decisions and why. I have always spent extra time to learn things outside of my areas of responsibility, which I knew would benefit me in the future.
What are the key skills you possess that make you well-suited to this role?
I like to call myself an “all-rounder” when it comes to a management style, I have a strong sense of responsibility and integrity, I am an innovator, I work well under pressure, have a strong commercial awareness and I have the right skills to lead a team. With these skills, I can apply them to most operation roles and challenges, to achieve the best outcome.
Tell us a bit about the other markets you have worked in and how that compares to your current role?
The first resort I worked in was based in a remote location with limited demand. As a result, there were a big focus and pressure from the commercial team to drive business in untraditional ways, in order to encourage travellers to come to our area. London was the opposite, the demand was there and it was high. There are millions of international travellers per year with more than 1,000 hotels to choose from. There it was about trying to stand out and providing a service that was different from the rest at an affordable price.
Dubai is a bit tougher, the demand is similar year on year with the supply increasing heavily. There is a challenge to compete against some of the luxury properties at very affordable prices, however, due to our location and fantastic service, we have a strong and loyal customer base.
What inspired you to get into the hospitality industry?
I started working as a waiter part-time whilst studying in college, over the months I found that I was waking up looking forward to going to work more than I was going to college. It was then I realised that hospitality was something I enjoyed, and an industry I wished to pursue a career in.
What are some of the challenges you foresee, and the opportunities you see crop up from them?
Due to the current situation and market, it will be more important that businesses stand out from the rest. People are going to be more reluctant to spend their hard-earned money, so each business needs to ensure that the service and quality of the product are of the highest quality at all times. One small mistake could cost businesses more heavily than before.
What would say are a few of your most significant professional accomplishments so far?
My proudest moment was serving former US president Barack Obama afternoon tea when I was a management trainee working at the NATO Summit in 2014. My most significant accomplishment was when I got my first HOD role (front of house manager) at the five-star London InterContinental at the age of 22. This was thanks to the support I received from my manager and general manager at the time.
Name three of your favourite aspects of your new hotel.
First, I would have to say the linelevel staff. we have some of the most fantastic personalities in the F&B team at the moment. I also love our Italian Certo Restaurant and, last but not least, the location right in the heart of Dubai Media City, is second to none.
Can you describe any new initiatives or programmes that you are planning to introduce as part of your new position at the property?
I am keen to develop the existing F&B team. There are lots of team members who are fantastic and I feel that I can help guide to the next step in their careers. In additon, as we come out of the summer season, we will revamp lots of our menus and offerings in order to ensure we are keeping up to date with the market.