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Tue 14 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Awarding the unsung heroes

Nominations are now being collected for the second edition of the J C Maclean Hotelier Middle East Awards, launched at The Hotel Show in May.

Nominations are now being collected for the second edition of the J C Maclean Hotelier Middle East Awards, launched at The Hotel Show in May.

Organised in association with manufacturing and interior design contact company, J C Maclean International, the J C Maclean Hotelier Middle East Awards offer the industry a chance to nominate those back of house heroes that so often go unnoticed.

J C Maclean is the principal sponsor of the event. “The entire team at J C Maclean is pleased to be a co-owner of these awards and is proud to be associated with Hotelier Middle East in its search for excellence,” says Talal Saeed, company director.

“These awards look for excellence at an individual level, rather than looking at fantastic properties. What we are looking for is the human element behind the hotel industry,” Saeed adds.

In a region where hotel hardware is of the highest quality even greater emphasis is placed on delivering a high calibre of service, with hotel staff continually going the extra mile. Yet, how often do we notice when a bed is well made, table clothes are crisp, or corridors are gleaming? All too often the spotlight is placed on the marble lobbies or the crystal chandeliers, the cutting-edge audiovisual equipment or the stunning architecture.

“You might have a beautiful hotel with gold on the ceiling, but if you don’t employ the right people, it can spoil the guest’s experience, no matter how beautiful the hotel is,” says Marc Dardenne, vice president and area general manager for The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai.

“I have never received a guest comment that compliments us on the beautiful marble in the our lobby, or states that they would return to the hotel because of our comfortable chairs, for example. They all comment on their memorable experiences, and would say, ‘I had a wonderful time at your hotel because of Victoria in the Lobby Lounge, or Patrick in the Library bar’. They return because of the personalised service offered by our fine ladies and gentlemen,” he states, and he is absolutely right.

According to David Crowl, vice president sales and marketing, Europe, Middle East and Africa: Four Seasons Hotels & Resort’s primary competitive point of difference is predicated on guest experience and the memories associated with this ‘experience’ is generated by the people who serve the guest.

“The style of service is generally based upon a service culture unique to a given hotel; and in our case, a humble approach, authentic, intuitive, and genuinely friendly - whereby each employee is empowered to fulfil the immediate needs of a guest. Each staff member must be passionate about their respective craft and the hotel is to offer the means for further career development and instil a motivation to be the best,” Crowl explains.

“The hotel industry is a very emotional business; therefore, an effective manager must be balanced, leveraging both the emotional and pragmatic elements of their brain: because you are dealing with guests who finds tremendous value in a hotel that fulfils emotional needs, but at the same time operate as very good business person and build a profit at the bottom line,” he says.

The Hotelier Middle East Awards aims to redress the balance, by awarding those working in a broad range of front and back of house roles. From laundry managers to chefs, procurement managers to front office personnel, it is up to you to let us know who really deserves the credit. We invite nominations in the following categories:

Laundry Manager Chef General Manager Procurement Manager Leisure club / Spa ManagerIT ManagerChief Hotel EngineerFront Office PersonExecutive housekeeperOutlet Manager Business Development ManagerFinance ManagerMarketing / PR ManagerF&B Manager

And the grand prize, The Hotelier’s Hotelier of the Year: a category open to anyone that works in hotel operations. This award is for the real unsung heroes, those that chop vegetables all day, sweep lobby floors, valet park cars, clean rooms, and always manage to have a smile and a ‘Can do’ attitude.

There are no rules, no regulations and no criteria. Simply send us your nomination explaining in less than 1,000 words why you think your colleague deserves the credit. Nominations can include supporting documents, including pictures, video, references, guest letters, how you present the nominee is up to you.

Please nominate your colleagues and email amy.mcbride@itp.com with your reasons for doing so, no later than October 15, 2005.

These are your awards so we look forward to hearing from you. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony, set to take place in November. See future issues of Hotelier Middle East for more details.

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