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Sun 8 Jul 2007 12:00 AM

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Making media

The Park Hyatt Dubai’s marketing communications assistant Abigail Masbang explains why she enjoys getting out of the office — and why she dreads the next issue of Journal being printed.

While the Park Hyatt Dubai might have a great location, an excellent service record and comfortable rooms, plenty of people would be unaware of it without the hard work of marketing communications assistant Abigail Masbang.

Masbang says her typical working day normally starts at 9am.

"My normal day starts, of course, with checking all of my e-mails," she says. "If the marketing communications manager is here, I usually have a quick check-up with her to see how everything is going, and make sure everything is in its right place."

Masbang is also responsible for updating the department's job sheet each morning, which lists where the department is at with various tasks such as printing collateral or designing advertising campaigns.

Once these administrative tasks are out of the way, she starts browsing the media to check any coverage the hotel may have received.

"I get magazines and daily newspapers - I browse the daily newspapers first for 20 minutes and then read the magazines in the afternoon," she adds.

"I am looking to see if the hotel has had coverage, and also to update myself about what is going on in the world.

"My job is all about communication, so you should always be ready with the right information so when people ask you for something, you have the right answer and the right information for them."

Masbang also scans any stories featuring the hotel onto the computer, for reports that go to the general manager, vice presidents and the owner.

Although checking the media and briefings are regular duties, for the rest of the day Masbang says her activities change on a daily basis.

"One thing I really like about this job is that it is a very varied role and a very interesting one," she explains.

"At one point you could be in an exhibition, like the Arabian Travel Market, and the next day you could be running around the hotel co-ordinating a photo shoot and liasing with the design team who are creating an advertisement for our summer promotions.

"I rarely stay in the office. Sometimes I go for a site inspection [guiding members of the press around the property], and if we have a photo shoot scheduled during the day I make sure I brief all the departments, and I go along personally to double check everything is OK and follow up with them personally.

"I prefer not to sit in the office and check my e-mails and look at the computer. I like to be out and about around the hotel, experiencing it," she adds.

In addition to organising events and photo shoots, Masbang also answers enquiries from the press each day.

"Requests come in for information, or photos or images," she says.

"And there will be a couple of journalists that will be requesting complementary stays. It's very different all the time."

With the picturesque grounds of the Park Hyatt Dubai used for many photo shoots, a large part of the day is taken up looking after press at the actual hotel, Masbang adds.

"The thing is, you can't just let the media go around the hotel, you have to be with them to assist them and introduce them to the right person who will look after them, as well as making sure all their needs are met," she says.

"You have to take care of them until the last minute they are here."

Making the right impression on international media visiting the property is also important to ensure good coverage, Masbang explains.

"I have to organise everything from their meet and greet at the airport, the limousine transfer, their check-in has to be flawless, the rooms have to be up to the brand standard, and the media packs have to be waiting for them," she says.

"It's like organising their lives for them while they are here at the hotel, until they check out. We organise activities for them with the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, such as boat trips.

"We maximise our resources because we want the journalists to write about the hotel, so we emphasise our facilities, such as the rooms, the outlets and our links to the Creek Club."

Adding to the organisation skills required to co-ordinate groups of people around the hotel, Masbang says she is also careful to ensure that the hotel's normal operations are not interrupted - if, for example, visiting media want to organise photographs of spa facilities or F&B outlets then these are shot during off-peak periods.

And the most challenging part of her job?

"The most challenging thing for me is that I don't read or speak Arabic, so when we are doing promotions and creating the advertisements [in Arabic] I have to approach my colleagues who can understand Arabic to check what has been done," she explains.

"It's challenging because you are not in total control - you might think there is a word missing but you can't double check it."

Masbang says there are only two times a year when she does not look forward to going to work: she is responsible for packing and mailing 6000 copies of the Park Hyatt's internal magazine, Journal, to the media and to various businesses.

"We don't have people to do it, so I have to put them in boxes, or mail one magazine to each member of the media," she says.

"It's really a lot, but we make sure they are distributed to the right people. We have to check if people still exist, because they move between jobs.

"It happens twice a year, and I really dread those two months."

But despite the big mail-out exercise, Masbang enjoys her role.

"The best thing about this job is that you get first hand information about what is happening where and when, and you also get to meet people from extremely different backgrounds," she concludes.

"The exposure is really great."

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