We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Thu 4 Oct 2007 04:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Speaking frankly

Hilton Abu Dhabi assistant front desk manager Frank Motzkus describes a 'normal' day at work, where he could be asked for anything from translation services to luxury shopping trips.

Hilton Abu Dhabi assistant front desk manager Frank Motzkus describes a 'normal' day at work, where he could be asked for anything from translation services to luxury shopping trips.

After growing up in a family that did a lot of travelling, it is not surprising that Hilton Abu Dhabi assistant front desk manager Frank Motzkus has a career in the hotel industry.

We had a request for someone who wanted to do a shopping trip to dubai, but she wanted to fly there.

He said his day normally begins at 8am, although if there are outstanding issues from the previous night he will be sure to get in earlier to resolve them.

"Getting in at 8am gives me time to take the handover from the night-manager to see if anything important has happened, and to take a look at the logbook from the duty manager on the previous late shift," he said.

Motzkus then checks emails and gets fully updated before the morning briefing at 8.30am, which is chaired by the hotel's general manager or director of operations.

"We talk about the operational issues from the previous day, in terms of complaints, issues, or difficulties, and what is required [operationally]," he added. "We also talk about figures - how we closed last night - and then anyone there from any department can voice their experiences, or concerns, or update us on ongoing projects. It is an operational meeting that lasts for about 45 minutes."

After the meeting, Motzkus said he walked around the front office areas of responsibility, visiting the valet parking, concierge, bell staff, porters, reception, telephone operators and the executive lounge.

"It's a quick way to get a good feeling of what's going on in the hotel," he explained.

"We know what the staffing levels are, what it is looking like for the rest of the day, and what events are coming up. It allows us to see where we have to improvise, if we have to, and still have enough time."

The walk-around of the front office area took around an hour, Motzkus added, after which he attends to ongoing projects.

"I am doing recruitment at the moment, so there are a lot of interviews, but other than that I do whatever comes across my desk, in an operational sense," he added.

"Every day there is a handover between the early and late shift at 3.15pm, which is the key departmental meeting. This is basically where everyone from the departmental areas attend, so that is the one opportunity everyday to share project information. It is also a good opportunity to do things like refresher training, so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to guests and advising them of possible changes.

"It can also be used for training on certain procedures that might be changing, or sharing guest feedback about someone who might need a little TLC."

Describing his finishing time as "non-specific", Motzkus explained that he could end his working day any time from 6pm onwards.

"It could be between 6pm and 8pm, but it could also be extended at any time - that's just the way it is," he said.

"If the guests have special requests, then we have to be flexible with that."

Flexibility is the key to success in the assistant front desk manager role, Motzkus added.

"If a guest requires attention at any time, then I am available," he said.

"In particular, being a German speaking team member, I tend to be asked for a lot. At the moment we have a lot of German guests here for leisure."

Motzkus said he had received a few interesting requests from guests.

"We had a request for someone who wanted to do a shopping trip to Dubai, but she wanted to fly there," he explained.

"You don't have that request every day, and you need to research the companies to make sure they are up to standard to act as an extension of the hotel.

"We went to a lot of effort to find companies that would do this, and what would need to be done, and then we presented it to her. She decided she wanted to take a limo.

"Another time we had a guest who was German, and he had his wife and his kid with him, and he was asking for a particular type of baby food. This brand was not available in the whole United Arab Emirates, because we called every supplier and outlet that we could. The only option we then had was to import it."

But Motzkus came up with a different solution, he said.

"I put him in touch with my front office manager, who has a one-year-old child, and he was able to give advice on high-quality baby food," he explained.

"It worked out, and it made the guest happy, so it was fine."

Giving advice to guests on ways to enjoy or improve their stay was an important aspect of his job, Motzkus added.

"For example, our hotel's beach area is on the other side of the road, and the road is a public area, so because we are in a Muslim country we advise our guests to dress moderately when they go to the beach, and not to just wear a bathing suit when they cross over," he said.

"It's about gently briefing them on how things work."

Meeting new people from different environments was the most enjoyable aspect of his job, Motzkus said.

"[The best thing] is the people, and then second is the working environment," he said.

"I really enjoy working in a hotel environment - it's not a shoddy office or a cubicle. I like the fact that you can go to different countries and experience living in them, not just as a tourist.

"There is a big difference between being a resident and a tourist, and that is what it is all about for me - I love the diversity of it all.

"I came to this business because of the people in it, and I don't regret it for a second."

By the numbers

• Time in the job: 1 year
• Staff members in front office team: 55-60 people
• Guest requests handled: 35 daily
• Pens "borrowed" by guests at front desk: 80-100 per week
• Arrivals/ departures handled by team: 110-120 daily
• Staff reviews completed: 180 reviews
• Cars parked by valet team: 180-200 daily

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Real news, real analysis and real insight have real value – especially at a time like this. Unlimited access ArabianBusiness.com can be unlocked for as little as $4.75 per month. Click here for more details.