Rob Collier, General Manager of Radisson Blu at Dubai Marina, talks about the hotel’s ‘Yes I can’ philosophy; empowering staff across all levels to ‘make it right’ for the customer. Rob believes that there is nothing worse than saying to a guest, “Let me check with my manager.” In this interview, he further discusses the hotel’s stylish rooms and friendly service that make it a popular choice for business and leisure travelers.
Q: Radisson Blu enjoys a popular presence in Dubai, with multiple locations in the city. What would you cite as the reasons for its popularity and in what ways do you distinguish your hotel from the rest?
Rob Collier: At Radisson Blu, we pride ourselves on being Iconic and stylish whilst demonstrating genuine hospitality through our “Yes I Can” customer service ethos. We are passionate about people whether it be our customers or indeed the amazing teams within our properties. We have strategically aligned our properties within the key destinations of the city providing versatility to all guest platforms. Our hotels are in prime locations for both the business traveler and leisure guest alike.
Q: What would you describe as the highlights of the customer journey from the moment they step into the hotel, to the point of checkout?
Rob Collier: Our “Yes I can” Service ethos has been an integral part of our DNA for many years, we believe it is what sets us apart from our competitors and guarantees guest loyalty. We provide free WIFI in all of our hotels as a standard, as we recognize the importance of online connectivity. Our stylish guest rooms provide the comfort and quality that one would expect from a great hotel and our food and drink outlets provide an on brand experience offering a taste of the city you are in. The launch of our new “Super breakfast” is very exciting, a real definition of quality ingredients ranging from home smoked salmon, gourmet cereals and the best freshly squeezed orange juice within all of our restaurants.
Q: What leisure and entertainment facilities are available for your hotel guests?
Rob Collier: In addition to our fabulous pool deck hosting two climate controlled pools, designated children’s play area and coffee bar, we have partnered with a fantastic Beach Club on the palm. The versatility of having a day at the beach overlooking the cities backdrop has proven to be a popular choice with many of our guests.
Q: In your opinion, what luxuries and amenities would you say, have now become almost standard necessities as compared to over a decade ago in the hotel industry?
Rob Collier: Over a decade ago Radisson Blu were the first hotel company to offer complementary WIFI in all hotels. We endeavor to provide the best quality of internet to our guests as we recognize the importance of online connectivity. Once a luxury and desired primary by the business traveler but today the whole family require the internet from young children to the more senior members of the family.
Q: Do you feel that service standards and customer expectations are rapidly changing? How do you measure and stay in sync with these changing standards and expectations?
Rob Collier: The expectations of our guests continue to increase, particularly within Dubai with so many of the most fabulous hotels in the world. I believe it is getting the simple things right that makes such a difference. You can have an all singing and dancing hotel but if your room is not ready on time, if the team is not polite and courteous and the internet connection is poor, guests will not return. We have a robust customer service analysis tool to send directly to our guests to gauge their feedback. This is monitored 24 hours a day to ensure that we engage with our guests comments. In addition to this we monitor the feedback via third party operators and booking channels such as trip advisor and booking.com. It is critical that we respond to all comments and reviews from our guests.
Q: What are the areas of emphasis during customer service trainings for your hotel staff?
Rob Collier: We invest heavily in the training and development of our team members, it is essential that our ‘Yes I Can’ spirit is demonstrated by all of our employees. It’s very simple! Our focus is on delivering fabulous service every minute of every day. In addition to our customer service training and job specific training, we facilitate a robust safety and security training plan to ensure the highest safety levels are provided for both our employees and our guests.
Q: How does your staff handle unhappy customers?
Rob Collier: All of our employees are empowered to make it right. For me there is nothing worse than saying to a guest let me check with my manager. We build confidence in our teams to rectify any guest issue. With knowledge comes confidence and with confidence comes great results.
Q: What kind of memberships, rewards programs and promotions are you currently offering to keep your hotel guests coming back to you?
Rob Collier: Club Carlson is our global hotel rewards program for the Carlson Rezidor hotel group. Our program offers exceptional hotel experiences, enhanced services and the ability to earn and redeem rewards in over 1000 hotels worldwide.
Q: What services and features are you planning to launch in the near future, to further enhance the guest experience?
Rob Collier: Our new “Super breakfast” concept will be rolled out by all our hotels by 1st September.
Our brilliant new mobile app puts the world of Blu at your fingertips, from pre arrival information, hotel offers and local information on must-dos. The “One Touch App” is an essential tool allowing our guests to request information & services and to provide direct feedback about their stay.
About Rob Collier:
With a solid background in food and drink, Rob spent the earlier part of his career building on the academic foundation his degree in Hospitality Management from Salford University gave him.
His first role was with Selfridges & Co in Manchester where he was tasked with thepre-opening activities of the store securing key concessions such as YO Sushi and Vomm Fass as well as managing high profile events for Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci and Dior.
Rob first joined Radisson Blu in 2005 as the food and beverage manager, giving him his first exposure to the hotel group.
Moving into a position as operations manager took Rob away from the brand but he was swiftly recruited again in 2010 as the hotel manager for the Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester Airport.
Rob then took up the challenge of moving to Dubai to manage the 152-room Radisson Blu Residence Dubai Marina where he continues to drive operational excellence, mentor and lead a team whilst maintaining positive relationships with the owning company.