INTERVIEW

In focus: Ajman Hotel

1 month ago by

In an exclusive interview with CustomerService.ae, George Ganchev the General Manager at Ajman Hotel by Blazon Hotels talks about the efforts they’ve put in to make their hotel stand out and he mentions some of the facilities offered at the hotel. He also discusses the focus on customer feedback and changes being made in light of the current situation to provide guests with better customer experience.

In focus: Ajman Hotel

Q: Tell us a bit about your hotel and what sets you apart from your competitors in the hospitality sector?

George: Ajman Hotel is a well-known property in the United Arab Emirates and Middle East considering its long presence for more than 20 years. It was managed by Kempinski Hotels until the end of 2017. In January 2018, the property was taken over by Smart Hospitality Solutions that launched the brand of Blazon Hotels. For more than two years now, the hotel has been operating under the brand of Blazon Hotels.

In the beginning, we had to dedicate a lot of time and resources to accomplish the rebranding. For me it’s always important to calculate all pluses and minuses to ensure an outstanding performance taking into consideration that Blazon Hotels is a new brand. For that purpose, it was crucial to generate new business opportunities to solidify trust in between the group and the market key players. Rebranding of the property always known as Kempinski Hotel for years was certainly a challenge. However, the determination and support of the team has led us to successfully reposition ourselves in the industry. The hotel was awarded “Leading Hotel in Ajman” at the World Travel Awards 2019. It was a great achievement after months of hard work and it is to date.

Ajman Hotel has fantastic and unbeatable facilities, offering the largest private beach in Ajman, a large stretch of 400 meters and the largest in Ajman, private seafront balconies and exquisite dining experience for families, solo travelers, and couples seeking a pure relaxing getaway.

These are certainly the factors that set us apart from our competitors.

Q: Please highlight some of the facilities provided at Ajman hotel?

George: To start with, Ajman Hotel is a lovely resort, it has lush palm gardens, a wide stretch of a pristine, white sand beach in Ajman, two outdoor tennis courts, watersports activities, beach volleyball, two spa centers, kids club with an adjacent outdoor playground, a gym and an aerobic room, and of course, the sea view accommodations all with private balconies, nine restaurants, bars and lounges, a bowling center, one of the largest events and conference facilities in the Northern Emirates, a team to respond and delivery to the guest’s needs.

It is a very big property and really has a lot. It is an oasis and if you have chosen to come for a long vacation or a quick and relaxing weekend you do not have to leave the property at all.

Of course, with the current situation and following the mandates of the government, we have reduced our operational capacity to ensure safety for our guests and employees, a reason that some of our venues are not operational until further notice.

Q: What feedback mechanisms do you have in place and how do you deal with negative feedback from your guests?

George: The negative feedback; in our industry we cannot go without it. It is there and it is good, because that way we improve.

As for mechanisms, we are using Review Pro, online platform for managing our online reputation. It is an effective way to manage guests’ reviews, stay tuned to sentiments of the guests, and get insights on what you can do better, stay in touch with guests and look for ways to improve their experience. Reputation is everything.

One of the key factors to deal with negative feedback is listening; the best way to deal with negative feedback is to first listen carefully, then put the emotions on site, ask questions, apologize, and provide a prompt solution or response to the needs of the guests.

Q: Please share with us the customer journey at your hotel from the moment a guest enters till they check out?

George: Hospitality is about people. We all feel good when someone welcomes us warmly and with a smile. The first impression is indeed very important. Engagement with the guests throughout the stay is crucial, meeting with them, addressing their personal needs where required, recognizing their special events and occasions, staying in touch with them after they leave the hotel, these are all elements that are part of the guest journey. It is a process to create a successful guest journey and that process is delivered by people.

Q: What steps do you take in terms of service and facilities to ensure customer happiness?

George: It is personal and this applies to everyone who is involved in customer service. We all from bottom to top are ambassadors not only to the brand but ourselves. To me, honoring your promises is imperative. In my entire career journey until today I follow the below rules and it is what I emphasize on and demand from my team too:

Be approachable; anticipate the needs of the guests, help them and provide solutions, ensure that the guest is heard and their needs are understood.

Q: How do you ensure brand loyalty and do you offer any loyalty programs?

George: I must say that our loyalty program is openly favored. We don’t have a Brand Loyalty Program, I mean a labeled program but there is a program and it is based on the fact that we know our audience very well which helps us anticipate their needs.

We have special rewards for our guests that have been loyal since the opening of the hotel until today as well as for our referrals, and we do run special and unique promotions for them too.

We participate in loyalty partnerships such as German Emirates Club, RAKBANK, and other financial and commercial businesses to ensure that the members and clients receive the best available offers from our property.

Q: In what ways do you use the latest technologies to make the customer experience better?

George: With the economic situation right now, we had to reallocate investments including the implementation of new technology. We have no automated processes yet; however, we do believe in human power and still utilize these asset the best we can.

Q: Do you offer online customer support and is this support 24/7?

George: We don’t have an online customer support system or technology yet but our team is available through telephone and Whatsapp channels 24/7.

Q: In light of the current Covid-19 Global Pandemic, what changes have happened at your hotel to ensure safety for guests staying with you?

George: This situation has had a serious impact on the entire industry worldwide, and it will take time to recover. The most important thing is to keep yourself and your team up to date with absolutely everything and try to penetrate different niche where available. You have to be alert and open to learn and compromise. The health and safety of our guests and employees was and is until today our utmost priority. I would like to give credit to my team for their support, responsiveness, and diligence.

Strict hygiene and disinfection measurements were taken promptly and exercised on a regular basis.

Ensure ground rule measurements such as placing sanitizers around the public areas in the hotel (reception desk, hostess desk, and etc.), wearing masks and gloves when interacting with guests, regular disinfection of public area, pest control were implemented with immediate effect and are scrutinized constantly to ensure a safe and healthy environment.

Also, our team remains available to assist guests and business partners with queries related to reservations, stays and promotions.

We are closely following all local mandates, evaluating the situation, and adapting our business to it with priority towards health and safety of everyone.

Q: Do you have any staff training programs in place and what key skills do you focus on while training your staff?

George: We have Typsy in place. It is an Online Hospitality training platform providing a range of interactive video courses with the best hospitality professionals and instructors and gives the opportunity for our staff to learn about new trends, refresh their skills, and implement those in the real operation. It is an effective learning platform, where you can learn fast and get connected with concurring community members. Our HR and Training department drives the platform.

Q: How do you plan on making customer experience better in the future?
George: By staying engaged, approachable, flexible and available

About George Ganchev

George Ganchev brings more than 25 years of experience in hospitality. He started his career with Kempinski Hotels. His tenure with Ajman Hotel by Blazon Hotels started in 2017, and he was the key force behind the rebranding and repositioning of the property to date.