In focus: Continent Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
6 months ago by Afrah Mohammad
In an interview with CustomerService.ae, Shady Boueiry, Managing Director at Continent Hotels & Resorts Worldwide talks about the importance of training and rewarding staff for creating more personalized guest experiences in the hospitality sector. He also highlights the use of latest technology for more seamless bookings, communication and ensuring guest satisfaction.
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“OUR OBJECTIVE IS TO MAKE OUR GUESTS FEEL AT HOME”
Q: Tell us a bit about Continent Hospitality and what sets you apart from your competitors in the hospitality sector?
Shady: Continent Hospitality is an investor friendly Hotel Management & Development Company and we were built by a team of professionals with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a results-driven mindset.
We offer innovative services and strategies that empower hotels, resorts, restaurants and all type of other hospitality businesses to capture new markets, create extraordinary guest experiences and increase revenue and growth.
Q: Could you walk us through the customer journey from the moment a guest enters your hotel till they check out?
Shady: We offer our guests an everlasting experience and comfort, an experience that will last during their stay from the moment they reserve until post departure.
We use technology in our business. Our booking engine is the first experience with our guests where they can book and enjoy our smart solution. Upon confirmation they can choose the room, add additional services, and enjoy self-check-in before arrival.
Upon stay, we use smart technology in communicating with guests. “At Your Service” is our digital platform used for guest communication inside the room.
Our team of expert crew members are always there to entertain all our guest requests and ensure their stay is enjoyable.
Q: Can you highlight some of the facilities and amenities that you provide which enhance the guest experience?
Shady: At Continent Hotels, our objective is to make our guests feel at home. We pamper our guests by providing them with additional complimentary services, from welcome towels, to welcome drinks, 20 minutes neck and shoulder massage for our key accounts, and our signature “Good Night Chocolate” for each guest staying at Continent Hotels & Resorts.
Our guests can also benefit from our “Prestige Executive Lounge”. Each Prestige member will have access to our lounge and enjoy a relaxing atmosphere, complimentary food & drinks and secretarial services upon request.
Q: Can you tell us about the dining facilities at the hotel?
Shady: Continent Worldwide offers many food and beverage concepts at our properties. We cover all international cuisines to meet our guest expectations and desires.
People: This is our all day dining concept. Our guests can enjoy morning breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet at this beautiful outlet, offering theme nights, live stations and rich buffet.
Stefano’s Restaurant: Our Italian concept, offering a rich menu for all Italian food lovers.
Zest: This is our seafood restaurant, welcoming our guests with a rich menu, elegant presentation and high level of food delivery services.
Omakase: This is for all Japanese food lovers, with its elegant design, attractive dish presentation, and relaxing atmosphere. This concept is the perfect venue for a romantic dinner and special occasions.
Aroma Café: Our lobby café concept serving the best coffee in town with high quality beans and relaxing atmosphere.
Q: Does the hotel offer any pick and drop service to guests?
Shady: Of course, we do offer such services upon request. Also, during the pickup service, the guest may enjoy a self-check-in during the ride.
Q: What is your philosophy when it comes to ensuring customer happiness?
Shady: Our core motto when it comes to guest satisfaction is “Come as Guests, Leave as Friends”.
Hospitality is all about delivering a service, we all experience different types of services in our daily life from the moment we wake up until we sleep. We look at this business in a different dimension and we do believe that a hotel is a small “country” by itself, and we need to govern it properly, from the outside appearance of the property, to the arrival spot, the check-in, the maintenance and most of all attending to each and every guest request.
We use a very smart system to audit and follow up on our quality, “At Your Service” backend will deliver reports to the management about the quality of service, timeframe for each request and will issue reports to the hotel management about accuracy in the operation and delivering guests requirement. For us, guest satisfaction is our objective. Our reputation is our main asset and we work with the management team to sustain the brand by sustaining guest satisfaction.
Q: Do you offer any loyalty programs or discount packages for your customers?
Shady: Prestige is the Continent Worldwide loyalty program. All “Prestige” members can benefit from discounted packages at Continent Hotels Group. We created added value for all members by bonding with third parties for point redemption (i.e, Amazon, Carrefour etc)
On another level, each and every guest booking through our website will benefit from a discounted 10% by entering a special promo code during the reservation process.
Q: What feedback mechanisms do you have in place and how do you deal with negative feedback from your guests?
Shady: One of the most helpful solutions we provide at our properties is “Continent Reputation Management System”. This solution will assist the management team of the hotel to track all reviews from several engines, monitor departmental productivity, and highlight repeated negative reviews for corrective measures.
We ensure all our reviews are dealt with individually. Negative reviews analysis is very important for us as this is the wakeup call in our operations that will help enhance the quality of service.
Q: Do you offer online customer support on your digital platforms and is this support 24/7?
Shady: The company is developing this service and we will launch it by Q1 of year 2024.
Q: How are you incorporating the latest technology to make the customer experience better?
Shady: All our stakeholders will benefit from continent technology in the operation. Such technologies include an advanced booking engine, our continent channel manager, our in-house guest Chabot, our reputation management system, prestige loyalty program with its advanced technological mechanism, our advanced procurement system and our property management system.
On another level, we are implementing in-room smart solutions to create a better guest experience and to reduce high operational costs. With such latest technology in our operations, we are enhancing the guest experience, sustaining high levels of standard and generating higher ROI for hotel owners.
Q: Do you have any staff training programs in place and what key soft skills do you focus on?
Shady: The crew members of our group will benefit from our annual training program delivered by continent worldwide hospitality academy. Our objective is to create a career path for all our crew members and to ensure that they implement what they learn during the training sessions in their daily operation.
Each crew member will benefit from different training courses, and all courses are made for different levels. We focus a lot on personal development that will be reflected in the operation while dealing with our guests.
We offer our hotel group three types of training programs, “the mandatory on-the-job training” which is done on a daily basis by each Head of Department covering our company standards, the yearly training program for all crew members covering all departments, and the personal training program for individuals called “learners today, leaders tomorrow” which is a smart program to develop future leaders at our chain of hotels.
Q: What customer service essentials are included in training your frontline staff?
Shady: We focus a lot on training the frontline crew members, from communication etiquette, to handling guest complains and service etiquette. Those courses are in our core values and we ensure correct implementation by the frontline team.
Q: How do you plan on making the guest experience better in the future?
Shady: Hospitality is an experience within itself. Every day, we learn something new from our guests and also from our crew members. We believe that people are our greatest asset and we ensure that our crew members are happy, well trained and proud of what they do.
The formula is very easy: Happy Team = Happy Guest and this is what will enhance our guest experience now and forever.
I advise all our colleagues in the industry to focus on their people, motivate them, train them and reward them, they are our biggest assets for enhancing the guest experience. Technology can replace people in many other industries but not in hospitality.
About Shady Boueiry
Shady Elias Boueiry has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He is the Managing Director of his hospitality company in Beirut and its branch in the UAE holds an exclusive master franchise agreement with Continent Worldwide Group in the MENA region.