In Focus: Shaza Hotel
4 years ago by Usman Ghani
In an interview with CustomerService.ae, the General Manager of Shaza Hotel in Makkah, Sherief Abouelmagd talks about the customer centric efforts being made to ensure world class guest experience. He also talks about the role of technology and the need for continuous training for staff in the hospitality sector.
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“Guest experience is the heart of our business”
Q: What is your hotel’s brand philosophy when it comes to customer happiness?
Abouelmagd: Our unique values represent the principles we are committed to and define what we stand for and are there to guide us in all that we do. These values are:
- Generosity – We believe that the essence of the Shaza Brand is in its people, offering compassion and emotional generosity in everything we do.
- Respect – We work with sincerity, integrity and fairness, respecting individuals in all their diversity and uniqueness.
- Creativity – We look ahead to develop new ideas in design and concepts, push the boundaries but act conscientiously.
- Pride – We are proud of our heritage and to be a part of an entrepreneurial company, which we believe will leave its mark in the region and beyond.
- Engagement – We are committed to engage with guests, owners and colleagues. We work with passion and zeal.
- Awareness – We are conscious and mindful of everything we do and aware of its impact on our surroundings.
Q: Tell us about the customer journey at Shaza Hotels from the moment guests enter till they check- out. How do you take care of them and ensure they get great customer service?
Abouelmagd: In a contemporary setting, Shaza Hotels offer hand crafted guest experiences inspired by cultures of the Silk Route.
Q: At Shaza Hotels, how do you gather feedback from guests staying with you?
Abouelmagd: We have several ways to solicit guest preferences and feedback. A pre-stay survey is sent to guests to get their preferences. During the stay, direct contact feedback through our employees and managers and post-stay surveys are mailed to all guests after departure. In addition to feedback on various social media channels and OTA’s which we have a very high management response to all of our guests.
Q: Do you offer any exclusive discounts to your loyal customers?
Abouelmagd: Part of the membership of the Global Hotel Alliance includes a joint ownership of the loyalty program- DISCOVERY. A memorable trip demands more than a comfortable stay. DISCOVERY, an award-winning global loyalty program, provides 12 million members recognition and perks across more than 500 hotels, resorts and palaces in 78 countries. Elite members have the opportunity to immerse themselves in local culture through local experiences, distinctive activities that capture an authentic taste of each destination. For more information, visit discoveryloyalty.com
Q: In your opinion, what is the importance of conducting soft skills training for frontline staff in the hospitality industry?
Abouelmagd: Guest experience is the heart of our business. Therefore, focusing on soft skills is very critical to our success and ability to connect to our guests.
Q: How often does your hotel conduct training for your staff and what are the key skills that you focus on?
Abouelmagd: Learning and Development is a top priority and ongoing process. Learning platforms vary from classroom style to on-the-floor training to E-platforms. All platforms focus on strengthening the employees skills based on their needs analysis. Training ranges from technical skills to people skills and leadership skills. The training is conducted daily, weekly and monthly.
Q: How do you think technology can enhance the guest experience in hospitality industry?
Abouelmagd: Technology has become an integral part of our life and is key to running successful operations nowadays. It ensures efficiency and speed in order to better understand guest needs and deliver their requirements. Technology coupled with great personalized service is key, one cannot function without the other.
Q: Can you tell us about your online customer support process and is this available 24/7?
Abouelmagd: Being in the hotel business, we are accustomed to be available for our clients and guests 24/7 serving them around the clock and answering their needs. They can communicate with us directly or through our website and social media. It is vital to stay engaged with our guests at all times.
Q: How do you plan to enhance customer service experience in the future?
Abouelmagd: We rely on company brand standards and operational standards which are taught to our staff and practiced on a daily basis. Those standards make Shaza a preferred operator and they are modified/updated continuously based on guests’ feedback to ensure their full satisfaction. We listen to our guests and we listen to our employees to make those continuous adjustments reach perfection.
About Sherief Abouelmagd:
Abouelmagd continued his career path with other International chains as Cluster GM for Movenpick Hotels and Area Director of Operation for Melia Hotels International for 11 years.
In 2017, he joined the fast growing GCC hotel company “Shaza Hotels” as cluster General Manager for Oman to open several properties, the first “Mysk Muscat” a brand managed under the Shaza Flag and currently opened and managing the successful Shaza Makkah Hotel.