In Focus: Armani Hotel
4 years ago by Sonia Rafi
Spencer H. Wadama, General Manager at the Armani Hotel, talks about how the hotel is setting new standards in providing unmatched Customer experience with their ‘Lifestyle Manager’ concept through which every guest is assigned a dedicated staff member, catering to their needs and personalizing their stay. He further highlights the hotel’s iconic location, scenic views, ultra-fine dining options and designer luxury hospitality, making the hotel a leading choice for visitors in and outside of the UAE.
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“WE PLACE A HIGH EMPHASIS ON OUR TRAINING PROGRAMS AND ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR PEOPLE”
Q: You’ve been awarded ‘Leading Hotel of the UAE, 2015’ by World Travel Awards. What factors have played a role in achieving this?
Spencer H Wadama: The World Travel Awards honor is a true testament to the exceptional lifestyle experiences that Armani Hotel Dubai offers. Having redefined the concepts of ultra-luxury hospitality by setting new benchmarks, the property is today one of the first choices for discerning guests from around the world. The award further underlines Armani Hotel Dubai as the pride of the city’s hospitality industry.
Q: Please describe highlights of the customer’s journey from the moment a guest enters the hotel lobby?
Spencer H. Wadama: From the moment you walk into the hotel you’re transported to a world of luxury and ultimate class. With its outstanding amenities and facilities, unparalleled food and beverage offerings and an unmatched location it is a hotel beyond compare.
The hotel is renowned for its unique ‘Lifestyle Manager’ concept, whereby one member of the Armani Hotel Dubai team is assigned to each guest, ensuring that their needs and wants are taken care of from the minute they reserve their stay, their dining experiences, and through till they check-out and even after. In addition, the culinary choices at the hotel assure that guests can relish innovative and delectable cuisines prepared by expert chefs.
Q: In your opinion, what are the primary reasons for customers choosing Armani Hotel Dubai as compared to other 5 star hotels in the vicinity? What customer care processes do you have in place to make the customer feel at home during their stay at the hotel?
Spencer H. Wadama: Armani Hotel Dubai has indeed set the benchmark in designer luxury hospitality with the harmonious blend of Giorgio Armani’s design and its location in the iconic Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Its unbeatable location in the heart of Downtown Dubai, described as ‘The Centre of Now’ and the world’s ‘most prestigious square kilometer’ add to its appeal.
The hotel brings to life the ‘Stay with Armani’ philosophy that guests must revel in a ‘home away from home’ experience, and feel the privilege of being the personal guests of Giorgio Armani. This is the binding nature of the brand. Further, our culinary offerings are unmatched and provide exceptional choices for guests and visitors.
Since the launch of Armani Hotel Dubai, we have grown strength-to-strength, innovating and enhancing our current offerings to meet the demands of a growing consumer base.
Q: What are some essential customer service ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts that you emphasise on while training your customer service staff?
Spencer H. Wadama: Our Lifestyle Ambassadors are trained to ensure that every guest enjoys the ‘Stay with Armani’ experience by delivering a personalized and refined level of hospitality. A warm and welcoming home-away-from-home experience is at the core of what we do and echoes Giorgio Armani’s own highly personal approach to hospitality. Our team of ambassadors delivers the ultimate in personalized service during their stay, with each guest hosted by a dedicated Lifestyle Manager.
We emphasis on the following Do’s:Addressing the guest by name; ensuring proper body language; staying informed; welcoming guests with a smile, making eye contact and greeting genuinely; seeking out opportunities to deliver experiences; expressing their sincere gratitude to guests and inviting them to return; demonstrating urgency; listening, empathizing, apologizing, resolving any challenges and taking ownership. Anything that goes contrary to the above is an absolute ‘do not.’
Q: In what ways does your location within Burj Khalifa enhance the customer experience?
Spencer H. Wadama: Our guests are looking to stay in a hotel that provides the most spectacular views the city has to offer. Situated in Downtown Dubai, and being within the world’s most iconic building, Burj Khalifa, Armani Hotel Dubai offers guests unprecedented access to the best leisure attractions, in-hotel entertainment, and international cuisine, making it the most sought-after hotel for guests.
Q: How do you meet customer expectations?
Spencer H. Wadama: After observing the hospitality landscape both regionally and globally, we have come to learn that guests, whether local or international, have certain expectations that they seek when searching for their ideal hotel. This can vary from the look-and-feel of a room to value-added facilities and leisure amenities, to the standard of service and dining that a hotel offers. At Armani Hotel Dubai, we have taken those factors into consideration, and built on it by infusing the essence of Arabian hospitality and gastronomy, to ensure that we cater to every need.
Q: Could you cite an example of outstanding customer service delivered by your staff that you feel may have won you a customer for life?
Spencer H Wadama: There are a number of occasions where we have assisted our guests in facilitating travel plans after they lost or misplaced their passports. Our team works with the guest in liaising with the concerned embassy officials and supports him/her in making travel arrangements. We take care to ensure that we go beyond the call of duty to assist our guests.
About Spencer H. Wadama:
An international hospitality veteran with over 24 years of experience including nearly a decade in senior management roles, Spencer Wadama is the General Manager of Armani Hotel Dubai, the flagship property that marks the partnership of global developer Emaar Properties and fashion legend Giorgio Armani.
With proven managerial skills and team leadership skills, he is highly experienced in executing the pre- and post-opening of luxury hotels. Passionate about ensuring the highest standards of guest service, he has hands-on experience in sales & marketing, revenue management, public relations and human resources management.
Spencer is responsible for managing the development and strategy of Armani Hotel Dubai, while overseeing its profitability and ensuring it maintains a high-profile and global reputation. He focuses on leveraging the hotel’s unique location within the iconic Burj Khalifa and providing unforgettable experiences for guests and business travellers alike.
Earlier, Spencer served Emaar Hospitality Group as General Manager of The Palace Downtown Dubai and The Address Dubai Marina.
He has also served on senior management roles with renowned hotel chains in the US, in several cities such as New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, New Orleans, San Juan, and Hawaii, as well as in Japan, China, Indonesia, Qatar and Egypt.
A graduate from San Francisco State University, Spencer is a member of the ‘Operation Smile Committee,’ a Board Member of the ‘Madison Avenue Business Improvement District,’ and a member and Charity Host for the ‘Japan Society.’
He has undertaken extensive training in hospitality leadership programs and specializes in devising his own and staff development initiatives.