In Focus: Sheraton
9 years ago by Usman Ghani
Martin Cramer, the General Manager at the Sheraton, Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort talks about the importance of providing a sense of belonging to all hotel guests, by personalizing their stay and meeting their expectations individually with the help of the hotel’s long term serving staff that remember returning guests from decades ago.
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“WHEN RESOLVING CHALLENGES FOR OUR CUSTOMERS, THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP IS TO SEEK CLARITY”
How would you describe the customer journey from the moment a guest enters the hotel till they check out?
Martin Cramer: The customer journey at Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel and Resort is all about personalizing our visitors’ stay, such as their room preference, welcome amenity or dining experience. The level of interaction or personalization is different for every guest – depending on their needs. Sometimes we are just quietly operating in the background and looking after the customers’ comfort by providing a relaxed stay, at other times our patrons are happy to engage with our associates.
What sets Sheraton apart from other hotels in Abu Dhabi?
Martin Cramer: We opened our doors over 35 years ago and some members of our current team have been with the company ever since the first guests checked in. This provides us with an invaluable collection of information about our guests. Did you stay with us decades ago? Chances are that one of our associates will remember you from your last visit. In the ever-changing Abu Dhabi hotel market, this is a very unique position to be in.
Are the majority of visitors staying at your hotel on business or vacation?
Martin Cramer: This would very much depend on what day of the week it is. During the business week, the majority of our guests are checking into the hotel on a work trip, while on the weekends, we welcome more visitors on a leisure break. Of course during holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve, predominately leisure guests are staying in the hotel.
Are there any differences in the services provided to business clients and those on vacation?
Martin Cramer: We take note of our guests’ preferences and tailor our welcome and services to their needs. Whether they are staying in our hotel for a conference or to soak up the Abu Dhabi sunshine or perhaps both, we strive to meet all their requirements.
How does your staff deal with unhappy customers?
Martin Cramer: When it comes to resolving challenges for our customers, I believe the most important step is to seek clarity of the situation. Once we have identified what the guest’s needs are, a speedy response and prompt resolution can recover almost any issue.
What kind of customer service training programs do you provide to your hotel staff and what is the frequency?
Martin Cramer: We have a dedicated in-house training manager who looks after the continuous development of our associates in a full time capacity. Class room style and interactive trainings are provided as well as online courses to ensure that our associates remain up-to-date on the latest brand and industry developments.
Do you have any loyalty programs or special offers for the guests staying at Sheraton?
Martin Cramer: Starwood Preferred Guest is a loyalty program that allows customers to earn, redeem and enjoy benefits at any of our more than 1,200 Starwood hotels and resorts across nine distinctive brands in nearly 100 countries. Our unique portfolio offers the best luxury brands in the world with even better rewards. More luxury, more destinations means more ways to get the rewards our guests want, when they want them.
What is the longest time period that a customer has stayed at your hotel?
Martin Cramer: Some of our guests can truly call Sheraton Abu Dhabi their home away from home. If we accumulate their bookings, several of our regular customers have stayed with us for years.
What tools do you use to gather feedback and measure customer satisfaction levels?
Martin Cramer: We actively seek feedback from our guests: whether it is at the reception desk, in the form of an in-room questionnaire or an online survey. Website reviews are also monitored and discussed on a daily basis.
What do you wish for your customers to take away from their stay at the Sheraton in order to keep them coming back?
Martin Cramer: A sense of belonging is tremendously important – especially when you are away from your own home. We aim to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for our guests where they feel recognized, cared for and special.
About Martin Cramer
As a dedicated Starwood veteran, Martin Cramer has been working with the renowned hotel group for over 25 years.
A native of Argentina, Mr. Cramer has seen his career evolve from the Bergius Hotel Management School in Germany to the general management of Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort where he took his position 2 years ago. Prior to working with the prestigious Abu Dhabi property, he worked for nearly 10 years at the Sheraton Oman Hotel overseeing every aspect of the hotel’s management and development. Spreading his professional experience over continents, Mr. Cramer spent time in South Africa as general manager of Sheraton Pretoria Hotel & Towers and Area Director of Operational Development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
At the helm of Sheraton Abu Dhabi, Mr. Cramer’s focus has been delivering personalized guest experiences and creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for travelers.