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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Introducing Yasmine Al Huneidi: A Hospitality Leader at Sofitel Dubai The Palm

In this captivating interview, we have the privilege of delving into the remarkable career of Yasmine Al Huneidi, Director of Rooms at Sofitel Dubai The Palm. With a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry, Yasmine shares invaluable advice for beginners and reveals the strategies employed by her hotel to remain competitive in Dubai’s thriving market.

From the importance of energized employees to the role of hotels in destination promotion and employment, Yasmine provides unique insights into the industry’s dynamic landscape. Discover how she navigates challenges, embraces technological advancements while maintaining a personal touch, and continuously strives for excellence in creating unforgettable experiences for guests.

Embark on a journey of inspiration and knowledge with Yasmine Al Huneidi, a true leader in the hospitality field.

How did you embark on your career journey, and do you have any advice for beginners?

I embarked on my career journey in the hospitality industry shortly after graduating from the American Academy of Hospitality. I started as a Guest Relations Officer at the Movenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, where I discovered my passion for customer service. From there, I seized opportunities for growth and took on roles at various prestigious hotels, including Emirates Palace and St. Regis. Currently, I am working at Sofitel Dubai the Palm, a flagship resort.

My advice for beginners in any industry, especially Hospitality, is to be open-minded and embrace every opportunity that comes your way. Take on diverse roles and responsibilities to gain a well-rounded skill set. Additionally, be persistent—do not give up when there is a lot of pressure—and remain patient and understanding as you learn and develop. Continuously invest in your professional development through training, workshops, and staying updated with industry trends. Finally, always approach your work with enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and a willingness to go above and beyond.

By actively engaging in these practices, I can ensure that I remain current with industry trends and developments, enabling me to bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the table.

Dubai is a competitive marketplace for Hotels, how do you and your hotel remain competitive?

In the highly competitive marketplace of Dubai’s hotel industry, we employ several strategies to ensure that our hotel remains competitive:

  • Continuous Improvement: We believe in constantly evaluating and improving our operations, services, and facilities. Regular guest feedback, performance analysis, and benchmarking against industry standards help us identify areas for enhancement and implement necessary changes. By staying ahead of trends and consistently enhancing the guest experience, we ensure that our resort remains competitive.
  • Exceptional Service: We prioritize providing exceptional customer service to our guests. Our staff is trained to deliver personalized, attentive, and friendly service, exceeding guest expectations. We understand the importance of creating memorable experiences and building long-term relationships with our guests. By consistently delivering outstanding service, we differentiate ourselves from competitors and maintain a loyal guest base.
  • Unique Selling Proposition: We identify and promote our unique selling points to stand out in the market, especially on the Palm Jumeirah. We are the only French-Polynesian designed resort with unparalleled amenities, exclusive partnerships, innovative concepts, diverse dining venues and distinctive design elements that differentiate our resort from others. By highlighting these unique features, we attract guests who are seeking a distinct experience, thereby maintaining our competitive edge.

How important are employees’ energy levels for the success of Your Hotel?

First, it impacts Guest Experience: Employees with high energy levels are more likely to provide exceptional service and create memorable experiences for our guests. Their enthusiasm, positivity, and engagement contribute to a warm and welcoming atmosphere, leaving a lasting impression on guests. Happy and energized employees positively impact guest satisfaction, leading to repeat business, positive reviews, and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Second is the impact on Productivity and Performance: High energy levels positively impact employee productivity and performance. Energized employees tend to be more focused, motivated, and proactive in their roles. They are driven to go the extra mile, deliver exceptional results, and continuously seek opportunities for growth and improvement. This heightened productivity translates into efficient operations, enhanced guest satisfaction, and improved overall performance of the hotel.

How do you plan to motivate your team to go the extra mile?

Motivated team members are important for achieving results and maintaining a high level of service, but most importantly, for fostering a healthy work environment and culture.

  • Set Clear Goals and Expectations: When everyone understands what is expected of them and what they are working towards, it provides a sense of purpose and direction.
  • Recognize and Appreciate Efforts: Recognizing and acknowledging individual and team achievements, whether verbally or in team meetings, goes a long way in motivating employees to continue putting in their best efforts, as they deserve.
  • Foster a Supportive and Empowering Environment: When team members feel supported and believe there is an open-door for communication and collaboration, they are motivated to enhance their skills and excel in their roles, going the extra mile.

Why are hotels such as yours so important?

First, Destination Promotion and Tourism: Hotels often serve as ambassadors for their destinations. We play a vital role in promoting the local culture, attractions, and unique experiences available in Dubai. By offering information, recommendations, and personalized service, we contribute to the growth of tourism and help create a positive image for Dubai.

Second, Employment and Economic Impact: Hotels are major employers, providing job opportunities for a diverse range of individuals. From front-line staff to managerial positions, such as my own, hotels create employment opportunities and contribute to the economic growth of the local community. We also support other businesses, such as suppliers, restaurants, and tourism services, fostering economic development in the city.

Third, Support for Special Occasions and Events: Hotels are often sought after for hosting special occasions, such as weddings, celebrations, and corporate conferences. We provide dedicated event spaces, catering services, and event planning expertise, ensuring the success of these important gatherings.

And most importantly, Satisfied Guests: This is why we do what we do. Despite the challenges we may face internally or externally, what drives us forward are those exceptional experiences we offer our guests and the memories they get to take home with them. From my own perspective, I understand that our guests save up and work hard to earn their vacations and experience a valuable moment of relaxation. So, when they visit us, we have the privilege of offering them this sanctuary, and this is what makes our jobs so important.

Can you elaborate on how management can help navigate challenges?

At our hotel, an important aspect of our leadership is adaptability. Our leaders possess the ability to navigate an ever-changing marketplace, make informed decisions, and inspire the team to stay focused on our goals. Monitoring competition, key figures, and guest data, and predicting travel trends are a few areas of focus. They lead by example, demonstrating a positive attitude and a solution-oriented mindset, which motivates and encourages employees to overcome obstacles.

In your opinion, how is technology driving changes in the Hotel Industry, and do you believe it aids the growth of Hotels?

The industry is ever-evolving with new trends and technologies to enhance offerings and stay ahead of the curve. However, often, the industry makes the mistake of assuming that more technology translates into better service when, in fact, guests desire a human touch. Therefore, a balance must be achieved to optimize operations and offer guest convenience while maintaining the most critical element that lends to memorable experiences: personalization.

Would you like to say anything else to our readers?

For those of you starting or continuing your journey in the hospitality industry, I encourage you to embrace passion, dedication, and a commitment to delivering exceptional service. Remember, success in this field lies in creating unforgettable experiences for our guests and continuously striving for excellence in leading industry trends and setting the benchmark for personalization. Thank you once again, and I wish you all the best in your endeavors.

Connect with Yasmine Al Huneidi on LinkedIn.

Find Sofitel Dubai The Palm on LinkedIn or visit https://www.sofitel-dubai-thepalm.com/

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