Beyond service excellence!
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Arrived in this exotic Arabian city last September 17 at six in the morning. The flight via Philippine Airlines took 8 hours and and the most I slept in-flight was an hour. I dreaded the idea about having to wait in the hotel lobby until the 2 p.m. check-in time. Alas, upon arrival, Weam, the Syrian front desk agent informed me I could already check into my room and further exclaimed “we will upgrade you to a premier suite Mr. Alcuaz!” While he was attending to me, the hotel front office manager Faith Bautista, a “kabayan” welcomed me with a warm “kumusta po kayo Mr. Alcuaz, maligayang pag dating sa Abu Dhabi!”
Having been a hospitality trainer for over 30 years, I know that consistency in the delivery of service excellence even among the best hotels in the world is a continuing challenge. However I would like to put on record that this recent experience I had at the Park Rotana was truly a welcome development. Service excellence started 3 days before my arrival when I received an email from them suggesting I check-in online, just like the airlines. So I did. Upon arrival I did not only get a VIP arrival experience, I got an upgrade plus excellent service by all staff until my departure 3 days later.
Being excellent in service is no longer an exclusive bragging right of Filipino hotel staff. The Bangladeshi bellman, the Nepalese housekeeper, Weam, the Syrian desk agent, Rami, the Sri-Lankan head waiter in the coffee shop, the Egyptian restaurant manager, the Filipino waitresses and Abigail, the Filipino telephone operator were excellent all the time, without trying too hard.
Faith Bautista has been in Abu Dhabi for 7 years and started as an assistant guest services manager before her promotion last year. She has no plans of returning to the Philippines anytime soon because she feels she is still young and very much enjoying the experience of living and working in this exotic and rich Arabian Emirate, Abu Dhabi.
The Rotana Hotels & Resorts is an Arabian hotel company that projects to have over a hundred properties in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe by the year 2020 (www.rotanahotels. com)
(Vic Alcuaz is a Hospitality Headhunter, Trainer & Consultant: www.vicalcuaz. com)