Hotel News Middle East catches up with Krystel Irani, the newly appointed director of operations at Raffles Dubai
Describe your first ever role in the hotel industry?
I started my hotel career in the reservations department at Four Seasons Hotel Georges V Paris, followed by three months’ experience in the PR department. I feel incredibly proud to have started my career at one of the most prestigious hotels in the world, it was an incredible place to learn about luxury hospitality and it set the tone for my future career in this industry. After I graduated, Four Seasons offered me a full-time job in reservations and I worked at the hotel for nearly five years, building a career in the front office department.
Who has inspired you most in your career?
I can’t choose just one person, as many leaders have inspired my career and continue to do so. I learnt from a very young age to observe and grow within the environment I live in, a skill which helped me to become successful in my career. From the people that have inspired me, I have learnt that focus, determination, entrepreneurship and relentlessness are the most important characteristics for a leader, along with a passion for working with people and a great deal of positivity and patience.
How do you view the hotel scene in the region?
The hotel industry in Dubai is always interesting and at times challenging. The supply of hotel rooms is growing and diversifying, and it is a very competitive environment with a very high standard of competition. In this situation, the importance of delivering outstanding service is key to our ongoing success.
What is the biggest challenge of your role?
I challenge myself and motivate my staff to keep pushing the needle up at all times, not to rest on past successes, but to continuously look for ways to improve.
Maintaining a high-quality product at its best at all times is also a challenge, and we have a programme in place to continuously upgrade our rooms. We will soon start a carpet refurbishment and furniture upgrade, as well as installing state-of-the-art software for our colleagues to deliver efficiency in our processes, allowing our staff to focus on delivering the exemplary service that differentiates Raffles Dubai from the competition.
What is the best aspect of your role?
I am a people person! It is one my strengths and a genuine part of my personality. At work, I am passionate about investing in my team’s development, and with our guests I am often involved in the day-to-day operation. I enjoy creating meaningful connections and building loyalty with our guests.
What tip would you share with new staff starting out in the hotel industry in the region?
Dream big and stretch your goals daily to achieve them. Nothing is impossible!
If you could invite any three people around for dinner who would they be?
It would have to be my close family and friends, I love cooking and trying new recipes for them.
If you had to live on a desert island for a year what would you bring with you?
An iPad or stack of books as I love to read, especially leadership books; a camera to capture the moments, photography is one my favourite hobbies; and enough F&B to survive of course!