Audrey Murugaya, operational & training manager at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, explains the impact of personal interaction with guests in the hospitality industry.
Quality is not just about ensuring that standards are consistently met, it’s also about how we engage with our guests. In today’s date, quality standards are met when your staff get to know guests on a personal level by engaging with them, listening to them, and using what they have shared with you.
As a training and operational excellence professional with over 11 years of experience working in Asia, the UAE, Maldives, and Oman, I see that this is an area where one has to challenge the market to bridge the gap and create an environment where there is mutual understanding and everyone works towards a common goal.
Being part of an Asian chain, Anantara has its challenges in explaining the culture and brand identity to different nationalities, and our aim is to bridge this cultural gap while respecting cultural differences. At Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, we combine both international and Asian hospitality where every guest is treated as family while respecting their individuality. We take time to listen to our guests and show them how valuable they are to us. We also practice humility, courtesy, respect, and other basic values linking it to individual cultures which leads our guests to experience the fact that we treat all guests like family.
I often ask my team, “Why do you think our guests make the effort to drive for two hours to such a remote location and stay at our resort? What is it that we offer that has an edge over the other hotels?”
This was answered by the chairman and founder of Minor International, William Heinecke who said, “Brands don’t build people, people build brands.”
Take for example our mountain guru, he leads the guests through the beautiful hiking trails with so much passion, care, and safety, our recreation team seeks the guests comfort as well by packing dates, coffee, and snacks. The team is constantly thinking of the guests’ overall experience, as they believe in creating stories that our guests will carry with them for a lifetime. All our team members truly understand the concept of engaging with our guests and creating an experience that leads to an everlasting relationship. Located approximately two hours away from Muscat, we have the opportunity to go the extra mile for our guests. Once a guest had left behind some items at the hotel and left to Muscat. We took this opportunity to personally drive to the guests’ location to deliver these items and a few months later, this guest returned with extended family, we truly delivered our message that we treat our guests as a part of the family.
Our welcome messages in the guests’ native languages, our towel art decorations, offering them their preferred beverages in the morning without waiting for them to ask, all these services give us a lead in the competition and we constantly challenge ourselves to stretch out of our comfort zone and come up with innovative and indigenous ideas for our guests.
At Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, our brand values emphasise on authentic luxury, expertise, and indigenous, each value having its own meaning.
We are continuously working to build our name as internationally as possible whilst maintaining our individuality.