Youssouf Taher, director of human resources Park Rotana, Abu Dhabi, is under the spotlight…
Describe your first ever role in the hotel industry? It was very interesting, I was a butler service coordinator at the Waldorf Astoria by Hilton in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was a guest-centric job where I learned a lot about hospitality.
Who is the person who has inspired you most in your career? Although quite a few people made significant impacts on my career, there was one lady who inspired me to be in hospitality human resources – Andrea Lupova who was my previous department head and now works in HR with another hotel chain. She has shown me what human resources is all about and provided me the exposure and experience to be passionate and really engaged in our field.
How do you view the hotel scene in the region? Despite the increase in supply, there is still a very high potential for new hotels in the region and this is quite evident in the number of new projects currently under development in places like Saudi, UAE and Bahrain. The increase in supply didn’t affect the demand as both have increased compared to last year which is a healthy indicator for the industry. This will also open up several new employment opportunities for hospitality professionals.
What is the biggest challenge of your role? I must say it will be the retention of talent. It is a highly challenging aspect as there is a high level of competition amongst hospitality companies, particularly with emerging hotels, to attract hoteliers of experience and calibre.
What is your favourite aspect of your role? It is the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives by providing them with valuable career advice.
If you could work in any hotel in the world which would it be? I would probably be working in my own hotel. With 11 years of experience in the industry, I have learned a lot and I realised that hospitality is not that much different from one hotel to another, when it comes to a role like mine.
What tip would you share with new staff starting out in the hotel industry in the region? Set your goal, have a five-year-plan and work towards achieving the goal while living with exemplary values.