Glenn Nobbs, general manager at Millennium Place Barsha Heights Hotel and Apartments, tells Hotel & Catering News ME all about how the new property will change the dynamics of guest experiences in its locale and beyond
Please tell us a bit more about your career journey, and some of the biggest milestones?
I began my hospitality career in Sydney, Australia, and – although I started off in F&B – I quickly found the rooms division to be my passion. I’ve worked across a variety of styles of properties including small boutique, serviced apartments, resorts, mid-range and large luxury hotels. As FOM of one of the best City Hotels overlooking the beautiful Sydney harbour, I moved to Muscat, Oman and then onto Dubai in 2006, and my first full-time GM role in 2014.
One of the biggest milestones was working through the 2000 Summer Olympics; our hotel in Sydney was Host Hotel for the two major sponsors, and it was an unforgettable time, not just with the sheer volume of the business, but the teamwork that made it a success and the linked activities: it really brought the team together.
Add to that the excitement of the “Y2K” 1999 New Year’s Eve (when the IT world was meant to come to an end), and having the pleasure of working through re-brandings and openings. In 2016, I was fortunate enough to be awarded MnC Middle East and Africa’s GM of the year.
What would you say is the most challenging aspect of managing a 4-star property?
I don’t think the star rating makes it any more or less challenging than a 3-star or a 5-star. All properties have their own complexities which are relevant to their market.
4-star hotels are garnering huge success in Dubai; how do you plan on staying ahead of competition?
First of all, it would be strategy and having the right synergy between revenue and sales to ensure we capture future business. Also, ensuring our systems are in place to have the quality of service match the quality of the product. Moreover, customer focus: keep it simple, friendly and every now and then add a special “wow” to make them want to come back again.
You’ve announced that you’re working on a magnificent F&B line-up; what can guests expect and what do you think it will add to the Barsha Heights area?
Shhh! It’s top secret information.
What advice would you offer to those who aspire to become GMs in the hotel industry someday?
Gain hands-on experience in the industry. Push yourself to be exposed to areas that weren’t of your initial interest or forte, regardless of the department, and learn these, too. Always keep learning, attend trade shows, network, read industry blogs, etc. and don’t just stick to hotels – keep an eye on the wider economy, what happens to airlines, currencies and governments can have a direct impact on our industry.
Be bold enough to take decisions, and humble enough to know when you’ve got it wrong. If being a GM is truly something you’re passionate about, go for it, if it’s not, go for something else. You need to be able to give this role and its demands 100% of your attention.
Learn to identify those who can help support you in areas where you have a weakness. Get comfortable with seeing the guests and being there to help solve a problem.
A hospitality professional with 25 years of experience in hotel operations, management, and marketing, Nobbs has an extensive career history, working with Shangri-La Hotels in Sydney, Muscat and Dubai, and Marriot prior to joining Millennium & Copthorne Hotels.
He joined as hotel manager of Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai from 2011 till 2014, while also taking on secondments as task force pre-opening general manager of Millennium Executive Apartments in Muscat, interim general manager in Millennium Resort, Mussanah (Oman), and Millennium Plaza Hotel Dubai prior to taking on his current role.
A graduate of Ryde College of TAFE in Sydney Australia, Nobbs was named GM of the Year 2016 by Millennium & Copthorne Hotels MEA, and Manager of the Year 2000 by ANA Hotel Sydney.