Maalot Roma Italy

How Maalot Roma creates a culture of excellence that results in great guest reviews

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Cristiano Zucchiatti, General Manager of Traveller Review Awards 2024-winning Maalot Roma hotel, shares how he and his team have created and maintained a culture of excellence, leading to great reviews that attract more guests.

Crafting a unique guest environment

Maalot is one of six five-star hotels and the one that really stands out. We try to be fashionable and dynamic so that we’re different from all the other hotels in Rome. We’re located right in the middle of Rome, very close to the Trevi fountain. The area outside the hotel is very crowded with tourists, but we’ve worked hard to create an oasis here – something like a castle in the desert.

The differences begin as soon as guests get to Rome. We send a staff member to pick them up from the airport. Then, when we bring them to the hotel to check in, we give them a seat in our restaurant or bar for a welcome drink rather than making them wait at the reception desk. They can enjoy a glass of champagne or a cappuccino while we take their bags and then give them information about their stay, trying to make them feel comfortable from the first moment of their vacation.

Building a team of “rock stars” 

When I read our reviews, what stands out time and time again is that people mention how much they love our staff. So if I had to explain Maalot in just two words, I’d say “great staff.” I believe hospitality begins with recruitment, and I’ve invested a lot of time trying to recruit the best people possible for our team. I’m very lucky because they’re all really great and I feel like they’re the soul of Maalot – they’re all rock stars!

Ionida, the front-of-house director, is me when I’m not here. She’s my right hand. She loves what she does, and she’s amazing at taking care of all our guests – from breakfast time right through to the evening. Tamara, the housekeeping manager, is brilliant as well. She’s like the “mamma” of this place. She’s very elegant, always smiling, and she makes the hotel look immaculate – from the plants and flowers to every aspect of the guests’ rooms. We have a great team in our kitchen, led by Domenico, our executive chef, who is reinventing traditional Roman cuisine for a new era. He thinks like a manager but cooks like a grandmother! Alessandro, our bar manager, creates fresh, new cocktails, and Nicolo, our restaurant manager, loves to look after our guests at lunch and dinner time. All of them are between 30 and 40 years old, with great careers in hospitality ahead of them.

I’m very proud of the team I’ve built here. Every day, every week, I’m here investing time with them one-on-one or all together to make them feel like a family. I love them for everything they do to make our guests feel special and for creating this fantastic atmosphere.

Maalot Roma Italy 2

Maintaining a culture of excellence

Our philosophy is to do our best at every moment, creating a tailor-made service that delights our guests. We provide guests with the most comfortable pillows and beds, a fantastic fragrance in the rooms, the most luxurious toiletries, and a great selection of juices and food in the mini bar. We want everything to be perfect.

I personally take great care of our reviews – it’s the first thing I check every morning. I share them with my team once a week to celebrate our successes and learn where we can improve our performance. One review that I love and shared with the team describes Maalot perfectly: “There is great music, great atmosphere, and great staff.”

Today our Booking.com rating is 9.6, but I always want us to improve. I hate to get 8 or 9/10 – I think only 10/10 is a good job! Every day we try to do our best. I’m always thinking of ways we can improve our service, the amenities we provide in the rooms, or giveaways for guests. As soon as I have an idea, I get the team together so that we can make it happen as soon as possible.

 

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Topics
Takeaway
  • We create a distinct welcome by checking guests in at our restaurant or bar with a welcome drink, ensuring they feel comfortable from the very first moment
  • Every member of our team has been hand-picked for their special qualities, their passion, and their ability to do everything they can for our guests
  • We devote a lot of time to training and development to maintain our culture of excellence and keep improving our ratings
  • Always look for ways to improve the guest experience and keep aiming for the perfect review score – it’s what will make your hotel stand out from the rest