Dubai, Christoph Schulz

What I wish I knew: how staff satisfaction impacts guest experience

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Remarkable guest experiences are the foundation of the travel industry, something’s Guest Review Award winners know well. Rehab Mabrouk, Guest Operations Manager at the Atana Hotel, Dubai, shares his tips for success

It starts with empowering your team

For staff to feel motivated and engaged everyday, they have to see their manager being a leader, not just a boss. A good manager needs to guide their team in the right direction, empowering them and helping them develop skills so they can improve and grow – both personally and professionally. If we are investing in our staff then our business will also thrive as a direct result. In the hotel industry especially, we need proper communication and excellent teamwork to reach the goals the company has set for us, so creating a positive environment among colleagues is crucial.

One way we help to encourage staff is with incentives. For example, we have prizes – such as a gift certificate or cash reward – for team members that receive good reviews. Also, ensuring there’s no dissatisfaction between managers and staff, and addressing if there is, is an important step towards creating a positive workplace.

The team use their imagination to invent ways to go above and beyond for our guests. This freedom gives staff the confidence to go the extra mile. They also feel then like they’re not just an employee, but that they are an important part of the team and their voice is listened to.

Guest and staff satisfaction are interdependent

If staff are satisfied, it definitely impacts their work ethic and how they go about their responsibilities and daily tasks. Our front of house staff have more regular contact with guests than the managers or leadership teams. They are often giving guests the first impression of our brand, so it’s critical they are doing so with a smile. They also craft the pre-arrival experience, which is just as important as the stay itself – whether that involves helping to create a seamless journey from the airport to the property or arranging special requests. They work hard to make it happen in order to give guests a fantastic first impression before they even arrive at the property.

If you have satisfied staff, it can also result in loyal guests. Most guests that come back are doing so because they have experienced great service. This also leads to the most powerful form of marketing – word-of-mouth. From one guest talking about their positive experience, we can attract 10 or 15 more, which helps further grow our business.

Setting your staff up for success

We have standup meetings every day, in both the morning and the afternoon, where we share the latest guest reviews. It’s important to also pay attention to any bad reviews we receive: we take them as a positive because it’s important to understand where we can improve. We also share updates and discuss special requests that are happening that day. Having an open communication channel is really important to help achieve the organisation’s goals and ensure we are all aligned for that day.

It’s important to treat staff with as much respect as you give guests. We really see each other as a family at Atana. We stand side-by-side and if any of our staff are having a hard time, we make sure we support them and face the problem together as a team.

Working in hotels is a lifestyle, it’s not just a job. The work comes from the heart. If staff are feeling dissatisfied, or have a negative work environment, we won’t succeed as a business. If the staff are not happy, they can’t make our guests happy. It’s important to focus as much on creating a great workplace as you do on creating a great guest experience.

Learn more about the Guest Review Awards

The Guest Review Awards programme is’s yearly appreciation programme that recognises partners for their exceptional hospitality

Hero Image: credit to Christoph Schulz, Unplash

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Atana Hotel, Dubai, is a 2018 Guest Review Award winner. The Guest Review Awards programme is’s yearly appreciation programme that recognises partners for their exceptional hospitality
Staff satisfaction and guest experience go hand-in-hand. It’s important for hoteliers to focus on creating a great workplace as much as they do on creating a great guest experience
Having open communication channels for staff and promoting teamwork are important in ensuring business goals are achieved