I have always been passionate about hospitality as my Uncle Khaled Saad, whom I admired on a personal and professional level, owned hotels.
I began my career at a very early age as a receptionist, when I was still in college. From the first day I was attracted to the diversity, the pace of the business, the flexibility and the team spirit. Having the chance to travel the world and work abroad was also an added benefit.
There have been many highlights in my career so far, and I’m very proud that I became a general manager at such a young age – just 26 (at Imm Hotels & Spa). The biggest personal highlight is probably The Continent Hotel, which, since I joined in October 2012, has achieved great results. But what I’m most proud of is the individual success stories of the staff I have managed since I first became a general manager nine years ago.
My favourite aspects of The Continent Hotel, besides its elegant and classy design, are its Medinii restaurant and Axis & Spin bar – both great venues for wining and dining any day of the week.
Decisions in my role are never tough. They are either right or wrong. Making a wrong decision, however, well…that’s when things can turn tough. Fortunately, logical decision making always keeps things simple.
The main challenge faced by any hotel, whether it is locally, regionally or internationally, is to maintain relevance. It is essential that the hotel, regardless of its type or rating, continues to deliver experiences that resonate with its target demographic. However, this challenge also represents an opportunity. Managers must take it upon themselves to encourage their teams to consistently revolutionize existing services and experiences, to ensure that they are able to meet and exceed industry trends and benchmarks.
The best advice I’ve ever received is: Always assume you don’t have all the information.
My guiding philosophy is to strive for perfection and success. This means emphasizing attention to detail while motivating my teams in order to achieve seamless operations.
When I first started my career, I had a dream of becoming a GM. I always let the management know that I wanted to grow. My advice to anyone else who wants to be a GM is to go for your dream. Steve Jobs once said that you have to “live” in the moment, “love” what you do, “learn” for the rest of your life, and “leave a legacy” of what you believe in. Keep in mind that it’s important that people around you feel good about your ambitions too.
When I’m not busy running the hotel I’m a voracious reader; I even read during my lunch break.
The Continent Hotel Bangkok, 413 Sukhumvit Road (near Asoke BTS & Sukhumvit MRT Interchange Stations)
Tel: 02 686 7000 www.thecontinenthotel.com