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Arabian hospitality, much more than dates and coffee

Amsa Hospitality: defining Arabian hospitality service standards to the last detail

Last week, we started discussing how, at Amsa Hospitality, we understand in what way ‘Arabian Hospitality’ translates in real life, and how we are currently building a brand that the world has never witnessed before: A modern true to-its-roots global Arab hospitality brand.

We are very aware that we are pioneers: No one has done it before. We know that the path we are currently opening will be followed by many in the years to come - that makes us proud and happy, as it will spread even more our Arabian traditions of generosity and welcoming.

As I mentioned in my previous post on this topic, developing such a unique brand is a three-step exercise:

  • Defining building design standards

  • Defining service standards

  • Defining management and human resources standards

Because it is in Amsa Hospitality DNA, the first two standards are continuously underlined by our unique management style and human resources strong policies based on care and recognition. If you don't see yet how that works, keep reading and you'll soon understand what I mean.

Previously, I discussed Amsa Hospitality’ building standards. Let’s have a look today at our service standards.

As I endlessly remark, the Amsa Hospitality raison d’être is first and foremost to bring our fathers centuries-old Arab traditions of hospitality and generosity the world over. Therefore, our service standards must reflect these traditions in a modern way.

Before all, we know that for guests and visitors to feel genuinely welcomed, they must feel good as soon as they pass the hotel doors. We previously defined the general atmosphere of calm, comfort and security that come from the lobby and outlets interior designs. Nevertheless, if hotel’s employees don’t feel at ease working for the property, or conflict with their management or between themselves, the welcoming smile will not be authentic, the care will not be there… guest or visitor will not be a person but a faceless client. Hence ruining all the attention to detail and expertise put in the property’s interior design and other non-tangible elements, such as Arab artists on-display work, specially designed scent and background music, or even the environmentally friendly importance given to every single décor detail.

Guests and visitors will feel ‘tension in the air’, which automatically negatively alter their mood. That’s exactly the opposite of what we aim at achieving.

Great guest service starts with happy employees. A challenging ambitious objective to be bettered every morning.

This is the reason why our management style is somehow innovative, as we treat everyone from the lowest rank & file position to the highest with the same care. For us, at Amsa Hospitality, there is no less important position – as I demonstrated in a previous post: Regardless of their job – from stewarding to general manager -, everyone is as important to reach maximum guests’ satisfaction. I’ll discuss more in detail, in my next post, how we conceive human resources management in our hotels – an extension of what we are already doing at Amsa Hospitality’ Head Office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

For hotels’ employees to feel good when they’re on duty, they must be dressed in a way they feel comfortable with, both physically and mentally: Employees enjoy and are proud to wear their uniforms because they adapt to and look good on any body shape. From bellman to room attendant, the uniform they are dressed in are not too hot and not too cold, easy to wear without impeding their movements. The uniforms strongly remind of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries, without going all the way to an ‘Arabian nights’ cliché style. As with everything we do, all uniforms - including those for colleagues who work only in areas not visible by guests (such as laundry, for instance) – are created by a young Arab designer and validated by those who are wearing them.

For guest service to be at its best, our colleagues must master every single aspect of their duty: This is the reason why Amsa Hospitality provides heavy corporate standards training courses on Arabian hospitality specifics and sustainable development (no less than three adapted to the position courses per year and per employee), while hotels’ Heads of Department give a minimum of two-hour training per week to each member of their team in order to correct their weaknesses, develop new skills, and better master their art. Wherever needed, we also provide courses on Arab culture for employees to understand and better live the service specifics they are requested to implement:

Regardless of where our hotels are located, and therefore their cultural origins, all our colleagues must be proud of sharing our ancestral Arabian civilization with guests, family and friends.

A sophisticated follow up scheme is implemented to verify how well colleagues are implementing training sessions topics.

As you may expect, we go strong on quality control, from after check-out guests’ surveys to mystery guest regular visits, and of course online follow-up to avoid generation gap pitfalls.

As Amsa Hospitality motto is ‘bringing centuries-old Arabian traditions of welcoming and generosity to today’s world’, as soon as they enter the hotel, guests and visitors are welcomed with a genuine smile and a vibrant ‘Marhaba!’, while being offered Saudi dates and coffee – dates and coffee being always on display for later self-service in the lobby. Whenever possible, we source our dates and coffee from organic agriculture.

Because proper hospitality is much more than smiling at a guest and directing them to the Front-desk to be checked-in by someone else - making the arrival very impersonal and much too systematic -, we do things better, true to our Arabian roots of generosity and care: The very same colleague, who offered dates and coffee to an arriving guest, spends the necessary time with them to show them around, describing the hotel's services, explaining this element of décor and that artifact or this work-of-art, before accompanying them to the area where guests may register alone at designated self-check-in stations. When required, the welcoming colleague shows guest how to operate the terminal, cut a key (if their smartphone isn’t NFC-abled), etc. Of course, returning and tech-savvy guests don’t need so much explanations, and the welcoming colleague leaves them alone immediately upon request. Tech-savvier guests will have first downloaded the dedicated brand’s app, checked-in online after having selected their favorite room. The NFC phone is then used as a key card.

We bring ancestral Arabian traditions to the modern world: Employees relationship with guests is true to our roots - welcoming, friendly (without being obsequious), spending the time necessary with each guest to make them feel relaxed, appreciated, unique, while respecting their privacy. Caring.

Our understanding of Arabian hospitality is by far much more than mashrabia, dates and coffee: It’s a way of being, of relating to each other, of caring for guests and colleagues, of being respectful. It’s about helping, of being truly happy to serve, to give, to share. It’s about genuinely smiling to everyone passing our doors because we are really pleased to welcoming them under our roof. This is how we bring centuries-old Arabian traditions of generosity and welcoming to today’s world.

To achieve such a high level of hospitality and caring, it takes a lot of efforts and organization. This is what I will discuss in my next blog, explaining Amsa Hospitality unique human resources vision and standards.

Stay tuned for more!


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