Name: Jari Nielsen
Position title: Resident Manager at Centara Grand West Bay Hotel Doha
Company name: Centara Hotels & Resorts
When and why did you join the industry?
1989. I had finished a business studies school after high school, I was looking to get into advertisement but the industry was small at that time and after one month of looking for a job I decided to take a temporary job as a bellboy at Copenhagen Admiral Hotel, I stayed there for 10 years. I stayed in the business because I very much enjoyed the satisfaction in working with people, guests as well as colleagues.
Being fascinated with the development in the industry, its opportunities and living and working in multi-cultural societies & environments I later moved to London, Dubai, Thailand & now Doha.
What do you like most about your job?
That every day is different, every day has new challenges, opportunities and new exciting people to meet.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
I wouldn’t be able to name one, I’m very proud of having worked at some of the best hotels in the world but most of all I’m proud of having worked with so many incredible and inspiring people.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
‘Attention to detail’ My at that time Front Office Manager at The Lanesborough in London. Might sound simple to most, but having come to a 5 Star Hotel in London from a 4 star hotel in Copenhagen to gain 5 star experience, this was an important lesson. It was about me writing a short message to a guest and he kept correcting it, this lesson stayed with me as a reminder that every touch point is part of the guests experience with us and everything we do must be perfect, we represent the hotel, our company and its owners.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
Again too many to mention, I have been fortunate to work with many inspiring leaders, from my head of department, hotel executives, general managers & company leaders.
My role model is those who “Walk the Talk” to be honest I heard the ‘I care speech’ from way too many leaders who doesn’t really, I admire those who say what they feel and do what they believe in, for me the most successful leaders are those actively take an interest in the wellbeing of their employees, it might be a cliché’ but happy employees makes a successful business.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
At a first glance it would be the Thai culture we will implement into our experiences, but we also have some very unique design features, the latest in amenities and some very special F&B offerings – what those are we will keep as a surprise for our guests.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
My bucket list is the world, every place and its people is something I would love to experience with my wife & children.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
Our honeymoon to Greece, we rented a beautiful villa on the island of Paxos part of the Ionian islands. The villa was the only house on the hill side with stunning views of the lagoons opposite sides enormous cliffs.
Everything was perfect, from the house, to the garden, the pool, the view and the peace and privacy, but what made the experience even more special was the owners whom we got to know very well and spend some very memorable evenings with on the islands restaurants.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
Music, a good book and sadly a mobile charger.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
Richard Branson on his Necker Island
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
Our industry is ever evolving, that’s what makes it so interesting. The financial reality of the work has and will continue to change, so does the needs of our guests weather they are on business or leisure. The demand for profit and value for money combined demands we look deep to find creative ways to ensure our success.
With the merger of large international brands and the aggressive purchases and developments the competition will become much tougher, I do however see this as a positive, this reality will create incredible hospitality offers never seen before.
As both our business & leisure guests demand more value for their money I see the strongest expansion in the 3 & 4 star hotel sector and mid range F&B outlets. Our costumers today are much more educated and know what they want and what they want to pay for it.
I still believe there is an a big potential and incredible exiting times ahead in the 5 star sector, the demands here are for ultimate experiences, while the value for money might seem less the luxury traveller still know very well what they want, they want new experiences, something never seen before, the latest in everything and perfection in everything, rightly so as they pay big money for it.
On a bigger scale I see hotels and restaurants becoming part of much larger entertainment zones, combining forces with shopping malls, theme parks, sports venues etc. While this has already started, I believe this to be the future of our business, people want one location to stay, enjoy & explore.
I also see ‘Serviced apartments’ being an essential part of these complexes and hotel companies in general, people like to have the amenities & services that comes with ‘Services apartment’ products.
Hospitality is an incredible field and I feel blessed to part of it.