In Conversation with…Ammar Samad
The Multi-Property GM of Delta City Center, Element City Center, Element West Bay and Al Samriya Hotel, Doha, Autograph Collection talks teamwork and property differentials.
Moving from managing one hotel to overseeing four must have been a huge change. How many rooms, outlets and staff are you responsible for across the properties?
As the Multi-Property General Manager, I look after four hotels across three brands. The cluster has a total of 870 rooms, 11 dining venues including restaurants, bars and cafes, four spa venues, and a total of 490 associates all well-experienced and trained to provide the highest level of service.
How do you manage to keep on top of everything? Do you have a specific system for addressing operations, staff etc?
I always say that I am as good as the people that I work with. Surround yourself with the best talent and lead the team in building a culture of putting people first – which is our Marriott Philosophy. But the most important thing is caring about the people and caring is about actions, not just words. It’s how our people will know that I have their back and will stand by them.
Caring creates trust and trust creates loyalty. Loyalty is what makes good people stay and take care of the business. I make sure that there is open communication among the team and the leadership because when people have good relationships with their leaders, they’re more motivated, they perform better and they’re more likely to go the extra mile to support the team.
What were the challenges in preparing the properties and associates to open in the run up to the world’s biggest sporting event – the World Cup?
The biggest challenge was the very short timeline to accomplish a lot of tasks. The team had to accomplish six months’ worth of preparation in 30 days for each hotel and ensure that we would open on brand and ready to deliver exceptional service to exceed guests’ expectations.
It was a lot of hard work but in the end, truly rewarding. We successfully hosted two football teams and fans and we have received great feedback on their stays in our hotels and the service of the team.
And, now that the World Cup is over, how will you position and market the properties for the future – what are their individual USPs?
All our brands – Delta Hotels by Marriott, Element by Westin, and Autograph Collection – are new in the Doha market and what is exciting is that each brand caters to a different target market from short stays to long stays, business, groups and leisure. Delta Hotels provides seamless service that allows guests to focus on what’s really important – and that is to get their work done. Centrally located in West Bay and just in front of the B12 beach, the hotel is the best place for both leisure and business travels.
Element by Westin has a casual and vibrant atmosphere together with its ergonomic design, quiet nooks, sun-filled spaces and family amenities which evoke the feeling of home. This is the perfect place for long and short stays.
Al Samriya Hotel, Doha, Autograph Collection is a truly unique property. It is a collage of treasures that brings together lively stories, historic cultures and natural wonders. It is a reflection of the Qatari culture and hospitality. Located on the Al Samriya estate, this is the childhood home of Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, an abode that’s evolved through affection and devotion – a place that celebrates stories and the activities of his upbringing. Guests can drive out of Doha and be transported to a sanctuary providing rest and relaxation with the many activities on the estate such as horse riding, visiting the oryx reserve, a trip to the FBQ Museum and connection to nature.
On a more personal note, how do you like to spend your time when you get away from work? Do you have a secret talent that would surprise our readers?
When I am away from work, I always make time to be with my family and friends. I still find time to watch documentaries, especially historical ones, and enjoy reading. Another of my hobbies is playing basketball – where I get to really relax my mind and unwind. ✤