DUBAI EXPAT STORIES. Elias Shayia – from hotel phone operator to general manager

“Well, I would say that in my career, I have been a bit lucky to have people who recognize my hard work. I started my career in UAE, 14 years back, as operator …connecting calls. That was during my first seven months. Then, I was recognized by a manager and I was moved to the reception. Then, I became in charge of the night operation of a five-star property,” says Elias Shayia, general manager of Novel Hotel City Centre in Abu Dhabi.  

“In March 2010. Just like almost 11 years back, I started working as a sales executive and was moved to being sales manager within a year and half, then assistant director of sales within a year, then director again.

“Luckily by 2017, I was recognized by the same company, which is  under the National Corporation for Tourism and Hotels (NCTH) umbrella. I was recognized by the head office to be a resident manager doing the role of the general manager,” Elias added.

To what does he owe his success?

“As long as youre patient. You love what you’re doing. You will have success. Don’t miss the chances. Give your best on a daily basis. Don’t give up. Learn from your downs and ups. This is the main requirements of any success anywhere, I think. 

“But in our career, because our product is not physical, we offer only service. Service is about feelings. We need to get the guests feeling happy, feeling that he is really being treated well. 

“And it’s about making a good impression and listening to the guests – we don’t call them customers. They are our guests,” Elias said.

During his free time, which happens rarely, Elias said he spends moments with his two-year-old daughter playing football or the sea.

“For the past one year and half, I was just staying here in the hotel. This work occupies, I would say, the majority of my free time. I’m a fan of football’ I watch a lot of football, so I follow football teams. Aside from that, weekends… I’m a water lover so I spend some time on the water, the beach, or whatever type of water activities, and in my free time, I go back here to check how things are moving,” Elias said. 


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