The path to recovery: Interview with Jan Gutzmann of Gulf Suites

Bahrain Confidential talks to the Gulf Suites Hotel Amwaj’s General Manager, Jan Gutzmann, to know more about leading through crisis as well as the hotel’s journey in its path to recovery.­

What has the pandemic taught you about leadership?

The golden saying that “employees are your most important assets” has been even more evident during the pandemic. It is crucial during these challenging times to be close to your team members. Letting your employees feel that their leader is right next to them would make them more willing to support and follow you. I also witnessed how important it is to have an open communication with guests and suppliers.

Moreover, I learned to adapt to changes quickly and continuously during the pandemic. When it started, we have immediately implemented additional health measure like sanitizing all public areas twice a day at GSH. It is essential to ensure that guest and employees feel that they are in a safe environment.

Without enforcing a mandatory protocol, all our employees chose to get fully vaccinated. They understood that this was the only way to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and the return to a regular business.

What challenges and opportunities do you see for Gulf Suites Hotel as we enter the Covid ‘recovery’ period?

The main challenge at the moment are the remaining travel restrictions; however, we can witness that governments are easing it wherever it’s possible. The return of business travel to the same level before the pandemic will take some time.

It is worth noting that, since we offering entire fully equipped apartments, we have a unique selling point. All our apartments from one bedroom to four bedrooms are furnished with a kitchen as their own balcony. Therefore, our property is the perfect place for the entire family. Guests can stay on their own and prepare their meals by themselves while enjoying the comfort of a four-star hotel with all amenities.

We had a very good experience recently when we introduced our “workation” campaign.

What are the best amenities and/or attributes of GSH that make it stand out?

As mentioned, we are not offering usual hotel rooms, we are providing apartments. In addition, we have five different types of restaurants and lounges, a great outside area with a large pool as well as a kid’s pool. Furthermore, guests can use our gym or make an appointment in our spa and saloon. Last but not least, our complex has a 24-hour super market within the premises which makes it very convenient for our guests.

Do you have any developments in the pipeline?

Yes, we are currently in the final stage to roll out a fully automated program for our guests.

Guests who booked with us will receive messages via WhatsApp before their arrival, during their stay and after their stay. This will allow us the opportunity to be in contact with our guests. Moreover, it will also allow them to be updated with our offerings and announcements. Due to the automated process, we will be able to avoid human errors and guests can access the information whenever it is convenient for them.

What’s your vision for GSH?

To provide outstanding lodging facilities and services to our guests. Our hotel caters to individuals for business and leisure, as well as corporate traveler. We emphasize high quality standards in our rooms and our food and beverage divisions. We provide a fair and best return on investment for our owners and recognize that this cannot be done without well trained, motivated and enthusiastic employees.

What advice can you give to hoteliers/businesses who are struggling to recover at the moment?

Don’t hide yourself; stay in front whenever possible. Take a positive approach, face the situation and find solutions together with your team.