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“I’m passionate about surpassing the expectations of every guest”

Víctor Rubio is the Guest Relation Manager (GRM) in Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Hotel. His role is to meet the requirements of every kind of guest, from families on holidays to professional sportsmen. With over 20 years of experience within this sector and his natural empathy, the front office manager enjoys his job as a host. Better said, he is passionate about it. Surpassing the expectations of guests is his daily work.

—Each guest has his own requirement. I guess it is a mandatory virtue for a GRM to establish a personal connection with them.

Of course, it is. Establishing a personal connection with every guest is the main demand, as it is also creating a historical record of their demands and references. This helps up to foresee their need and go a step ahead if any demand occurs.

—Is being the GRM the role of greatest responsibility in the hotel?

Maybe it’s not that I have a greater responsibility, but it is indeed the most visible role. The GRM is the first person to be contacted by the guest and the department is always obliged to respond. We play the role of the “trouble-shooter” and, although I have no hands nor tools to solve every problem, they first come to me, and they expect me to find an answer. My main role is to lead and coordinate the departments involved so as to offer the best solution.

—Let’s see if you can be a bit more specific. What are the functions of a GRM?

Among the main functions assigned to me is to control the quality standards in the different departments of the hotel, as well as meeting the demands of our guests. I would sum it up as quality control and quick response. Luckily, I have the best professional team working with me, they are skilled and well-trained.

—Is it easy to personalise the treatment to every guest?

It is both difficult and pleasant at the same time. Every person is unique. It’s a service work and feelings become very important. There are many kinds of guest: families who come on holidays, professional teams, and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions) and none of them are the same. The difficulty here is that you need to adapt and give an appropriate response to everyone.

—The GRM is thus a great responsibility role. Should we consider it as the most demanding filter in a hotel?

It is the first and the last contact. Thus, the GRM is obliged to react. However, it is a link in the chain and this chain needs to be highly coordinated. The team is perfect in Oliva Nova. In recent years, the staff has been carefully selected and trained. Our main strength relies on the people and, thus, guests let us know about it.

—Let’s talk about the profile of a member of the GRM team. What qualities does the front office staff need to have?

Interacting with people is the most important, the social ability of empathizing with every guest. They need to feel passion for their job. Turning every demand of the guests into a personal challenge is an obliged attitude to keep improving our service day by day.

—Can the reception staff be considered as the “troubleshooter” of impossible things?

Yes, it can. The main role of our staff is to surpass the expectations of every guest and, thus, we need to respond to their demands countless times. Going beyond or not is the difference between success and failure. We are the

updated version of the concierge who gets the tickets for football match or any other show when it seems impossible or makes a booking in a restaurant with an endless waiting list; but we are adapted according to the progress of the tourism sector. We do so with the new requirements raised and a careful follow up of them during the stay of our guest in the hotel, from the moment the step into the hotel to the moment they go home.

—Summer and winter. They are two completely different settings in your department, aren’t they?

Yes, indeed. The type of guest is not the same. It is usually full-house as an average occupancy during summer and guests are families who come on holiday; they need a continuous follow up. Otherwise, in winter, average occupancy is different but then quality is focused in other tourism sectors. Requests

—Oliva Nova is a leading facility in terms of hosting sport teams, most of them professional.

Yes, we are. We accommodate professional cycling teams, rugby teams, golf players, top-quality show jumping events and, of course, football teams. Some of them come to prepare and train before important tournaments and they choose Oliva Nova because we meet the requirements, they expect of such a comprehensive service. Elite sportsmen usually demand not only the best service but also the best facilities.

—What do you like the most about your job?

The final feedback of the guest. The most pleasant aspect of this kind of job is that you are always working to offer a good service, we turn something intangible into something palpable. The best sensation is to find a positive feedback with the guest at the end of their holidays, having surpassed their expectation and feeling part of it.

—Is it different the job as GRM nowadays to the job as GRM 20 or 30 years ago?

Of course, it is! It is completely different in quantity and quality. The term Guest Relation Manager was not even used in Spanish 20 years ago. There is a higher quality standard, it is now a more centralised role. The demand of this job has grown as well as the requirements of the people grow.

—Tell us an anecdote, please. I’m sure you have a collection of them.

There are many… from repairing a bride’s dress the same day of the ceremony, to be the secret “partner in crime” of an engagement. A huge responsibility, isn’t it? However, discretion is mandatory in my job. I guess you understand my position… In terms of anecdotes, I choose every experience with children and how they enjoy playing with our mascot Oli. I’m sure they are the guests who have the best memories to tell…

—What about you career and your experience?

My first working experience in a hotel was in England, in 1997; then I changed to the hotel chain Sol Meliá and I worked there for 11 years, changing destinations and assuming different responsibilities during that period. Then, I worked for two more companies before arriving to this hotel, my home for 8 years now. Apart from having studies and having been trained, I also have my own knowledge thanks to my experience in more than twelve hotels working together with the best staff and working in many different destinations. Experience is a plus!

—Do you feel like a dream catcher? I would define myself as a “trouble-shooter”. In fact, the front desk staff is a group of “trouble-shooters”. We are welcoming all those who come seeking to relax and enjoy their holidays at our place. Our daily challenge is to turn a simple trip into an unforgettable experience.

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