The HOTEL team sat down with Sumeet Shetty, Executive Assistant Manager at Stamford Plaza in Auckland, to discuss the challenges and successes since the pandemic began, how it has changed and how they do business for the better.
Shetty is extremely passionate about the hospitality industry and is proud to be ‘working in the business of creating happiness and joy’.
When the lockdowns came in, and MIQs became the new norm, Shetty said there was no rule book and that supporting the team during those challenging times was vital.
“We had so many events planned and had really started to build momentum, and it vanished overnight. It put a spanner in the works, but the team rallied on fantastically,” said Shetty.
“We needed the resources, and our entire hotel team came together irrespective of departments, designations and worked collectively towards a common goal.”
At the start of lockdown, Shetty said it took some time to get used to a new way of doing things.
“Guests are very stressed, and the environment is important. They want to get home.”
Shetty continued to explain that the team learned many new dietary requirements, did a lot of research, and constantly pivoted their menu as per guest requirements keeping it inclusive and diverse.
Meals assumed fundamental importance as it was the highlight of the guests’ stay.
“The quality of the food and the variety of options were very important.”
The team successfully achieved this and received excellent reviews from the MIQ guests.
“It was key to keep the variety. We ensured that guests were happy throughout their stay and would call them multiple times during the week and in some cases even daily for menu orders and food preferences simultaneously doing welfare checks at the same time. We didn’t get to see them face-to-face, but we could feel their emotions in their voices.”
Shetty felt that they had built a community and continued to treat all their MIQ guests with a five-star experience and worked extremely hard to achieve this day in day out.
The pandemic also brought a much tighter sense of community to the Stamford Plaza team.
Some of the MIQ guests gifted their in-room creations (paintings and creative craftworks) they made during their isolation stay.
Now out of life as a MIQ hotel, this new era is all about exploration and adaptation. The team at the Stamford Plaza are charged up and looking forward to curating more personalised touches, bespoke experiences and ready to showcase their signature offerings namely Kabuki Teppanyaki, Stamford High Tea and overall stunning facilities across the hotel
“Hospitality is in our DNA,” said Shetty.
The personal touch is innate to human interaction, and the team at Stamford Plaza highly values their interactions with guests.
So where to next? With a strong passion for the hospitality industry, Shetty will continue building his skills and experience in luxury hotels with Stamford Hotels and Resorts and values the career opportunities given to him by the company along with the room to develop and innovate.