Sophia Annour, a Vatel 2012 alumnus, is one of these Vateliens who succeed quickly: for the past two years she has been the Revenue Inventory Executive for the Middle East & Africa Revenue Management Remote Solutions Organization in the Marriott International Group, based in Dubai.
In her first interview,she gave us a few ingredients for her success recipe when she told us about what she learned as a Vatel student and during her various professional experiences. Now let’s see how she landed her first job, what she does on a daily basis, what she thinks about this job, and what she thinks the future holds for her.
Sophia, how did you get this job you currently have?
While I was doing my Revenue Management internship in Doha, I was able to demonstrate my ability and meet the expectations my Revenue Leader had. He told me that there was a job vacancy in Dubai in the Marriott International. This job was for an entry level position, whose role perfectly matched the training I had received in the 3 pack Doha City Center and the recruitment officer was interested in my profile. My first goal was to do a one year internship in Doha, but after nine months, I quit this internship because I was hired by management at the Marriott, for the job I have today. I really love Revenue Management and my trainers did everything possible so that I would continue my professional career with their group.
Can you tell us about your job?
The geographical zone I’m in charge of has 11 Marriott hotels, located in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Algeria. We’ll have a total of 16 in 2015. I’m mainly in charge of the following functions for the four hotels in our portfolio:
- Inventory Management: managing the room inventory through strategic controls.
- Rate Management: I’m in charge of drawing up a structured price grid.
- Analysis of segmentation in order to respond in the best possible way to requests from each category or clients.
- Budgets and commercial action plans: working closely with the Area Director of Sales, Area Director of Revenue Management, the General Manager and the Sales Manager, I study and put in place our hotel goals in terms of quantity, quality and profitability.
- Sales strategy meetings: I prepared and chair meetings where we discuss strategic recommendations to put in place so as to maximize our turnover.
- Demand outlook: I’m in charge of studying the current demand to anticipate future demand using different types of indicators (number of person-nights, ADR, RevPar, etc.).
- Putting in place different prices in each distribution channel of the 11 hotels.
- Audit: I organize several audits to make sure that the hotels are complying with organizational rules and procedures.
- Writing reports with facts and figures and performance reviews.
Outside of the four hotels I’m responsible for, I’m also in charge of drawing up daily and monthly reports for the sales figures of the seven other hotels in our portfolio.
In your opinion, what qualities and skills do you need to do this job?
- You have to have a good analytical spirit, like working with figures and new technologies, but also be methodical, precise and very well organized.
- You have to be able to be a multi-tasker as well as a problem solver.
- You have to be a good decision-maker and be fairly quick in doing this, in order to propose the best solutions.
- It’s also really important to have good listening and communication skills.
- Cross-cultural management knowledge is also highly recommended.
- You have to have a good team spirit, know how to rally your team, be curious and have good observational qualities.
- And last but not least, I’d like to add that you have to embrace each complex situation and challenge, rather than fear them, because this is what builds your knowledge and stimulates you in the process of reaching expected results.
What’s next on your list of ambitions?
Reaching my ongoing goals defined by my managers while continuing to prepare myself to work in a managerial position. I have been living in the Middle East for over two years now, and feel that I’m ready to discover new geographical zones to expand my knowledge in the RM field and quench my thirst for new challenges.
In a few years I’d like to be a multi-hotel Strategic Marketing Manager. After that? I’ve got loads of ideas. Life is made up of surprises and opportunities. Let’s see!