Irene Almeida is the GM of the first Aiden hotel by Best Western in India. The first Aiden is all set to open its doors on the 10th of December in Vagator. Located just 950 mts away from the Vagator beach and equipped with all modern amenities, Aiden will definitely become a preferred choice for all travellers. Here is a candid conversation with Irene Almeida to know a little more about her journey.
New Delhi, December 10: Tell us something about your journey.
My journey has been like the crossword puzzle, always adventurous and I look forward to a challenging yet exciting road map ahead.
Tell us something about your professional life, how did it all start?
I always wanted to do something different and unique. It was my mother who suggested that I should go for hotel management, she had a belief that I would do well in the same and even my father and brothers backed the decision.
But hotel management wasn’t as easy as I thought and back then it wasn’t even considered a reputed thing to do. However, with the support of my family and my late uncle and his wife, I sailed through. I feel that initial backing is very important for any child to make the right decisions and choose the correct path.
Did you choose hospitality or hospitality chose you?
I think in the end it is both ways. I did choose hospitality thinking it’s all glamour, fun, gives a chance to travel, and meet a lot of people. All this does happen but eventually, it also shapes your overall personality.
As per you what’s your greatest strength in this managerial position?
I believe my greatest strength is the ability to quick-fix a problem due to the presence of my mind and constructive self-criticism. I pride myself on being a learner and I always seek to improve myself in all areas of life.
You come across as a happy-go-lucky person so how do you deal with bad days in business?
Well, I focus on my strengths during such circumstances and stay optimistic. I take every situation as a challenge and find a better way to deal with any business.
Being a woman in a senior position did you ever feel a different behaviour from your colleagues or face any challenges?
Women represent half of the population in the world but continuously face the problems of inequality in every field of job and they particularly face problems with leadership because men always think that women cannot be good leaders. Whether it’s government organisations or private, this attitude towards women in senior positions is prevalent across. I have also faced my backlashes, but being a woman means always emerging stronger.
How do you think Goa’s hospitality is different from other places?
Goa has the essence to make it an ideal spot to rest and settle down. A place where culture mixes and harmony precedes the natural serenity making it a preferred tourist destination.
Goa with its natural sanctuary that is being preserved has a long way to look forward to. It will remain to have tourists knocking at its doorsteps for years to come. The culture it shares with the immigrants and the locals has a unique tale to tell.
What do you think is Aiden’s biggest USP and how have you nurtured it further?
I personally feel the promise of service and quality that Aiden brings is unmatched. The constant urge to do better flows down from the top to bottom and I think it allows me to constantly improvise on things to provide the best customer experience to our guests.
What are the prime contributors from your end for excelling at customer service?
● Respond as quickly as possible
● Know your customers
● Fix your mistakes
● Listen to your customers
● Think long term – A customer is for life
This a tricky question, but which Hotels would you recommend apart from Aiden that you personally like?
TAJ goes without saying where else do we get the exemplary service that Taj provides Taj is where it all began for me and I also like the kind of pampering Leela does.
Do you ever go and check your competitors?
Yes as I would like to learn and see what best practices they adopt and how can I add value to my hotel by learning from them and also evaluate what to avoid.
Lastly your plan for the future.
Focus on each day as it comes and try to make it better!
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