Interview with Md. Sharfuddin Newaz, the newly assigned Director of Sales & Marketing of Radisson Blu Dhaka
Nestled in a prime location a quick drive away from the airport, Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden stands out as an architectural highlight. The renowned hotel has consistently remained a popular choice for tourists and corporate businesses due to the hotel’s resort like setting and tranquility.
Any venture in the service sector relies on the strength of its management, and Radisson Blu has also benefited from a team that boasts years of experience and expertise in hospitality. The newly assigned Director of Sales & Marketing, Md. Sharfuddin Newaz, has been one such expert in the trade travel industry of Bangladesh.
Newaz began his career in the corporate world, and has over twelve years of experience in sales and branding. His career portfolio includes event and brand management on top of his experience in the hospitality industry. He had been leading the Sales & Marketing division of the hotel since 2016 before assuming the position as the Director.
Why did you change your career trajectory towards the Hospitality industry?
In the beginning, when I was deeply involved with customer management, I noticed that the Trade Travel industry of Bangladesh was an untapped market. It had huge potential and with efficient strategic decisions, it could go to global levels. Twelve years ago when I was at Hotel Sarina, there were only a handful of international hotels in Dhaka. But now the number of international hotels are increasing, which shows that this industry is flourishing and is capable of catering to the international market.
You have been with Radisson Blu Dhaka for the past nine years. How would you describe your experience so far?
When I started to work in the hospitality industry, the competition was mostly contained within the local market. Most Bangladeshi hotels were competing with each other on a smaller scale rather than with the global hotel chains.
However, working with Radisson Blu Dhaka has been a whole different experience. When I joined this organization, I got the wider scope to explore new markets. The international hospitality industry became the platform. Not only there were undiscovered areas but the competition was fierce. I familiarized myself with the brand guidelines and learnt new marketing strategies to uncover new revenue generating sources.
What are some of the important things you learnt at Radisson Blu Dhaka?
The most important lesson was to create memorable moments for the guests. Our guests are people who are living far away from their homes. Our job is to make sure that we create a home away from home for them. At the same time, we also wanted to portray our culture positively on a global platform. Moreover, unlike other industries where the rates and prices are somewhat fixed, the case here is different. In order to cater to the needs of different customers, the packages need to be customized as per their requirements. Intense negotiations need to take place in order to balance out the needs of the customers and maintain the standards of the organization.
Over the years, I also got the opportunity to go through rigorous trainings while working with Radisson Blu Dhaka. The-then Carlson Rezidor Group conducted series of Global Leadership Trainings and Sales Leadership sessions to hone our skills. These trainings were vital in understanding the foreign market and how to identify the needs of the customers and generate maximum revenue.
What are some of the challenges you came across in your long career?
Firstly, the hospitality industry is quite large. While working for this prestigious hotel, I had to compete with international hotel chains. The communication is global and tricky because each country has different type of customers. To attract people from different countries, hoteliers have learn the tricks and trade of different cultures, meet varieties of people and customize their specific needs. It is a challenge but at the same time a very crucial learning experience.
Secondly, in Bangladesh, there is a negative notion falsely attached with working in hotels. Working in hotels abroad is seen as prestigious but working at local hotels is seen as degrading. But the question is, why is it so? What is wrong with being a Front Office Representative? Why shouldn’t a person work as a Restaurant Ambassador? What people do not realize is that by working in hotels, they are making connections with different customers and also with foreign firms. As an hotelier, one gets to meet and interact with state level diplomats, VIP’s and celebrities. These connections can ensure a person to enhance his knowledge and learn the proper protocols of interacting with important officials. Their communication network goes global which can also diversify one’s career. It is true for all occupations and industries. Hospitality market is no exception to this.
In your new role as the Director of Sales & Marketing, which aspects of leadership do you emphasize on?
The role of a good leader is to bind the team together. If the team is not working together, then the organization will not flourish. Which is why in this department, my members will have to forego the concept of individualism and embrace teamwork. Each person in my team have unique sets of skills and capabilities. As a leader, I encourage them to bring out their aces and implement them through teamwork and multitasking. I want my team to succeed in their goals and fish out the revenue generating segments to add value to this organization.
In return, I want them to be genuinely passionate about their work. If a person is not enjoying his or her job, then they will not be able to add any value to an organization. Another aspect which is crucial in the hospitality sector is the trustworthiness. They have to be transparent and honest with all stakeholders so that customer retention can increase and raise the profile of Radisson Blu Dhaka.
What goals do you want to achieve in your new role?
As part of my vision for Radisson Blu Dhaka, my team will focus on high quality service standard. We want to develop our packages to attract more inbound tourists as well. Our hotel is a city resort and we want to take advantage of this USP. It is the perfect place for a cityscape for busybodies who are too tied up with work. If one is feeling overwhelmed with work, then why go out of town for a holiday when they can just enjoy the beautiful landscape of our hotel? With our top notch security and peaceful environment, it is the ideal vacation spot for all foreigners and local people.