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Chatting with Dounia Bnafkir

Guest Relations Director, La Mamounia Marrakech

Posted on: May 23, 2012

Dounia Bnafkir graduated from Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) in June 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree with two specializations in Food & Beverage and Marketing. As part of her EHL curricula, she undertook an internship at Geneva’s Hôtel d’Angleterre as part of the F&B service team, as well as at the Montreux Palace as a receptionist. After graduating, Dounia joined the Atlas Hospitality Group, a Moroccan company owned at the time by Royal Air Maroc, the national airline company, as a F&B Manager. Currently she works for the legendary La Mamounia hotel in Marrakech as a Guest Relations Director since February 2009.

La Mamounia Palace in Marrakech is a renowned 209-room establishment with 800 employees that was created in 1923 and is owned by the National Train Company (ONCF) www.mamounia.com/fr/index.php

It is affiliated to The Leading Hotels of the World and has won several awards such as “Best Hotel in the World in 2010 and 2011” by Tatler and Conde Nast Traveler. 

Your day-to-day at La Mamounia Marrakech?

The Guest Services Team reports to the Marketing Director and counts 16 team members. Our mission can be divided into three major parts which are the Welcoming, the Guest Services (reservations, suggestions, guests requests and recovery) and managing the guests database. My duties mainly consist in managing the department's team, taking care of VIP procedures and reporting directly to the General Management. Our main goal is to satisfy our guests and ensure that they become return customers thanks to the personalized services and impeccable attention to details (guest preferences, habits, special needs and requests...).

What do you like the most about your job?

The main reason which led me to the hospitality industry and more particularly to Guest Relations is the opportunity to meet a large variety of people from around the world, especially at an emblematic property such as La Mamounia which welcomes a wide range of celebrities (show-business, politics, arts, CEOs from global firms...).

Your best achievement or memory since graduation?

Undeniably the reopening of La Mamounia after a 3-year renovation program. I had been working at the hotel for 8 months and had the chance to participate to the set-up, the recruitment and the training of the team, as well as to experience the excitement of this memorable adventure.

And your worst?

Probably the first hotel tour I had to give in English to American journalists along with our General Manager. Morocco being an Arabic and French speaking country, I had not been practicing my English during the pre-opening period and had learned the whole scenario by heart. However, on that particular day I was under great pressure and I found myself totally speechless and unable to remember most words... 

Your advice to the young talents of our industry registered on HOSCO?

Passion, passion, passion and patience.

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