Visionary hotelier, leader and mentor

Celebrating over two decades in the hospitality industry Wael El Behi, General Manager, The Tower Plaza Hotel Dubai, has been instrumental in leading his team to achieve its goals in terms of securing revenue or building a brand. We take a look at his journey over the years and contribution made to the industry.

TT Bureau

What inspired you to join the hospitality industry?

Hospitality is an attitude which I am born with. When I was young I always dreamt of being a hotelier. I love our industry since I was young and I always wanted to follow the steps of my father and uncle, both of them hoteliers.

Could you share with us the most interesting highlights in your career?

I started my career in 1993 in a large city business hotel in my home country Tunisia and I was at that time a trainee in the sales, marketing and banqueting departments, after six months I was confirmed as a sales executive in the same hotel. In 1998, I joined Corinthia Hotels International in Tunisia as Sales Manager where I did the opening of three beautiful city resorts (Gammarth, Hammamet and Sousse). In 2002, I came to Dubai to open a boutique five-star hotel in Deira as Director of Sales & Marketing, and from there I started my exciting career journey in UAE. In 2007, I was appointed for the first time as Hotel Manager in Coral Boutique Villas and I wanted to thank my mentor and boss Michel Noblet, who believed in me and gave me that chance, then in 2009 I moved to JBR to open a deluxe Hotel Apartments. I contributed as well in the launch of Auris Hotel Management as Director of Business Development in 2010. In 2011, I was appointed as General Manager of Ramada Downtown Dubai, from there I moved back to JBR with the same owners R Holding to open Hawthorne Suites as the first property of Wyndham in the region. In 2016, I took over the role of General Manager at First Central Hotel TECOM, then moved in 2018 to Ramada Jumeirah where I contributed to make it as the
first five-star Ramada Hotel. In December 2021, I joined The Tower Plaza Hotel Dubai.

Share with us a brief about you?

I grew up in Tunisia. I started my professional career in 1993 after I finished my studies. I have over 28 years of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry and General Manager for the
past 15 years.

Having been a GM for so many years, how would you say it has evolved especially after the pandemic?

It is a continuous learning and development journey. Every hotel I worked for I learned and developed new skills, which helped me to evolve and sustain. A lot of things changed since the pandemic, in terms of management style, decision making process, business goals, priority settings etc.

What initiatives are you taking to lead the team about the newly renamed property as number one?

Implement our service culture PROUDLY SERVING YOU, build a strong team, find new revenue opportunities to improve profitability, enhance the product and improve the service standards.

Youth need to be mentored in the right direction in hospitality? What initiatives are you taking to pursue it to the next level?

I am a strong believer that we have a duty to develop new leaders. Giving opportunities to young stars to shine is very important and encourage internship programmes to identify new talents is the way forward.

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