In Conversation with… Karim El Berkchi

The Director of Operations at Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain on stepping out of his comfort zone and leading by example.

Your background throughout your career has been in sales and marketing. How did the move to Director of Operations come about?
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and that’s a quote I live by. I have been in the hotel industry for more than 20 years. I started my career in F&B (food and beverage) operations with passion and a mission to use my skills wisely and work on my professional development to move up the ladder a step at a time. I’m looking forward to further progressing to the top and becoming a General Manager one day.

What does this role entail?
I am responsible for the effective operational management of the hotel supporting all Heads of Departments to achieve and exceed their revenue and guest satisfaction targets. I am also involved in the development of meaningful, achievable hotel budgets and other short- and long-term hotel strategic goals.

What would you say is the best part of your job? And the most challenging?
For me, the best part is the challenge that this role involves: moving out of my comfort zone, taking risks, and trying new techniques to bring value and achieve targets. If a position isn’t challenging, it becomes uncomfortable.

What is your management secret or style to get the best from your staff?
I would describe my leadership style as ‘lead by example’. I like to start by demanding excellence from myself and inspiring my team. I always stay involved with my team and show them that I am ready to support their growth and foster a positive work culture. I believe that leading by example is the fastest way to train a team towards excellence and achieve success more quickly.

What is one thing you would advise visitors to Bahrain to see or try?
I have two favourite places that I encourage tourists to visit depending on their preferences. For those who admire historical journeys, I would advise them to take a day trip to see the Tree of Life. It is incredible to think how this over 400-year-old tree has survived in the middle of the desert. This is a great landmark that you don’t get to see in every country. And, for those who enjoy contemporary places, motorsports and automotive racing fans, visiting Bahrain in springtime, I recommend visiting the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix event to enjoy a whole next-level experience. You get to enjoy watching the race and experiencing a wide range of other entertaining activities. ✤