Our team at Travel Trade Maldives decided to sit down and gain some insight into the inspiring story of Ahmed Shiyaz who is the Executive Housekeeper at Amilla Fushi.

Brief introduction

I started work in the industry 17 years ago. The very early stage of my career working in Front Office, Rooms Division Operation. Mainly involved in operations and administration of different products and concepts with prestigious resort brands in the Maldives. I am a well-rounded and well-traveled hotelier with distinctive knowledge of international luxury Hotels, Resorts, Residences, and Estates Operations, extensive experience in Executive Management roles and I am an expert in ultra-luxury Hotels & Resorts Openings. I have acquired these skills in multiple Iconic and Flagship Properties over the past 2 decades delivering significant results within the leisure and hospitality industry in resorts. I have worked in a variety of management roles in Iconic Hotels & Resorts Brands such as Four Seasons, Hilton, Shangri-La, Cheval Blanc Randheli by LVMH. With an ambition to continue sharing knowledge & experiences, I am driven by a passion for people, for our industry and strives for excellence in every endeavor.

How did you get started?

I grew up with a restaurant family. Which is also why I got interested in this industry.

My father Mr. Ibrahim Manik who is another inspirational hotelier working in hospitality for the last 41 years in culinary who allowed me to finish my advanced diploma in Electrical and Software Engineering which I started in 2000 after my secondary education in Addu City. I did my internship of the course with Television Maldives where I did several broadcastings for different programs with TVM and TVM Plus crew behind the camera in the third year, 2002. After a distinguished accomplishment of my advanced study, I was then offered the opportunity to work in resorts by my father who is employed working for hospitality and tourism since 1978 with Universal Hotels and Resorts Maldives. 

I was offered the position of housekeeping executive by Mr. Saalim the General Manager (former) of Olhuveli Beach and Spa Resort by Sun travel & Tours in 2003, I contributed till Tsunami disaster in 2004. This was my first introduction to the industry from a luxury perspective and to take my career further. After the tragic impact of the tsunami, I then joined the first resort opened in the country the Kurumba Maldives by Universal. I began to realize that I aspired to be more than just the Housekeeping Executive. I am an extremely goal-driven person. I began to understand my true career goals when I stepped into international brands such as Four Seasons, Conrad Hilton, Shangri-La where I continued my career with Rooms Division Front Office operation, Rooms-Reservations as a Client Information Specialist and Reservations Executive. 

When I first started to work in the industry with global brands, I worked for several luxury resorts based in the Maldives. Somehow, it fascinated me. You meet the best people in luxury hotels. I wanted to be a part of the “best”. Working in Cheval Blanc Randheli by LVMH, another extravagant where I was educated for global luxury etiquettes and protocols. For me, luxury means that you try to take care of those guests who enjoy being pampered and looked after.

What are some of the challenges you have faced?

High turnover and lack of workforce mobility, especially within the young population is something I always concerned about and worried about. Long gone are the days of readily available employees who will move for the right development opportunities. On the employee side, it creates a dynamic which results in a greater number of transitions between companies throughout their career to drive professional development and career progression. On the employer side, it results in a continuing trend of increased “undesired” turnover.” The burden then falls to HR to develop new strategies for holding onto employees long-term. The residual effect of this issue is a challenge to corporations and hiring managers to rethink their traditional paradigms of “job hopping” and to be proactive in identifying talent-rich geographies for forecasted future employee growth.

Also, career transitioning, these days many job seekers lack the ability to translate previous work experiences and skills into new industries and employment opportunities. The fact is that many employers are looking for personality types, individuals with specific soft skills. The technical side of the job can be taught on-site. The problem is many job seekers seem to think if they’re last experience does not match a job posting’s desired requirements 100% then they don’t stand a chance and don’t bother applying.” But candidates shouldn’t be afraid to apply for jobs that may not seem like a perfect fit on paper. “There are always areas where an applicant may be lagging but then they may also excel in other areas the company would find valuable. I had encouraged and groomed many of my friends and colleagues to the title there are holding today. I have always focused on my people.

What are some of your successes?

My greatest professional achievements and success was completing my Post Graduate Degree and The Honors Master’s Degree in Business Administration in 3 years at the highest awarded level 9 approved by MNQF Maldives Qualification Authority. This academic international achievement I accomplished while I was employed with Outrigger by Singha Estate. The whole assignment taught me to prioritize my time, build great habits and stay focused on my goals. I’m proud of this accomplishment and I feel that what I learned is going to give me a big advantage in my career now.

A change is always good also, one of my biggest success in this career. When you work in a competitive organization such as prestigious brands, style or whether a class, you have to pay attention to what is changing around you. We live in such a fast-moving world, the greatest trial is to keep up with new trends and to adapt to them. Our business is constantly evolving, guests have many choices nowadays; we have to keep up with the changes. We have to be present in all sales channels. I was always following the new trends, it is not always about tradition.

Receiving compliments from a guest, especially when my colleagues see my name, the amazing, efficient, professional, or the diligent Shiyax and team in the TripAdvisor for many times and when my guests say I would love to return to your resort soon.

Also, a very special mention, my fellow colleagues working together, when we achieve our goals and the team receives recognition, it is certainly a time to be proud; and of course when my followers consider me as their mentor. To me, these are the best successes, achievements, and compliments which I celebrate together.

What is your advice for young adults who wish to pursue a career in this industry?

You need to have a great amount of passion to stick to this industry. It takes hard work and long hours. It’s glamorous on the outside but the backend is a lot of work. We are always planning for one event after the other and there is never a dull day serving your customer. Also, today it is important what young people learn at school or the university. I would like to know what they specifically learn about our industry, and I would appreciate having a perspective of the knowledge people who join this industry have. Well, you need a solid education background and diversified work experiences with genuine discipline. You need to understand the importance of managing people as well as the technical aspects of the business. 

Of course, in order to be successful, the most important thing is that you need to be able to focus on your guests. Our guests come to the Maldives are looking for their experiences to be immersive and real, the appearance of luxury is no longer enough. We are responding to this by the personalization of guest stays, we anticipate as much as we can about our guests and tailor their experience to their personal tastes wherever possible. This attention to detail keeps guests loyal to any property at any star category, it’s all about genuine connections and behaviors. Hospitality and tourism is a beautiful industry, not just about work and getting paid every month. It is about bringing out your best.