Ahmed Fouad, Director Of Housekeeping at Holiday Inn Al Kiswa, Saudi Arabia
In this edition of Clean Middle East, we explore the journey and insights of Ahmed Fouad, Director Of Housekeeping at Holiday Inn Al Kiswa, Saudi Arabia. Originally from Cairo, Egypt, it was Ahmed’s dream to work in the hotel and hospitality industry. His dream came true after immense hard work.
I graduated from Ismailia Hotel Institute (rooms division section) after high school. It was my dream to work in the hospitality industry, and my dream came true after immense hard work. When I am not busy housekeeping, I read and watch football. Apart from this, I love travelling and reuniting with my old friends. Today, I am 50 years old and I have more than 28 years in the hotel industry in 5-star luxury hotels.
How did you start your career?
I started my career in 1994 as a summer trainee in Semiramis Intercontinental, Cairo, and after finishing my ministry service, I rejoined the same hotel as a room attendant. After about 7 months, I was promoted to the role of a supervisor. I can say that my hard work paid off well. I was instrumental in about 5 new hotel openings like Conrad Cairo, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Fairmont Nile City, Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita & Swissotel Makkah. I was also greatly honored to work in Dusit Thani Lake View Cairo & Holiday inn Al Kiswa Makkah (IHG) as the Director of Housekeeping.
The greatest achievement in your career
My 28-year-old career has seen many achievements. It is difficult to single out one. I saw considerable growth when I was in Four Seasons Nile Plaza, one of the best hotels in the Middle East & Africa and one of the best 100 hotels around the world.
The second biggest achievement for me was managing Swissotel Makkah. It was the biggest hotel in the Middle East at that time, with 1,500 rooms and the largest restaurant with 4,000 seats.
I also managed to achieve the highest score in LQA and many of the audit scores and was chosen as the best employee in Four Seasons, Semiramis & Conrad.
The best part of your job
The best part of my job has always been teamwork. I am proud to say that I have always been successful at building a very good team - a team that supports each other.
The most challenging part of your job
The most challenging part of our job is to ensure staff turn over. Our career line is very hard and it is hard to find people who can accept this job.
How important is sustainability for you?
I believe sustainability is very important to all the people who work in the hotel industry. If you work towards it, you will achieve guest retention and loyalty, and it will also enhance your brand reputation.
Tell us about your current hotel
I am currently working in the biggest hotel in Makkah. My role is to oversee the maintenance of 5,600 rooms. During normal operations, we have at least 20,000 guests every day. In our hotel, we conduct a very good program of staff training for cleaning using the highest standards. The training provided to our staff includes:
- How to enter guest rooms
- How to clean the guest rooms
- How to disinfect the guest rooms
- General cleaning
- Deep cleaning
Throughout the pandemic, we have been following the protocol provided by the Ministry of Health.
Which products have helped you maintain optimum hygiene
We are using Diversey chemicals and some new products like the fogger, which is used to sanitize guest rooms after cleaning. We also distributed many sanitizers in all the public areas in order to safeguard our guests and staff.
What do you think about the future of cleaning?
In the near future, we will see the hotel industry overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, many hotels are ready to open, but they are waiting to see what will happen. COVID-19 should be treated seriously, and we should continue using the same techniques of cleaning after this pandemic.