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Ten Days in Manchester
An interactive intermediate business English course featuring Tony Marshall and May Hunter
Day 1
 Meet the People: Yousif Al-Wagga

A hotel operations manager

Hotels employ many people, from chefs and receptionists, to porters, maids and managers. Here we are going to meet a person who is responsible for most of what a hotel does.

His name is Yousif Al-Wagga and he is the Operations Manager for Le Meridien Wardorf.

(none) Quiz
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Now test how much hotel English you understand >>

A hotel

Interviewing Yousif

Let's find out what he does. As you do, listen out for these three words; porter, valet and revenue.

What do you think they mean?

Audio The company

My name is Yousif Al-Wagga. I'm the Operations Manager of the Waldorf Meridien hotel in London, which is a five star hotel which is under the brand of Meridien.

Audio The job

I'm responsible for the day to day running of the hotel. So all the deparment managers of each department, for instance, the restaurant, or conference and banqueting or housekeeping, report to me. It's my role to set them objectives which they all carry out in their departments which basically all lead to the hotel objectives.

Being part of a brand there are certain standards we have to conform to. We have to provide certain services, such as 24 hour room service and we have to have 24 hour porterage and we have to have 24 hour valet as well. It's my role to ensure these standards are maintained at all times.

Also, as Operations Manager, I have direct responsibillty for the reservations department in the hotel which is the most, in terms of profit and revenue, is the most important department in the hotel. It's where we make sixty per cent of our revenue in the hotel.

Audio Hotels and the internet

People can book hotel reservations in a number of ways including, obviously now the most recently, the internet, which is becoming more and more important for hotel bookings. I wouldn't say overall it is going to increase our bookings, we have to be aware of it because it's a different method of the way guests can book.

So, we have to make sure we are offering the right rates, at the right time and in simple English, so that everyone around the world can understand, as now it is not just travel agents accessing the hotel information, it's somebody sitting at home.


Did you work out what those words mean? Well, test yourself with this little quiz. Click on the answers you think are correct and press 'Check Answers'.

porterage A selection of wines from Portugual
The carrying of guest's bags
valet The cleaning of guests' clothing
The top chef in a hotel
revenue Hotel entertainment
Money a hotel receives from people


Yousif's four top tips on booking hotel rooms

Tip 1: Audio

When making a booking, I suppose the most important thing to remember, if you are a leisure traveller, is to book as early as possible because that's when most of the discount or promotional offers will be available.

Tip 2: Audio

When you make the reservation always, if you are making it by phone or the internet, always ask for or write down the confirmation number. And they will then be able to easily find your booking, even if they have spelt your name wrong or something has gone wrong.

Tip 3: Audio

If you have any preferences for rooms, such as you'd like a room which is quiet, or at the front of the hotel, or it's not near a lift or it is near a lift, then again I would suggest, or recommend, that you make these at the time of booking. Once you check in on the day, those preferences might not be available when you check in.

Tip 4: Audio

To guarantee your room, hotels in London, or in England specially, will ask for a credit card or a confirmation which will guarantee that your room is held, basically all night or for late arrival. Most UK hotels will, if it is not guaranteed by a credit card, or some form of payment, will release the room between 2 and 4 pm now.

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