Crown & Champa Resorts (CCR) is one of the pioneers of the hospitality industry in the Maldives. Offering varied tastes and choices for guests to fancy, CCR’s plate keeps on growing. The dedicated and enthusiastic team at CCR is the pillars behind its success. One of the names that are instrumental in the progress of the brand is that of Ahmed Shaheen, who today is serving as the Director of Sales and Marketing. 

His belief that the hospitality industry is where continuous opportunities to grow and pursue new challenges lie is what drove him towards the industry. “I must say that the hotel industry has offered me some very interesting life experiences. My time on the front lines allowed me to build relationships with loyal repeater guess, almost becoming as close as friends. It allowed me to work with individuals of different characters,” says Shaheen. 

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“Eventually, I pursued into sales where I had the opportunity to travel abroad and learn about the different cultures, and about the different needs and requirements of guests from different countries and regions. Furthermore, it also gave me the chance to work with a diverse team from different nationalities, cultures and beliefs.” 

He attributes his success to the guidance and assistance of the management of CCR, as he climbed his way up the corporate ladder. Now serving in an executive role, the support continues. He adds, “I have grown in my career with CCR for the past 24 years. I am grateful for a number of mentors within CCR who guided me through the stages of my development. 

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“They helped me build my capabilities and reach where I am today, where I am a part of strategic planning and decision making. My mentors had confidence in my capabilities, and they believed and trusted my decisions.” 

Inspired by his mentors, Shaheen believes in being a mentor for his team, especially the young team members who he ensures are always motivated. He believes it is a privilege for him to work alongside, coach and assists his junior teammates to grow. 

Effective communication skills and presentation techniques are vital to success as the head of the sales and marketing team. For Shaheen, the best technique for selling the product is to wholeheartedly believe in what you’re selling or marketing.” 

“When presenting one of the largest hospitality brands in the Maldives to the global market; to people from different nationalities, speaking different languages—the total opposite outlook of who I am—it all comes down smoothly when I believe in and I am confident of what I am selling. It helps me change the perception of opinions of my audience,” he elaborates. 

Speaking further about communication skills and strategies, Shaheen adds, “When you believe a 100 per cent in your product, you don’t need to do more to persuade your audience. You simply present them the facts with enthusiasm. They will follow and support you if they believe you are honest. 

“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the end result of pursuing and driving sales, knowing the hard work it took to achieve the results. My drive is to follow and implement strategies which can take our company to the next level. And continuously focusing on staying ahead of the competitive market and to build a team which can assist me to achieve the success of being the most hospitable group in the Maldives. This drive always continues as this is a fast-paced industry, there is never a dull moment.”

Speaking about his daily routine, and how he is agile and flexible to the needs of the guests, Shaheen says, “To understand the needs of our guests, we have to understand where they come from. We follow an annual travel plan, where our teams travel to all the different destinations around the world. 

“Travelling to the destinations our guests are based from, we can foresee the potential of the customer base. We attend special industry shows and trade fairs in our target markets, which gives us the opportunity to meet with potential and existing partners. By doing so, we are exposing our brand and bringing in new partners with ease.” 

While his passion is to be an aspiring mentor for the youth in the industry, Shaheen’s advise for young hoteliers is to not work for the sake of something or to get special recognition. Work for your own self-satisfaction, he says. He encourages them to perform their best, be motivated and willing to assist others outside of their routine tasks. He believes this is the secret ingredient to capture the attention of senior management. He adds, “A multiskilled, flexible employee would definitely be more in demand than one who isn’t. It will help boost in the career path!”