OHLALA sat with Neyran Canatan, General Manager of Zallaq Resort Company, to talk about her 32 years of experience in the hospitality industry.
“ My ethos is that learning, innovation, organisation and communication are the keys to success.”– Neyran Canatan
OHLALA – How did you start your career in hospitality? What have been the most significant accomplishments and challenges you faced during this period?
Neyran Canatan – I studied in Marmaris in Turkey – a big tourism destination. I believe this fact has played an important role in my career and made me pursue a career in hotel management. Each hotel comes with its own journey – leading five openings and one closing was a challenge, but it was an extraordinary experience where plenty of opportunities presented themselves that helped me improve and analyse what I can achieve. Opening a hotel is like conducting an orchestra – all the instruments must play correctly at the same time to produce the right music. My ethos is that learning, innovation, organisation and communication are the keys to success. Now I am GM of Zallaq Resort Company, which owns Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa and Zallaq Laundry. I am also the owners’ representative for Mercure Grand Hotel Seef.
OHLALA – The hospitality sector is an essential mechanism in the tourism field. What do you think are the critical aspects that a hotel/resort must have to succeed in the market?
Neyran – The right and dynamic team is the first essential part of the success of any hotel. The product plays a crucial role – harmony between the owners of the hotel and the management plays a vital role in triumphing. Another essential element is a place where you can continually innovate and create by presenting new experiences that you can market alongside a creative team ready to elevate guest experiences with unique offerings.
OHLALA – What main features specific to Sofitel Bahrain make it such a beloved destination in Bahrain for both residents and visitors?
Neyran – The property caters to all demographic segments – families, adults, couples and kids by taking care of and anticipating their needs to ensure they are happy during their stay. Being a destination that attracts families, Sofitel truly understands the meaning of a family-oriented destination by investing and developing activities for kids along with their parents. There is something for every guest, mainly for our GCC clients, ranging from dining experiences, spa, health club and a pristine beach. Sofitel is well known for the quality and variety of our cuisine which help to define the destination and make us a favourite in catering for local and international weddings and MICE events. As a hotel, we are continuously innovating on all services, the owners’ aim is to be the leaders in innovation in the market.
OHLALA – Women have proved that they are good leaders and thrive in management positions. In your opinion, what are the unique qualities that women have that make them stand out?
Neyran – Women are detail-oriented and perfectionists in what they do. They have the ability to see details and the whole picture – allowing us to master the skill of leading a team with precision and being organised. The knack of planning in advance with clear know-how of the journey and not relying on last-minute decision-making is also a women’s characteristic that helps them be good leaders.
OHLALA – If you could choose a second career, what would it be?
Neyran – I would say that my second career would be in construction or restoration. I love taking something old and giving it new life by maintaining its original identity.
OHLALA – For how long has Bahrain been your home? What do you like most about the Kingdom?
Neyran – This is my second time in Bahrain – I have been here for 11 years in total, and I have honestly loved every moment here. What makes Bahrain unique is its people – well educated, humble, warm and tolerant to all religions and cultures. There was not one moment I felt that I wasn’t welcome. Bahrain feels like my second home – one of the safest countries in the GCC, which is a big comfort for my family, especially my daughter. Bahrain is a small world with many nationalities, just like a cultural mosaic, and I honestly love being a part of a harmonious nation.