Nick Flynn: From Chef to Hotelier, Innovating at Shangri-La

Hotel Manager, Shangri-la Al Husn

  • Publish date: Sunday، 19 May 2024
Nick Flynn: From Chef to Hotelier, Innovating at Shangri-La

As part of a media trip to Shangri-la Al Husn, we had the opportunity to meet with Nick Flynn and ask him a few questions about his career, passion, and how he runs and oversees an operation that is always evolving and presenting challenges and opportunities. 

A very rich career! From a career chef to running the show. Who is Nick Flynn?

I am a seasoned hotelier with a diverse and enriching career path, transitioning from a chef to a leadership role. Beyond my professional endeavours, I cherish my role as a dedicated and proud father and husband, to finding joy in activities like golf, cooking, and connecting with people daily and from diverse backgrounds. My passion for hospitality shines through as I thrive on engaging with others, creating unforgettable experiences, and leaving a lasting impact on guests' lives through cutting-edge food and beverage experiences.

Nick Flynn: From Chef to Hotelier, Innovating at Shangri-La

With all my success, I remain grounded and approachable, actively spending time with my team and fostering genuine connections. My journey exemplifies a commitment to excellence and a genuine love for making meaningful connections in the world of hospitality.

Nick Flynn: From Chef to Hotelier, Innovating at Shangri-La

You transitioned from Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa in Singapore to Shangri-La Al Husn in Oman. What have been the biggest challenges and opportunities and how have you adapted your management style to suit the new environment?

I adjust my management approach as I transition between Shangri-La properties in Singapore and Oman. My strategy encompasses two key aspects: first, comprehending the distinct local environments and, second, refining the service culture to align with the expectations of each destination. In Oman, the focus shifts towards delivering exceptional service to demanding guests, while in Singapore, it revolves around ensuring guests depart content. I nurture within the team the importance of tailoring guest experiences to suit the unique offerings of each resort, whether it's the family-oriented atmosphere of Al Waha, the business-leisure blend at Al Bandar, or the adult-exclusive luxury at Al Husn. My management style evolves; accordingly, in Singapore, efficiency in managing systems for families was paramount, whereas in Oman, an emphasis on approachable luxury and surpassing guest expectations takes precedence.

For instance, in Singapore, where the resort is mainly frequented by families with shorter stays, priority was managing the systems efficiently to enhance guests’ experience. Conversely, in Oman, where guests typically stay longer and seek personalized experiences, we foster a culture of engagement and accountability among staff to meet the demands of discerning guests. This approach ensures that guests at Shangri-La properties receive exceptional service tailored to their needs, regardless of the destination.

Nick Flynn: From Chef to Hotelier, Innovating at Shangri-La

Your tenure at Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa earned you the “Outstanding Hotel Experience” award. What specific strategies or practices do you plan or have you already implemented at Shangri-La Al Husn to ensure it continues to deliver unique and unforgettable guest experiences?

Our approach at Al Husn revolves around cultivating "approachable luxury" and instilling a genuine sense of care among the team towards guests' experiences and journeys. This commitment has propelled Shangri-La Al Husn to being No.1 for guest satisfaction score among non-China hotels within the Shangri-La group. Central to this success is our emphasis on team accountability and fostering an environment of ownership, ensuring that each team member takes pride in delivering unforgettable experiences to guests. Looking ahead, we remain dedicated to upholding these standards, ensuring that Shangri-La Al Husn continues to exceed expectations and provide truly unique and unforgettable stays for every guest.

I witnessed how your employees interact with you and your early morning breakfast with the staff. Given your passion for talent development, how do you plan to support and grow your team at Shangri-La Al Husn? What initiatives or programs do you believe are most effective in fostering professional growth and engagement among your staff?

We prioritise the importance of investing in Omani talent to strengthen the future of tourism in the region, positioning Shangri-La as a leader in local development and growth within Muscat. At the core of our priorities lies Learning and Development as a key component of the resort's success, dedicating significant time to nurturing programs and identifying internal talent for growth opportunities. Additionally, we extend cross-exposure opportunities between departments within Shangri-La Muscat, as well as international assignments at other Shangri-La properties, to enhance staff skills and foster professional growth. This comprehensive approach demonstrates our commitment to supporting and growing our team, ensuring they have the necessary resources and opportunities to thrive in their roles.

With your extensive experience in developing new dining concepts and other operational roles, what innovative ideas or concepts are you excited to introduce at Shangri-La Al Husn to enhance the overall guest experience?

It is first and foremost important to enhance our existing dining offerings and the recent addition of two new leaders (Executive Chef and EAM F&B) bring fresh perspectives to shaping the F&B concepts in a very competitive landscape.

We will continue to partner with local producers to give a Taste of Oman to our international clientele by leveraging the diverse kitchen brigade, comprising 24 nationalities, to craft tailored culinary experiences that tantalize guests' palates. Building on successful initiatives like the Friday Brunch, Ramadan, and Taste of Shangri-La events for the local market, we plan to introduce new dining concepts from September 2024, capitalizing on the solid foundation already in place to further elevate the guest experience at within the resorts.

Having worked in diverse regions such as Australia, Singapore, Korea, and now Oman, how do you approach understanding and integrating into different cultural contexts to ensure that the hospitality experience is both respectful and enriching for guests from various backgrounds?

We do respect cultural norms and guidelines specific to each country of operation, including Oman. We highlight the significance of agility in catering to guests' individual profiles and preferences, thereby personalizing their experiences while adhering to cultural sensitivities. This approach enables the complex to provide a hospitality experience that is not only respectful, but also enriching for guests from diverse cultural backgrounds.

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