Carmen Barbera (centre) with Iryna Hoell (left), associate director of Front Office at Burj Al Arab and Yomi Egbeleye (right), president, AICR UAE Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Carmen Barbera, a Dubai-based receptionist, who represented the UAE in the ‘World’s Best Receptionist’ contest in Germany, has bagged the first runner up position.

As reported by Gulf News last week, the French national, a guest services executive, who went on to become the team leader of Front Office at Burj Al Arab Hotel, had found entry to the global event after winning the Receptionist of the Year UAE Award in November 2021.

also read

The global contest is run by Amicale International des Chefs de Reception (AICR), the International Front Office Managers Association founded in 1964. It was instituted in memory of David Campbell, who had become Chef de Reception at The Ritz Hotel, Paris, after gaining a wealth of international experience.

The winners were chosen at the grand finale held in Baden-Baden in Germany late on Saturday night.

Pia Zumkley of Kempinski Hotel Berchtesgaden in Germany was bestowed with the David Campbell award for the World’s Best Receptionist 2022 while Carmen, who represented the AICR UAE, was declared the first runner up. Wang Zhen Zhen, from J Hotel, Shanghai Tower in China became the second runner up.

Apart from the prizes given, the top three will have a year of mentorship with AICR with a leadership mentor to help them professionally develop further.

Proud to carry UAE flag

Speaking to Gulf News from Germany, Carmen said she was “really grateful to be awarded this title.”

“I had the chance to live this experience along with 18 amazingly talented receptionists from around the world, and I was proud to carry the UAE flag and represent Burj Al Arab Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts. All 19 candidates were amazingly talented and I truly believe that everyone accomplished an amazing work throughout the experience. While gathering here in Baden-Baden, we had the chance to get to know each other, and we learned a lot,” she added.

Throughout the challenge, she said she had not only cultivated the value of discipline, but also realised the emotional resonance of such a journey.

“I was extremely inspired by all the fabulous personalities that I have met, and I am forever grateful to have been given this chance. I thank all the people who contributed to this achievement. This was the greatest teamwork of my young career with the help of my colleagues, mentors and countless beautiful personalities from all over the world.”

Looking forward to her future, Carmen said: “As I end the final chapter of this challenge, I confidently start a new chapter. I aim to further develop myself and apprehend positively the challenges. While I am grateful for the present, I look forward to embrace the future of hospitality and lead the change while proudly conveying the values of empathy, generosity and resilience, which guided me along the way.”

Testimony of dedication

Yomi Egbeleye, president AICR UAE, who accompanied Carmen at the event told Gulf News: “The AICR UAE section is very proud to have Carmen represent us. The maturity level and passion she possesses is seriously unmatched. The future is bright for this young hotelier and it was an honour to be alongside with her through this journey.”

In a statement to Gulf News, Ermanno Zanini, regional vice president and general manager of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, said: “We are extremely proud of Carmen as this award is a testimony of her continuous dedication to delivering unmatched service and creating memorable experiences for our guests. This incredible achievement is a true reward of all the hard work the entire team at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah puts in every day to curate world class services that go beyond expectations.”

The team had also brought out a video in which several senior members commented about Carmen’s talents and wished her the best for the grand finale.