An Interview with Nick Tombokan

Front Office Manager

Where did it all start for you at the Dylan?
It’s actually a funny story. My roommate already works here at The Dylan in the sales department. So when my predecessor decided to look for new challenges, my roommate said that they were looking for someone to fill the position. I thought about it for a couple of days and then I applied. And now here we are!

So what exactly does a front office manager do?
The very basics of my job are communication, organisation and training. A large part of my day goes to coordinating my team and to see how they are doing, making sure they are in the right place and that they are taken care of.
On the guest relations side, I have the responsibility together with the duty managers to make sure everything is running smoothly. We make sure that every guest has what they need and that their expectations are met.
Occasionally projects that aren’t part of the day-to-day role come up. We recently restyled the reception area, so it took an extra bit of planning and procedure to work with that project.

Walk us through your typical day.
Every day starts off with the morning meeting, where we look at the reports of the previous day and see if anything special or noteworthy has to be kept in mind. Then I have a look at the shifts, who’s coming in and who’s going out. Same for the guests: how many check-ins and check-outs we have that day. I check the schedule to see if there are any events in the hotel. After that is done it varies. There might be some applications for new positions to go through or staff meetings to attend. I might have a meeting with the operations manager of the hotel to see how it’s all doing big picture, then together we discuss ways in which we can improve and what we can do to further enrich the guest experience.

What’s the most challenging and the best part of your job?
Most challenging is definitely managing a large group of people. I have a team of about 20 and of course everyone has their own character and ways of working. It’s challenging but also the thing that I love the most about this job. You really have to get to know the people you’re working with and then motivate them to work towards a common goal. The most rewarding thing is when everything is running smoothly and to see my team happy. Then the guests are happy as well.

What is always your dream to work in hospitality?
Actually yes. I chose to study hotel management in Leeuwarden and always kind of knew that I was heading towards a career in hospitality.

In your opinion, what’s the secret to making people happy?
Anticipation. We always try to be one step ahead. This starts the moment a taxi pulls up in front of the hotel. Someone shouts “Arrival!” and then the concierge immediately goes and picks up the luggage. Before the guest even gets out of the taxi, someone is already there. From that moment on, the guest doesn’t have to worry about a thing. They will be guided through The Dylan, starting with a drink and warm towel at reception and a smooth check-in on a tablet. Then we show them to their room, make sure they understand everything because each of our 40 rooms is unique. They can expect the same warm welcome and guidance at our restaurants. And while they enjoy their stay, we are already preparing other things in the background, to ensure a smooth departure as well. We do all of this with a lot of fun and enthusiasm, both towards the guest and within the team.

What special things does the front office team do for the holidays?
Next to our decorations, we are currently working on a small in-room surprise for guests who will be staying here over Christmas. But I won’t give too much away so that it stays a surprise!

Which places in Amsterdam would you recommend visiting, especially during the winter?
I would definitely recommend going ice skating on the Museumplein, it’s such a unique experience. My personal favourite place to be is Westerpark, where you have the Westergasfabriek and many nice restaurants right next to the park. It’s kind of an industrial area, but it’s really cosy. During Christmas time I especially love cycling through De 9 Straatjes, because it’s always decorated so nicely and it really gets you in the festive spirit. Luckily it’s very close to The Dylan.