Business of Happiness

Business of Happiness

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HAFIZ FUAD

AUDIO VISUAL TECHNICIAN

SOFITEL CITY CENTRE

How long have you been in the hotel industry? I’ve been in the hotel industry for about six years, but I’ve been an Audio Visual (AV) Technician for much longer.

Can you tell us more about your role and what you do on a daily basis? I mainly provide guests with all kinds of technical assistance when they run their events at the hotel. Most guests are not familiar with the equipment they need for the occasion, or the equipment that we have. That’s when I step in, to assist them with the sound systems, video players, as well as lighting. Essentially, I do what I can to enable the guests to run their events the way they envisioned them to be.

I also have to maintain and operate all the AV equipment in the hotel. I make sure that they’re working well so that I’m able to use them whenever a guest needs them.

How did you get started as an AV Technician? I started freelancing as an AV Technician at the age of 17. I learnt from doing set-ups and tear-downs for various events, slowly gaining the necessary experience and knowledge from working with different event companies, and continued learning even during National Service as I was tasked with operating AV equipment and IT support in the Information Communications department.

What made you decide to join the hotel industry? The biggest reason was the guest interactions that I get to enjoy in the industry. I believe that the more I speak with the guests, the easier it will be for me to provide the best technical support required for their events. Making sure that my guests are happy with their events is my top priority. That’s how I know that I’ve done my job well.

How do you keep up and learn about new AV equipment or technology? It mostly comes from experience. Once you’re familiar with the hardware, it’s about keeping up with the software updates. We hardly change the equipment, so as long as I keep working with them every day, I continue to sharpen my skills and master how to best operate the equipment.

What do you enjoy most about what you do? I love music, and being able to work with sound systems every day to create a one-of-a-kind audio experience is a joy for me. Since I mostly work alone, I have to do all the setting up myself. But I don’t mind it at all, because I truly love what I do.

On top of that, I get to use all kinds of tools like lights to elevate the event experience and take things to the next level. It really inspires me, and makes me want to do more.

What’s the most challenging part about your job? Since I am the only AV technician in the hotel, the biggest challenge I face is managing multiple events at once – especially on days when we have a full house. Apart from having to make sure that all the events are set up well and all the equipment is prepared to client requitements, I also have to be ready to manage any technical issues or hiccups that might surface during the events. It’s tough, but I’ve learnt that I just need to stay calm and carry out each task systematically and purposefully.

I also make use of technology to help me do my job. I have an iPad that lets me control the systems in the various rooms even when I’m not physically present in those rooms. This comes in really handy because that means I can keep an eye on the other events while I am attending to a particular guest’s request.

What do you find to be most satisfying aspect of your job? Seeing the smile on the faces of our guests when I’ve helped them run their events successfully. Getting compliments is a bonus, because it makes me feel even more appreciated. But doing my job well – that’s what makes me feel happy and fulfilled every day.

What kind of events or seminars have you been a part of? What’s the most memorable one so far? I’ve been part of many different events like weddings, award ceremonies, gala dinners and more. But one in particular was rather memorable. We had a client who had a lot of requests for her event, including wanting me to be present throughout the duration of her event.

The problem is, my control room is located in another room and I had other events to oversee as well. I told her that I couldn’t possibly be at her event the entire time. But she seemed disappointed so I did what I could and even moved some of my equipment from my control room to her event room so that I could be there to ensure that her event ran smoothly.

At the end of the event, she was very happy with and appreciative of my service. I felt very satisfied knowing that all my hard work had paid off. That experience taught me the importance of service. An event could be just another project in my schedule – but to the client, it could be the most important moment of their lives. So I always strive to do my best every single time.

What advice would you share with someone who is interested in joining the hotel industry? Make sure that you have a purpose. Then work towards fulfilling it and making every guest happy so that they will want to return to the hotel. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Have confidence in your ability and take on every opportunity to try something new – because there will be plenty in the course of your career.