With three decades of experience in luxury hospitality and food and beverage, Kym Barter has tasted success in a variety of roles. Here, he talks candidly about his high-profile role at Atlantis Dubai.
You started your career as a waiter and are now senior vice president of Atlantis Dubai. To what to you attribute your success?
I am grateful to have started from the bottom and been given the opportunity to work my way up. This allowed me to be exposed to many different areas along the way and work with some great mentors. Consequently, it contributed to my success. Furthermore, I was lucky to work in different countries and experience different cultures. Every role has challenges, from adapting to a new workplace to embracing change as you progress to higher positions. However, for me, it’s about surrounding myself with an amazing team. I have been fortunate to do this wherever I’ve worked.
With your extensive experience in managing large operations, what do you bring to your role at Atlantis, The Palm?
What’s great about experiencing large-scale operations is that, if needed, you’re able to adapt things on a smaller scale. Furthermore, it can be more challenging to do this the other way around. I’ve always been part of large operations. However, I never lost the individuality of a guest experience. Atlantis, The Palm is a vast operation, yet we infuse the guest experience with a personalized and distinctive touch.
Atlantis, The Palm has had an amazing journey over the last 15 years. Nonetheless, a fresh set of eyes allows me to challenge and reinvent things. For me, it is more about fine-tuning and building upon its successful legacy. The guests’ expectations are changing and so is luxury travel. Thus, we will continuously evolve to meet those needs.
How do you plan to take the Atlantis, The Palm to the next level?
We are always investing in the resort, which is an amazing position to be in. The property is extremely well maintained, and we continuously improve or reinvent different areas. Thus, we will continue to reinvest and evolve the property. For example, last year we introduced a new restaurant concept called En Fuego (2022). This year, we launched FZN and Studio Frantzén. Furthermore, we even moved Nobu Dubai to the 22nd floor at Atlantis, The Palm. We want our guests to have something new and exciting to experience whenever they visit. After all, this is just one of the reasons guests choose to return time and time again.
How would you describe your management style and how do you engage and connect with your team?
My management style is being in the business as well as on the business. What I mean by this is that I want to be on the floor connecting with and spending time with the teams, thereby understanding what their day-to-day challenges are. I like to communicate, which I suppose goes back to my early days of being a waiter. Since I learned from the ground up, I remember where it all began, and I am proud of that. I understand how to communicate collaboratively, and I don’t forget that it’s about the team. After all, they are the ones who ensure that extraordinary service is executed. I may be the conductor of the orchestra, but without the orchestra, there wouldn’t be any music.
What measures do you take to ensure that everyone’s contributions are recognized and valued?
We have a wonderful employee recognition program in place at Atlantis Dubai. It consequently empowers colleagues to recognize their peers when they notice a job well done. In addition, I encourage teams to celebrate success when it happens. Whether that’s a restaurant team breaking a monthly record or the front office team successfully navigating a particularly busy period. I believe they should come together and celebrate that moment. At the end of the day, we know our colleagues are far away from their family and friends. Consequently, Atlantis becomes that second family, so we need to treat everyone as such.