Team TMN catch up with Raziena Cajee, Director of Marketing and Communications at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray who talks about her role and what she thinks of marketing and communications today in the Middle East’s hospitality industry…
Name: Raziena Cajee
Nationality: South African
Current job title: Director of Marketing and Communications, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
When did you first arrive in Dubai?
Where did you work prior?
I joined Jumeirah Group in 2005 and held several roles starting with Marketing Management Trainee from 2005 – 2006, Assistant Marketing Communications Manager from 2006 – 2008, Marketing Manager from 2008 – 2010 and most recently Corporate Brand Marketing Manager from 2010-2017.
What were your first impressions of the marketing and hospitality industry in the Middle East?
The hospitality industry is synonymous with luxury in the Middle East, where service standards make more impression, and going over and beyond to exceed guest’s expectations is at the forefront.
Has your opinion changed much?
I believe that as the hospitality industry continues to grow in Dubai, the personalisation for guests experiences have since been prioritised and it is remarkable.
Tell us about your current role…
I lead and develop the resort’s marketing and communications team across PR, marketing and partnership development.
What challenges do you face?
Having come from a corporate brand level, I’ve always approached all projects as opportunities to learn and enhance my expertise. At corporate, most of the projects were cutting edge with an everlasting goal orientated approach and at a property level, the dynamics are different with a fast paced tactical and commercial approach, which has exciting elements attached to it.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I thoroughly enjoy working with my team and mentoring them to enhance their skill set in alignment with their career growth objectives.
How would you rather be contacted at work?
I prefer meeting with people and having face-to-face discussions as this attributes to more insight rather than through email communication or telephonic discussions.
What impact does digital marketing have on the hospitality industry today?
Digital marketing allows us to connect with guests through every stage of the guest’s journey i.e. dreaming, researching, booking, experiencing and sharing. Throughout this journey, we as marketers are able to customise and personalise our communications to entice guests through a storytelling approach. Digital has really allowed us to be more accessible to our guests.
Has the culture in the region served as an advantage or limitation in marketing the hospitality industry in the UAE?
The heritage of the Jumeirah brand is clearly linked to the culture and this has had a positive impact on all marketing activities, whereby we ensure we bring to life our brand the promise of ‘STAY DIFFERENT’ through one of the brand pillars, which is ‘culturally connected’.
Who inspires you?
I’ve always been truly inspired by Nelson Mandela through his ambition, dedication and drive in working towards equality.
What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you in your career?
I have been offered the opportunity to work on Jumeirah Inside in collaboration with Google to create a digital immersive platform in the hospitality industry, which has won nine awards to date, including three honoree mentions. I also worked on the opening of 17 hotels globally during my time at Corporate Brand level and through the experience, I was able to travel to fantastic destinations around the world and explore new cultures as well as learn a lot about cultural marketing relevancy.
Describe yourself in five words…
Passionate, ambitious, caring, strategic and motivational
What’s your most overused saying?
Passion and drive defines success
Five things you can’t live without?
Family, travel, iPhone, my team and laughter
If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?
Travelling the world and exploring new cultures.
What is your favourite form of media?
How do you see the marketing industry changing in the Middle East in the coming years?
I believe mobile will continue to grow through personalisation and accessibility as well as technology enhancements. Visual content will evolve especially in the digital world by disrupting conventional marketing, whereby the speediness in creating amazing content will be more apparent. Social and user-generated content will heighten, and brands together with users will co-create content that intensifies brand relevancy.