Director of Sales & Marketing of Four Seasons Hotel Baku
Ulviyya Talishinskaya initially began her hospitality career in room service, before everyone quickly realized her potential and true talent within the world of sales.
In the autumn of 2011, Ulviyya joined Four Seasons Hotel Baku as Sales Manager. Prior to joining Four Seasons Hotel Baku, Ulviyya was Sales Executive at Hyatt Regency and Excelsior hotels.
Ulviyya’s path in the Four Seasons Hotel Baku has seen her grow from Sales Manager, to Associate Director, to Director of Sales, and now Director of Sales & Marketing overseeing all aspects of the hotel’s Sales, PR and Revenue team. During the years Ulviyya has been highly successful in developing local talent; today Four Seasons Hotel Baku has a highly dynamic team, focused on an emerging and ever changing market that is pushing boundaries each and every day.
One of the key ingredients to Ulviyya’s success is her passion for what she does. Goal-oriented, she is always aiming for the best for her fellow colleagues, as well as her valued guests.
Q.: What made you decide to pursue a career in the hospitality industry?
A.: I came to the hospitality industry by chance, thinking “this is a temporary job and as soon as I find something more exciting and ‘serious’ I will leave immediately.” In a very short period of time I realized that the hospitality industry is one of the most intriguing, exhilarating and inspiring careers in the world.
Q.: Why do you think you have been so successful in your career at the Four Seasons?
A.: Commitment, dedication, drive and enthusiasm to excel in an industry that demands and expects perfection at all levels.
Q.: What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job, and what is the most satisfying?
A.: The most challenging and rewarding part of my journey was when we successfully positioned ourselves as number one in market by defining and offering exquisite levels of luxury, and in turn achieving outstanding financial performance not only within Baku but recognized across the entire EMEA region.
Q.: What would you say has been your greatest achievement in your career so far? And what has been the greatest obstacle you have overcome?
A.: I think my biggest achievement was the day when I became the first Azeri women to be appointed to a senior level management position within the property. My greatest challenge was truly when we opened this spectacular property, a time when over 300 colleagues came together as one to achieve something that continues to make each of us very proud and that we are honored to have had the privilege to experience.
Q.: What is your favorite feature of the Four Seasons in Baku?
A.: Every day when I walk into this special building, I am reminded of how far we have all come. I have many favorite features of my hotel, from the spectacular lobby, beautiful flower arrangements, and stunning spa, to the breathtaking pool. But, if I had to choose just one it would have to be our Piazza lounge, where you have the opportunity to watch the day pass by and relax while enjoying one of my true loves, tea.
Q.: Can you talk a little bit about your experience being a woman in a management position? How do you think being a woman has influenced your career, if at all?
A.: Four Seasons as a company is committed to the professional growth and development of women for senior leadership positions, my current role is an example of how they continue to succeed in this area. I believe it is always important to stay confident and believe in yourself, to not be afraid to ask questions, to challenge yourself and expect more each and every day. You would be surprised by how far this can take you.
Q.: What are three qualities that anyone who works in the industry should possess?
A.: Trust, Passion and Commitment. It is also important to never compromise on quality and expectations and to empower people, embrace them, and allow them to face their own challenges, overcome them and grow.
Q.: What advice would you give to someone starting a career in sales?
A.: Be ready for ups and downs. Sales is challenging, demanding and unpredictable anywhere in the world, no matter what kind of product you are selling. The reward is something that is gained over time, and not always as you first imagined. But there is nothing that makes you more proud of yourself than when you overcome obstacles and deliver outstanding results. It is important to identify and get to know your own strengths and weaknesses in order to excel.
Q.: You are from Baku, what is your favorite part of the city? What would you recommend that your guests must absolutely do while they are here?
A.: My favorite place in Baku is Old Town; I think this place has its own soul and nothing is better than to walk through the streets and dream.
Winter season is the perfect time to try some traditional tea with local sweets. In the Old City you will find a lot of tea houses where you can try and savour layered bakhlava with walnut stuffing and spices, and shekerbura filled with nuts and sugar, and of course traditional Azeri tea in an armudu (pear-shaped) glass.
Have your lunch in the cosy and traditional Tandir restaurant in the Old City that serves homemade bread from the tandir oven. Try tandir bread, gutabs, and the local favourite, dushbere – the winter dish.
Q.: What are your goals for your career? Where do you see yourself in ten years?
A.: In my future personal development, I want to travel and experience everything that Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts have to offer, and in turn help Azerbaijan and Baku develop and grow for the future.