Meet Nadia Alarakhia, the Founder and CEO of “Review My Room”, an unbiased platform for honest hotel reviews.
Born in Canada, and raised in the United States as the daughter of the owners and operators of a motel, Nadia had worked in the corporate world for over 10 years when she realized that her job was unfulfilling. After her second child was born, Nadia decided to take a risk for her children and went back to her hospitality roots to found ‘Review My Room’, which she has been running for 5 years now. In her free time, Nadia enjoys spending time with her family, experimenting in the kitchen, reading, listening to music, and working out.
When Nadia and her brother were kids, their parents decided to grab the opportunity to own and run a motel in Florida and moved to the US from Canada. Talking about those days, Nadia says, “We lived in a very small town that was not very diverse. My brother and I were two of only a handful of South Asians in the school, and it was not always easy. Because our house was behind the motel that my parents were now running, we got to see the hard work and dedication required to run a successful business. This time in my early childhood left an impression that would impact the rest of my life”.
Nadia believes that the hard work and sacrifice her parents put in the motel allowed their family to grow both financially and with reliance. Seeing them balance work and family life, and risk leaving their comfort zones for the unknown, has been a key inspiration for her.
After Nadia finished her MBA, she wanted to experience the world. So, she relocated back to Toronto, Canada, and started her career working in the Consumer Packaged goods industry. With a focus on Marketing and Consumer Insights, Nadia’s experience and skills were enhanced as she moved to several companies including Nielsen, PepsiCo, Cadbury, and Kraft Foods. Soon, she started to feel uninspired in her career. She explains, “For me, sitting in endless meetings or at my desk cranking out more reasons to pitch to the retailers was not what I had planned for the rest of my career. I was looking for balance. My mother was always there for me when I was young and I wanted the same for my kids. I knew there was a way; I just had to get creative. That is when I came up with Review My Room”.
Nadia strongly believes that the digital revolution of the ’90s has disrupted the hospitality industry. Coming from a younger generation that grew up with the internet, she wanted to help other hotel owners, like her parents, navigate the online space and succeed. She had been constantly observing how the hard work of hotel owners was threatened by online reviews and their negative impact on revenue and bookings as the reservations of future guests are highly dependent on a hotel’s online reputation. This led her to create ‘Review My Room’.
Review My Room brings an analytical and technological approach to a hotel owner’s pain point – ‘Guest Reviews’. It takes the bias and emotion out of the reputation process, thus helping hotel owners identify the key strengths and weaknesses of their property.
According to Nadia, one of the most important aspects of marketing a hotel for bookings is reputation management. Every traveler checks the online reviews of the hotel before booking a room, wanting to make sure that the hotel is clean, provides good service, and will be a good experience before investing their money. For this, they rely on the recommendations of strangers before they book a room. Review My Room is an automated tool that makes it easy to manage a hotel’s review responses, online reputation, and improve its online ranking while providing an easy feedback format for the previous guests to record their reviews.
Although Nadia’s journey was full of struggles and challenges, today, she is a successful businesswoman whose articles have been featured in industry publications such as E-Hotelier. She is glad that starting her business has helped her achieve her goal of time flexibility to balance work and family life – something that she had always wanted from her career.
Nadia strongly believes that if one has a vision on how they want their life to be, making a plan and sticking to it can help them achieve their goals. She says, “As women, we have several hats to wear and things to juggle. Focus on working smart and follow your instincts to make it happen. It does take a village, so ask for help when needed, and establish a good support system. As much as we want to do things on our own, it is better for your mental health to achieve goals with a strong support system”.