Career development might take you into a leadership position if you are ready for it. In this TV show Susan Stolte of Hotelschool, The Hague says leadership is about knowing yourself. Career development advice for future leaders Get to know yourself, because if you talk about leadership it’s always first about knowing yourself. [...]
Career development might take you into a leadership position if you are ready for it. In this TV show Susan Stolte of Hotelschool, The Hague says leadership is about knowing yourself. Career development advice for future leaders Get to know yourself, because if you talk about leadership it’s always first about knowing yourself. [...]
Innovative business models arise from looking at business from a new angle. In this TV show Misha Pinkhasov discusses his book Real Luxury.
Innovative business models in the luxury sector
The book is a presentation of a methodology that we developed to think about corporate branding, to think about corporate culture, to think about sustainability, to think about how all these things intersect, and intersect with luxury, and intersect with leadership, and intersect with art. And even, and even tackle some of the business model challenges. My co-author and my business partner, Rachna Joshi Nair , she comes from the world of luxury. I come from a mixed world, I mean I have some experience with luxury and with media, but the main line of my experience is with actually public policy and social, social benefit. I was at the OECD for quite some time, in communications but working on, on policy issues, on economic and social policy issues. And so there was a convergence between our interests in terms of our whole philosophy, how luxury brands can exert leadership in terms of cultural values and set, set the example and help, help society address certain broad challenges.
The Hospitalty Channel will continue to discuss innovative business models.Look out for the next 10 industry experts to be announced as part of Hospitality250.
Developing talent is important as part of industry development. In this TV show Kees Hartzuiker discusses the importance of talent and why the Middle East market needs more differentiation.
Developing talent is vital
There’s still a lot of same same going on in terms of the type of developments that are there. So I think it being that lifestyle that I mentioned earlier, it being more family orientated or entertainment orientated. I think we need more differentiation and so it’s maybe more the opportunity rather than the challenge that I see. Then any growth industry, and I’m sure you’ve heard it from many other people already, people, people, people and of course at the end of the day we can all develop beautiful structures, but it is the experience that is being delivered through people still. In that sense, hotels have not changed over decades. And of course there’s such an expansion that we saw in the mid-2000, now we’re seeing it again. And for the hotel companies, the brands that continue to supply the right talents to deliver that is a real challenge. And I don’t think anyone is - we’re all talking about it but a lot more real strategic work needs to be done to get people motivated, to work in the hotel industry and then taking their careers forward and not just sometimes is they see it as a transition.
Working in hospitality can be very rewarding. In this TV show Alain Debaire shares his hospitality career story.
Love working in hospitality
I started in the hotel business more than 15 years ago, out of which 14 is in operations. So my first job – real job was with Mandarin Oriental in Manila. And then I worked with Hilton for 12 years. I grew up through operations and food and beverage in a variety of country. But my last job at Hilton I was the general manager of Hilton in Barcelona. And that’s when I met Sheikh Mubarak and joined Action Hotels, you know, getting the company started. I was the first one on board and opened those six hotels myself etc. So obviously I moved you know, from the upper, upper scale hotel business to the business of hotels in the midscale hotel sector, understanding the potential of the region. It’s a region I know very well, I grew up here. But if I could give one piece of advice to anybody starting in the business is that it’s a business that requires a lot of passion, a lot of drive and hard work. And you know, just love what you do and you know, do your best at it and I think it’s really the right thing to do in the hotel business, giving a lot of passion and working hard to achieve your goals.
Working in hospitality allows more progression that people often think. In this TV show Anita Mendiratta discusses changing perceptions of ‘hospitality’.
What working in hospitality really means
Hospitality is a word that has, I believe, emotional baggage attached to it. It doesn’t link to the same conversation about career progression exactly gives. Hospitality is seen as the people who will take care of the tables in the restaurants. And so it’s not an aspiring sector in the way in which it’s currently spoken. When you talk about travel and tourism and service economy, then it brings gravitas into it. So for young people coming into our sector, when it’s seen as purely hospitality there’s a default thought of it’s people who serve in hotels. It’s so much more than that. So we need to be able to get the understanding of exactly what is inside the hospitality and how can that become an incredibly exciting career for young people who want to see the world and have fantastic jobs in the first place.
The new generation workforce are all about creativity and adventure. in this TV show Ömer İsvan of Servotel Corporationdiscusses working with a new generation of talent.
Keeping the new generation workforce in check
We embrace them, given that of course there’s a pyramid and I’d like to show the pyramid this way that in terms of the age group and generations. In our firm there’s still a little traditional meaning my age group and it’s like the younger crowd that are in the seniority. And then we have also the age groups that are younger and younger and younger within us. I must say that they energise us, we monitor it, we embrace. And we have to discipline, discipline the top process, the creativity process, but not curb it. We have to hit the latitude but also then make sure that it remains within a suitable band that actually resonates with investors, resonates with the financial world, resonates with general common investment sense. We are not in the business of recognising adventures. We’re in the business of advising sound business practices and investment practices into which we have to build in the creativity element into which we have to build in the to date sort of marking and to pace marking, bringing it into that. So that’s why I find it delightful to actually work with that generation. Our clients, our investors are typically not that generation. Sometimes in investment, families will deal with the second and third generation where we see the signs but by and large the decision making.
If you want to hear more about the new generation workforce and the ways that businesses are adapting with it, please browse more videos on the Hospitality Channel.
Youth movement is changing economies and business all over the world. Scott Antel of DLA Piper Russia discusses the issue in this TV show.
A youth movement would understand the real economy
I would like to see a youth movement. And I was talking with some fellow from Indonesia today and they’re going through elections again, you know a young democracy. And there’s too many old people still in power running things and they’re tainted, they’re either tainted in the way they do things, their lack of appreciation of how a real market economy works. And they’re tainted either also because of things against them or the connections that they formerly have that potentially can be used against them. You really do need a youth movement to get things going. And they’ll make mistakes. But something that gets rid of the, what I would call today’s stagnation instability, the stagbility. And that is going to be a challenge, not just in Russia, Ukraine and that exists in the other CIS countries as well, in some cases worse.
Keep an eye on the Hospitality Channel for more TV shows about youth movement and new generation.
Business models: Employee ownership is the key to Expedia’s success
Business models can be very prescriptive, but at Expedia, they try to give employees room to action their own ideas. In this TV show Christopher Michau discusses giving employees the power to deliver.
Business Models: Expedia
It’s actually something that our CEO is pushing us every single day. If you think about this company and the scale of it, we only have ten thousand people. It sounds like a big number but it’s actually really a small number if you compare to how much revenue we generate. We really try to give ownership to the people, and so if they have an idea, they can walk it from A-Z, the idea up to the delivery of it. So we make sure we manage as much as possible.
If you found this TV show interesting and want to hear more about hospitality business models and similar subjects then please browse our videos.
Operations management: Customers must always come first
Operations management is more important than boardroom decisions when aiming to please the customer, according to Lennert De Jong who explains further in this TV show.
Operations management: Hotel staff are top of the pyramid
Focusing on your customer first of all of all is really important because if you don’t do that you force you force your customers to go into things that they don’t really want to do. Just like if reservations departments are too lazy to retype an email address they got from booking.com into the property management system it just means that you as a customer have to do this again. So we really focus with everything we do around the customer and not really around processes, you know what the chairman wants. We behave like a bunch of ants you know, we try to do micro communication, so, I’ll give you an example, our ambassadors that work in the hotel are at the top of the our pyramid. So they’re guys in charge. If they need something they get something and they order down instead of asking up.
The Hospitality Channel will continue to follow ideas discussions around operations management and power structures.
Hospitality careers offer great development for those who give their all, and really love the job. Wilma Kellerman-Baans is one of those people. She share her experience in this TV show.
Hospitality career success
I think I took the right path, I wouldn’t want to change anything. I have done what I did, at the time it was right for me. I think you have to follow a little bit, that’s probably the female part, you have to follow your heart, you have to know what you want and then go for it. And I have been lucky throughout my career to actually have also had people who supported me, so mentors who then saw what I was about and they challenged me and they brought me into other positions and that’s how my career developed. And it’s also a little bit bringing yourself in and do what you like to do. That’s, I think that’s the main thing, don’t let ego get in front of you, I think that’s a little bit, well into today’s world what is probably also part of it. But ego has nothing to do with it, it’s just if you find something that you like to do, then do it, do it with your whole heart and you will further yourself there. You don’t have to really try to climb, climb, climb, it will come automatically, even in today’s world, because there will be people outside who recognise the strength that you bring to the table.
Hear more fantastic stories and advice from people in the industry who have forged successful hospitality careers. Browse more TV shows on The Hospitality Channel.
Hospitality careers are often thought of as low paid hard work. In this TV show Belinda Atkins of Wyndham Hotel Group explains why she thinks they are fantastic.
Hospitality careers: From waitress to VP Operations
I was very fortunate when I was 14 years old to start working in this industry as a waitress. I’ve grown up through this industry. I’ve had amazing opportunities, taken me around the world. And to see that what I was given, I worked in Amsterdam on my industrial year at university and that was the making of me and the changing of me It’s an industry that we love but there’s so many people out there that don’t know anything about it. There’s so many people that could be future employees within this fabulous, fabulous industry, but they don’t know about it because their parents have never worked on it, their teachers and their careers advisors have never worked in it. It has a reputation of being hard work and low paid, it’s fantastic. It’s probably one of the few industries where every single person who works in a hotel or a restaurant can make a difference to someone on a daily basis and that is powerful. So hearing this afternoon and a continuation from the big hospitality conversation about how we can influence those people who don’t know what they want to do with their future but could be key people within our industry, so I’m excited about that.
The Hospitality Channel will continue to share advice and stories from those who have forged successful hospitality careers.
Tourism industry has a low profile on the political agenda
The tourism industry lacks a united voice. There also appears to be little government focus on the industry, as Reto Wittwer suggests in this TV show.
Tourism industry and government
Even in countries where tourism is the number one income source, the minister of tourism is rarely known.
You ask any European, “Do you know you’re British, do you know the minister of tourism or secretary of tourism in England?”
Nobody knows, so it’s never the inner circle, people know the minister of finance, minister of interior and foreign minister. But then it stops, maybe defence, depending what country.
But even in countries where 90% of the income is from the tourist ministry, the minister of tourism is rarely close to the president, the first problem.
The second problem is that we have not learned, even though we’re the number one employer in the world, to speak as one voice, because between the one star hotel and the five star hotel and restaurants and the ships, and the crew ships and the trains and God knows what, there are too many different interests.
They cannot, you know, people don’t have the intelligence to bring them on the same line, which is very sad.
So even though we should be the most powerful lobby and actually get our point heard, we’re not because we don’t speak as one voice.
We don’t have the political anchor in governments, and we don’t make our voice heard because we haven’t learned to speak as one voice.
I found this video about the tourism industry's position in the political agenda interesting, please browse more TV shows on The Hospitality TV Channel.
Hospitality careers are hard work but as Mohammed Al Nashwan discusses in this TV show, they are worth pursuing.
Hospitality career is worthwhile
Working in hospitality is not a job, I’ve learned that early, it’s a lifestyle.
You need to be positive, you need to feel good about meeting new people.
And you need to be open, to understand other cultures.
What means positive in certain culture could be offending to other people, so you need to be open.
At the same time it’s a very presence career, I always say we are only second to the movie industry, because in the movie you meet celebrities but in the hospitality you also meet lots of people, you get to travel, you are a global citizen, you travel anywhere and you meet people and it’s about being mobile.
Because in hospitality if you stay at one property for over five years then you are limiting your chances.
So this is something, if you have the stamina to travel, meet people, and always put an authentic and genuine smile, no matter how things are at home or you know.
I think this career could be very, very rewarding. The beginnings are hard in hospitality, it’s not easy, it’s rough to start, but once you are in management the rewards are really worth it, worthwhile the effort you put at your 20 years old.
The Hospitality Channel will have videos about all aspects of the industry including more about hospitality careers.
Economic downturn opened industry’s eyes to shortcomings
Renzo Iorio: "I try to choose the right people and to empower the right people in different places. I don’t think that nowadays it’s possible to run a business, whichever is the business, but especially in hospitality, which is so complicated and means there’s so much competences and attitude to listen to what is changing on the market, unless you have smart people that are empowered to take the decision. And I think that in this sense also the Accor organisation that allows regions and brands to be autonomous and empower people also, not only French people like is my case, I’m Italian. I think it’s in a good mood in order to comply with this sense. I don’t think that a big company like ours could be managed by even the smartest man in the world is not able to manage everything. You need quite a large number of very smart people."
Puneet Chhatwal: "The industry is going through a renaissance in itself. And I think the industry is trying to find out are we in the operations business? Are we in the distribution business or are we just growing for the sake of growth? And some smart people would say that all the three. I think at the end of the day, our core business is running hotels and managing hotels. Steigenberger does that the best. And we want to focus on that. And at the same time create more and more growth opportunities so we become more international. And as I said earlier, export, hospitality made in Germany."
Puneet Chhatwal: "Innovation has to be driven along margin expansion and return on investment. Now, whether you drive that innovation through customer experience, whether you drive that innovation by your ability to charge a premium for delivering that experience or whether you’re able to increase the margin by creating more efficiencies. So I think it’s about always consistently improving upon our competitive advantage. And as I said our competitive advantage lies in our ability to provide German management which is solid and fundamental to our business."
Jalil Mekouar: "Operators and owners have different interests, although operators might tend to say, “We have the same interest as the ... as the owners.” But ... but there can’t be, they have their own interest and so be it. And that’s good. That’s healthy. I think what’s happened ... if you look at what happened in the Middle East for example, I’ll just take it as an example, at one point it was an owners market and then it was an operators market and then an owners market again. It really depends on the dynamics of that particular market. So at one point the owners will be in a stronger position and they will be able to impose their rule basically, things like minimum guarantees and owners’ protections and things like that. And at some other times the operators will be in a driving seat and a strong position and they will be able to impose their own rules to the owners. And I think as far as I see, the stronger Africa will become as a safe destination for investment and the more it will be an owners market and i.e. owners will be able to impose their rules and say, “You operators will have to compete to go and manage my particular property.” And as the owners get more sophisticated and understand more of the needs of the operators and the investment community they will also ... and the lenders etc, they will also be able to impose their rules in a smarter way so to speak. And then the operators will feel, you know what, it’s fair enough."
Robin Rowland: "I’ve worked for very large organisations, I’ve had fantastic mentors and one thing I have learnt is that you you really haven’t got a monopoly in all all the ideas. We’ve, you know, we’ve done very well but I think it’s important that you’re honest with people and both your employees and your investors and the bankers need to understand this is a very sensitive business and the minute you take your eye off the ball or you take people for granted, particularly customers or your team, you’ll probably get a right kicking and I’m reminded by that and that’s what keeps me fairly humble. But on the other hand, you know, we’ve been successful, and we as a company have always been very open and shared lots of our ideas with other people as well, I just don’t see much point in not, there’s plenty of the cake to go around."
Alex Kyriakidis: "It’s one word actually. And both an opportunity and a challenge. And that is talent. The single biggest challenge you have when you enter a brand new market, where the industry is not particularly deep or broad is having talent on a number of fronts, talent for our hotels, but also talent to support the owners of our hotels in their decision making, in their analysis. And they’re becoming aware of what is this industry, how does it tick? How does it function? And so talent is absolutely key. And for us we think about talent a good two years before a hotel opens. A recent example of … I think innovation from our HR team was for our hotel in Cigale which we hope to open the end of this year. Where about six months ago we teamed up with the...Institute in Cigale, Ladies Institute and hand picked 12 ladies who, with the support of government we flew across into Dubai and Dhār and have been training there for the last six months. And we’ll be training there for the next year so that when they finish their training they will be flown back to Cigale to actually lead the departments within the hotel and develop in turn their teams to prepare that hotel for its opening. So talent I would say is the single and most important opportunity and challenge for us."
Peter Henley: "We’ve increased the number of people in Head Office, because we didn’t have a Development department, which you need to grow. We didn’t have HR department and we didn’t have the right operational structure. We’ve put all those people in place. And it’s tough to get people to, we wanted to try and our philosophy was to try and recruit people whether they be at hotels or corporate level, 'show us your medals' was the strategy we had. We want people who’ve been there and done that in another organisation and did it well. We weren’t proud of the fact that we needed this expertise. So to go out and sell, oh come and work for a little Thai based company, to people who are in the large chains is a difficult sell, but we’ve managed to attract people from Ritz Carlton, from Hilton, from Shangri-La ah, from... from Holiday Inn. Who are all excellent companies who’ve done these things well and we’ve brought those people with their expertise into our organisation to try and infuse that experience with the very good basic qualities that we had in the organisation and have had for thirty odd years. And so that’s pretty much been achieved now. At the hotel level, as we bring on new hotels, we’re trying again to bring in new people with this culture and experience which enables us to have the, build the right culture in the organisation and thereby achieve our aim. It’s really really at the centre of what we’re trying to do. I mean our our management trainee programme is all about that."
Peter Henley: "In order to achieve this leading Asian hospitality ah provider goal, we need to get five things right. One was, we have to have the right brands for the right segment. One is the right network and we’ve gotta grow and have the right network around the place. The right operational standards of excellence. We said okay there are certain things that you’ve gotta have in order to be a regional provide, whether it be the right technology or the right ah CRM or the right loyalty programmes , we’re putting those in place. But...and the right support was the fourth one, which is from a Board structure internally. But the right culture, the right people. Absolutely essential and ah so we’ve, we’ve done that by a, a number of ways. We’ve put in place a very substantial ah HR department and the, the owners of the company have supported this expense, if you like, before the revenue comes in. Because, we said we had to get eleven different initiatives right. We had no training strategy, we had no...strategy, we had no succession planning strategy, and these are all really important to get the right people in place. We had no management trainee programme in place as it were, and you’ve gotta start bringing in employees at the beginning and raise them to the end. And we fundamentally believe that, as one of my old Chief Executives used to say, it’s the people that make the difference and it’s really a philosophy to keep on trying to burn into the company. We wanna be more collegial...we wanna be more collective in our decision making process but we wanna make sure that the people who who operate in our business, whether they be in the hotels or the regional offices, are focussed upon the fact that it’s the people that make the difference."
Location, location, and synergy needed for success
"The answer for many years has been location, location, location. Location is not enough now. Location is almost a given. To get the location right it’s almost a given. You have to get the whole package ah right. You have to get the right location, the right size, the right architecture, the right interior designer, the right operations, be it third party or your own. The right General Manager, the right spa product. Everybody has a spa product... Everybody has a gourmet restaurant, everybody has everything. So the key is to find a format that will work in your market for yourself... You have to think of every single aspect. It’s like cars. Nowadays cars are very much perfect. In the past you will buy a car because it had great engine or will have great accessories or whatever. But that was 30 years ago. Nowadays you buy a car and it has everything, is wonderful. The engine runs smoothly, never breaks down, never have flat tires, the windows are electric, air conditioning is a must, so the competitive level has raised. The bar has raised, in the hotels as well. The expectations of the clients at any level from two stars to five stars are so much higher than they were in the past, the people will not put up with stuff that they don’t want to put up with. You have to be, your entry level is much much higher and then you have to do things that other guys are not doing in the market so you have some competitive edge. That may be something that’s, the design, whatever. Typically it’s not one thing that makes you successful, it’s a myriad of things, it’s a number of things together that work together like a jigsaw puzzle to make, to give you the synergies that make your stand out in the crowd."
At the time of filming, Miguel Ruano was Lead Associate at The Hotel Solutions Partnership Ltd.
Robert Cook: "The big boys are terrified of restaurants. I think we do restaurants well. We turn over nearly 50% of our total business is bar, bar and restaurant. And it’s nearly 60 in Hotel du Vin. And it’s almost a bed, it’s almost a restaurant with rooms. And I think that’s form a point of view of getting care and passion into business, because there’s so much flair and passion required in the artistry of providing food and beverage, that rubs off on all the whole, on all the staff and gives a hotel that edge. That is, is it’s as important to serve a great gin and tonic as it is to welcome and room a guest. And I think that’s why we’ve got that nice golden thread that runs through the whole business. Because we’re a restaurant business, where the real passion lies. We call it the heart and soul of the hotel."
At the time of filming, Robert Cook was CEO at Hotel du Vin and Malmaison.
Laurence Geller: "I’ve been very critical and I’ve been known and I’ve had litigation with the chains, and happily won. But I’ve been very critical about it. However, what I’ve seen over the last, since the downturn in 2009, is everybody’s now much more focused on what was the agony, which was the cost side. So I think the relationship between the owner and the operator on the cost side is doing much better. Now the next thing is market share increase. And I think there will be some tension when you’re never going to have enough market share for an owner. But all in all I would think it’s become much more defined and owner and asset manager clearly have roles in the investors world. To have just an operator without an asset manager or without a knowledgeable owner isn’t going to attract investment."
Richard Candey: "Branding and the proliferation of brands will continue. It’s a double edge sword though in my view. As certain markets get saturated with branded product, then that creates an opportunity for a more independent focused operator to find a niche and operate very successfully. And you’re seeing that even in markets with, you know a lot of supply. So product differentiation I think will become even more important. Clearly your markets where demand is incredibly high will continue to be so, then proper brand, proper location and good management."
Richard Candey: "For a company, in fact, not even for a company of our size, but for individuals of a certain age, you need to embrace that level of differentiation between how we used to work and how youngsters today feel more comfortable in working. We don’t have a set policy in terms of how we deal with that. My feeling is, it’s always been the case though, we operate fairly flat structures and allow people with real ambition, and real goals to drive and strive to achieve those. They do that in a different way than we did 20 years ago, but that’s evolution in the workplace."
Surinder Arora reveals his philosophy on business and staff
Surinder Arora: "I always said that you can build buildings with gold bricks, but if haven’t got the right people running them, you haven’t got a successful business. And also make sure that you look after your customers. I’ve always said that, treat your staff like family, and treat your guests like royalty, and then you have a successful model. I used to referee football, people used to say “Well, there’s 17 laws, but there’s always Law 18 which is common sense.” And of course you want people that can communicate, they can be smart, but people that can also be out there with that common sense, and the hunger to play big part of the family, to looking after the guests like royalty. And work in a team."
Michael Levie: "We qualify people on their degree of smiling. And their degree of friendliness, and we hire on that. And as we travel the world, we’re interested to find people that basically are cultured, have something interesting to add to our lives as we’re those nomads that travel the world. And that is done with a friendly smile and warmth, and it’s not done with “Did you have a nice trip, sir?” So a friendly, “Hi” but a genuine “Hi” goes a lot further, we believe, and is perceived as luxury today. So we screen and hire people on their degree of friendliness and smiling capacity. And we teach them how to make a barista made cup of coffee, how our systems work, how to shake a cocktail, but I cannot teach somebody to be nice."
Mark Wynne Smith: "Simple word here, passion. I think whatever brand, whatever physical product you’ve got the management team in that hotel have to be passionate about their business. And you can feel it so frequently, again having the good fortune to walk into a lot of places and how to perform a professional view on that, that you can tell how motivated the management team are. And this ripples the whole way through to the guy who does the maintenance, the salesperson. And I know that the one of the difficulties with the business at the moment is that the brands are getting very similar in terms of the product that you’re being offered. So you can walk into a hotel and you can’t feel like you used to be able to, whether you were in a Marriott or a Hilton. It’s all getting blurred. So in fact the whole service and the whole experience and the whole welcome becomes far more of a differentiating factor. And that’s very hard to price that into a business, but in terms of actually generating repeat and clearly winning sales for conferences etc, I think that’s one of the elements that’s often overlooked by the bigger groups."
Kingsley Seevaratnam: "I think we would be best described as asset managers. In all of these turnarounds we also have equity positions. So we don’t ... we are not what we could call a typical manager who would take a long-term management contract. So what we do is we go in, take a piece of the action and we turn the whole thing around on that basis. So what happens is we share in the upside as well as we share in the downside. Now, in terms of the turnaround, what we generally do is we look at the brand that is currently operating and if we feel uncomfortable with the brand, that the brand is not delivering for one reason or another, we look to change the brand. And in the course of changing the brand invariably these hotels are tired so there is a question of repositioning as well which we go in and do when we have all the skill sets in-house. And then we take a good look at the managers running it. We look at them, the payroll cost. We look at all of the costs associated with it and the positioning of the asset. And so over a period, we give ourselves a period of about two to three years to achieve that as well. And the other thing we do before we set out is we do a very detailed underwriting, which is like what we call a business plan. So we do the business plan. We do the numeracy bit and make sure that they’re all in terms of return on investment, IRRs and all of that, they meet the criteria. And then once we’re happy with that we just monitor it and make sure it’s delivered."
Peter Norman: "The owner’s got to be the right owner. We’ve got to have an alignment in our aspirations for the opportunity. And then the location is so important, so both parties have to make money and by the nature of how a management contract’s structured the more successful the opportunity both parties win. So you’ve got to do your research right at the start. You’ve got to make sure that you looked at the market and therefore you understand where you want to go, which is the right brand for that particular product. And sometimes you decide that one of our Hyatt brands isn’t the right one. And the owner will go to somebody else because we don’t cover the whole spectrum of the hotel industry. So I think that for us it’s important that the research is done upfront to make sure that you’ve got the right brand in the right location regardless of whether it’s going to be our brand. And I think that those owners that have really put that investment upfront, then they’re going to be the ones that are successful. And if it means that they’re going to be successful with our brand, great. If they’re successful with another brand that’s also okay. At the end of the day that benefits the hotel industry and the image of the hotel industry in helping owners realise and become profitable."
Kevin Underwood: "A good project starts with a good client, a real driver of a project, a good team. But at the end of the day the clients are there to make a profit, to make money. We’re not concerned by that. But we also like to create a project that’s environmentally friendly, that’s important to us. And you can have both. You can have something that’s sustainable. Of course sustainability also means sustainable from an economic point of view. Sustainability is integral in everything we do, from the Olympic Games through to a hotel project. It’s no longer a choice, you have to do it."
Gerald Lawless: "Overall all our people are our top people. And I think within this business that’s not just a cliché. We really mean it. This is part of what makes a difference with Jumeirah. We have 110 different nationalities working with us in Dubai. And we literally have people from all over the world. And our senior management team, we have local Emirates as the nationals of the UAE are called. We have the British people, Irish people, Europeans. We find the Germans particularly good with running hotels. In fact a lot of people are surprised that five of our general managers are female. And they run hotels in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Frankfurt and Istanbul, which is quite something. We’re very proud of that fact as well, that we’re bringing a lot of women into the business and they’re occupying very senior positions within Jumeirah."
Robert Gaymer-Jones: "First of all you create the standard and you create the passion behind the strategy and I think for us, you know we don't want to be a company, a hotel company of three ring binders of everything is under a standard operating procedure. We prefer to be a company that creates a culture of delivering service to the guest. So we very much focus on development of our staff and who we call ambassadors of the brand, and once we focus on developing them with the potential for every one of our members of ambassadors to become eventually a general manager. And they each have a passport and they each have training and they get stamped every time they go for one training to the next, they get another stamp and it moves their career forward. And by doing that they are engaged in to the strategy of Sofitel, they are engaged into the standards that we implement to make sure that those standards are in place and we do it from the heart, you know where a lot of what we feel is hotel companies possibly are using normal standards of service, which you know is procedures of service that is unique to their brand. What we want to try and sell to our ambassadors is to use the standard of service from the heart, we want to create this intimate relationship of creating this service ... as they say in French, to really create a brand that is related to intimacy and understanding who the guest is, and being able to read the guest, so we can deliver a service prior to the guest actually asking for it."