You are the general manager of “Hilton”. Which managing skills are you steered by?
I think generally as a Leader in Hospitality it starts generally with people management and team engagement. We are in the business of people serving people and it all starts with our team. For me it is really as simple as a happy team equals a happy guest.
Would you let us know on the fundamentals of the business you operate on, in order to achieve success?
Again straight away for me it is about developing and engaging with the Team. A hotel is just bricks and mortar without the people, that’s what brings it to life and for me that’s the most important part of a new opening, you can have a fantastic product, but until you breathe life into it with the team, it’s nothing. So that’s without a doubt, we have not yet finished the team, but already I can feel we have a great team of people, a great leadership team and I feel that is what is going to really make the difference. The biggest asset is the team and that flows through into the service, because that’s what really differentiates a Hotel, the people and the service. You know when you stay in Hotel with a team like that, it makes a difference, you feel at home, if you are business traveler it’s like a home from home. You get to know the team, they know you by name, they know a little about you outside the Hotel and that makes a difference. For leisure travelers coming on Holiday, that service can really make a difference to their Holiday and if you don’t get that right it can of course do the opposite. We want to get that right.
Which are your recruitment criteria on employees and how are you currently hiring here, in Albania?
We are mainly looking for ‘people people’, my main focus is a person’s personality and behaviour, we can train and develop the rest. We offer our Team Members industry-leading learning and development opportunities including access to Hilton University, an online platform offering over five million hours of training through 2,500 courses. 5 Million hours would take a person over 570 years to complete – so there is a wealth of knowledge available!
Employees’ indoctrination is yet another crucial element towards success? Do you have a current schedule on the cultivation of the hospitality industry for your employees? How is “Hilton” going to impact on groundwork or the upbringing of tourism in general?
As I mentioned earlier, we are a business of people serving people – and a great guest experience relies on our Team Members having a great working experience. We are proud of our culture of lifelong learning, and a career at Hilton offers countless opportunities to develop new skills and travel. Opening our first hotel in Tirana will bring new guests to Albania, and bring exposure on a global stage.
You are currently married to an Albanian woman? Has this affected you in any way? Do you have a favorite ‘spot’ in Albania and what do you find most interesting in Albanians.
Fate has been kind to me and I have met the love of my life from here and with my Wife I now have a personal tie to this beautiful country. Because of this I’m even more passionate about helping put Albania on the map and I often describe Albania to those who are not familiar as one of the last hidden gems of the Mediterranean. It has some wonderful natural beauty from the ‘Albanian Riviera’ in the South to the ‘Albanian Alps’ in the North, it has everything. For me however the place closest to my heart would be the peace and quiet of my Wife’s village, it’s close to Berat on the slopes of Mali Spiragut and overlooking Mali Tomorrit. The views there are breathtaking.
While meeting with the journalists, you spoke of several events, such as wine tasting in “Hilton Garden Inn”. Your promoting policies are quite interesting. Are these “Hilton” policy alike? Or, on the other hand, a result of the Albanian investor’s choices?
We have great strength in our Food & Beverage team and have been very lucky to build a team with such talent so we are planning to not only cater for our hotel residents, but also offer attractive dining experiences for non-residents and locals in Tirana. As well as wine tasting evenings we are planning to start Sunday brunch soon and many other interesting opportunities to sample the great food and drink region has to offer and beyond.