Digital Bootcamp Asia Podcast

Takes Hospitality to the Next Level with Monika Tritz, General Manager of Kempinski The One Suites Hotel Shanghai Downtown.

September 05, 2020 Natasha Fang Season 1 Episode 8
Digital Bootcamp Asia Podcast
Takes Hospitality to the Next Level with Monika Tritz, General Manager of Kempinski The One Suites Hotel Shanghai Downtown.
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Digital Bootcamp Asia Podcast
Takes Hospitality to the Next Level with Monika Tritz, General Manager of Kempinski The One Suites Hotel Shanghai Downtown.
Sep 05, 2020 Season 1 Episode 8
Natasha Fang

Monika Tritz, General Manager of Kempinski The One Suites Hotel Shanghai Downtown.

She held several permanent and task force positions within Hotel Operations over the last 20 years on various assignments with Kempinski Hotels. That has brought her to a wealth of international experience having worked and developed in Germany, the UAE, Italy, Croatia, Africa, China, Indonesia, and Qatar. In her previous role, based at the Kempinski Head Office in Geneva as Regional Director of Operations Monika focused on leading operational aspects within the portfolio of Europe by applying the company strategy through developing people and increasing performance and quality.

Furthermore, several interim GM assignments in Austria, Italy, and Germany as well as the active participation in innovative projects to improve operational workflows have been a key function of her role. Through that, she supported the achievement of the highest guest satisfaction rates and quality service levels while maintaining financial performance, cost controlling leading to departmental profitability. As a certified Coach and Mentor, sharing of her experience and knowledge is essential and supports her continues to focus on the individual development of each of her team members.

Munich in Germany being her home town, Monika is fluent in German, English, and conversational in French and Italian. She holds a Master Certificate in Hospitality and Revenue Management in addition to her most recent certified studies on Hotel Real Estate Investments and Asset Management by Cornell University.

Contact Monika Tritz on LinkedIn.

This show is powered by Digital Bootcamp Asia, sponsored by Tolmao Group. Natasha Fang is the Founder and CEO of Tolmao Group, a leading integrated marketing agency headquartered in Shanghai City, China. Recognized for original content, persuasive digital marketing strategies, interactive website designs, and influential event marketing campaigns, she has worked with a variety of clients. Connect with Natasha Fang on LinkedIn.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DigitalBootcampAsia
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dbasia
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalbootcampasia
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DB_Asia

Show Notes Transcript

Monika Tritz, General Manager of Kempinski The One Suites Hotel Shanghai Downtown.

She held several permanent and task force positions within Hotel Operations over the last 20 years on various assignments with Kempinski Hotels. That has brought her to a wealth of international experience having worked and developed in Germany, the UAE, Italy, Croatia, Africa, China, Indonesia, and Qatar. In her previous role, based at the Kempinski Head Office in Geneva as Regional Director of Operations Monika focused on leading operational aspects within the portfolio of Europe by applying the company strategy through developing people and increasing performance and quality.

Furthermore, several interim GM assignments in Austria, Italy, and Germany as well as the active participation in innovative projects to improve operational workflows have been a key function of her role. Through that, she supported the achievement of the highest guest satisfaction rates and quality service levels while maintaining financial performance, cost controlling leading to departmental profitability. As a certified Coach and Mentor, sharing of her experience and knowledge is essential and supports her continues to focus on the individual development of each of her team members.

Munich in Germany being her home town, Monika is fluent in German, English, and conversational in French and Italian. She holds a Master Certificate in Hospitality and Revenue Management in addition to her most recent certified studies on Hotel Real Estate Investments and Asset Management by Cornell University.

Contact Monika Tritz on LinkedIn.

This show is powered by Digital Bootcamp Asia, sponsored by Tolmao Group. Natasha Fang is the Founder and CEO of Tolmao Group, a leading integrated marketing agency headquartered in Shanghai City, China. Recognized for original content, persuasive digital marketing strategies, interactive website designs, and influential event marketing campaigns, she has worked with a variety of clients. Connect with Natasha Fang on LinkedIn.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DigitalBootcampAsia
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dbasia
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalbootcampasia
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DB_Asia

Natasha Fang :

You're listening to Digital Bootcamp Asia Podcast, where entrepreneurs and business owners share their real-life stories and lessons learned on how to start, grow, and excel in their business in the digital era. This show is brought to you by Tolmao Group, an integrated marketing agency. I'm your host Natasha Fang. Monika Tritz is a true hotelier by heart and is full of passion for the industry. She held several permanent and task force positions within Hotel Operations over the last 20 years on various assignments with Kempinski Hotels. That has brought her to a wealth of international experience having worked and developed in Germany, the UAE, Italy, Croatia, Africa, China, Indonesia and Qatar. Thank you so much, Monika, for accepting my invitation. To be the guest at the show. And thanks again for your generosity for allowing us to host the Digital Bootcamp Asia event at the hotel participating the event yourself, and even inviting us over at the hotel for lunch. And during the lunch, I was very fond of your story, your share during you know how you trusted your instinct and decided to accept the offer and move to China amid the COVID 19 outbreak in China in January this year. Can you share the story with our listeners?

Monika Tritz :

Yes. Natasha, thank you so much for having me on your podcast and it was a real pleasure to have you over recently for lunch. Yeah, my story how I joined Kempinski The One Suites Hotel in the early February is quite a unique one. I'm not a newbie to moving all around the world and, and working as a hotelier you really in so many countries in so many different continents. But this move beginning of February was truly a special one. So let's go back to January, at the end of January, where COVID-19 broke out in China and I had this fantastic offer of becoming a general manager of this beautiful suites Hotel in Shanghai. I mean, one of the world's greatest cities in the world, and I was excited. But yes, COVID broke out and at the end of January I was in Geneva, Switzerland used to work for the head of Kempinski there for the last two and a half years. And, yeah, I wasn't really sure what to do. I mean, my apartment was canceled. My boxes were packed. I was ready. My flight was booked for the first of February. And, yeah, then the news reached us in Switzerland. And it was turned out to be really serious and turbulent. And the Swiss Airlines also stopped their services between Switzerland and China. And so I really asked myself, What What should I do? Should I fly now? Should I wait? What is the alternative? family friends, my partner but as well at Kempinski, they gave me the full empowerment and they said, okay, Monika, whatever you want to do, if you want to stay, if you want to wait, we support, but if you want to go, we also support. So the decision was really mine and I remember very well my flight was booked for the Saturday. And on that Thursday morning, I woke up, make myself a coffee. And then I said, Okay, everyone is telling me to take a decision. So here I am taking a decision. I'm flying to China. So once I had taken the decision, it was much easier for me really to execute. So the next thing was of course to look for masks, but unfortunately in Geneva, we're not able to find any masks anymore, everywhere sold out. But again here, a very good coworker and friend of mine, she had a box of masks at home and she borrowed that to me or gave it to me as a gift. And so I was I was able to fly. With all of that, to highlight is really take a decision and execute and just just do it and go for it. And also, my mindset was just simply there and said, Yes, positive mindset. You're going you're doing this now. Don't wait and so yeah, when I was boarding and took on the first time the mask I can tell you it wasn't that easy because I knew then there is no way back. But it turns out when I look back that it was really a great decision that I took it. I mean, I had a fantastic I had a fantastic team here in Shanghai that really open arms welcomed me and supported me from day one. But of course, the beginning during the pandemic here February March wasn't easy, but also there. We managed very well. So looking back, yes, it was a very special relocation, but it was the right decision for me to take, but of course, it was an emotional roller coaster, which I dealt with. But I'm very happy that I did. So yeah, that's a bit of the story.

Natasha Fang :

Thank you so much for sharing the story. ( Yeah (Monika Tritz) ) , it's quite impressive ( Thank you (Monika Tritz) )that you just decided and, you know, get on the plan. Because I was in Shanghai back then, I know the situation wasn't that easy. In China, Shanghai, people are going through the lockdown. You know, so I think it's very brave for you to actually come and you know, and fly just to China, know it's quite difficult. One Way Ticket to China.

Monika Tritz :

So thank you. I On that note, I remember there was a lady sitting next to me and she flew back to China back home, actually. And she asked me curious like in the middle of the flight, can I ask you something? And I said Yes, sure. Why are you flying to China? While everybody else left China at the point at the time, and I simply just answered, look, I have a fantastic job offer in one of the greatest cities in the world. And, and I'm ready. So yeah, I will not forget it was a I have so many flights in my life. But this was a truly special one.

Natasha Fang :

Thank you. Yeah, yeah, definitely also like the situations today in China, it really shows that you have made the right decision by getting on the plane. So I'm very curious, how do you start your career in the hospitality industry? Can you share with us?

Monika Tritz :

Yeah,yes, thank you. Um 20 years ago, I actually was by by coincidence, yeah, it wasn't really planned. So my dream was always to study psychology after I graduated, my major at the time was social studies. But it was very, very hard at the time in the late 90s. To get into a study course in Germany for psychology because they were overloaded and they didn't have so many spaces available. So after graduation, I didn't get a study space for psychology. So I decided to do a social voluntary year in Germany, working half a year with with kids, and half a year with elderly with senior people. After this year, I tried again to apply but unfortunately, my application was rejected. So I will never forget, this was a Sunday morning, I'm sitting in the kitchen with my mom. And I see the Sunday newspaper and on the headline, first page, there was the information that Kempinski is opening a brand new five star hotel at the Kempinski at the sorry, at the Munich airport. And I said, Wow, that's a interesting hotel. But I didn't know much about hotel business, but my mom said, Listen, you like to talk to people. You're very social. Why don't you go there and why don't you apply for an internship. And actually, that's what I did. And that's how I really discovered that hotel has become not only a passion or a job, but for me, it's a lifestyle. So I started to do my internship there. And from there, I went into the world and build up my career. Yeah.

Natasha Fang :

Wow. And you continue your passion over the years and traveling to different countries? (Yes. (Monika Tritz) ) Yeah. And so what's it like to be a general manager in the industry?

Monika Tritz :

Hmm. Yeah. Being a general manager in te industry is is truly a very versatile job. I think not a single day is similar to the other. As a general manager, you really generally manage a hotel, so you manage all different departments from it can start with a food tasting in the kitchen for new breakfast items such as croissant or pain au chocolat or new bread selections going then into a business development meeting, planning then an ecommerce strategy, going then to have an interview with, with a receptionist, and in the afternoon having an a meeting with the owning company and a corporate webinar to attend. So, a day really holds a lot of different tasks. And I think that is what excites me until today. Because you have many, many different things to do, which gives you also a very, very wide skill set as a manager and a leader and a professional in the industry. And let's not forget this industry is really about people. It's about people it's about communication. And, and and that is most and foremost. So being a general manager is a lot of fun on the one hand, but it demands also a lot of you Because you need to be you need to be yourself versatile, adapted to many, many different situations. And then let's not forget about it a GM is also mostly the face of the hotel. It has a lot to do with PR, a lot of networking opportunities as well. But so interesting, you meet a lot of very, very different people from all different sort of places in life. And that's always what kept me kept me going in this industry and also as a GM, so yeah, I'm really enjoying it. That sounds good. And how would you describe your leadership style? Oh, well, my leadership style. I, um, I am very humble in my leadership style. I mean, I tried to always give knowledge and share knowledge and develop and empower and I think that is that is, like always one of the first thing. Especially to mid-management and supervisory level on a system manager level, I think those are the people who will really deal every day every day really with, with, with your guests with your business partners, and they should be empowered and they should be properly trained. And then it's of course, the head of departments need to take it to the next level, who are my extended arms in all different areas of the town. So a general manager mostly knows a little bit about a lot and not a lot about a little. So I think I would describe myself as a very empowering leader, as a as a very kind of humble leader who lets his team really shine. But for me, the greatest motivation as a leader is to see if people grow around me if they develop their skills, if they transfer or get the promotion or gain knowledge that they haven't heard about before, right? And so, yeah, I'm a very empowering leader, I would say, yeah, micromanagement is not for me. Let people grow, but support them when they fall be there to support them in order that it will not happen again.

Natasha Fang :

Yeah, I'm very impressed. Every time I see you, you have this big smile on your face. It's definitely very empowering to see you have such a positive attitude to dealing with like a uncertainties every day in this day and age, and also coming to China this special time. Like what were the opportunity arise as a result of the changing environment?

Monika Tritz :

Yes, I think I think there's plenty of opportunities for us and especially being here in China in Shanghai that is so advanced in terms of their AI and that digital, not only digital marketing, but digital life. Really.That gives so many opportunities to us also in hospitality. I mean, we have launched different things, not only at Kempinski The One, but also at Kempinski, worldwide, regional in China, but also worldwide like virtual side inspections, right? People might not anymore travel just for a site inspection, or for a meeting, of course, there's a lot of out there webinars and zoom meetings and so on. So we have created something that's called Virtual site inspections, also introducing our room categories apartment categories in 360 photography. Working a lot with online content so that's why we recently have also brought in ecommerce specialist to our team in order to build that up because I strongly believe that so many more revenue opportunities are arising through digital presence, right and proper online content management. So that's on the one hand. On the other hand, I think also when it comes to food and beverage, we have a lot of opportunities here to drive more volume. And when it comes to this to the business model that we are driving for the moment, we're here in Shanghai, in China, it's really about running volume instead of rates. Yeah. So and that's how we then create revenues. So in food and beverage, for example, we have the takeaway options, which are very, very popular. Of course, we have the in room dining options with special discounts delivered at your doorstep. And then also with the help and support of Kempinski global, we have launched the Kempinski white gloves service, which is an opportunity to showcase of different standards and workflows that were implemented out of the pandemic out of the need for for more standards, and we truly believe that the traveler, not only the local traveler, but also the individual traveler values, and will choose Kempinski before others eventually, you know.

Natasha Fang :

This sounds amazing. So in general, how do you think you can prepare yourself to take advantage of any opportunities that arise?

Monika Tritz :

How I prepare myself for all of this and how I also encourage my team to do so is keep the finger on the pulse of time, right? And even try to be avant-garde, try to be ahead of it, right? Try to foresee what's happening into the glass crystal bowl, right? But it's really like to see who is your customer, get those get this market intelligence, do your homework, get the statistics done, and and see where it's going. Be prepared. The more knowledge you have, the better you might be able to deal with certain situations. But also I think, with looking at what really is the demand of really our customers, they don't lose, don't lose the focus. Right. And that's how really be also an as we speak, actually budget and business planning for next year and the next five years is ongoing. So we are getting ready, really. And we look into the crystal ball and we see okay, when is when is traveling going to be picking up again? And how can we work with what we have for the moment and that is the strong, strong buying and purchasing power of the local community here in China, especially in Shanghai and it's been amazing to see how our business recovered so fast, locally, and and this looks very, very promising. So I would say how we prepare ourselves is really have keeping eyes and ears open. Right? And that's the most important market intelligence and be there talk to people from the industry. See what's happening is when in other industries because that absolutely cross cross concerns your business as well.

Natasha Fang :

Yeah. Oh, I will believe like, being open-minded, right, especially in China is definitely going to be the main factor to make sure you're gonna succeed or not in this day and age. It's, it's also very complicated markets as well. So um, can you tell our listeners how they can get in touch with you?

Monika Tritz :

Yes, absolutely. So of course, if you're in Shanghai somewhere best is always passed by Kempinski The One Suite Hotel Shanghai Downtown, or at our so called stamm tisch, which is, which is a very German thing. We meet once a month and we just sit together it's open for everybody and we meet every last Tuesday of the month at 7pm at Kempinski The One or absolutely contact me via LinkedIn. I think that's the that's the best and easiest. And yeah I'm looking forward.

Natasha Fang :

Thank you so much.

Monika Tritz :

Thank you very much was a pleasure. Thank you Natasha.

Natasha Fang :

Thank you for listening to Digital Bootcamp Aisa podcast. Until next time!