NINA MARIČ, Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Restaurant Manager
I am a young, honest, highly motivated and ambitious person who wants to be the best she can be, both personally and professionally.
Rovinj, my hometown, totally depends from tourism so living in it and growing up here made working in this industry look very natural and effortless. One just learns to live surrounded by tourists and work, even the one you do just for a few summer months, is usually always connected with hospitality. Although I am young, I started working from a very young age and decided almost right away that it was going to be my career. I realized very early that this industry pays well those who have prepared well so to increase my level of preparedness I decided to study Economics and tourism management, first in Zagreb and then in Venice. A part from studying I earned my spot in the teams of some of the best hotels in Italy and hotel chains in the world. After these experiences I returned to Croatia and am now the hotel and restaurant manager of the only Relais & Châteaux property situated in the heart of vineyards and olive groves, a small and secluded place which offers highly personalized service combined with intimacy and privacy – the Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Restaurant.
MENEGHETTI, WINE HOTEL, RESTAURANT AND WINERY
Q: What is your favorite meetings brand?
In order to answer this question I can only focus on the meetings brands in the hospitality industry and, about those, I have very sturdy opinions or beliefs in general.
The first one is about the way MICE is, or should, be handled. One should admire and follow the work of the well-known and respected business hotel brands like the InterContinental hotels from IHG, Hilton and DoubleTree by Hilton Worldwide hotels or JW by the Marriott International group. I was lucky enough to work for one of those brands and to see and comprehend the incredibly elaborate standard operating procedures that one must follow. I do believe SOPs should be defined, understood and strictly followed. Everything more one can do for the clients or guests simply adds value.
Secondly, I do not think that a business hotel must highlight the adjective ‘business’, ‘conference’ or ‘MICE’ in order to attract the business traveler. People are tired of things and places that they have already seen and like with other things, their interest shifts on other facilities they have not taken into consideration jet. They now simply wish to experience something new, enjoy themselves and relax, even when on a business trip. I have learned this only this year that business brands are slowly losing their strength. I noticed that small hotels like the one I currently manage, are getting more and more interesting. A part of being an established events location, our Relais was very often the location where lots of business meetings, small conferences and team buildings were held so I am glad that we will have more space to offer to our guests once we upgrade our facility in 2016.
Q: What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Escaping the comfort zone. I always somehow found the courage to make changes, even drastic ones. The ones that involved stepping out of the comfort zone I found myself in.
Q: What’s your alternative career fantasy?
There isn’t an alternative. Ever since I can remember I loved hotels and restaurants and always wanted to be somehow involved in this industry. I started when I was 15 and the ambition and determination to do better keeps me focused and interested in this career.
Q: What are you obsessed with at the moment?
Details, impeccable service and staff education and development.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
Firstly, the service-oriented atmosphere. The size of the hotel and restaurant permits us to focus more on making each guest’s stay memorable through exceptional service. Moreover, definitely rapid realization time. In places like the Meneghetti you can easily spot the things that do not fit or work, change them and immediately see the result.
Q: What would make your job easier?
Easy is not fun nor challenging. I wouldn’t know how to cope with easy or easier jobs.
Q: What was your best idea last year?
To remove name tags in the hotel and restaurant. To me, those represent a barrier between the employee and the guest. I want the staff to develop a friendly jet polite relationship with the guest and I want the guests not to feel like the reason someone interacts with them is simply because it is their job to do so. I think name tags, although they might seem irrelevant at first, make the staff seem artificial or less genuine.
Q: The most memorable event for you?
I remember each one of them, the hard work, the clients and the guests. They all gave me something in the end, either just experience or valuable lessons.