[pullquote]A hotel manager would have to trust his colleagues and empower them to be creative and recognize their strong skills and encourage them to identify and work on the skills and tasks that need to be strengthened.[/pullquote]Q: Maybe just for the beginning a little bit about your background?
After graduating from the College for Tourism Managament in Austria my beginnings are connected to one of the most famous global hospitality groups – Hilton Hotels. I did my management training at the Hilton Munich City in the early 90s before being transferred to the Hilton Berlin. During my time with Hilton I moved into the convention sales department, pro-actively managing conference and MICE sales. After this I got involved with the opening of the festival centre at the Estrel Hotel, the largest convention hotel and entertainment centre in Europe. As a part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group team I was responsible for overseeing the refurbishment of an entire floor into a new convention area and looked after the room sales in their hotel in Munich.
At some point during all this I even started my own business, by setting up a restaurant with a large beer garden and catering service for the local town’s convention hall in the West of Munich. In the following years I improved my management and sales skills by being part of the Estrel hotel in Berlin, as Director of Sales, and the Berlin-based 4-star-superior Leonardo Royal Hotel, wfor hich I did the opening and took over as General Manager. Then the opportunity at Porto Montenegro turned up, and here I am today!
Q: What inspired you to decide on a career in the hotel industry?
It started with travelling: I was fascinated with hotels, with the way they operate and their different approaches. I somehow felt that I can also make a difference and with an attention to the detail I can make a ‘signature’ that guests would appreciate.
Q: How do you position the Regent brand and its approach to hospitality?
Regent Hotels and Resorts Group is the symbol of luxury, a bespoke service and an elegance within the global hospitality industry, and they are very successful at holding this leading position. I would define our approach to hospitality by rephrasing Regent’s Tao or motto: ‘to hear without being told, to see without being shown and to know without being asked’. We are committed to creating the “home away from home” atmosphere for our guests.
Q: You have been in Montenegro for some time. Is Montenegro an exciting place to be doing business right now and to open a new luxury hotel?
Montenegro is an exceptional mix of contrasts: tamed Mediterranean landscapes on one side and the inland’s wild beauty on the other, traditional culture of Eastern Balkan on one side and strong Western influences on the other. That very mix creates a wonderful and exciting backdrop for high-end tourism developments. A five-star service combined with unspoiled nature and an overall rawness gives a unique experience to saturated travelers.
Q: What are the challenges when opening a new hotel in Montenegro? How does it differ from the rest of Europe?
Regent Hotels and Resorts group has come to Montenegro following the successful step of an already established Porto Montenegro development. We therefore did not meet too many difficulties, but were committed to offering an excellent service that will enhance the overall Montenegrin tourist offer. We are proud to be a part of this ongoing process of positioning Montenegro as one of the most attractive European high-end destinations.
Q: How can Montenegro embrace modernity but retain its identity?
That’s the biggest challenge for every rising destination, and in my opinion the secret of the success is in the right balance of old and new, unique and universal. It’s about extracting the best of both. Regent Porto Montenegro promotes fine dining, and our culinary team will incorporate all high-quality organic ingredients typical for this region to create a modern, unexpected blend of familiar tastes. As a result our guests will get a new and tempting menu.
Q: How have you grown the Regent Porto Montenegro hotel team so far?
The department heads all have extensive international experience. Other key positions and about 70% of all our colleagues are people from Montenegro and the region. Our Executive Chef is a young professional from Croatia who gained his experience by sharpening his culinary skills in the world-renowned Danish restaurant, “Noma”. The people we hired are young, motivated individuals with the knowledge of at least one foreign language, eager to learn, progress and grow along with the Regent brand. I believe that we have picked the best employees from the amazing number of interested applicants.
I have faith in the young generation of Montenegrins who are willing to work and prove themselves in their careers and I am confident that the trend that The Regent Porto Montenegro set, employing locally more than internationally, will be continued.
Q: Your partners are the most demanding congress clients. What is it like to work with them and meeting their needs?
One important part of our offer is our meeting venues: the spacious and well-equipped Ballroom “Teodo” for up to 200 persons, the Regent Lounge ideal for smaller and less formal events, and the Salon “Boka” that can accommodate 12 persons for important business occasions. We have established a trustful relationship with many regional and Montenegrin companies, offering them privacy, state-of-the-art technology, professional staff support and a wide choice of food and beverage menus.
Q: Is the price associated with a sense of quality?
It is known that the wealthier guests also decide on the basis of how high is the price.
Our guests are discerning travelers who search for the unique The Regent experience combines impeccable service, luxurious facilities and attentive staff with the best that Mediterranean can offer – wonderful landscape, delicious cuisine and excellent climate. The price often reflects the quality of service, but the quality of service always consists of many priceless details and experiences that one just cannot buy.
Q: What do today’s customers expect from hotels in terms of sustainability?
Sustainability issues touch on nearly every aspect of hotel ownership and management. Over the last decades it has become so much more than just a concern for energy conservation: environmental responsibility as a part of corporate social responsibility, LEED green building programmes when it comes to new build projects, waste disposal practices, usage of organic local food – it’s all part of a hotel guest’s expectations. Regent Porto Montenegro hotel applies waste disposal practices in accordance with EU regulations. Regent’s “Green and Clean” signs are made of trimmed olive trees. By using local organic products we stimulate small local producers to continue developing this healthy practice. These are small steps, yet acts of great importance.
Q: What is your favourite place in Montenegro and why?
Montenegro is truly the small country of endless, spectacular sceneries. I was amazed by the Boka Bay as soon as I arrived in Montenegro: the scenic mountains meeting the sea and the charming beauty of the Boka Bay instantly made an impression on me.
As for the must see spots, I would definitely recommend Durmitor National Park and the Tara Canyon. For me, this is how I define sheer beauty.
Q: What do you personally love about Montenegro?
I personally enjoy outdoor sports, especially sailing, so my answer would be the unspoiled Montenegrin nature. Sea and mountains in such short proximity is quite rare to find. And the people, the young professionals I work with every day, their strong will to learn, to embrace knowledge and to follow the global hospitality trends.
Q: Where will Montenegro’s hospitality scene go in the next decade?
Montenegrin tourism has set out its path towards establishing Montenegro as a new top destination on the Mediterranean offering high-level service combined with the experience of enjoying surreal landscapes. In 10 years from now I expect Montenegro to double its 4-star and 5-star accommodation and to continue developing nautical tourism as a leading tourism force in the region.
Michael Posch Career
From food & beverage to sales to operations, Posch has a demonstrated expertise across all operations in luxury hotels. During his role as the Director of Sales at Estrel Hotel Berlin, Posch was respon- sible for the sales of Germany’s largest hotel, with 1,125 rooms and over 5,000 key accounts.Posch joins the Regent team alongside a distinguished lineup of General Managers across Regent Hotels in Bali, Beijing, Berlin, Phuket, Singapore, Taipei, and Turks & Caicos as well as noteworthy corpo- rate key executives including President Ralf Ohletz Count von Plettenberg, Vice President of Finance Wee-Ann Lim, Vice Chairman – Americas George Lidicker, Senior Vice President of Technical Services and Development Arjan De Boer, Vice President of Global Development – China Cai Shuo and Global Director of Sales Rene Mayer.
One2One with Michael Posch:
Q: What time do you like to be at your desk?
The entire hotel is my office. Part of my role is to be present everywhere, to see everything, to react every time. I am the first one in the office, checking the emails, evaluating the results of the previous day and reviewing the forecasts. Also, late afternoons are probably those hours when you might find me at my desk.
Q: What’s your management style?
I believe that this is a question for my colleagues not for me, but I value the work and efforts of each individual in this company. I do pay attention to details and how one immerses oneself in the tasks set in front of him/her.
Q: What would your key management advice be?
I believe that the targets need to be set, so our colleagues can see what they need to aim for and achieve. On the other hand, a manager has to trust his or her colleagues and empower them to be creative and recognise their strong skills and encourage them to identify and work on the skills and tasks that need to be strengthened.
Q: What’s on your reading list?
The Starbucks Experience: 5 principles of turning the ordinary into extraordinary. The new Gold Standard: Five leadership principles for creating a legendary customized service, courtesy of the Ritz Carlton Company