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COVER STORY: Innovation and Team Spirit. What’s ticking Dario Pithard, General Manager, The St. Regis Tianjin
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Innovation and Team Spirit
What’s ticking Dario Pithard,
General Manager, The St. Regis Tianjin

By Natasha J

flash 14 of 19 copy      今年9月,天津瑞吉金融街酒店迎来了新任总经理Dario Pithard先生。Pithard先生拥有近20年全球高端酒店品牌管理经验,他于2000年加入万豪国际集团,先后在沃尔夫斯堡丽思卡尔顿酒店与柏林丽思卡尔顿酒店担任餐饮部要职,以其卓越的管理才能,获得了酒店业的肯定。他自2012年至2016年在位于广州和巴厘岛的两家丽思卡尔顿酒店担任运营总监一职,随后加入北京金融街丽思卡尔顿酒店任酒店经理,职业履历可谓丰富。

      有趣的是,每个人职业历程的“打开方式”都各有特色,而Dario Pithard先生的酒店业生涯是从他为军官奉上一杯橙汁开始的。当时他的同事兼导师耐心地教导他,甚至陪他面试,由此Pithard掀开了自己人生的新篇章。从那以后,他始终带着对服务行业的极大热情,不断探求专业领域知识。他在访谈中表示,加入天津瑞吉金融街酒店令其感到荣幸之至。

      谈及瑞吉金融街酒店的优势时,Pithard说:“瑞吉金融街酒店地理位置得天独厚,美丽的海河景色是我们卓越服务的巨大优势。”的确,天津瑞吉金融街酒店坐落于天津市和平区的金融中心,毗邻风景如画的海河,邻近天津站,从酒店前往诸多天津重要的历史、文化景点和高端餐饮娱乐之所也都十分便利。如果您想尽享美食,何须远行——天津瑞吉金融街酒店蔚蓝海地中海餐厅的整体奢华氛围及精心制作的佳肴为食客呈现精致优雅的烹饪艺术,将地中海生动迷人的风情带到天津。河岸餐厅提供可供多人分享的自助餐美味佳肴,优雅的开放式厨房供应各国招牌美食,时令海鲜以及众多令人垂涎的烧烤美味。品酒阁是美酒爱好者与鉴赏家的好去处,这里珍藏的众多美酒均来自全球声望卓著的酒庄。此外,新老宾客也一定都会爱上精致、奢华的瑞吉酒吧,这里不但有令人叹为观止的血腥玛丽酒单,更有能品味瑞吉恒久传统的瑞吉下午茶和中国功夫茶。

      优质贴心的服务与美味的餐饮当然离不开酒店团队的共同努力和Pithard先生的管理有方。Pithard先生认为管理团队的关键在于善于倾听,尊重他人。一直以来,他都抱着开放的心态与团队成员进行高效沟通,始终奉行“以人为本”的管理宗旨。在招聘与吸引人才方面,酒店为员工提供了丰富的职业发展机会并制定出员工发展计划。正因如此,Pithard先生有效地促成了各部门团结协作,成功带领团队创下众多辉煌成绩。

      最后,Dario Pithard表示,随着国内旅客逐年增加,酒店业市场正在大幅增长,在激烈的市场竞争中脱颖而出的“法宝”则是让自己的团队保持灵活度,快速适应新形势与新环境。对于即将到来的年终节庆,瑞吉金融街酒店也会推出一系列特色餐饮与主题活动,值得期待。

      毋庸置疑,Dario Pithard先生将带领天津瑞吉金融街酒店向所有宾客展现瑞吉的品牌承诺,为往来宾客奉上全情沉浸的奢华服务体验。
cover01Dario Pithard is the General Manager of The St. Regis Tianjin and his valuable insights provide an accurate view from the trenches. He is zealous and driven, and would not settle for an ordinary career path. A German national, he is gifted with an exceptional in-depth understanding of Chinese culture.
 

戴睿德先生Mr. Dario Pithard 400x600How did you move into the hospitality trade? Was it a lifelong dream or an accident?

It was mandatory to partake in military training subsequent to graduation back in 1995. On my first day, I was assigned as a waiter at the Officer’s mess for Generals and other high-ranking officers. This was unknowingly the starting point of my journey as a hotelier.
 

I can recall the turning point and birth of my odyssey when I had to serve my first Campari orange, a long-drink I knew nothing about. I turned to my colleague and my first mentor, who not only trained me, but also accompanied me to my first job interview. My curiosity budded at that moment which soon grew into a passion.
 

After achieving top leadership roles in luxury international hotels in various prime geographic locations, what continues to fuel your passion?

I am very fortunate to be a part of The St. Regis hotel group. It is one of the 30 brands under the flagship of Marriott International. My mother company, after merging with Starwood’s Legacy Hotel group, expanded its horizons and brought in new opportunities. I am the first GM to change from a Marriott International Luxury Hotel to SPG Luxury Hotel Group in greater China and I am looking forward to contributing to the success of this organization.
 

What do you regard as being your most meaningful career highlights and proudest personal achievements?

Thinking back, two milestones cross my mind. One was a personal achievement working for the Ritz Carlton Hotel Group in Germany, when I was not only nominated as “the Manager of the Year”, but was also successful in clinching the award.
 

From a team-oriented perspective, I lead my previous team towards one common goal. We set ourselves on a mission at the beginning of 2016 to achieve the highly recognized Forbes award for luxury hotels in the travel industry. It took immense effort to successfully meet our aspirations to win the award.

cover03What is the best compliment that you have ever received?

There are two moments I endear very much. One is when I decided to embark on a new journey from Germany to join Asia-pacific, my last GM in Germany wrote a personal letter appreciating my services and our successes that we had achieved together.
 

The second, on my first employment in China, was from my GM & Multi - Property VP, Mr. Andrew C. Rogers, stating that in his many years of service, he had never encountered an expat colleague who adapted as fast as I did to a new cultural environment.
 

cover02Walk us through the luxurious St. Regis experience. What should your guests expect upon entering your door till they check out?

St. Regis operates at the best address in town. It is the mise-en-scène in Tianjin city. Its backdrop, the beautiful Hai-he river, is a tremendous premium to our exceptional service.
 

The scent we use in the lobby is Caroline's 400. Caroline is the mother of our founding father, John Jacob Astor. She was known in the 1900s to celebrate momentous events in the ballroom of The St. Regis New York, hosting guests of high society, the 400 most influential people in New York at the time. It is said that she was outstanding in selecting elegant floral arrangements etc. The scent that we use today is in remembrance of the blossoms she used for her classy events.
 

The butler is one of the many signature services at the St. Regis brand and we are globally known for this service. This purpose of this bespoke service is to assist with every expressed and unexpressed wish or need of the customer.
 

Our customers can also enjoy special rituals that we offer throughout the hotel, like the exclusive afternoon tea and champagne ritual to savor the age of the champagne bottle which is currently only offered at the St Regis hotel to name a few.
 

Furthermore, customers can relish flavorful meals in any one of our restaurants. The European Mediterranean restaurant, which is our fine dining restaurant, the all-day dining buffet restaurant, the promenade comprising of a captivating view by the river and our St. Regis bar and lounge are the highlights in this section.
 

Following your F&B guide, you can treat yourself to a soothing spa day or fancy yourself to the health club and continue to have a relaxed day/evening in one of the most lavish hotel rooms.

cover04How does The St. Regis Tianjin stay ahead of competition?

To be on top of the competition and be influential in decision making or obtain fruitful results, it is vital to do a deep analysis of the current market and understand the trends ahead. We have an open and transparent communication system in the hotel. Not only that, there is the “thinking out of the box” mentality, consistent originality and the constant flow of innovative ideas to continuously provide new experiences for our customers.

flash 2 of 19How do you keep yourself at pace with the guests’ ever-changing wants and needs?

There are several ways to understand fast changing trends in the hospitality industry. Comparing a technical device from a decade back with a device we use today, it is hard to comprehend the change and what it may encompass within the next 10 years. However, we endeavor through discussions and many resources to gauge how the future in business will evolve.
 

I believe interaction and feedback from guests and collection of data through social media will enable us to strategize future needs of our guests.
 

How does your leadership further build on The St. Regis Tianjin’s allure and bespoke service?

I have extensive experience in the luxury hotel industry that stretches for more than 20 years in countless cities and countries. Personally, it is the dialogue that I enjoy, with my executive committee and my department heads, who will execute the ideas. Based on these ideas we prepare appropriate training and development programs to ensure that the work environment is set for success.

大堂Lobby 2How many staff are you overseeing? What do you consider as essential in managing a team?

In total we have approximately 300 employees working as a permanent team. There might be some seasonal adjustments and we may also have additional help from our partner companies.
 

What I consider as essential in managing a team is having the aptitude to listen. It is very important. Once you provide a respectful and dignified work environment, it is easy to manage and be part of this team. It is crucial to have transparent communication that will lead to positive development.

nature 77 of 85How do you retain and attract the right talent? What does it take for a potential candidate to work for your hotel?

Very often people think it is the high wages or Super Bonus, but I don't think it will retain or attract new employees. As I see it nowadays, it is essential to share opportunities with the team and have a development plan for each individual, help them grow in their career and your employees in return will pay you back with their loyalty and appreciation.
 

I am fortunate to work for a company that has more than 6200 hotels around the globe in 125 countries. It is incredible to have 30 distinct brands that we can put under the Marriott International umbrella. This figure means ample career opportunities for every employee.
 

We have a dedicated selection process and we're not just hiring people. We really look at the right talent. It is always a team decision to arrive at a consensus to grasp if this talent we have interviewed is proficient in assisting the existing team members in development of the hotel in future. We also look at some attributes that cannot necessarily be taught. For instance, we observe if they are smiling. Are they showing genuine care to the customers? Let's say you’re a waiter in the restaurant, I can probably teach almost everyone to carry three plates, that's a very technical training but you cannot teach a person to engage purposefully with a customer.

cover 04What is the most stressful part of your job and what is the best part?

As a GM I am in the middle of many stakeholders. Let me elaborate. We have customers that have expectations, constantly evolving and refusing the same experience twice. Our employees want a better future, and finally, we have owners who have a certain interest in a successful business operation. I need to find a way to oversee all this to ensure that I can please all stakeholders’ interests. We combine these in a so-called balance scorecard and I must ensure that I drive in all those areas to show improvement year after year.
 

I really appreciate the unpredictability. I don't know what is expected of me each day because in this industry you never have two equal days. There are so many challenges. This is what drives my passion and motivates my goals - to be given the chance to find solutions to overcome these obstacles.
 

nature 64 of 85What are the key attributes needed to succeed as a hotelier?

Among the many factors, flexibility is critical. You must adapt to new conditions that you cannot foresee. We are in a certain market and ideally in this market we need to dominate, so we must be very competitive. Innovative ideas and creativity to inspire our team members and strengthen as team effort are vital to success. It is also essential to have the right talent around to execute each operation.
 

How do you find Tianjin as compared to other Chinese cities and what do you like most here?

I’ve been here for a brief period, around six months. Tianjin, in comparison to the capital city Beijing, where I used to work before, or Shanghai, I have to say that it is more “livable”. I'm here with my family, so I cherish its calm and tranquil nature. Tianjin exceeded my expectations of what I knew before I arrived and I'm happy to call Tianjin home for the next couple of years.
 

What do you think about the current hospitality market?

The hospitality market is growing tremendously. Chinese travelers are increasing year over year. This leads to more understanding gained throughout Asia-Pacific, the US or even Europe and on returning home their expectations have overall increased. This is challenging my team and I too consistently strive to provide a sophisticated and superior service.
 

Are there any exciting events that are scheduled to happen in future?

Definitely! There is always an array of new events that our team is boundlessly creating. Also, I'm very happy to mention that our new Director of Food and Beverage will be starting very soon and will bring plenty of innovative ideas.
 

We are now in quarter four and this quarter is the festive season. Very soon we will have the annual Christmas tree event. We will also have a children’s choir joining us this year. Besides, our team is planning various festive activities, from the themed afternoon tea to the Christmas brunch and the New Year's Eve festivities in all the outlets and definitely more to come. So, stay tuned!
 

How do you balance your professional life and your personal life?

Well obviously, as a hotelier one has to spend a lot of time at the hotel and without a doubt I enjoy it because I'm continuously responsible for what I do and I am passionate about it. I relish time spent with my family. I have two kids; my daughter is now nine years old and my son is six years. It is very rewarding to be part of their lives. There's another great passion in my life since I was a teenager. It is being a part of the hip hop culture. I enjoy my time reading, observing and exchanging with the community.
 

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