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Andreas Romanos, Hotel Operations
General Manager, La Maison Ottomane
Parodos Kanevarou 32, 73100 Chania, Crete, Greece
After a career in Business (mainly as a General Manager for Western organisations in Russia) I decided in 2011 to convert an old Venetian House in Chania, Crete into a small hotel and then run it.
Knowing next to nothing about the hotel industry, except as a frequent user, it seemed prudent to at least learn how to make a bed or serve a meal while giving utmost customer service; and so I ended up at Alpine Centreon their Hotel Operations Programme (and also attending a few executive courses from the Masters' Programme).
Two and a half years later, a little over a year after opening, and la Maison Ottomane is rated by TripAdvisor as the best hotel in Chania and the best in Chania province, 1st of 453. We are happy and busy.
Clearly in a small hotel (for now we only have 3 suites) the personality of the staff and design/decoration of the premises are of great importance in delighting guests, but the debt owed to Alpine Centre for helping us achieve operational excellence cannot be underestimated.
Like any business, a hotel of any size needs rules and systems and in view of the immediate transparency of failings as well as strengths which comes with online social media, there is no way a hotel can afford to make these up as they go along.
This is where Alpine excelled - in teaching you up front, effectively, how to take a booking, how to serve a breakfast, how to handle an overbooking, a no-show, an allergy, how best to clean a bed, how to get hairs off the bathroom floor, what are the pros and cons of a property management system, when do you serve from the right or left, how do you make a bechamel sauce.....
And what most impressed me about the teaching, what gave it credibility, immediacy and gained our respect and interest as future hotel professionals, was that we were being taught by actual hotel professionals - people who, once the season started again in a few weeks' time, would be putting on their aprons or bow ties and be out there at the hard end, delivering excellence and, in doing so, refreshing and increasing their ability to pass their experience onto the next round of students.
Perhaps Alpine's most impressive achievement is finding people who can work effectively both in a service environment and also as teachers.
my Alpine training had provided me with the confidence that I had learned from the best, the respect of our clients that they had instilled in us and the motivation to excel that went with all that
In any case, when we opened our doors to our public, my Alpine training had provided me with the confidence that I had learned from the best, the respect of our clients that they had instilled in us and the motivation to excel that went with all that. And I can make a bed.