Glion alumni on how to be a successful hotel manager
Glion alumni Jean-Paul Dantil, currently General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, gives us valuable insight into working at a top hotel. In our Q & A session, Jean-Paul also explains how he reached the accomplished role of General Manager and gives some tips for aspiring GMs.
Describe your journey since graduating from Glion
“After graduating from Glion in 1996, I joined Hyatt International as a corporate management trainee in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. After two years, I moved to the Turks and Caicos Islands to take on the role of Front Office Manager at COMO Parrot Cay. Shortly after, I held a number of roles at the Metropolitan Hotel in London.
I then decided to transition from operations. I opened a hotel supply and procurement company in Dubai with a friend from my days at Glion. We ran this company together successfully for a nine-year period. After that, hotel operations called me back. I took on a consultancy role for a Mallorca-based company called Puro, which consisted of a small boutique hotel, as well as a number of beach clubs across a number of countries.
After this, I opened the Das Stue hotel in Berlin as General Manager, which became the leading luxury hotel in the city. During my time in Berlin, I met various senior executives from Ritz-Carlton, who convinced me to join the group. I shortly found myself moving to The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna in 2015, again as General Manager. I managed the property for two years, and was then asked to transfer to The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain, where I have been since 2017.
Describe your current role
“Firstly, it is crucial to mention that being such a dynamic hotel means that every day is different, presenting a variety of exciting and challenging tasks. We have around 700 people working here, as well as 12 F&B outlets, a beach club and a fully-equipped fitness centre which has 5,000 members. So, operationally, I am constantly ensuring everything runs smoothly by giving support and guidance to the team. Having such a large team involves a lot of coaching and quality assurance.
Furthermore, greeting our guests and dealing with owners’ relations are equally important aspects of the job. Not to mention that being in touch with the local community, ensuring the hotel is well positioned in the ever-expanding market and that we remain the number one hotel in the region. Each property that I have managed is different and has its own set of challenges. What makes our hotel so interesting is that we are a resort in the centre of town, so during the week we are a business hotel and during the weekend we become a resort!”
What were the most important lessons that you learnt from Glion?
“Academically, I really enjoyed my finance classes, as well as the practical arts courses, as it provided me with a very dynamic overview of the hospitality industry. But in general, it is vital to mention that I learnt a lot about making good friends and keeping in touch with them. I made some of my best friends at Glion. The school opened many doors for me throughout my career, thanks to the many connections made during my studies.”
What tips can you give to students aspiring to be general managers?
- Always be curious – “Read as much as possible, in order to keep up to date with new trends and innovations.”
- Don’t be scared to try new things – “Follow your gut.”
- Have a mentor – “Have someone that can guide you as you move up the career ladder.”
- Learn as much as you can – “Hoteliers need to be multitalented and know every aspect of the business.”
- And, finally… – “Always smile and pay attention to details!”
This interview was conducted by Calum Wilson, one of our Student Ambassadors.