We had the pleasure to discuss with Odette Costoiu, Director of Sales & Marketing at Hotel Sheraton Bucharest, about hospitality industry, carrer, experiences and challlenges, in an exclusive interview for our magazine, here is what she told us:
Please tell us a few words about your career in the hospitality industry? How did it all begin?
My experience within the hospitality industry staterd by incident, back in 2005. It was right when I just began my master in Psycology and, having a lot of free time, I decided I would better invest my spare time in gaining work experience. Honestly, I have applied randomly at some secretary positions, one of them at JW Marriott. I had to choose between a HR company and JW Marriott, which actually wasn’t hard to do. This is how my journey in hospitality begun, and no regrets since.
After several years spent within JW team, I’ve decided to develop further my career and to experience new challanges. I’ve been working for Athenee Palace Hilton, then I’ve been part of Radisson opening team and, for a short period, I’ve worked for Vienna House airport Hotel. In 2012 I started to work at the Howard Johnson hotel and what a ride has been since then. I’ve learned and developed a lot as I had the opportunity to experience a hotel rebranding and repositioning as Sheraton Bucharest Hotel, 5 star property, currently working for the final steps for Marriott inc. Integration. It’s been amazing!
Hospitality definettly is my passion and has always made me get out of my confort zone professionaly speaking.
You have recently won the international award Sales Special Achievement Leadership. Congratulations! What do you think are the key characteristics of a good leader?
Thank you very much! It is an honour for me to receive such recognition, knowing how valuable this is within our company, Marriott Inc. I will always value this great milestone and hope to always raise above the standards.
I think what helped me most is being so passionate about what I am doing. I’ve put all my soul and knowledge into it, constantly learning and being eager to discover more, setting higher (having a vision and setting it into place). I’ve always put price on strong pillars like honesty, assertivity, confidence, communication and positive attitude. This is the base of who I am and what makes me come a little bit closer to the best version of me, day by day.
What was the biggest achievement of your carreer?
My biggest achievment is the chance to experience so much in such a short period. The time is so relative, so you just have to love what you do in order to fully live your life.
How do you see the future of hospitality? What trends will dominate the industry in next ten years?
Under the globalization effect, consolidation via mergers and aquisition is going to continue as main trend.
The hotel will remain highly agile and be able to adapt and quickly react to customers changing needs and behaviours.
However, the market economic stage and location have the biggest influence on this industry evolution. In the USA the industry is considered to be consolidated while Europe it is likely to remain fragmented.
One of the main challanges the hospitality industry is facing is the magnitude of hazardous events as well as their unpredictability. The industry is thus confronted to how fast it can react and adapt to such crises and hazard (among the most dangerous threats to the sector are the climate change (high air or water pollution level, poor living condition), safety and security issues and unprecedented migration streams (political and social tensions). This could make hospitality a fragile industry sector.
The human factor is the principal and decisive element for the development of the hospitality industry.
It’s already a trend for people to join digital communication platforms to interact with individuals that share commun values and ideas. Such platforms allow people to participate voluntarily and actively engage themselves and thus have the power to make or break a company. The fact that the millenials feel the need to join on such platforms, sharing also their values and ideas will influence the development of hospitality. As an example, as per brand standard, we also added the what’s up app in order to communicate with our guests.
Technology gives guests the power of choosing and commanding the way their experience should be customized. In fact customer want to be able to select and combine all services that they need and want as part of their guests experience. Within our property our guest can enjoy the tablets in room to control all the electronic and electric features. We’re also on our way to finalise the implementation of the mobile key, that allows to unlock your guest room, to access public areas such as the parking garage, fitness center, pool only by using iPhone or Apple Watch.
The main challenge of hospitality managers of the future is to improve guest experience which involves perceptions and emotions. Customers may react in many diffrent ways and the experience must therefore be carefully thought and created.
It is expected that the high tech will take control over the next 20 years to come.
It is a fact that technology is taking a big part in our lives but guest still search for authenticity and human inetraction. High tech might not fully satify visitors without a touch of emotions.
Customers feel the need of seeing that hoteliers know their desires and moods.
Since the begging the hotel industry has constantly evolved and transformed to meet the changing needs of travelers.