We caught up with Anna Seidl, from Austria, who is a recent graduate of EADA’s top ranked International Master in Tourism & Hospitality Management. Anna will take on new responsibilities within her family business soon. Their catering company is launching a new project that strategically combines event space, catering and a business hotel, where Anna will work as Assistant Hotel Director.
What has been the highlight of the International Master in Tourism and Hospitality Management at EADA?
The Leadership Development Program in Collbató Residential Training Campus has definitely been the highlight of the Master. With the help of industry experts and coaches, we work on personal development, discover our leadership style and how to effectively manage teams and organisations. These classes helped me immensely to approach challenges within the teams and adopt a growth mindset.
How can you apply the knowledge and skills learned in class in your future career?
Both the industry-specific knowledge covered in class and the different skills acquired will be key in my next role. The impact of Covid-19 and the latest trends in every business aspect are part of our class discussions. The resulting knowledge prepares me for opening and managing a hotel in times of Covid. The skills developed during this year will allow me to stay flexible and tackle challenges effectively as they arise.
How important are soft skills for your future position as a manager in the hospitality industry?
Soft skills are important for managers in any industry, in hospitality they are essential. The people we lead are in constant contact with the client, so we managers need to lead by example and demonstrate the desired behaviours at any time. For delivering exceptional customer service, the company culture has to embody a serving attitude and employees need to be engaged and motivated to care for guests. How to create this environment and develop teams was very much a focus of our Strategic People Management and Service Culture Excellence classes.
What qualities do you think a good leader needs to have? In what way has the programme helped you develop your leadership skills?
To be a good leader, the focus needs to be on soft skills. Communication and listening skills, paired with empathy are fundamental to achieving a positive environment within the company and beyond. These qualities are a big focus of Collbató, but also necessary in our everyday classes and to achieve results within our teams. Some other traits I believe are vital for a good leader are honesty, accountability and flexibility. EADA has helped me enormously in developing these qualities both within the class environment and in my role as delegate.
How do you see the future of the tourism and hospitality sector?
The pandemic has shifted the way consumers behave and urged the players in the sector to innovate. I believe that a big trend in the hospitality sector will be personalization, and the use of new technologies to achieve that personalization. This year has been a great opportunity for hoteliers to update and upgrade their technologies to take advantage of the possibilities that Big Data, IoT and AI offer.
Another trend that we have witnessed with the rise of Millennials is experience-driven travel, the seeking to engage with the local community and conscious travel, which will be more important than ever after the pandemic.
What role do you think innovation and sustainability will play in the tourism and hospitality sector in the future?
Environmental sustainability has become a basic, something a client expects from any type of business he interacts with. It is time to take it a step further and include sustainability in every aspect of the business. This includes social sustainability and serving the community to ensure mutual benefit. Innovation, especially technological innovation has been accelerated by the pandemic and many hospitality companies have embraced this chance to make a change. I’m excited to see where the future will lead us.