HOTELIER Magazine 2nd issue - English - Page 36

Vahe Khachatryan - General Manager of Courtyard Moscow Paveletskaya Tell us a little bit about your “Journey”. graduated from the Yerevan State Institute of Economy as an accountant auditor. In 2001, in the frames of the student program, I went to the United States to work and travel. That was the beginning of my career in the hospitality sphere. In the very beginning, I worked as a room cleaner for a local brand, I can’t remember the name. A bit later I was supervising the cleanness of the hotel’s pool and private beach at the Atlantic Ocean. Those were 2 unforgettable years, which I spent in the USA. Two years later, I decided to return to Armenia where I immediately went to serve in the army. After this, I went back to the university where I received my diploma in 2006. Simultaneously, in 2005, I began my career with Marriott Yerevan as a Housekeeping floor supervisor. Two years later, I was promoted as a Housekeeping manager of the hotel. I always remember the years spent in Armenia Marriott Hotel. In my opinion, it is still the best hotel I’ve ever worked for, the real school of the hospitality industry. In this job, you should love it and if you love it you do your best every day and you never think in the mornings “oh…, again I should go to that place”; you never look at your watch when the working day is over. Marriott is a distinguished school. If you want to grow, the opportunity will be granted. The company provides you with all tools for work; it trains you and teaches how to act with integrity at all times. Here, they teach in a different way and as a result, you are developing in a different way. For me, Marriott is a family-run hotel chain that changes the mentality of employees and people. Loyalty towards the brand is vital for me. When you devote yourself to a brand, it becomes a part of your family. Those values are higher than salaries or any other benefits. This is a typical western type of work relation and working culture. I do respect such a way of doing business. Let me go back to my journey. Since I had a f inancial background, I was offered to move to t h e I Finance department as my next career step which I agreed with great pleasure. In the beginning, I was doing my job in Housekeeping for half a day and then trainings in accounting. After working there for a few months as an Accounting manager, the regional office offered me to move to other location, and at the end of 2009, I moved to Renaissance Samara Hotel as a Deputy Director of Finance. Later in 2011, I was promoted as a Director of Finance of the hotel. My next move was in 2013 to the east of Russia, the city of Novosibirsk. Our company opened a new branded Marriott hotel and I worked there as a Director of Finance. For the first time, I could feel what Siberian cold means, when outside is minus 35 degree but life still goes on; it’s like you are in huge “walk-in fridge” - the hoteliers will understand what I mean! The next step was Georgia, where I was a Director of Finance of Marriott properties in Tbilisi for almost 2 years. In 2017, we opened there a fantastic hotel - the Moxy Tbilisi and I do encourage everyone who visits Tbilisi to try this product. Later in 2017, I have been promoted to my first General Manager’s position in Courtyard by Marriott Moscow Paveletskaya Hotel and I live and work in Moscow now. Of course, it is not easy to relocate all the time from one city to another. Nevertheless, it is already a style of life and you never know where and when the next opportunity comes. Thus, you gain the experience that you cannot obtain anywhere else. How did you get this position? Did you choose your work or did it just happen to be that way? f course, it is true that everything depends on a person and sometimes there is a piece of luck as well. The formula of success is simple, love what you do and do your best. We have 7,000 hotels, out of which 2,500 are directly managed hotels and the rest are franchises located all over the world. In Europe, the number has increased even more after the acquisition of Starwood; so, there are future opportunities. You never know, which hotel you will happen to work next. There is an unwritten standard; the General Manager should be replaced every 3-4 years. There are several positions as well that fall into this logic. Those positions are: the Director of Finance and the Director of Sales. Of course, that does not mean other executives cannot be moved. In general, a hospitality business requires mobility. Relocations are done on purpose - to avoid inaction, which means downfalls. As soon as you feel you have nothing to do, you must look for new opportunities. During the past 14 years, I have changed five hotels and I am happy about that. This is a life experience, which makes you more professional in every aspect of life. O