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Konstantin Zeuke, Kempinski Hotel River Park Bratislava

Konstanin Zeuke has been working for Kempinski since 1998, starting as a front office manager in Munich. But he was no stranger to the world of luxury having previously worked for HiltonMarriott and a couple of independent five-star hotels in Germany.
Within Kempinski he has spent time in nearly every department; from operations to reservations and revenue management, in hotels all around the world including Germany, Kuwait, Egypt, Bulgaria and the United Arab Emirates. At the age of 33 he became the youngest General Manager within Kempinski hotels.
 

Konstantin Zeuke was born in 1971 in Germany, he obtained degree in Hotel administration and continued his MBA studies at the Reims Management School in France. He is married and has a son. He speaks German, English and has basic knowledge of French and Bulgarian.

 

 

 
 
In November 2007 he was sent by the company to Slovakia to became a General Manager of Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras, which he successfully opened in May 2009. At the moment he is preparing the opening of another Kempinski 5 star luxury hotel in Slovakia - Kempinski Hotel River Park Bratislava.
 

Konstantin Zeuke enjoys opening new hotels, Kempinski Hotel River Park Bratislava is his 3rd opening. As he says ´especially when you do openings its very exciting, because it’s like a baby, it grows with you together. New hotel opening is always a very hard field job, but you can see how the hotel is growing and improving and contribute on it by implementing your own ideas into it.´

 

 
Konstantin Zeuke has chosen a career in hospitality industry because he loves to travel and to work with people. ´When I started in the hotel industry 17 years ago, I said to myself that by 35 I have to be a general manager in a 5 star hotel, which worked out very well – even 2 years earlier. It was also tough, if you are young you have to earn respect, what is quite challenging.
Also if you work around the world with different nationalities you have to learn how to communicate with people from various cultural backgrounds. When I worked in Dubai I had 37 different nationalities working for me, this was quite challenging because I had to treat them all differently. You cannot treat the Chinese like the Russian etc.
But this taught me a lot and helped me to grow in this industry. ´
 
Mr. Zeuke studied a lot and went to a lot of seminars, trainings and colleges of hospitality: ´I worked my way up at the same time working and studying and I achieved what I wanted. And even now I’m still studding. If you want to grow you should never stop learning.´
 
We asked Konstantin Zeuke about the elements of success in hospitality industry.
According to his opinion, ´The key element of a successful hotel is the management - a strong and loyal management team.
The ´hardware´, design, furniture etc. is important, but everything ends up with people. The employee has a contact with the guest, the employee is providing services and if the quality of services is high, the guest will come back. This is what a hotel needs, it is the easiest propaganda, the best marketing. People are willing to pay more for truly excellent service.´
 
 
When hiring new employees Kempinski is looking mainly for talent and attitude. As Mr. Zeuke says: ´Attitude is very important, if you have good attitude, you are welcomed. You don’t have to be a professional in hotel industry, but if you have the right attitude, I can train you, I can give you experience, but I cannot ever change your attitude
In a successful hotel Front of the House has to run well - that is what a guest sees, but a hotelier has to realize that ´if it is not organized from back of the house properly, it will not be working. ´
At the communication level towards the public and potential guests the PR expertise and the right positioning of the hotel is essential. ´A hotel has to have good effective advertisement campaigns, because it costs a lot of money and you have to get your return out of it somehow.´
 
His message is ´ Be innovative, go always with trends, even beyond trends. Try to be the best, always. But this you can only achieve with the right team and because everything starts from the top - if top is not working, nothing works.´
 
And what qualities should a successful hotelier have according to Konstantin Zeuke?
´A successful hotelier needs to hire the right people. Nobody is a expert in everything, so hiring specialists for departments is a good solution.´ As Mr. Zeuke advise ´trust the people, but always do the follow ups
Other important qualities are time management and organizing talent, ability to be creative, innovative, follow the trends and be up to date - not only in hotel industry but also in other areas, e.g. culture, art, law etc. ´A good hotelier should be able to take risk, accept the challenge and be confident, no matter what is he doing. Mistakes can happen, nobody is Mr. or Mrs. Perfect, but if you are not confident you will never have followers and you need followers, without them your business will not grow or improve.´
 
 
´Aspire to inspire - this is what I do with my people to keep them running
It´s important to get the team together to run in one direction, trying to achieve the same goals. ´I have an open ear, I am listening to my people, if they have a better idea, of course I accept it. I have an open door philosophy, everybody can come in anytime, share the idea or the problem.´
´A good hotelier have to be a host, welcome the people, welcome the guests, treat them. The main host is the GM and this person has to be always visible.´
 
Konstantin Zeuke likes working in Slovakia ´I am here for 2 yeas. The opening in High Tatras went very well. I am familiar with Slovak mentality. As German, I am a little bit strict now and then, sometimes I have to push a little harder to make sure things will be ready on time.
But I can see the people changed their habits, the crisis was a bit helpful for this. People were more relaxed couple of years ago when business was running well. Now they just don’t know when they might loose their job and that changed them. ´
 
 
´The country is nice, High Tatras are beautiful, I was very often in Košice or Banská Bystrica. Slovaks are open people, they treat you nicely, if you are nice to them.
There are of course areas that have to improve, the service is not so good, but if you go to Austria for example, some waiters are Slovaks and they are all very good.
For example in Bratislava the quality of restaurants is improving, they are hiring Italian chefs which bring a different flair into it, it’s what people want. It doesn’t mean that Slovak chefs are not good, in Germany we also have a lot of Italian, French or Swiss chefs.´
 
If Konstantin Zeuke could open a hotel anywhere around the world, it would be New York City. ´It would be my dream job, New York is brilliant city. But I can go anywhere, I worked in Dubai, Egypt, Bulgaria, now Slovakia, that’s the beauty of the job.´
 
 
Since in Slovakia many of small independent hotels are managed by their owners, who invested the money in a hotel but do not have any background in hospitality industry, we asked Konstantin Zeuke what would he recommend to these hoteliers:
´If you run a hotel and you have no idea what it is about, you have to travel around and test other hotels. That is what I did in Hight Tatras when I was opening a hotel there. I was traveling around in Austria, Switzerland, Italy where I tested 5-star mountain luxury resorts. I observed what they do, what can I do better, how do they promote it, how they give information to the clients, how they position themselves, what kind of food they offer, what treatments are in the spa, how do they treat the guests, what about kids, family friendly approach, etc.´
 
´The wheels are already invented, you don’t have to do it again, but you can do it better.´
 
 
 

 

 

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