General Manager, Hotel Nemzeti Budapest (Hungary)

Gábor Ulkei

Gábor Ulkei's Story

It is hard to say what I have found most inspiring. I couldn’t decide what sector interested me, so I started work in reception at Hilton and after a few years, I got more confident and got interested in other departments. After reception, moved to reservations, which was interesting and I learned a lot; I refined my position and the department and that’s when I got inspired and motivated. Then moved to Sofitel Budapest as a sales manager and here, I felt I could be myself and could grow.

Of all the honours I have won, being a Heartist always comes first; when I could become a Heartist supertransformer – it was an amazing journey. I was in the last group and had the chance to meet people from South America, Africa, Asia; spending five days together from early morning to late evening was really emotional and I still have friends from this group – from Moscow, Miami, UK… I also had the chance to be part of the transformation with colleagues in Hungary. We had seven training sessions where we had the chance to meet with GM and other Heartist transformers.

The other wonderful project was topical procurement, when I was surrounded by people from all over the world and with different backgrounds. I worked with three amazing ladies; one was from Dubai and was working on loyalty, one from France working on IT, and a third from Madrid in sales. We worked for seven months in Paris head office on creating and launching a B2B and B2C online platform to sell independent hotels and to individuals; we called it Alfred. The challenge was to improve the product and to find out how Accor could be more successful both inside and outside the company.

In hospitality, you need to be really open, to love people and to love challenges; expect the unexpected because each day is different and when you think everything is OK then something happens that needs dealing with. If you are afraid of challenges or are worried about people, it would be difficult to love your job.

Hospitality is perfect for someone who loves working in a team. What I love the most is meeting people of different backgrounds and I have learned a lot from that. The decisions you need to make every day, even at reception or as a restaurant supervisor, help you grow as an individual.

  • Gábor Ulkei
  • General Manager
  • Hotel Nemzeti Budapest