Michal Trzeciak's Story
My love of hospitality began when I was a child; I used to travel a bit with my parents around Poland and my aunt and uncle took me abroad. That was quite a big thing then because not that many people were able to travel abroad; we stayed in hotels, so my fascination with hotels started then.
After that, I graduated with a Masters degree in hotel management and put my enthusiasm into practice while studying. I loved hotels because there was so much life in them, with people from many cultures and countries. I had work experience as well because during my summer holidays I went to Dublin, Ireland. I worked in City West Hotel; it has 764 rooms, apartments, and two golf courses. I was a night porter and I did a lot of things because at night you don’t have too many staff members in the hotel, I even had to prepare sandwiches. It lasted four months and my thesis was based on my experience there.
The first thing I noticed was that hotels have a soul and there are people working there who are devoted to their profession and are passionate about it, so they are not just coming to work, they make good things for other people.
After my studies, I was a night auditor in Mercure Warsaw Grand; it was my first role in Accor. I worked night shifts for about six months and then I was promoted to receptionist. Working night shifts gives you a lot of possibilities to learn and requires you to be independent, decisive and responsible as you might be one of a very few employees in the hotel – everyone will call you during emergency. Receptionist is different, you have more contact with guests and get to know them, which was very nice.
Being promoted to guest relations manager was a good step for me because I had more time to spend with guests, which is very important in hospitality because we are here to give the best experiences to the guest. After that I became front office manager for over a year and for the first time, I had my own team to manage and had people for whom I should be there if they need me. I did enjoy it and it is definitely challenging.
Then I decided to leave hospitality and work for Emirates, the airline. I started as an economy steward and then became a business class flight attendant. In economy class they have processes for everything, so the service is not so personal, but in business class it is much more personal and you get a better insight into the luxury segment.
That was a good experience but at the same time quite physically demanding; you do have some time to rest in both cabins but jetlag is always there with you. I had planned to stay longer but after 3½ years, I returned from flying around the world.
One of the reasons I worked for the airline is that I always wanted to travel. Accor also gives you the opportunity to work abroad and that stimulated me to come back to Accor and dedicate myself to work in the internal audit department. Now I am with Sofitel, but I would love to travel, develop myself and see how other hotels work. I would love to travel and work somewhere else if I have the opportunity and to see how resort hotels work. I am open to anything – I like to meet new cultures and I am quite easy with that; it opens your mind.
My advice to anyone working in hospitality is that they should try everything because maybe if you are not a good receptionist or waiter, you can try a different department until you find what gives you the most satisfaction. If you work in the hospitality business, you have to love people; not every day is easy but it will give you priceless experience that is not only useful in your professional life.
And to someone looking for work, the hospitality industry is picking up again and governments are loosening travel restrictions, so hospitality will be rising and there will be more and more opportunities to develop and go to other countries. People were locked in their houses for months and now they want to discover places and cultures, so there is a lot of openings for newcomers to come into the business and stay in it for life.
- Michal Trzeciak
- Director of Operations
- Sofitel Warsaw Victoria (Poland)