Tomasz Schweda's Story
My love of hospitality started many years ago, although its beginnings were hardly typical. At the age of six, I was attending music school, playing piano and violin, and that remained part of my life for another decade; at the time, I was planning to become a professional musician.
In my teenage years, I started travelling a lot, spending free time with my parents and friends, and dedicating myself to my musical career. That is when that I started to get interested in how the hotels I was staying in were operating behind the scenes. I felt inspired by the fact that these places are bustling with life 24 hours a day, and that one can meet people from all over the world in one place.
I was amazed that one could wake up in Prague and fall asleep in Vienna; these places and the stories they told were almost magical. Back then, I decided to cut my musical education short and at the age of 16, I started studying at a hotel business school in my home town of Bielsko-Biala, at the foot of the Polish mountains.
Following my graduation from a four-year course, where I learned a great deal of theoretical knowledge about the hospitality industry, I pursued a five-year management degree at one of the Polish economics universities, majoring in Euromarketing in Tourism and Hospitality, and Business Communication. I followed this up with Management Academy postgraduate studies at the Kozminski University in Warsaw. For me, combining theoretical knowledge with practice and matching it to the requirements and realities of the real world has always been an important part of life; that is why I balanced study with working full time and developing my career.
At the age of 20 – nearly 15 years ago – I started working as a front office agent at one of the chain hotels in my home town. As my passion for the hospitality industry grew, I learned about more and more aspects of operating a hotel. In the following years, I worked for several international chains in various destinations, becoming a front office shift leader, front office manager, rooms division manager, operations manager, sales manager and senior sales manager.
Years later, my hard work paid off and I was promoted to multi-hotel director of sales & marketing at a luxury hotel chain. There are few things that enable truly exciting growth and personal development, and that offer numerous opportunities to meet interesting people. In my case, I was fully committed to my job, while pursuing my passion for hospitality and being on the move. In 2018, I was recognised by the industry, winning Polish Hotelier of the Year.
There is no better way to show that if you love what you do and are authentic and true to yourself, you can achieve a lot. I am glad that today I can be general manager of the flagship Mercure Krakow Old Town Hotel and lead an exceptional team to create this extraordinary place, by people and for people, in the heart of magical Krakow.
The hospitality that I have in my heart is very emotional – it is all about creating special moments for our guests and enjoying everything we do for them. Turning work into pleasure means that we will never just work – instead, we will become creators and virtuosos. As in music, to give an extraordinary performance, it is never enough just to read the score and play the notes. You have to be creative, be yourself and add a piece of yourself to everything you do, enjoying the opportunity to create and deliver exceptional experiences for your audience – your listeners, if you are a musician, or your guests, if you are a hotelier.
This is the story of my lifelong passion for the industry. These days, it is more than just a passion – it has become a lifestyle. The beauty of hospitality is that everybody can write a unique story about getting where they are… you just have to dare to do it!
- Tomasz Schweda
- General Manager
- Mercure Krakow Old Town Hotel (Poland)