Wojciech Kawulka's Story
I didn’t plan my career, getting into hospitality was a fortunate coincidence. Before my first job, because of good results in high school and the pressure of society; I started to study engineering at one of the best schools in Poland and then decided it was not for me, even though I was very good at it. That was one of the best decisions I ever made but I would not have made that decision without the experience from Erasmus+ programme and other non-formal education activities where I had the chance to meet a lot of people and hear their stories.
After leaving the university, I simply needed to earn money so I started to work as a receptionist in Mercure Wroclaw Centrum. It had never occurred to me I would work in a hotel. It was supposed to be a job for three months and now it is more than 5½ years later in hospitality industry! My personality helped me get into different roles in hospitality but in the beginning, it was mostly the experience from the non – formal education activities, travelling and exploring the world. That made it easy for me to work on the front desk, meeting people, getting to know them and listening to their stories. After some time, I started to study management and got a chance to use my creativity as Guest Experience Manager – and because of it I fell in love with Hospitality.
During Covid, I was relocated twice to work in different hotels in Poland. First time was for one month, when I was working as a Guest Experience Manager in Novotel Gdansk Marina. On the day I joined they were making photoshoot and videos of the hotel so supporting it was my first challenge. The second relocation was for two months at Novotel Szczecin Centrum. These opportunities to be relocated and work in different hotel for some time, they opened my eyes to the ways the managers in hotels in different cities worked, and helped me understand other points of view and learn even more.
That experience inspired me to change something, which is why I joined the head office in Warsaw. I wanted to make a change in my life, get out of my comfort zone and move to a different city. I thought that working for the head office would be good, so I started to research opportunities – I was looking for a particular opening. There is always a way to use creative talents and in my current role, there might be an opportunity to do that. I have a number of skills and I want to develop in general as a person, so I will keep trying new things.
To someone in the industry, if you are in one department, observe other departments, what they do, to see whether something might suit you better. Look at experienced people and see what they can give you. There are plenty of people who have been working for hospitality for 20 or 30 years and they can give you something which is priceless – their experience. Observe them and see what you can learn from them.
Also, get involved in projects outside your department. When I was a receptionist, I tried to develop certain skills because I wanted to get into the sales department. Try something different, with guests and colleagues – after trying 20 things, you will find your role and what works the best.
- Wojciech Kawulka
- Guest Experience & Loyalty Performance Analyst