Warm greetings from Paris

INTERVIEW | Find out how Area Manager Anne Catherine Waelterle runs a successful integrated hospitality business at CitizenM and Yotel in Paris. With her passion for hospitality, she makes sure that the cleaning, linen, and maintenance runs smoothly. “Facility management for hospitality is not very common in France. In Paris, a little less, but in the rest of France, it is the old way of running a hotel. So, I believe that there are a lot of opportunities for us,” Anne Catherine says.

ABOUT | An Area Manager that thrives on helping others. She works for HFC for 2 years now. She describes herself ass polyvalent, service-oriented and a great listener. She lives in France with her boyfriend and they are expecting their first born in July 2021. One of her books at her bedside at the moment is Sister Fidelma by Peter Tremayne. Her morning ritual includes waking up slowly, clean up the house, put on makeup and straightening her hair.

Having a career in many layers of a hotel, what are your thoughts about a great hotel service?
Ten years ago it was the product that matters. Initially, we were looking for having a bell boy, a receptionist and valid parking. But when people travel a lot they are bothered by those services. What they are looking for is somebody that listens. It is about a welcome experience. The industry is changing, people are changing, and luxury is not a product anymore.

What are your key elements for running a successful integrated hospitality business?
I think listening to our guests, partners and the market is one of the most important elements to succeed. But to be successful we focus on managing our front- and back office very well. I have learned that a hotel can have a lot of guest and turnover, but that does not make you successful. If you do not work on your back office, you will lose a lot of money. I am aware of new technology and solutions. Spending time on training and the newest design is the key to run our company efficiently.

What has been the most rewarding part of your role?
I think when our clients or suppliers say that you really helped and supported them. We have the situation so often that people are saying thank you for being here and handling the situation.

What do you find the most challenging in your work?
Being everywhere. It is my mission to make every partner feel special like they are the only one while running many projects at the same time. This I find very interesting about HFC. I have different situations to handle in one day. I never know how my workday will be and that is great!

It seems like a challenging job and it takes a lot of creativity as well. What keeps you relaxed?
Nature inspires me to stay calm. I love hiking and discovering France nature. I can spend all seasons there. Hiking and mountain climbing is my favourite. Nature tells me not to resist change. For example, when skiing, the snow can be hard and challenging. But I need to reach the finish. And in my work, it teaches me how to adapt and be flexible. Not to be against the change, it will not work.

If you imagine your younger self, what advice would you give yourself? 
Stop doubting. When I was in hospitality, I was not sure if I was in the right industry, I was not sure about making the right choices. I always had doubts. From now I just understand that if you are confident it is going to be OK.

Do you have a motto?
You have people that are made for something and really have the talent for that. But I believe: when I work hard, nothing is impossible. I see this also in my team. We are training people who do not know how to read and how to write. And I am always coaching them. Yes, it will be though. But if you work hard it will work. We have now a girl who is a housekeeping manager, she was not able to read or write and we have one more in training which cannot hold a pen. Even if you are not designed for it, if you work harder than somebody else it will work.

How do you define success?
For me, success is not lean to your environment. It is not having something, it’s not being somebody, it’s just your goal what you want to achieve and if you achieve it you’re your most successful self.