INTERVIEW | While traveling around the world, Stijn von der Fuhr learned more about the relationship between hospitality and culture. In this short conversation, the Commercial Manager shares more about his experiences in the Middle East and more.

“In my opinion traveling is a form of investing in yourself. I love to travel to the craziness of Hanoi, beautiful Cape Town, The Sultanate of Oman, the bounty islands of the Philippines and I am lucky that I have been able to travel a lot so far. When I travel, I meet new people, experience different cultures and lifestyles, and do all kinds of activities that are not common in the Netherlands. Each day of traveling brings a new set of issues and opportunities. Trading familiarity and predictability for new places and faces is rewarding, and a change of scenery is for me the answer when I need to disconnect,” Stijn says.

Hospitality around the world
“Meeting people from other cultures teaches me that the way I have been looking at the world is not the way everybody else does. There are different views on what is the standard in the hospitality industry. Hospitality is about dealing with accommodation, food, and beverage for people away from home. I have experienced that the Middle East is a true pioneer in hospitality, thanks to consistently high standards of service. While there are many ways people show hospitality, the biggest expression of Middle Eastern hospitality is through food, drinks, and gestures. Hospitality in the Middle East is guest-oriented and far from a quick cup of tea. When invited for tea, set aside for at least 30 minutes and probably for one refill or two. When short on time, it is common to make that very clear to the host. Occasionally you may be asked into the home of a family that does not have much to share. Poverty is common in the Middle East, but people still give what they can. Making you feel welcome makes them feel proud. There are of course comparisons but also many differences between hospitality in Oman compared to a country like South Africa. South Africa has a high level of crime, including violence and murder. In Cape Town hospitality is more focused on giving a sense of security. A safe feeling ensures a pleasant stay and thus a feeling of home.”

Hospitality in Holland
“Although the Holland Image Research shows that 75% of visitors to our country think that the Netherlands is a hospitable country, I think we – as service industry – can improve a lot in our behavior. I believe that we as Hotel Facility Concepts can make a difference in making employees feel welcome in their (new) office environment. We have been working on the development of a new Integrated Facility Management (IFM) proposition for the office market. Due to Covid, we see the primary function of the workplace changing significantly and believe that managing the guest experience becomes a crucial factor. Our new proposition responds to the changing needs in the office market where workplaces are rapidly transforming into meeting places, in the spirit of a hotel.”

On a mission
“With HFC Integrated Facility Management it is our mission to make a memorable moment for our guests. We go a step further than just the entrance and departure at the office. We can learn from abroad by adapting the service-minded way of thinking and behavior from other cultures. It is our job as a service provider to make sure that all cultures feel at home and that going to the office becomes an experience!”