So without further ado, meet Samy!
What is a regular day like for you at Il Sereno?
My day at work is never the same. First of all, I try to remind myself every day how fortunate I am to enjoy such an amazing view of the shores of Lake Como from my office. It’s very difficult to find a more beautiful place to work. A workday for me is usually divided equally between time spent with our guests, time on my computer or on the telephone, and time working with colleagues on any number of projects. In previous years when travel was easier to manage, I would spend a fair amount of time around the world for press tours or marketing-related events. Nowadays, I enjoy the opportunity to meet many more of our guests.
What is the key ingredient for ensuring success at Sereno Hotels?
First and foremost, it’s the Sereno team that is committed to the guest experience. I do my best to personally welcome every single guest that arrives at the hotel and use that time to learn as much as possible about them. We are not here to dictate the meaning of luxury. This is different for each guest based on personal and past experiences. It is our job to best understand what this means to the guest and how best to meet their expectations. It is this connection with our guests that has brought many of them back on numerous occasions. The second key to success is understanding the importance of the entire guest-experience cycle. Each member of our staff understands their role and contribution to the overall experience for every guest. The cycle starts with a reservation and from there we move to arrival, check-in process, rooms, dining, housekeeping, and so on. This all impacts on the guest’s overall experience with each employee contributing to it.
How do you engage and motivate people?
It is important to take the time to express our gratitude for their hard work and also recognize their contribution to the end result. This recognition and gratitude breeds loyalty while also motivating the team to achieve success. Everything that we have accomplished at Sereno Hotels in the past years can be contributed to a very dedicated and committed team of professionals that we have.
How have your past professional experiences contributed to your current job at Sereno Hotels?
I think what has helped me is an innovative approach to every place I’ve worked in. In my first job working in corporate and agency sales at Air France, I used to take the time to drive to JFK airport and also Houston Intercontinental airport to meet and greet our biggest VIP clients on-board the aircraft prior to departure. After Air France, I worked at Frosch, a travel management company in New York City, where I took the time to get acquainted with thousands of visiting hoteliers. I had observed and learned the best practices in the industry not only for marketing, but more importantly for client issues, resolution, and commitment for delivering exceptional service to top VIP clients of Frosch. Following these experiences, and thanks to the vision and willingness of Le Sereno’s owners to take a risk on a General Manager with a somewhat unconventional background, I brought a fresh perspective to the organization and direction.
Sereno Hotels has two main properties, how do you manage to divide your time?
On average, I spend 6 months in St. Barths and 6 months in Lake Como. A large part of the team does the same thing and spends half the season in each location. This actually helps us develop and maintain the special level of service associated with Sereno Hotels as well as cultivate client relations that frequent both properties.
What’s the most surprising request a guest has ever made?
Once we had a VIP guest at the hotel who wanted to swim in the lake. One of his personal security guards did not plan for this to ensure proper security protocol, so they asked me to somehow explain to the guest that the water was very dangerous and it was not a good idea to swim.
In the current environment, now that you’re spending more time in Lake Como, what do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Lake Como is a beautiful place for hikes, something I’ve recently started doing. It’s a great workout and a great way to get to know the lake and surrounding mountains. One of my biggest passions, and something that makes me feel at home, is cooking, so I spend a lot of time experimenting with local ingredients. Side-note…curries of all kinds are also a personal favourite of mine. I also recently bought a bike and have been discovering new paths. Lake Como is a popular place for bikers, they’re all over!
All these experiences and the fact that Samy has never worked in hospitality before developed into something very positive for Sereno Hotels. If you would like to experience the personalised, signature luxury of Il Sereno for yourself, why not visit Samy and the team in Lake Como this season? Have a look at the gorgeous suites and facilities at Il Sereno here and make a booking online or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to welcoming you soon.