Fernando Horta, the General Manager of Hotel de Bourgtheroulde, Autograph Collection, is sharing his insights into travelling and working in hospitality.
Tell us a little about yourself:
Fernando Horta, Portuguese, 62 years young, married, 3 daughters, currently serving as General Manager of Hotel de Bourgtheroulde, Marriott Autograph Collection, Rouen, France.
I have worked in Portugal, Spain, Angola, United Arab Emirates, Cameroon, Morocco and France, 13 hotels so far, some of the iconic properties like the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi or the Pine Cliffs Resort, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Albufeira, Portugal, just to mention two.
I have sailed all the Oceans and Seas, visited 52 countries so far, and am fluent in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish. I consider myself, a citizen of the World.
What was your first job in the industry?
F.: After University and 8 years working for the Oil industry, I started my career in the hotels as Assistant Chief Engineer at the former Le Meridien Lisbon (Portugal). Currently Intercontinental Lisbon
What do you love the most about hospitality?
F.: People. Be it the external guests or the internal ones, getting to meet people from other backgrounds, countries, regions, and so on, is the main reason for me to love our industry. Having worked so far in 7 countries from 3 continents helped me enlarge my view of the world, helped me grow as a person and as a professional and has helped me to develop my Emotional Intelligence, which in turn helps me in my day-to-day life.
What was the bigger challenge you had to overcome on your way to success?
F.: The biggest challenge was moving from a purely technical background into operations. It’s not very common in our industry, and after so many years people still ask me how I was able to do it. They rarely ask the same from someone who started in Sales, Front Office or Finance. But for an engineer, that’s a different story.
What makes one a true hotelier?
F.: A true hotelier is driven by the passion for service, a keen eye for the smallest detail and above all a Leader of others. We all know the expression that says “don’t take care of your guests. Take care of the people that work with you, and they will take care of the Guests”. Being there for them, understand that they might be away from their families, their countries, often speaking on a day-to-day basis a foreign language, listen to their needs, is instrumental in what we do. The passion I mentioned before makes all this so simple.
What would be your advice to beginners in the industry?
F.: My advice: Be yourself, ask questions, copy the good examples you see at the job, surround yourself with good people, put passion in everything you do, and if you find a good mentor, absorb everything you can. The rest comes naturally.