A true leader has the ability to anticipate and predict any future challenges and has the experience and grit to implement measures and solutions to eradicate any issues. Meet Hubert Viriot, Chief Executive Officer of YOTEL, an impeccable leader who’s determination and passion for what he believes in, has contributed exceptionally in pushing YOTEL to new heights. He feels and believes that becoming the CEO of YOTEL was a great opportunity for him to bring all his global experience to life in an exciting and disruptive new brand. Under his leadership, the company has witnessed tremendous growth in its business with doubling its headcount over the past 12 months, including new hotels all around the globe.
“To the contrary – the more technology develops the more we can dream and the more the impossible becomes possible. I truly believe the two go hand in hand and the one enables the other,” believes Hubert.
Building Branches from the Roots
Hubert personally states that, in a way, he has always been close to the hospitality business and certainly started out his training and later career in hospitality. He received his BS degree in International Management form the University of Wales and a BS degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the Glion Hotel School in Switzerland.
Prior to joining YOTEL, he was CEO of Raimon Land PLC, a real estate developer listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). During his four-year tenure, he orchestrated the successful turnaround of Raimon Land and increased the company’s development portfolio, it became one of the top 5 performing stocks on the SET and incorporated in the SET 100 Index.
He also spent four years as Vice President of Investments & Acquisitions with IFA Hotels & Resorts, YOTEL’s parent company, and five years with HVS, a global consulting firm focused on the hospitality, tourism and real estate industries.
Exceptional Services to Rely On
“We were the first to do what we do– offering guests everything they need and nothing they don’t,” believes the team at YOTEL. The company says it did it by cleverly utilising every square inch of space and injecting technology into ordinary functions of the business to save guests and crew time to get on with more important things in life.
Today many other brands have followed suit, also clocking on to the needs of the modern traveller and it is up to YOTEL to always stay a few steps ahead. It has perfected its design in order to create small but cleverly formed spaces, incorporating its fully adjustable and space saving SmartBed™, time saving self-check in kiosks as well as incorporating delivery and luggage concierge robots.
Hubert states that YOTEL is a hotel operating company and it work with both Hotel Management Agreements as well as Franchise Agreements. Due to its clever design principles, the company can offer its owners great return on their investment, as it can fit on average around 50% more rooms into the same space as traditional hotels.
An Employee-centric Company
At YOTEL, it is important to them to give their teams the freedom to succeed, to allow them to be creative and different in their approach to hospitality and to have fun in the process. The hotel business is a 24/7 business and it is important that the teams at YOTEL always have the support they need.
In addition, and unlike various traditional hotels, YOTEL creates interesting job positions or descriptions, which in return ensures great staff retention. “We don’t have positions like receptionist, or luggage concierge, but rather a combination of it all,” adds Hubert. The company leave mundane tasks like room deliveries and luggage concierges to its robot crew and free up its teams to get on with more important things, like interacting with guests and making local recommendations.
Way of Leadership to Inspire From
To Hubert, leadership has always been about inspiring people to do what they do, better than what they have ever imagined, even though it is by no means an easy fete, especially in today’s fast paced and competitive environment. As per his experience, the people he has always respected as leaders, have all shown real integrity, accountability and passion. In addition, they are people who communicate clearly and, on all levels, have the ability to make difficult and quick decisions under pressure. “Great leaders are people who take the time to mentor potential in others and getting people to buy into a vision through positive influence. It is these attributes in great leaders that inspires me every day to be one,” says Hubert.
A Glimpse into YOTEL’s Future
Hubert for one see sustainability as the future for hotels. Brands like YOTEL attract young successful people and all trends are showing that sustainability is increasingly becoming more important for travellers making decisions on hotel brands etc. In addition, responsible companies buying business travel will only partner with accommodation offerings that can prove sustainability. For the same reason trends like fitness and wellbeing is also playing an increasingly bigger role in how people travel and stay.
At the beginning of the last decade, for the industry, it was all about Airbnb and similar offerings, but what this has actually done for hotels, is to force better practices and adopting creative ways of doing things differently. For YOTEL this was all about the technology and the consistency thereof at all the company’s properties.
“I am positive that AI will also play a big role in the development of the hospitality industry in the next five years.”, asserts Hubert.
Advice One Must Cherish
Hubert states that YOTEL was the brainchild of someone who received an upgrade on a long-haul flight and there the idea was born about bringing the concept of luxury in small spaces to hotels. It took a lot of termination, focus, mistakes and hard work to get it done.
He also adds that learning from mistakes and experiences and having a sharp eye for new ideas in other industries too, can help your own course along just fine. He mentions that their customers or guests will always be their biggest source of feedback – it helps to be obsessed with them – this way you will get the experience right and set yourself aside from your competition.
At the end of the day – you need to believe in and love what you do – that is 50% of success already achieved