Wisdom from one of the world's leading hoteliers.
Life Lessons: Sir Rocco Forte
Sir Rocco Forte, 66, is one of the world's leading hoteliers, with 13 hotels and resorts around the globe. The native of Bournemouth, England was in the capital this month for the launch of the Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi. He shares his wisdom with M magazine
1. Take pride in what you do and strive to be the best. My father taught me the importance of a strong work ethic and was always insistent that I worked for my money. He allowed me to sit in on business meetings and I spent half my school holidays working in the hotel, doing everything from dish washing to clerical work. He taught me the importance of knowing the business from the ground up.
2. Keep yourself fit and healthy. Keeping fit is an important part of my daily routine. I feel uncomfortable when I don't exercise. Staying fit keeps your mind in focus. I have represented Britain within my age group in the World Triathlon Championships and have also participated in Iron Man events. I am thinking about competing in the London Marathon again, in the over-65 category. I also enjoy shooting, fishing and golf.
3. Know your customer. I understand what the luxury customer wants. The five-star product is very sophisticated; it's made out of lots of different elements, which all have to be right. With a five-star hotel, there's more than just the way the rooms look. There's the service delivery, and that's where a lot of effort is made. It's also about creating a glamorous atmosphere with some theatre.
4. Maintain your perspective and have one clear message. When the banking crisis struck in 2008, we reviewed our costs. It was the first time we had looked closely at the costs in the hotels, because I'd always had the view that the guy in charge must have one clear message and act according to that message. And the message in this company was all about service quality. And if I had started telling people, actually, the message is really about costs, then the message would be diluted.
5. Be aware of the evolving world around you. Technology is important in reaching the market but should never replace human contact.
As told to Helena Frith Powell