Women are the strength of Louvre Hotels Group. Interview with General Manager of Campanile Łódź
photo. LHG Campanile
Their passion for hospitality and leadership talents are the foundation of the industry hospitality. Joanna Kostecka, General Manager of the Campanile Łódź hotel, was selected from among many reported women in Europe as a strong personality of the Campanile brand. On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, Joanna Kostecka shared her story and talked about her work.
Tell us about your career path.
Joanna Kostecka (General Manager, Campanile Łódź): I started my career in 2008 at the Campanile Łódź hotel. It was my first job. I became a receptionist in a newly opened hotel, and a year later an assistant to the General Manager! Before I was promoted, however, I enrolled in the Polish-French MBA postgraduate studies at the University of Lyon 3 in France. This step really opened the door to a future career for me. In 2011 I was appointed First Assistant Manager at the Kyriad hotel in Loon-Plage near Dunkirk, France. It was my great adventure – life lesson and key experience. At the end of 2012, I moved to the Campanile Lublin hotel, where I was offered the position of General Manager. After three years, I returned to my hometown of Łódź and to the Campanile hotel operating here.
What your typical workday looks like?
J.K.: I usually start by saying hello to my team and our guests and then reviewing reports from the previous day and the night before. Then the day begins in full swing, depending on what happens at the hotel. There are days filled to the brim with meetings, others I spend mainly at the desk, analyzing the financial results, or at the reception, greeting and saying goodbye to guests. I do not fall into a routine because I can always count on something unplanned or unforeseen to happen. We face many challenges. That is why flexibility and an open mind are so important in this work.
What are your responsibilities and what are the challenges you face?
J.K.: Each day is full of challenges for us. There are, for example, staff shortages. Then we need a replacement. Sometimes I have to find a waiter for the day shift quickly. A lot is happening, so as a hotel director I have to be open to new ideas and look for unconventional solutions.
Which made you interested in working in the hotel industry? What do you like about your job?
J.K.: A variety of activities that allows me to develop by meeting new people, facing various situations, carrying out various tasks, constantly learning and, of course, traveling. I love establishing relationships with guests! I know that preparing financial reports is an important part of my job, but without guests in a hotel, there is no life! It took its toll during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we restricted the hotel’s operations and could not accept customers. In the hotel industry, relations with guests are the basis of success.
How would you describe the “Campanile spirit” in your daily work?
J.K.: For me, the Campanile spirit is a spirit of partnership. I have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, but I know who to rely on, who to ask for help. Even if I disagree with something, I can always present my own point of view and find the best solution in a spirit of constructive cooperation. This is very important because my mission is to build a team responsible for creating a welcoming and friendly atmosphere in which both my guests and employees feel good, as well as – myself.
How would you describe the position of women in the hospitality industry??
J.K.: In the Polish region of Louvre Hotels Group, the majority of hotel directors are women. The hotel industry is not easy, it is very demanding. When I leave work the hotel stays open so in case of emergency I always stay in touch with my fifteen employees. Fortunately, we women are well organized, which helps us optimize our time and get our tasks done. Of course we make mistakes, but we fight and never give up because we have strong personalities and hospitality is in our blood!
What is your greatest achievement while working for Campanile?
J.K.: Without a doubt, winning the first prize in the Mystery Guest program from 2017, in which I obtained a 100% result! This is a competition in which the management board sends us a substitute client to measure the quality of our service. This success belongs not only to me, but to my entire team, of which I am very proud. I also played a role in raising the standard of our hotel to three stars. A total of three hotels in which I have worked have won this award. This is a great personal achievement for me!
Do you have any advice for women interested in working in the hospitality industry?? What memories you can share with them?