Reception Team Leader and Front Office Manager, Novotel Milano Malpensa Airport (Italy)

Marco lo Bello

Marco lo Bello's story

My first job was as an accountant in Turin. I enjoyed that because I’m quite good with numbers and they said I was well organised and precise as well, and I liked the environment, with just me and my manager working together in the office. It was a small gardening company, we sold trees, did garden maintenance and worked a lot with city councils.

I started in hospitality in the UK, Manchester, and I chose it mainly because of the human factor. It is all about people, you get to know a lot of customers from around the world with different cultures and religions; and to have the chance to meet all these people, to hear their tales and to get to know them – sometimes we become a therapist for these guests!

They share all their stories and problems they have while they are travelling. That’s what I like most about hospitality and it’s why I joined the industry. Also, I studied tourism at school, so I had the knowledge and skills.

Now we hear a lot about AI and how the future of hospitality could be self-check in and robots but the human touch makes the difference. We provide a service, an experience for the guest and if you lack feelings, emotion, empathy, you don’t give your best; that is definitely what I love most about hospitality.

I have two proudest moments. The first was in the UK, when I was chosen to be part of a new project the Ibis Group Desk. It was an office where we received all the group requests from across the UK – except London, which is a country itself! It was nice, a small team – only me and two other people from Accor. To be chosen from thousands of employees in Accor to start this project made me really proud, first because I’m not English, I’m Italian, and also being part of something that was created in England was huge for me because they noticed my abilities.

My second proud moment was a couple of  years ago here in Italy, when I was chosen to be team leader on the reception where I am working; I was picked out from colleagues who have been working here since the opening and I arrived years later, I was very proud of myself. It made me feel I count for something, that I mean something to the company. I am now covering for the front office manager who is on a mission as GM in another hotel, so since this year I am front office manager, not officially but hopefully next year it will become official. I am team leader / front office manager; I am multi-tasking.

The key to being a good Heartist® is to be empathetic; you have to be able to read guests’ emotions  – happiness, anger, fear, frustration – and then know how to handle a situation, to be able to solve a problem quickly. It has to be a win win, so you get what you want but you do it so that the guest is happy too.

Empathy is essential, it’s difficult to work in hospitality without it, and it is also important to be open-minded because you are meeting diverse cultures, realities, mindsets and if you have an open mind it is easier to handle situations and relate to people, and to create the good experience we aim to provide.

  • Marco lo Bello
  • Reception Team Leader and Front Office Manager
  • Novotel Milano Malpensa Airport (Italy)

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