How to become a General Manager of Hilton
PROMOTION: Rainer Gieringer started his career as a waiter when he was 19 years old. With hard work and dedication, he has achieved his dream of becoming a General Manager working for Hilton Worldwide, one of the world’s largest hospitality companies.
You are the General Manager of Hilton Budapest City. Could you ever imagine such success when you used to clean tables as a waiter?
When I was 16 years old, I decided I would like to work in hospitality. My dream was to eventually become General Manager of a hotel. I knew that if I worked hard, was loyal and a team leader, I’d be able to achieve my dream - I am delighted to now be General Manager of Hilton Budapest City.
You have been with Hilton for 21 years now. What was your first position with the hotel chain?
I started as a Food & Beverage Management trainee in 1995 at Hilton Istanbul. In the following years I worked as Chief Steward, F&B Manager, Operations Manager, Director of Operations and Hotel Manager in Turkey, Romania and Germany. In 2013, I became General Manager of Hilton Budapest City.
Looking back, Hilton gave me many opportunities to progress my career, develop my skills and work in different countries. I was supported throughout my journey by online courses and development programs, such as the Shine Program, an internal career development program. I am delighted that my career has grown within the company and thrilled to be leading Hilton Budapest City.
Was it a hard decision to move to Hungary?
As a hospitality professional, I have worked in various countries in Europe over the past few years - I enjoy experiencing and living in new places.
When I was offered the opportunity to work in Hungary, I visited the country and fell in love with it. I love the night view of the Danube, the Parliament and the Castle District. My favorite place in the city though, is my garden where I unwind with my family, a hot cup of coffee and a cigar.
How long do you plan to stay with us?
Unfortunately this is hard to predict, as in our business things are dynamic. But while I live here and call Hungary my home, my focus will be on leading Hilton Budapest City and supporting the country as much as I am able to. In line with this, Hilton Budapest City has several corporate responsibility initiatives focused on Hungarian organizations. For example, our hotel has donated equipment to orphanages, helped refurbish elementary schools and created activities for disadvantaged children.
What’s more, Hilton Budapest City created a photography club: Our Reservations Manager trained a group of us, and our club now consists of five team members including myself. We shoot photos of Budapest, print them as post cards, sell them to our Guests and donate the money to a children’s orphanage – a corporate responsibility initiative that is also a great team building activity.
You are a successful businessman, a husband and a father at the same time. How do you manage all these tasks?
I thoroughly enjoy my job as General Manager and also love spending time with my family – it’s all about balance. In fact, I met my wife on my first day working for Hilton! Due to my career, we moved to a new country every few years, and my wife has always been extremely supportive and understanding. I appreciate this every day and I always try to be home for dinner so that I can spend time with my wife and son. We enjoy spending quality time together and sharing news from our day.
You were awarded as ‘Leader of the Year 2014 in Europe’. Do you think you are a good boss?
I was honored to receive Hilton’s Leader of Year 2014 Europe award. For me, being a good boss means being a good leader. This means working hard, being honest, leading by example and treating people how you would like to be treated.
I lead a wonderful team at Hilton Budapest City. I work with more than 100 Team Members, who are motivated and understand the importance of guest satisfaction. Every single Team Member needs to feel part of the team or the team will not be successful.
This is why our guests love to return to us. A hotel is not just about the building, the brand or the product but the people inside. Our guests are always warmly welcomed and feel like Hilton Budapest City is their “home away from home”.
What is your plan for the future? Do you still have goals you would like to accomplish?
I think it’s important to always have goals. The moment you say “I have accomplished everything”, you start to fail. My personal goal is develop our Team Members and be a good mentor. In particular, I would like to encourage Hungarians to work for Hilton and grow their careers within the company. Perhaps eventually they can return to Hilton Budapest City as Hotel Manager or General Manager.
Hilton Budapest City also currently works with a hospitality school. Every quarter, I would like to have an hour long “white space” discussion with the students, to hear about their expectations, dreams and answer any questions they may have. To me, there is no greater satisfaction than developing people and seeing them grow.
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