A day in the life of a hotel manager: Tiberio Biondi talks about the challenges of his job | Grand Hotel Majestic - Luxury 5 stars Hotel


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A day in the life of a hotel manager: Tiberio Biondi talks about the challenges of his job

A day in the life of a hotel manager: Tiberio Biondi talks about the challenges of his job


Tue, 03/22/2022 - 10:00

Direttore GHM Bologna

Tiberio Biondi, general manager of the Grand Hotel Majestic "Già Baglioni"

He has lived at the Grand Hotel Majestic “già Baglioni” in Bologna for decades, but he’s not a guest. Here manager Tiberio Biondi speaks about himself and reveals a few anecdotes, memories and tricks of the trade. 

Do you still remember your first day at the Grand Hotel Majestic “già Baglioni”?

It’s impossible to forget it. To be precise, I’ve been manager since July 1 2010. But let me say that I felt this was the job for me even before that, like a suit made to measure. Just as I feel that this hotel partly belongs to me. It couldn’t be otherwise, since I’ve been working here for 35 years.

What are the most important lessons you have learned during your career? 

I had the opportunity to pick up some of the fundamental concepts of top-level hospitality in the field. First of all, the importance of having good staff: you may be staying in a fantastic hotel but if the staff aren’t efficient and well-trained and lack the right approach to their work, it will be like a beautiful empty box. Then I learned not to take anything for granted: it’s a lesson that came in handy recently when the pandemic hurtled us into a surreal, unimaginable scenario. It is necessary to know how to adapt and reinvent oneself to cope with novelties. Last but not least, the importance of checking every detail can’t be stressed enough, doing so more than once and paying attention to even the tiniest aspects of our work. I believe that, at their most authentic, luxury and distinction reside in this type of special care.

Which is your favourite space or room in the hotel? 

Among the communal areas I would say the Ristorante I Carracci and the Camerino d’Europa, whose frescoes – the latter contains the first known work by the Carraccis – make the hotel a veritable palazzo-cum-museum. I’ll never tire of admiring them: even after seeing them for years, it’s impossible to get fully used to seeing them there. As for the rooms, I can’t fail to mention the two Presidential Suites, dedicated to Giambologna and Giuseppe Verdi, which embody the style and elegance of the hotel. But, personally speaking, I still feel a bond with the new Suites, which I contributed to by choosing the fabrics, ornaments and furnishings.

What’s your favourite memory?

Exactly ten years ago we celebrated the hotel’s hundredth birthday and to do so we decided to produce the book “Cent’anni di Eccellenza“ (A Hundred Years of Distinction). To put it together, I immersed myself in the past and was fascinated by the search for historical material about the hotel. I rediscovered a great many stories that we feared had been lost with the passage from Baglioni to Duetorrihotels. More precisely, I met the previous owners to get hold of the hotel’s Album d’Oro e d’Onore, crammed with names, dedications, signatures and even drawings, a sort of historical and chronological roll of the celebrities who have stayed here: stars of Hollywood, musicians, actors, politicians, industrialists and so on. I went personally to the historical archives to trace other testimonies. These too include lots of photographs of famous guests: now that they’re “back home”, we can admire them again. The work gave me the chance to approach a new world, that of publishing: I kept in close constant contact with the authors and the publishers and I followed every stage in the preparation of the book, step by step. It was a long, methodical, meticulous job and we carried it out with the utmost rigour, but I found it incredibly rewarding. Now we have all these stories associated with the hotel back at our disposal, we can go on telling them. A responsibility, an honour and, I won’t hide the fact, a pleasure.

In the course of the years, of the many famous people have stayed at the hotel, who has impressed you most? 

Many guests left a special memory, Lady Diana more than any other. The princess came to Bologna in 1995 to attend a Pavarotti & Friends charity concert. She was a friend of the tenor. Rarely have we seen such a crowd of fans, photographers and journalists in front of the hotel: when she got out of her car to enter, applause broke out and she blushed visibly. She surprised us with a special request at one o’clock in the morning: a dish of lasagne that she enjoyed a lot. When the moment came for her to say goodbye, she thanked us and said she’d felt Bolognese for one night. I’m always happy to tell this story, especially to guests in the Presidential Suite Giambologna, the one where Lady Diana stayed: inside it’s possible to find the original dressing table she used.

Describe us a typical day in the life of the manager of the Grand Hotel Majestic “già Baglioni”?

One day is hardly ever the same as another. Let’s say it’s impossible to get bored. As soon as I get here in the morning, I do my routine round of all the communal spaces, which are the hotel’s visiting card and must always be perfect and in order. The next stop is the Breakfast Room, where I check the quality of the buffet and the service. I then meet my service supervisors for a résumé of the previous day and evening, though I have to say that I’m always pretty well updated on what’s happening anyway. With emails and my mobile phone, I have access, in particular, to the reports of the night porter and the maître d’h, who provide me with constant feedback. After that, I analyse the day’s arrivals, guests’ requests and special needs and details that need dealing with, and check that the rooms have been assigned correctly. After carefully controlling the bookings in the restaurant, I turn my attention to any events that have been organised in the hotel. I spend some time every day walking round the different floors to see that every detail is in place. Another aspect of my work involves long-term planning, which means analysing bookings and the general trend over an arc of a few months. This is an important tool for making sure that we have chosen the best sales strategies. Last of all, being the manager means being everywhere and talking to everyone, devoting special care to relations with suppliers and regular clients, who I’m always at pains to speak to when they come and go. 

Il Grand Hotel Majestic “già Baglioni” is a focal point in Bologna. How do you see its role in the city? What relationship does it have with citizens?

Since I became the manager of the Baglioni – that’s what the locals still call the hotel – I’ve always sought to open its doors to the city and its citizens. The hotel has always been viewed with awe, as if it’s some sort of inaccessible palace. This is why I have organized and staged here all sorts of events suitable for different targets, sometimes in collaboration with various city bodies and associations. I want everyone to feel at home and be able to discover this minor jewel of architecture and history, maybe enjoying an aperitif, a dinner, a guided visit or a business lunch. I hope I’ve managed to convince many Bolognesi to pop in and see us, even if it’s only for a cup of coffee.

When you’re travelling, what do you note the most in hotels elsewhere?

Irrespective of type of hotel, there are three aspects I can’t help noting, even when I’m on holiday: service, first and foremost, then location and attention to detail. I reckon it’s a form of professional bias.


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