The Grand Hotel Majestic “già Baglioni” is a special place, made up of people who give of their all every day to pamper guests and make them feel at home. In charge of the employees is Marianne Gilh of the personnel office.
Do you remember your first day at the Majestic?
It was many, many years ago but I remember it as if it was yesterday. I joined the hotel in 2000. I’ve alternated a number of jobs since then. First, I was a hostess in the breakfast room, then I moved to reception where I spent a long spell: it was a wonderful period that taught me a lot and gave me an excellent professional base. More recently, after various other changes, I came to the personnel office, where I also oversee accounting. Every fresh beginning is like another lovely “first day”. It was all new but it didn’t take me long to learn the ropes.
What is it like to manage the personnel in a small world like that of a hotel, between international guests and all the in-house resources?
The main difference, in my opinion, is one of the features I love the most: namely internationality. It’s stimulating to have dealings with people from every continent. Guests apart, even the personnel office is part of a small world of very diverse people. When I receive the CVs that the management has selected, I have the impression I’m “reading” the dreams and hopes of each one of them. I have to say that people who work in the hotel business are often open-minded and curious, and above all adaptable. A hotel is like a delicate, complex mechanism in which it’s necessary to develop positive relations with everyone.
How would you describe your typical day?
In the past I worked shifts but now I’ve settled into more regular hours, from 9am to 6pm. Ninety per cent of my job involves personnel management, recruitment, respites, contracts, wage packets, for which I interface with labour consultants, holidays and leaves, medical appointments, workplace safety and food handling and preparation courses. There are a lot of us: 82 permanent employees, plus the “extras” called in for peak periods, during certain weekends, say, or for fairs and events. In a much lesser capacity, I also oversee basic accounting, checking invoices, agency commissions, reminders for payment and so on.
What advice would you give to all those who do your job in the administrative sector but have never worked in a hotel?
The same I would give to a new colleague of mine, who arrived here on August 22. Above all, I would stress the importance of good communication, on which the running of the hotel depends. There are a lot of us here and it takes a while to get to know everyone, but communication is an indispensable base to work from. Confidentiality is just as necessary both in handling the personnel’s sensitive data – which requires the utmost discretion – and in dealing with guests. We work in an oasis of privacy where guests, whether anonymous or celebrities, can feel at home. Another virtue is patience, indispensable for striking a balance between the needs of the group and those of personnel.
What’s your favourite memory since you arrived at the Majestic?
I’ve got a great many, but one in particular thrilled me a lot. It was 2000, the year in which Bologna was European Capital of Culture and I’d only just been recruited. One day the Dalai Lama arrived. He was dressed exactly as you see him in the photographs, surrounded by monks in their colourful robes. We had the honour of having him as a guest and he left a dedication in Tibetan in our special guest book. I also remember the famous groups and bands and singers who have come to perform in Bologna and stayed at the Majestic. Working here is like being at the centre of the world.