Patrick Schaub General Manager Finalist Interview

Patrick Schaub is the Vice President Hotel Operations of Studio City, Macau and a finalist for the 2019 Stelliers Greater China General Manager category. Born Swiss, Mr Schaub travelled the globe with his family at a young age and found his passion for the hospitality industry. Learn more about Mr Schaub and his perspective on confronting the different expectations between the older and younger generation of hoteliers.

“The key to success for any generation is to continuously adapt to change and be willing to learn new things. This will allow you to excel in your position.”

 

1. Describe your childhood and upbringing. Where and when did your initial interest in hospitality begin?

Born in Basel, in northern Switzerland, bordering France and Germany, I felt that I was destined for an international career that paid homage to the reputable ‘Swiss hospitality’. My father was a banker, whose career meant we lived a nomadic lifestyle. When I was five, we moved to Johannesburg, South Africa where my eyes were once again opened to the world of hospitality, and while there I also fell in love with tennis.

After half a decade, we made our way back to the motherland, then took off again for Singapore three years later. At sixteen, I enrolled in an athlete-focused boarding school in the Swiss Alps, where my passion for playing tennis continued. With each move, we were faced with the uncertainty of a new home, but always found solace in the interim hotels, where we would stay before settling into our permanent residence.

What ultimately solidified my path toward the hospitality industry was when I completed cross-training at a Kaethy and Leo Forsters family 5-star hotel in Zermatt, Switzerland. The exposure encouraged me to take the next step and pursue my studies at a hotel school. Before I began my education at École hôtelière de Lausanne, I moved to Lausanne to work at a Salon De Thé. During that time, I refined my French and sharpened my understanding of French cuisine. The rigor and sense of accomplishment I felt from working in the kitchen and in service motivated me to come back to the training grounds, day after day.

 

2. Was there a particular key turning point in your career that contributed to your success today?

It would be difficult to pin-point a key turning point that contributed to where I am today, because I felt that every role that I stepped into prepared me for the next challenge in my career progression. However, if I had to choose, I would say that my time at Plaza Athénée in Bangkok, Thailand was a significant time in my hospitality journey.

During my six years at the Plaza Athénée, I supported the successful rebranding of the independent hotel to an international Le Méridien brand and later, to a global Starwood brand. Ascending from Director of F&B to Executive Assistant Manager to Hotel Manager, I strengthened my portfolio and management skills. The General Manager at the time, Mr. Georges Baurin (now the Executive Vice President of TCC Hotels Management), was a special mentor to me and continues to be a close friend today. He invested in my development as an individual and prepared me for my first General Manager role at the Oriental Residence, Bangkok, Thailand.

 

3. When it comes to the workplace, how would you describe the expectations of the new generation (of hoteliers)?

While many may think that there is a discrepancy between the older and younger generations’ expectations at work, I believe that there is opportunity for mutual growth and collaboration.

By sharing our experiences as seasoned hoteliers, we can enlighten new hoteliers about the reward and gratification that comes from hard work and professional development. To become a dignified hotelier and run a successful hotel operation takes hard work, but that does not mean that we cannot work ‘smart’. With the younger generation of hoteliers being tech-savvy and well-versed in digital language, there is promising opportunity for us to come together, collaborate and implement new initiatives that improve the operations and services of the hotel.

At the end of the day, we are all human in a world that is constantly changing. For both the younger and older generations alike, I believe in the importance of continued education. Because whether it is to serve our guests, make their beds or clean the property – all of which are constants in hotel management – we must continue to learn and be open to adopting new practices.

 

4. Are there any books you have read that you would recommend?

A book that I always look back to is The Blue Ocean Strategy. It is about how to create an uncontested marketspace and the constant pursuit of differentiation and low cost. There are many great examples outlined in the book about how different entities in the world change their behaviour to drive better results. I definitely apply the learnings that I have acquired from the book to my own career as well!

 

5. If you could invite anyone to dinner, who would it be?

Aside from my three kids and my wife, my passion is tennis, so it would definitely be Roger Federer! Interestingly enough, he is also from Basel, Switzerland and his mother is from South Africa. Additionally, he is a massive FC Basel fan. I think we have a lot in common and many things to discuss over a glass of wine!