A coffee with...

Auf einen Kaffee mit Hoteldirektor Florian Schönwetter

...Florian Schönwetter
(Hotel manager, ATLANTIC Hotel Wilhelmshaven)

Auf einen Kaffee mit Hoteldirektor Florian Schönwetter

Dear Mr. Schönwetter,
thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to get to know you better and to get some insights into your philosophy and life. Continued optimism and joy to you.

How long have you been with ATLANTIC Hotels?
FS: For 4.5 years.

FS: First it was a coincidence because I was looking for a job. I had searched a bit nationwide. At some point this hotel was advertised. From the hotel itself, to the location, to the different guest target groups (leisure and business), everything fascinated me right away. Furthermore, the size of the ATLANTIC Hotels Group matched my ideas and the appearance generated a certain trust from the very beginning. I can really say that I had a good feeling from the first moment. This good feeling is still unchanged. The concept is authentic and in line with the management. In view of these extraordinary times at the moment, the ATLANTIC mission statement runs through every situation for me, whether particularly successful or challenging. That creates trust.

Where were you born and raised? 
FS: I was born in Dortmund and grew up there the first six years of my life. Then we moved within Germany to the border of Switzerland. I went to school in Switzerland. Later I went to a boarding school in Bavaria. Then I went back to Switzerland, where I did my apprenticeship as a cook. After a few years and further stations, I attended a hotel management school in Zurich. Various challenges followed, from profit center management in railroad gastronomy, to a director position at a former spa clinic that was partially converted into a hotel, to many years of hotel management in health tourism, to the opening and management of a hotel and spa resort. Overall, I have had many residences (including in France) already and have not followed a fixed path somewhere. Weissenstadt in Bavaria was most recently with over ten years my longest stop so far. I have always done what I enjoy! 

Describe yourself in three words. 
FS: Balanced - Energetic – Optimistic

Pick one of the five ATLANTIC values (Quality, Respect, Optimism, credibility, loyalty) and tell us examples of how it is lived. 
FS: As far as the value "credibility" is concerned, we can say that what ATLANTIC says on the outside is what it says on the inside. Not only for employees, but also for guests. Nothing is glossed over. With pictures and texts, it is so easy to portray something that is not the case at all. That is not us, we are authentic with a coherent price-performance ratio.

ATLANTIC Hotels Wertekreis

What is it like to work as a "hotel manager"? Describe a typical day.
FS: Totally great and never boring. My day starts by arriving at the hotel and first getting an overview by checking emails, taking a tour of the property and having our regular "Morning Meeting". After that, it's always different. There are many different topics and appointments. It could be personnel topics such as employee reviews or networking meetings, talking to guests, changes in operations, budgeting phases or or. For a hotel manager, the beginning of the workday can be planned, but the end cannot.

What is the biggest challenge in your job? 
FS: Keeping the atmosphere in the hotel. It is always possible that a crisis appears in one of the departments. The workload is always fluctuating and there are many different characters working together. Keeping a team motivated and enthusiastic over the long term is challenging. It's about harmony and being a team player so that at the end of the day it all works out and we do a great job.

What do you enjoy most about your job? 
FS: The variety, working with the staff and the guest contact.

We've been living in a pandemic for two years. What is it like to be responsible for a hotel during this time?
FS: Personally, I find it exciting. I'm glad that I already have some experience, so that I am able to lead the hotel through it. The pandemic has thrown all the previous rules out the window. The experience we gained over the years, f.e. when do guests come, how do bookings work, the whole system "hotel business" now became a big surprise. This period has many special features, for example, extremely strong summer months or, on the other hand, business at zero, which has never been there before. To cope those extremes with my team makes me proud and it is important not to lose joy despite everything and to keep investing, for example we expanded our parking lots during the pandemic.

What do you do to relax and take your mind off things?
FS: Going out into nature. Here in Wilhelmshaven it's walking, in the mountains it was hiking. Listening to music. Taking a bath or going to the sauna. 

Did you always want to be a hotel manager?
FS: Since it started going in the direction of professional orientation, yes. I've loved cooking since I was a kid, and I did an internship in a hotel in the Netherlands while I was in school. There I realized that I was very interested in the business activities around it. So it became clear to me that I wanted to become a director. I then made a conscious decision to become a chef and my instructor motivated me to go to hotel management school.

Auf einen Kaffee mit Hoteldirektor Florian Schönwetter

You work with lots of different people. What is important to you in terms of "communication", "dealing with each other" and "behaviors"? 
FS: Listening. Changing the point of view regularly. It's helpful to consider what the other person's professional and personal life is like. There is no separation, it's one life. If you've done different things in life and worked your way up, it can support the ability to put yourself in the other person's shoes to figure out what he/she is about. It's also fun. For me, my balance helps with that; I'm very grounded. I also find reliability, fairness and consistency important. Everyone should have the space to be who they are. It is also beneficial to enjoy cultural backgrounds and different personalities.

What self-management advice do you have?
Optimism is very important for management. If something doesn't go the way you want it to, you should create a situation that makes you happy again very quickly. For me, that's looking at the water. I sometimes take the time to simply look at the water for a moment. If that's not possible in that moment, you should think about something nice, like a vacation memory or your own child. Something I can recall at any time to recharge my good mood.

When I'm not working, I... 
...I spend time with my family. I absolutely love taking my two sons to kindergarten in the morning - that's my exclusive dad moment. Walking by the sea and also going swimming in the summer. Geo-caching is also total fun. It's also a good hobby during the pandemic. Going outside is important to me. I do that regardless of the weather.

Wilhelmshaven is for me... 
...a city with enormous potential. A lot is developing right now. At least those who are doing business are incredibly creative and agile.

Bonus questions:
What leisure tips do you have?

FS: A visit to the Wilhelmshaven Aquarium is worthwhile, and the Rosarium is also crazy beautiful and very well kept. It's always nice to take a walk on the south beach. In addition, the Wadden Sea Visitor Center was closed for over a year and is now completely renovated.

Why live in Wilhelmshaven?
FS: Wilhelmshaven is a green city on the waterfront with great cultural offerings like the municipal theater or free live music in the summer every Wednesday at Pumpwerk (cultural center). There is always something going on and a lot on offer, for example various festivals such as the Street Art Festival or LichterMeer. The people, the surrounding area, Friesland, the whole coast and the proximity to the islands makes Wilhelmshaven worth living. 


// Publication: April 1, 2022 //

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ATLANTIC Hotel Wilhelmshaven Außenansicht

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