I met a 24 year old with all the answers: Ramona Grabner
Now, if you must stay in a hotel, then you usually either want your normal comforts or you look for something different to what you already have at home. Something better, sometimes something just different.
New Years is a strange time of year. It is a time when people reflect, whether they like it or not.
This year, my decision to spend New Years Eve in Amsterdam, one of the best cities in the world with good friends was a good one. It gave me an opportunity to soak in a city that inspires me, possibly as much so as New York.
Then, the trip continued to St Antons. The hotel I was to stay in wasn’t chosen by me, it was chosen by my friend Samantha. I trust her judgement and I have to say I am incredibly thankful for her choice.
As I arrived at the hotel, I was greeted by three women. Ramona, Alexandra and Stephanie. They chatted away, and were what I call beyond polite.
I got to catch a moment with Ramona and was able to share some of my story. But there was a moment when she was listening and I paused. Here was this stunningly beautiful Austrian girl, who was quite young. There was something just a little different about her.
I asked, “What is your age?” She replied, “24 years old. I manage the hotel.” So it is her story that I really want to tell.
What is your story?
I went to school in a small village Flirsch, and then I went to school in St Antons. At school, I wanted to be a gardener or florist, perhaps a bit of both.
I studied in Innisbruck how to do this, and then the shop that I worked in said that they couldn’t keep two gardeners. So, I made a decision to change to tourism, as I lived in St Antons, and that was the natural choice.
I worked in Braud, Vorarlberg at a Children’s hotel. It was great. Every single day was a special day with the children, and they were so thankful. When they wanted something from us and we did it for them, they were so happy. The place was full of happiness.
I had my own flat there, but it was too expensive for me, so I decided to go back and live at home at my parents’ place.
My friend, Lisa, who worked at M3 Hotel, asked me if I would like to come and work at reception. I had already sent many applications to other hotels, but was able to get an interview with M3 Hotel.
It was a new hotel, and the people were all young. Most of the other hotels, said that I needed more practice at the reception – so they rejected my application.
So I started at reception and worked 3 years with my friend Lisa, together at reception and I was her right hand person as the manager.
When she left, I took over the management job.
What motivates you?
My big dream is that every guest is at his own home. Everybody should feel like they are at their own home. So I treat them that way.
I want everyone to leave the hotel saying what a wonderful place it is and that they want to come back.
What is your thought process behind managing staff?
If the people are the same age as me, it’s easy. But if they are 40 or 50, I always think before I go to them, how do I say to them what needs to be done. I don’t say, “You have to do this”, instead, I say, “How do you think we should do this and together we find a good way.”
Do you have mentors?
Yes, my Mother. Always if I have a problem, she listens to me and gives me some really good tips. I also have one of the three owners, who is my mentor, Markus. Markus for me is a really great person as he is always friendly – never angry. If there is a problem, he always takes it in his stride.
What are your 5 tips on having a happy life?
- If you are happy with family and boyfriend, that is the main thing. You wake up every day happy and you have a good life.
- Every problem is not really a problem – you are given an opportunity to learn.
- You get what you give. If you are really happy and helpful to people, they give the same back to you.
- It’s really important that you have your own time. Free time to think and be yourself.
- I know how things need to be in a hotel, and in life in general. So when something isn’t in order, or isn’t in its right place or done the right way – it is wrong. So what I try to do is teach everyone in my team to think about how we can make it perfect for our guests and our company. In life, I use the same philosophy.
What is next for you?
I have a house that I have renovated with my boyfriend. He bought it, and we did it together. I also own two apartments and I rent them out in the winter and summer season.
Family is the most important thing for me. That’s my lot in life.