ftnNEWS talked with Mr. Can Göktaş newly appointed General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul.
ftnNEWS: You have been working as the Regional Director of Sales for Turkey & Southern Europe at Kempinski Hotels& Resorts. What motivated you to move to the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul?
The Ritz-Carlton is a highly important and well-established brand, embracing the luxury lifestyle with its world-class service culture. Empowering its Ladies and Gentlemen, enables The Ritz-Carlton brand to create memorable experiences and add a little touch of something special to each guests stay. I am proud to say that, by empowering our Ladies and Gentlemen, we enable them to take ownership of the entire well-being of our guests. This is the kind of service that sets The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul apart from the many competitors in the industry.
Even though it has been seven years since I left The Ritz-Carlton, they have not forgotten me indeed. When this opportunity arose, foreign and more experienced candidates were in the running, however assumedly, my market knowledge, the image I had created in the hotel, and the fact that people were remembering me in a positive way, all led to me being selected for the position as General Manager.
I have put nine years of effort into the hotel which opened in 2001, which is why I decided to re-join The Ritz-Carlton family with great motivation.
‘We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.’ This motto exemplifies the anticipatory service provided by all staff members. We are profoundly proud of and take great care of our employees: our Ladies and Gentlemen. They in turn take exceptional care of the well-being of our guests. It is no secret that staff development and training provides employees with valuable knowledge and tools they need to perform their duties proficiently.
ftnNEWS: What are the most challenging issues you are facing on your current position?
I cannot say challenges but more opportunities and biggest opportunity is the market conditions. Of course with the great service of our ladies and gentlemen we retain our current guests however due to the fluctuating business levels we are having trouble to see and plan the coming days. Apart from that I love working with the team in the hotel and I believe we have a strong and committed team to perfection at The Ritz Carlton, Istanbul.
ftnNEWS: Being the GM of the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul is definitely not an easy job. You even said that you are working 48 hours in a day in a joking way. Please describe your typical day at the hotel.
I arrive to the hotel at 7 am daily, and first check all the operational areas including restaurant, lobby and front office. I talk with our guests to see how we can assist more and listen to their thoughts about their stay. Then we have a guidance team meeting at 8.30 with Sales & Marketing, security, engineering, operations, HR, F&B and culinary department heads. I follow local and international media agenda and have daily internal and external meetings and I spend time with my guests, I continuously try to save time to talk to guests, they are the most important asset of our hotel and also shows the changing consumer behaviors if you closely follow them up. Rest of the time, I spend my time talking to the ladies & gentlemen in the hotel get their opinion on projects and check their satisfaction since they are the once creating this famous experience.
ftnNEWS: You are the first Turkish GM of the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul hotel. What advice would you offer to those who are inspired to become successful in the hotel industry?
I am very pleased that this opportunity was given to me.
In fact, this is an important direction guide for Turkish General Managers with the dream of Managing a hotel. Because we were educated and brought up as follows: if you have not lived in China or the USA, you will never be General Manager. I did not live in those parts of the world. Instead I have visited those countries, been running several project abroad, but actually living in a foreign country is something totally different. This step is also a sign that the world in evolving. At the same time, it shows the increase in capacity of the Turkish managerial population as well as reputation worldwide. Being raised in Turkey, I have reached the honor of being selected first Turkish General Manager within this company structure. I am emphasizing these facts as there are many successful Turkish leaders working abroad. Providing that someone not coming from Operations, Food & Beverage or Front Office, but rather with a Sales background can become General Manager even from the same location, a courage for fellows following my footsteps.
ftnNEWS: We have been in the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul before. When we enter the hotel today, we see that reception area changed. What else is new at the hotel and please tell us about future changes.
Our hotel has been transformed into a venue which meets all needs of today’s traveler. Renovation and refurbishment of our guest rooms are in process, and we have brought fresh wind into the lobby area, combined with the 3D concierge desk area, which is now much more suitable for more intimate contact and personalized interaction with each guest. In short, we will never stop improving our property so that it will be able to meet our guests’ needs in any period of time. The topic of living the luxurious life with The Ritz-Carlton, and increasing this awareness, is what I will be focusing on the most.