“Experience and the establishment of a network do not come overnight”

After 17 years in the Widder Hotel Zurich, Corina A. Söhner will be moving to “La Reserve Eden au Lac Zurich” as sales director at the beginning of March.

What advice do you give young, aspiring hoteliers and hoteliers?

Allow yourself some time with your career without losing sight of your goal and don’t rashly change jobs at every supposed opportunity. Experience and building a network are important and don’t come overnight.

What distinguishes a good hotelier and a good hotelier?

Empathy for the guest as well as for the team, the ability to adapt and improvise, innovative thinking and curiosity.

Born in Zurich, she graduated from Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and launched her hotel career in 1992 at “The Dolder Grand” in Zurich, where she worked as Sales Manager and later as Director of Sales & Marketing. From 2004 she was part of the management of the Widder Hotel in Zurich and from 2017 Executive Assistant Manager, Guest Relations. At the beginning of March 2021, the 54-year-old will take over the position of sales director at the Hotel La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich.

Women in Switzerland have had the right to vote for 50 years. How important are women in tourism today?

Indeed, women are very well represented in the tourism industry, even though proportionally they are far from holding the corresponding management positions. A team consisting of both sexes has a motivating dynamic for me. But very important: Regardless of gender, the tourism industry needs joy and passion for the well-being of the guest.

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What would you like for Swiss tourism?

That, especially in this crisis, he successfully positioned himself as a destination with a broad national and international clientele with Swiss characteristics such as unspoilt nature, security, reliability, quality and hospitality.

What do you dislike about your industry?

That it is so dependent on the economy and that it is so influenced by external circumstances.

What is so fascinating about your job?

Encounters with people from all over the world. Over the years, these diverse encounters have helped me to rely on my gut feeling.

What does an attractive workplace look like for you?

This is where you can get involved, where you can express your concerns, encourage people and are challenged again and again.

How do you inspire employees for and in your company?

Aligning with a common goal, ensuring that everyone has the same understanding of the goal so that everyone in their function can move towards it. Share passion for the guest.

How do you ensure a work-life balance?

I give a lot of myself when I identify strongly with my job. The challenging work in a successful hotel gives me great pleasure. It can happen that my private environment has to “bring me back” from time to time.

Which hotel inspires you and why?

The luxury hotel Bellagio in Las Vegas: To be able to attend a banquet for 4000 people, where a 3-course menu is served in 45 minutes of perfect quality and hot and even special requests are served to the right person with great precision. The organization, efficiency and precision inspire me, even on the small scale here in Switzerland.

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What do you do first when you enter a hotel room as a guest?

I open the window and orient myself.

What would you do if you had a year off?

I would like to travel after winter and ski on every continent.

What special skill would you like to master?

I would like to have a photographic memory so that what I have read can be saved and retrieved at any time.

Which is more true: an orgiastic banquet like at Asterix or healthy carrots like Bugs Bunny nibbling on?

Neither, I am happy when there is a (large) piece of meat on the grill.

Which would you choose: punk music in a 5-star hotel or waltz in a youth hostel?

Punk music in a 5-star hotel. Both want to be individual, striking and unique.

Who famous person would you like to have dinner with?

With the producer and director George Lucas, because I’m an outspoken Star Wars fan.

Which song can you hear in the continuous loop?

“On the Sunny Side of the Street”, interpreted by Frank Sinatra – a life motto.

Which youth prank will you never forget?

When we used the exhibition room of the Lötschental masks in the Rietberg Museum in Zurich to play hide and seek.

What did you want to be as a child?

Farmer’s wife on a large farm with many animals.

What shouldn’t be missing when you travel?

My wafer-thin pashmina scarf.

Whose shoes would you like to slip into for a day?

In Michael Jackson’s college loafers to dance like him … (npa)


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