Surrounded by mountains, overlooking breathtaking cliffs, or nestled in beautiful wildlife parks: the most exclusive hotels and resorts are often located in remote areas. But what's it like working in these locations, far away from the city? What are the pros and cons?
To find out, we had a chat with Franziska Sanoner, manager of ADLER Spa Resorts & Lodges, a hotel group specializing in the leisure sector, owner of exclusive properties located in the Italian regions of South Tyrol, Tuscany, and Sicily. In this interview, Franziska talks about the ins and outs of working in remote resorts, and why it is a great experience for everyone who wants to grow their luxury hospitality career.
Tell us a little bit about your job. What made you choose the hospitality industry?
My family owns ADLER Spa Resorts & Lodges, a hotel group that operates five-star hotels and resorts specializing in spa and wellness, outdoor activities, and the culinary world. We have a very comprehensive offering where guests can recharge and forget about their everyday life.
As for me, after my degree and a stint working abroad, I returned home in 2017 and joined the family business. I manage the operational side: optimizing the offer, creating new offers, but I also manage HR, marketing and controlling, so a wide variety of areas.
Why do you think working in a remote area is beneficial for one’s career?
As far as we are concerned, the high professionalism of remote hotels and resorts means that we focus a lot on employee training. So, you have the opportunity to grow within the company and learn a lot thanks to the interactions with a high-profile clientele and international guests.
More in general, one of the biggest advantages of the leisure sector is that the guests are more willing to connect with employees than in the cities, where the hotel is just a place where to sleep. In our resorts, on the other hand, guests spend more time inside the hotel, this means that the employees have so many opportunities to connect with them. This is definitely very rewarding and makes the job more interesting.
Is there less competition for remote jobs that makes it easier to grow within a company?
I think so, and this is another advantage. I mean, we are very lucky and always get a lot of applications, especially for the more skilled positions.
But I think that, in general, internal growth is perhaps easier. It is not always feasible to find someone willing to relocate, so we always look within the company first, and if we find a suitable person, we promote them.
Do people who work in remote locations tend to create a stronger bond with their teammates?
I definitely think so. Especially the young people who move here for work, they also seek friendships and are very open to meeting other people. This creates a very close-knit team, because they spend a lot of time together not only at work, but also in their free time.
Our employees, especially those who have worked with us for many years, often tell us that they have found a second family here. I think this great team spirit is one of the biggest strengths, and it's something that the guests realize too.
Do you think that the interactions with the guests are different too, compared to city hotels?
They are, especially because many of our customers are regulars. It is very important for them to find the same people when they come back to us. And, although we cannot talk about actual friendships, I would say that the connection is very close. This is also because, when our guests are on vacation, they have plenty of time to have a chat with their waiter, or at the front desk or at the spa.
This very close connection is something that characterizes so many hotels that are located in remote places, and it is definitely an advantage.
Is it more difficult for those who work in remote areas to achieve a work-life balance?
It depends on the personal situation of each employee, but I don't think it is more difficult. In our hotels, we always try to have regular, not too long shifts, so that we have free time to recharge.
And here you have so many opportunities to enjoy your free time and rest, even more than in the city. Let's not forget that these are the places where other people go on vacation, so there are many possibilities. You can just go on a hike with your friends, and this alone will recharge you.
In your opinion, what are the challenges of having to move to a remote location for work?
I think leaving your home and settling into a new environment is always difficult. In our case, an additional challenge is having to find housing, for those who don't want to stay with us, because these are very sought-after areas for vacationers, so the cost of living is also quite high.
Also, those who like cities, parties, bars, and restaurants will clearly have a harder time settling here.
Besides offering room and board, what can employers do to help face these challenges?
We always try to help. For example, we provide common spaces where you can meet other people, and we provide a mentor, who accompanies new employees in the first weeks.
We also organize many common activities after work, such as dinners or sports activities, all of which help facilitate the integration.
Moreover, our employees can rent our bikes, participate in outdoor activities, use the gyms, or rent the ski equipment-we try to work on these things to make it easier for them to fit in.
If you wanted to give one piece of advice to motivate industry professionals to work in remote properties like yours, what would it be?
I would say that, on a professional level, it is an experience that offers a lot of opportunities for growth, because you work in highly professional properties, in close contact with very interesting people, both guests and also other team members.
On a personal level, on the other hand, you have the opportunity to make friendships that last a lifetime, because you create a very close-knit community, with a very strong team spirit.
Working in a remote location is a unique opportunity that you should take advantage of at least once in your career. If you’re interested in taking your luxury hospitality career off the beaten path, check out the wide range of positions available in Hosco. From hotspots for skiing in the Alps, to laid-back locations on tropical islands, we’ve got you covered for whatever climate you prefer!