Veteran Roberto Pelliccia
June 21, 2024, 8:38 a.m.
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An Exclusive Interview with Hospitality Veteran Roberto Pelliccia

Welcome to All Around Worlds! Today, we are thrilled to present an exclusive interview with Roberto Pelliccia, a distinguished hospitality consultant with over thirty years of international experience. Roberto has had an illustrious career spanning various continents, including Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and beyond. His extensive background in development, operations, asset management, and more makes him a highly respected figure in the hospitality industry.

In this engaging discussion, Roberto shares his insights on service and operational excellence, emphasizing the importance of meticulous attention to detail, efficient processes, and a culture of continuous improvement. He also delves into his passion for mentorship and talent development, highlighting successful initiatives he has led to nurture and empower hospitality professionals around the globe.

Additionally, Roberto discusses the critical role of technology in achieving service and operational excellence, offering examples of how innovative solutions can enhance guest experiences and streamline operations. Whether you're a hospitality professional seeking to elevate your practice or simply passionate about travel and tourism, this interview provides valuable perspectives and actionable advice.

Join us as we dive into the world of hospitality with Roberto Pelliccia, gaining unique insights from his vast experience and transformative approach to the industry.

Background and Career Path

Can you tell us about your background and what brought you into the hospitality industry?

Roberto Pelliccia: My journey in the hospitality industry spans over three decades, with extensive experience across continents including Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, China, the Americas, and Southeast Asia. 

I have worked in various capacities, from development and conceptualization to operations and asset management. My initial attraction to the industry was driven by a deep passion for creating exceptional guest experiences. This passion has guided my career, allowing me to contribute significantly to numerous projects and organizations. 

I have always believed that hospitality is not just about providing a service; it's about creating memorable experiences and building lasting relationships with guests, employees, and stakeholders.

Service and Operational Excellence

What does service and operational excellence mean to you?

Roberto Pelliccia: Service and operational excellence is about consistently surpassing guest expectations through meticulous attention to detail, efficient processes, and a culture of continuous improvement. It involves creating a seamless and memorable experience for guests while ensuring that operations are sustainable and financially resilient. 

Excellence in service means that every interaction a guest has with the hotel, from check-in to check-out, leaves a positive and lasting impression. Operational excellence, on the other hand, involves optimizing processes to reduce waste, increase efficiency, and improve overall performance. It’s about setting high standards and continually striving to exceed them.

Can you share an example of a project where you significantly improved service quality?

Roberto Pelliccia: One of the most notable projects where I significantly improved service quality was at a boutique hotel chain in Africa. When I joined the organization, the service standards were inconsistent, and guest satisfaction scores were lower than desired. I led a comprehensive initiative that included revamping the standard operating procedures (SOPs), implementing rigorous training programs, and fostering a guest-centric culture. We focused on every aspect of the guest experience, from the initial reservation to the departure. As a result, guest satisfaction scores increased by 20%, and the hotel experienced a notable improvement in repeat business. This project demonstrated the impact of a structured approach to service quality improvement and the importance of engaging and empowering staff.

Developing Organizational Culture

How do you approach developing organizational culture in a hospitality setting?

Roberto Pelliccia: Developing a strong organizational culture in a hospitality setting starts with clearly defining the company’s vision, mission, and values. It’s essential to communicate these elements effectively to all team members and ensure they understand and embrace them. I conduct regular workshops and seminars to instil these values and promote a collaborative and supportive work environment. 

Leadership plays a critical role in shaping culture, so I make it a priority to lead by example and ensure that leadership is visible and inspiring. Encouraging open communication and recognizing and rewarding exemplary behaviour are also crucial components of building a positive organizational culture. In essence, it's about creating an environment where everyone feels valued and motivated to contribute to the organization's success.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

What are some key performance indicators (KPIs) you focus on to drive operational excellence?

Roberto Pelliccia: Key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential tools for measuring and driving operational excellence. Some of the KPIs I focus on include guest satisfaction scores, which provide insights into the quality of the guest experience; employee engagement levels, which reflect the health of the organizational culture; revenue per available room (RevPAR) and average daily rate (ADR), which measure financial performance; and gross operating profit (GOP), which indicates overall profitability. 

Additionally, cost per occupied room helps in managing expenses, and net promoter score (NPS) gauges guest loyalty and likelihood to recommend the property. These KPIs provide a comprehensive view of performance across various dimensions and inform strategic decision-making.


Balancing Efficiency

Balancing Efficiency and Service Standards

How do you balance operational efficiency with maintaining high service standards?

Roberto Pelliccia: Balancing operational efficiency with high service standards requires a strategic approach to resource management and process optimization. It involves implementing robust SOPs that ensure consistency in service delivery while optimizing workflows to eliminate inefficiencies. Leveraging technology, such as property management systems (PMS) and customer relationship management (CRM) tools, can also enhance efficiency without compromising service quality. 

Continuous staff training and development are crucial to maintaining high service standards. By empowering employees with the right skills and knowledge, they can deliver exceptional service even in a streamlined operational environment. Ultimately, it's about creating a harmonious balance where efficiency supports, rather than hinders, exceptional service.

Managing Multicultural Teams

Can you discuss a challenge you faced in a multicultural environment and how you overcame it?

Roberto Pelliccia: One challenge I at one point faced was managing a multicultural team in Southeast Asia. The diverse cultural backgrounds of the team members led to differences in communication styles, work ethics, and expectations. To address this, I implemented cross-cultural training programs to promote understanding and respect for each other’s cultures. 

We held regular team-building activities to foster a sense of unity and collaboration. Open and transparent communication was encouraged, allowing team members to express their views and concerns freely. By creating an inclusive and supportive environment, we were able to overcome cultural differences and work together effectively, resulting in improved team performance and morale.

Importance of Mentorship

How important is mentorship in your leadership style?

Roberto Pelliccia: Mentorship is central to my leadership style. I believe that nurturing talent and helping individuals realize their full potential is one of the most rewarding aspects of leadership. Through mentorship, I provide guidance, share my knowledge and experiences, and support the career development of my team members. 

This not only helps them grow professionally but also contributes to the overall success of the organization. I’ve seen tremendous growth in team members who have been mentored, and this has had a direct positive impact on the organization’s performance. Mentorship also helps in building a strong pipeline of future leaders who are well-equipped to take on greater responsibilities.

Can you give an example of a successful talent development initiative you led?

Roberto Pelliccia: At a resort in the Indian Ocean, I initiated a comprehensive talent development program aimed at enhancing the skills and capabilities of the entire team. The program included technical training, cultural awareness sessions, and soft skills development. We also implemented a mentorship scheme where experienced team members guided newer employees. 

This initiative not only improved service quality but also significantly reduced staff turnover. Employee satisfaction scores increased, and we saw a marked improvement in guest feedback. The success of this program demonstrated the importance of investing in talent development and the positive impact it can have on both employee and guest experiences.


Continuous Improvement

Ensuring Continuous Improvement

How do you ensure continuous improvement in a hospitality setting?
    
Roberto Pelliccia: Continuous improvement in a hospitality setting is achieved through regular performance reviews, guest feedback analysis, and staying abreast of industry trends. I foster a culture of innovation where team members are encouraged to contribute ideas for improvement. We conduct regular audits and benchmarking exercises to identify areas for enhancement. 

Implementing a robust feedback loop, where guest feedback is collected, analyzed, and acted upon, is crucial. By continuously monitoring performance and making data-driven decisions, we can refine processes, enhance service delivery, and maintain a competitive edge in the market.

Enhancing Financial Performance

What strategies do you use to enhance financial performance in hospitality?

Roberto Pelliccia: Enhancing financial performance involves optimizing revenue streams, effective cost management, and strategic pricing. I focus on maximizing the use of available space, streamlining operations, and leveraging data analytics to make informed financial decisions. Implementing yield management and dynamic pricing strategies helps in optimizing room rates and occupancy levels. 

Additionally, we look at ancillary revenue streams such as food and beverage, events, and spa services to boost overall revenue. Cost control measures, such as efficient inventory management and energy-saving initiatives, help in reducing expenses and improving the bottom line.


Pre-Opening Ventures

Experience with Pre-Opening Ventures

Can you discuss your experience with pre-opening and opening new hospitality ventures?

Roberto Pelliccia: My experience with pre-opening and opening new hospitality ventures spans various regions and involves comprehensive planning and execution. This includes everything from conceptualization, recruitment, and training to marketing and establishing operational procedures. 

For example, during the pre-opening phase of a hotel in Eastern Africa, I was involved in every aspect from conceptualization, design, and construction to talent selection, interviewing, recruitment, and training. We developed detailed SOPs, conducted extensive training programs, and launched a targeted marketing campaign. The successful opening of the hotel was a result of meticulous planning, effective team collaboration, and a clear strategic vision.

Approach to Asset Management

How do you approach asset management in the hospitality industry?

Roberto Pelliccia: Asset management in the hospitality industry involves strategic planning to enhance the value of the property, optimizing operational performance, and ensuring financial sustainability. This includes developing and implementing KPIs, conducting regular audits, and making data-driven decisions to maximize returns for owners. I focus on identifying untapped opportunities, optimizing revenue streams, and implementing cost control measures. By continuously monitoring the performance of the asset and making necessary adjustments, we can ensure that the property remains competitive and profitable in the long term.

Technology in Service Excellence

What role does technology play in achieving service and operational excellence?

Roberto Pelliccia: Technology plays a crucial role in achieving service and operational excellence by streamlining operations, enhancing guest experiences, and improving decision-making processes. Property management systems (PMS) and customer relationship management (CRM) tools help in managing reservations, guest information, and communication efficiently. 

Advanced data analytics provides insights into guest preferences and behavior, allowing us to personalize services and improve guest satisfaction. Additionally, technology solutions such as mobile check-ins, smart room controls, and automated workflows enhance operational efficiency and reduce manual errors. Embracing technology enables us to deliver high-quality service consistently and stay ahead of the competition.


Talent in Africa

Passion for Developing Talent in Africa

Why do you have a particular passion for developing talent in Africa?

Roberto Pelliccia: Africa has the youngest population on earth and immense growth potential. My passion for developing talent in Africa stems from a deep attachment to the continent and a desire to contribute to its hospitality industry’s growth. By nurturing local talent, we can drive sustainable development and create opportunities that benefit the broader community. 

I have been involved in several initiatives focused on training and mentoring young professionals in Africa, helping them develop the skills needed to succeed in the hospitality industry. Seeing the positive impact of these efforts on individuals and the community has been incredibly rewarding and motivates me to continue investing in talent development in Africa.

Roberto Pelliccia is a seasoned hospitality consultant with over three decades of international experience. A graduate of Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Roberto has excelled in various roles, including development, operations, asset management, change leadership, and general management. 

His career has included working with prominent hospitality groups such as InterContinental Hotels Group, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Sun International, Kerzner International, One&Only, SuperClubs, Grace Hotels, and The Latitude Hotels Group. His influence spans 27 diverse destinations, from Europe and Africa to the Middle and Far East, the Americas, and beyond.

Currently based in Kigali, Rwanda, Roberto consults for a variety of organizations and serves as a hospitality consultant for a Private Family Office, overseeing their hospitality, leisure, real estate, and retail businesses. He specializes in human resources, learning and development, talent acquisition, operational excellence, service enhancement, and mentorship. His expertise allows him to craft and facilitate strategic workshops, conduct operational and service excellence audits, and lead transformative business improvement programs across various sectors.

His mentorship extends beyond strategic advice, encompassing talent identification, selection, screening, hiring, mentoring, training, and comprehensive career development planning. Roberto also guides owners’ family members, positioning them as knowledgeable representatives of their hospitality assets.

Services Offered by Roberto Pelliccia

Roberto offers a wide range of services, including:

●    Maximizing Revenue: Roberto specializes in enhancing both core revenue streams and ancillary income sources.
● Optimizing Costs and Expenses: He focuses on rationalizing costs and expenses to improve financial efficiency.
●    Strategic Real Estate Utilization: Roberto advises on the effective and commercial use of real estate assets.
●   Streamlining Operations: He enhances operational agility and refines processes to boost overall efficiency.
●    Enhancing Service Excellence: Roberto elevates service quality standards through tailored strategies.
●  Cultural Development: He guides in shaping organizational culture, vision, mission, and core values.
●    Talent Management: Roberto excels in identifying, selecting, screening, hiring, mentoring, and training talent.
●       Family Succession Planning: He provides personal mentorship to family members preparing to inherit or manage business responsibilities.

Roberto’s ability to hit the ground running and his project management skills provide a distinctive edge compared to internal permanent hires. His flexibility in short/mid and longer-term contracts or part-time/interim engagements allows him to meet varying time demands and budgets.

In essence, Roberto Pelliccia is a transformative influence in the hospitality industry, bringing extensive global experience, a passion for service and operational excellence, and a commitment to developing talent, particularly in Africa. His expertise and unique approach to hospitality consulting make him an invaluable asset to any venture.

Conclusion

Thank you for joining us in this insightful conversation with Roberto Pelliccia. We hope you found his perspectives on service excellence, operational efficiency, and talent development as inspiring and informative as we did. Roberto's dedication to creating exceptional guest experiences and his commitment to nurturing the next generation of hospitality professionals truly set him apart in the industry.

We invite you to stay connected with Roberto on LinkedIn for more updates and insights. By following him, you can keep up with his latest projects, industry trends, and valuable advice for achieving excellence in hospitality. Don't miss out on the opportunity to learn from one of the best in the field. Thank you for reading, and we look forward to bringing you more exclusive interviews and stories from the world of hospitality.

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Recent Comments:

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Ritah Ingabire
  • July 2, 2024, 12:01 p.m.

I have known Roberto Pellicia for almost a year but I can’t describe how his great leadership, mentorship and supportive has impacted my career journey. It’s not understandable that we haven’t meet in person but he is very supportive leader. I can tell whoever meet him or got a Chance to work with him, he or She is on the great level. I looking forward to meeting him in person and probably will love if it’s in Rwanda where we can get to lead hospitality industry to the best level. Keep on Shinning Mr. Roberto

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