New recruit: Manrique Rodriguez
Manrique Rodriguez was recently appointed GM of Phoenicia Hotel Beirut
Manrique Rodriguez, who was recently appointed GM of Phoenicia Hotel Beirut, says that the experience of working in different parts of the world and being exposed to different cultures has helped him take the reins of the Phoenicia Hotel Beirut
What inspired you to get into the hospitality industry?
When I was young, I wanted to be an architect and started my studies in architecture. While studying, I did a summer internship at a hotel and felt in love with the industry. I decided to change my career and be a hotelier as I’ve always known that I liked to work with people and believe it’s an important opportunity to discover different cultures, professions and environments.
How has your previous work experience inspired you to get to where you are today?
I have almost worked my entire life in hotels and each experience was key for the next one. I started in F&B and my goal was to become general manager. My experience in this department helped me reach my current position, since F&B is a crucial sector in hospitality. My diversified career path and the fact that I studied in Switzerland and worked in places like Latin America, USA, Europe, and Brazil made it easier for me to work in Beirut, the capital of multiculturalism. Indeed, after Rio de Janeiro, I wanted to experience the other part of the globe. I had the chance to work in Australia. Therefore, I was exposed to different ways of working and various cultures, which helped me take the reins of Lebanon’s landmark Phoenicia Hotel Beirut.
How does this job add to your career progression?
Being the general manager of Phoenicia Hotel Beirut gives me the opportunity to explore a new region, culture and market. Working in multicultural Beirut has widened my scope of development.
Tell us a bit about the other markets you worked in and how they compare to your current role?
I have worked in important markets, including Spain, Australia, North and South America. Each experience differed from the other; I learned different values, work ethics, and habits. The beauty of my profession is meeting diverse cultures and attitudes.
What are some of the challenges you foresee and the opportunities you see crop up from them?
When moving countries and markets, the main challenge is adapting to a new culture and work environment and doing it quickly. Another specific challenge I am facing currently in Lebanon is communicating its advantages: the country’s creative, culinary and party culture, and I start with Phoenicia Hotel Beirut, a witness to major events held in the region. The mixture of cultures and religions in Lebanon makes the country one of the most attractive in the world. I’m very happy to have the opportunity to use my skills and experiences to contribute to the outreach of Phoenicia in Lebanon.
What would you say are a few of your most significant accomplishments?
During my career, I met people from all around the globe, I learned from them and led them as well, and this is a major accomplishment. Another career highlight is the two hotel openings I was part of — in Melbourne and in Texas.
Can you describe any new initiatives or programmes you are planning to introduce as part of your new position?
I am working with a very professional team and with their support, I aim to maintain Phoenicia Hotel Beirut’s glamorous image and leadership position. My goal is to share its history of welcoming the crème de la crème from the four corners of the globe. Another initiative I wish to implement is to attract more local residents to the hotels’ restaurants and bars; not only travellers to discover this jewel in the middle of Beirut. Finally, we are tackling new markets since we are finding increasing interest from the Lebanese diaspora in Lebanon. People are coming from Latin America and Australia to re-discover their roots.