There’s nothing quite like the Corinthia London and most definitely nobody like Thomas Kochs within the hotel industry. Astrid talks to the Corinthia’s Managing Director about his fast and fabulous career and life within one of our favourite hotels.
HOW DID YOU START YOUR CAREER?
I started it in a very traditional way. I did an apprenticeship in a beautiful German hotel followed by a degree in business economics in Munich. My dream was to work in New York or London - I thought that would be fabulous! So, I sent five applications to both cities - I had an immediate reply to four in London within a week but none from New York, so that dictated my destiny!
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO GO INTO HOTELS?
I always loved hotels. It’s the people, the luxury element, the travel, the detail, the creativity, the newness… and which other business can you find this all in one?!
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO WORK FOR CORINTHIA HOTEL?
It's an exquisite and special hotel. To have all the values of a traditional, grand hotel but with the newness of a modern hotel is unique. It feels so welcoming which guests appreciate. We are not governed by years and years of tradition and so have a very appealing youthful aspect to us. Our partnership with Sager + Wilde is a wonderful example. This collaboration sees East London cocktail expertise meet the iconic elegance of Corinthia. For us to recognise what is new in London and for us to invite what is essentially East London’s hottest bartender talent in for guests to try without travelling the distance - that is freedom. Not many hotels would do this. So now they can have a wine list created by Michael Sager which normally you would have to travel to Hackney or Bethnal Green for. To do this with authenticity and autonomy and to create the right balance is exciting. Other examples include our world famous spa, ESPA Life and our longstanding relationship with famous London florist By Appointment Only Design. In May we announced a yearlong partnership with The Future Laboratory as part of our ‘In Residence’ programme. Their trend forecasting will see a series of talks, installations, briefings, future rooms, dinners and activities available both to hotel guests and non-residents.
FROM YOUR OWN PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW, WHY IS CORINTHIA LONDON SO BEAUTIFUL?
Personally, I love the aesthetics. I love the high ceilings in particular - it opens up the hotel welcoming and allowing guests free to roam…
WHAT IS AN AVERAGE WORKING DAY FOR YOU?
8.30am to 8.30pm with most of that time spent with the team and the rest with partners and guests. It’s a day of many meetings, but meetings and conversations move things forward. I always say a meeting must have an outcome. The ideal meeting has a result.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
When we can create a new service or experience for our guests.
WHAT DO YOU TRY AND INSTIL IN YOUR STAFF?
The team need to genuinely care and genuinely want to be here. They need to absolutely realise that they are serving people who have made a choice. They need to be in touch with reality while recognising guests and going the extra mile is what makes the difference. One needs to stop people in their tracks to impress them and that requires a very special effort to go above and beyond.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ASPECT OF THE HOTEL?
The people! The team make me proud every day. Each time we stand out by winning an award or get an outstanding comment from our guests it’s something that the team did.
HOW DO YOU PERSONALLY FEEL YOU YOURSELF AND YOUR OWN ROLE MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO THE HOTEL?
Every day we aim to make the hotel a bit better. It doesn’t mean it’s not good each day, but we aim that each and every day is better. It's not bad to end your day asking yourself what I could have done better. One must put a mirror in front of oneself.
YOU MEET ALOT OF FABULOUS PEOPLE - WHO HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE PERSON AND WHY?
The Queen gave me goose bumps. She looks like she does in all the press images and her memory and sense of awareness is incredible. She’s wonderful to chat to.
WHAT IN YOUR OPINION MAKES A PERFECT HOTEL GUEST?
Ones that smile back!
HOW DOES THE EXPRESSION ‘DUKE TO DUSTMAN’ APPLY TO YOU AND YOUR STAFF?
This is something I absolutely live by. To every team member that joins on induction day I say ’No one is more important than anyone else. Everyone contributes to this experience we are creating and delivering.'
WHAT JOB DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD DO IN ANOTHER LIFE AND WHY?
The world of wellness, health and nutrition holds my fascination. I find the whole idea of becoming a better ‘you’ extremely interesting.
YOU DEFINITELY HAVE AN EFFECT ON PEOPLE, RESPECTED BY MANY OTHER INDUSTRY LEADERS - ARE YOU AWARE OF THIS?
WHATS YOUR FAVORITE EMOJI?
The “bravo” or “clapping” ones!