For our 100th episode, we have a very special guest, namely, Horst Schulze! He is a legend and leader in the hotel world, and his vision and teachings have reshaped the concepts of service and hospitality across industries. His professional life has started more than 65 years ago as a server’s assistant in a German resort town, and throughout the years he has worked both for Hilton Hotels and Hyatt Hotels Corporation before becoming one of the founding members of The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company in 1983.

Later on, after leaving The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company, Mr. Schulze went on to become the founder of The Capella Hotel Group, which is a luxury hotel company that manages some of the most elite properties worldwide. With The Capella Hotel Group, Mr. Schulze defined the luxury hotel industry and has received countless awards and recognitions for it.

Today, Mr. Schulze serves as an Expert in Residence at Arch + Tower, a boutique, organizational strategy consulting firm. He is the author of the book Excellence Wins.

In this episode with him, we talk about leadership and why working for excellence is the best advice you could ever follow for your professional and personal life. Moreover, Mr. Schulze shares more about the Ritz Carlton, Capella Group and how you can go to the next level of your communication game.

From a small town in Germany to the Capella Hotel Group

Mr. Schulze shared with us that his career in the hotel industry started way back when he had been 14. His parents found him a job in the best hotel in the region, 100 km away from his hometown. “At that time that was far,” says Mr. Schulze. At that hotel, the young server met a person who played a significant role in his professional development. That was the head of staff, or as it’s called in the industry, the maître d’hôtel, or maître d’. So, this man taught Mr. Schulze a lesson that he remembered all his life.

“Never go to work to work. Always go to work for excellence.”

Тhe maître d’hôtel to the young Horst Schulze

From then on, Mr. Schulze shared with us more stories and lessons from his vast experience. He talked about leadership, communication, and how vital striving for excellence is.

Timing in business and managing customer relationships

Mr. Schulze emphasized that if you are not timely in your business and relationships, you will lose confidence and trust from your customers. He also gave the three main expectations that are very important to understand, if you want to have a great relationship with your customers that builds trust, confidence, and loyalty. Number one, your customers always expect the product to be defect-free. The second is timeliness, your customers want your product when they want it. Number three is that the customers always expect you to be nice to them.

“The product will not create customer loyalty. It's the relationship that creates the customer loyalty.”

Horst Schulze, in The World of Presentations Podcast, Episode 100

No excuses for your vision

Mr. Schulze shared an intriguing personal story, with which he clearly illustrated how much people are prone to finding excuses for not being excellent and feeling okay about it; rather than focusing on the vision that brings the successes.

For their hotel in Boston, an attainable occupancy goal was not reached. The manager of the hotel at the time excused himself with the harsh weather and the fact that a competitor hotel also didn’t have good occupancy rates. And he felt satisfied with his excuse. According to Mr. Schulze, leaders and managers should keep their focus on their vision, not on any excuses. Excuses give you nothing more than momentary satisfaction. The full discussion we had with Mr. Schulze was eye-opening and full of stories like that one to learn from.


Listen to the full episode!

YouTube video