A speed train engineer, now a hotelier

GABOR Bors, resident manager of Radisson Blu Cebu, studied math and physics in college in his country, Romania, then went on to become an engineer specializing in high speed trains. He worked only one day as such, for, as he related, a five-star hotel was recruiting people to man a new hotel it was opening and specified that only those without hotel experience should apply because the hotel wanted to train its staff itself.

Bors applied, was accepted, and has become a hotelier since then.

Among the first things he had to do, in order to work with the hotel that hired him, Sofitel, a French company, was to learn French in three months, which he did by teaching his roommate English while his roommate taught him French. From childhood, he was already proficient in Hungarian, his mother tongue, and in Romanian. In school, he learned Russian and English. And through his hotel career, he has learned German and Italian, which he can read and write fluently. He knows basic Spanish, a bit of Portuguese, and today, he is trying to learn one word of Cebuano a day. Being a polyglot makes him a valuable hotelier.

His stint with the Accor Hotel group started with Sofitel in Lyon, France where he was front office manager. Then he moved to Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet, Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates as rooms division manager where he got promoted to marketing in charge and finally to executive assistant manager. Then he was transferred to Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach where he was director of rooms, finally becoming director of operations. He stayed more than 10 years in the Middle East but, he said, he somehow never got around to learning the language. In between these assignments, he was with the opening task force of Novotel-Ibis Deira, Dubai; Sofitel The Palace, the Old Town, Dubai; and Novotel Technopark in Zurich, Switzerland.

To be where he is now, Bors has not relied on experience alone. In connection with his work, he earned, from Academie Accor & Sofitel, certificates in more than 30 hospitality training sessions. From other agencies he earned certificates in Hotel and Restaurant recruitment, in communication, in management and marketing and in sustainable tourism. From the Romanian National Tourism Authority, he became accredited as hotel manager and from the IMMI-ESSEC Paris International Hotel Management Program, he earned his master in business administration. He says he is constantly learning even today, from his colleagues and from the hotel guests.

His stint with Radisson of the Carlton Rezidor hotel Group, is his first stint away from the Accor group of Hotels. This is also his first stint in Asia, and in the Philippines. He came, he said, because a lot of his colleagues in the Middle East told him he should try working in the Philippines. He is happy now, where he is, particularly as he loves to know different cultures. As resident manager (his official title is hotel manager) of Radisson Blu, he says: “I am the one close to the ground. The general manager takes care of the bigger picture.”

Asked if he would have preferred to be the engineer he studied to be instead of a hotelier, Gabor Bors replied, “I probably prefer now to be a hotelier than an engineer though I still like to tinker with my gadgets.”
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