A tourism professional through and through with a penchant for good food and the great outdoors: Kathrin Gollubits, Head of HR at Vienna House, discovered her passion for hospitality at an early age. She has seen lots of kitchens “backstage” and got her hands greasy more than once. In our interview, she tells us more about her career steps, how she spends her free time, and where she likes to travel most.
Who or what influenced your decision to go into tourism?
[laughs] My big brother! He basically showed me that this was what I absolutely wanted to do. So I followed in his footsteps and attended tourism school – and it was the right decision. I felt at home in the tourism business right from the start, and the yearly apprentice placements gave me an opportunity to work in many different kitchens. I’ll never forget my time in Kitzbühel. Making breakfast for the guests every day… I now know what that means and the experience taught me true appreciation for the employees at our hotels.
And where did you end up then?
After finishing school, I really wanted to work abroad and go to Canada. But unfortunately, I didn’t get a visa. So I started working as a stewardess for Austrian Airlines and got to travel the world for two years. It was during my tourism studies in Perugia that I discovered my love for Italy. This, and my position as Guest Relations Manager at the Hilton in Rome, gave me a chance to reinforce my knowledge of Italian. It also was a very exciting time – it was 2005 and Pope John Paul II passed away while I was there. It’s hard to describe what it was like to be there…
And then you came back to Vienna?
Correct. I love working directly with the client and wanted to go into sales. I found an attractive job offer from Do & Co and this is where I first came in contact with HR, being in charge of over 1,200 cooks. My team and I managed the catering for the European Football Championship in Austria and Switzerland. After two years there, I treated myself to a brief “time-out” and travelled through Southeast Asia. It was a personal highlight in terms of culture and cuisine.
Describe your current position as Head of HR in one sentence!
That’s not so easy. I’d say that, together with my team and the department heads, we try to find the right employee for the right position – for the entire company!
How do you spend your free time?
I’m something of a fresh air junkie [laughs]. From skiing to hiking to biking – I’m ready for (almost) everything. In case our readers are ever in Salzburger Land: I recommend a hike along Tappenkarsee Lake in Großarltal Valley. Absolutely gorgeous!
Is travelling still a great passion of yours?
You bet! Thanks to the au pair I had as a girl, I’m a big fan of Scandinavia – especially Sweden. But honestly, the place that has surprised me the most was Bucharest. The city has undergone some amazing changes. The difference between old and new is absolutely fascinating and the Romanian mentality is wonderfully infectious. It reminds me a little of Italy. I also love Prague very much. My first business trip was to Prague and I feel welcome and at home at the andel’s by Vienna House Prague every time I am there.
Thank you for the interview!