Interview with Claudia Pronk, General Manager
- 5 min read
We had the pleasure of interviewing Claudia Pronk, Hotelschool The Hague Alumna and General Manager of the hotel Nira Alpina in Switzerland, won the Worldwide Hospitality School Award in the category Best Hotelier. Claudia graduated from Hotelschool The Hague in 1991.
You have recently won the Worldwide Hospitality School Awards for Best Hotelier. How does it feel to be acknowledged by peers within the Hospitality Industry?
It feels great and it is even a bit overwhelming. This is a true recognition for many years of hard work. I am fortunate to have been nominated for this. The overwhelming bit is mainly caused by the enormous exposure this Award has in the hospitality industry. So many industry colleagues are aware of this and this means best wishes coming in from all over the world. I have to admit it is also a good “contact moment”. Sending out the great news on Social Media enabled me to be in touch again (sometimes after many years) with all the great persons in my network.
What inspired you to become a Hotelier?
Back in high school, they organised a day to introduce all kind of professions to prepare students for education choices and all that goes with it. I visited the “Hotel Manager” and he inspired me with his stories. Coming back home, my mind was made up. My down to earth parents, who have nothing to do with the hotel business, wisely advised me to find a job in a local restaurant first to see if this hotel and catering business would really fit me before applying for the Hotelschool and so it went. I worked part-time in a local restaurant in my home town, liked it very much, did the Hotelschool and became a Hotelier.
What do you love the most about your job, and the Hospitality Industry?
I guess the combination of the variety it offers and the opportunity to meet and interact with great people; both guests and team members. I think also the fact that my team and I can really make an impact on things gives great satisfaction.
You have had an extensive career. What is the most important lesson that you have learned so far?
Since I have worked in many different countries and, hence, with different cultures, I have learned that wherever you go, you better adapt fast and be open-minded. Something that has been successful somewhere, might not be successful somewhere else. If you do not have the ability to adapt yourself to your marketplace, it is going to be hard.
How did you enjoy your study at Hotelschool The Hague?
I enjoyed it a lot and it was actually exactly what I hoped it to be. Apart from the education, it also enabled me to create friendships for life. My best friend Annette was my roommate at “the Paviljoen” in Scheveningen and although we never became an official year club, the “Beppen”, all from my semester, became great friends as well. We do our best to see each other minimum once a year.
What would your advice be to our students?
My best advice to students would be to enjoy your time at Hotelschool The Hague and make use of all it has to offer. The relationships that you build up during those years can be fundaments of your career and/or in your private lives.
Are you interested in seeing more about our Alumni? Then check out the 3rd Edition of our HTH Alumni Magazine, the ALMA.