In the autumn, St. Petersburg was visited by Swiss tennis player Stanislas Wawrinka. After a brilliant US Open 2016 final, where he vanquished the racket of the world no. 1, Novak Djokovic, the triple Grand Slam champion arrived on the banks of the Neva to participate in the St. Petersburg Open. With tennis undoubtedly being one of the most popular and exciting sports, we could not get past another fact: apart from playing for a country which is justly regarded as one of the world's hospitality industry capitals, Stanislas is also an ambassador of an alliance of hospitality management schools – Swiss Education Group (SEG), comprised of several Swiss hospitality schools such as César Ritz Colleges (named in honour of the renowned César Ritz) and Hotel Institute Montreux. Here is an interview that Swiss school students took part in with the tennis celebrity and later illustrated with photographs from Stanislas’ performances at the St. Petersburg Open. So what, exactly, is meant by Swiss service and why is the Swiss hospitality culture so renowned?
SEG student: Can you tell us how hospitality affects your life?
Stan Wawrinka: It's quite important, it's part of my life and my job.
SEG student: How many nights in general you spend in hotels?
Stan Wawrinka: I spend between nine and ten months in different countries and cities. I can see all hotels of the world. It's quite fun.
SEG student: What is most important for you when you stay in hotel?
Stan Wawrinka: The most important is service as well as people. I like to see smiles when I arrive to the hotel.
SEG student: Why Switzerland is so renowned for its education in hotel management?
Stan Wawrinka: Most every hotel where I go there is someone who is coming from Swiss school. It means that the quality of these schools is good.
SEG student: As tennis player you participate in a lot of sports events. What skills are critical to create those large events?
Stan Wawrinka: For me it's all about passion, because it's much easier when you like what you do. It's important when you wake up every day to practice. Professionality is also important – you need to put everything on your job and try to do your best.
SEG student: What makes Swiss hospitality so good?
Stan Wawrinka: The service is really good. The people listen a lot about clients, think about quality of the room and hotel. They take care of small details, that makes big difference in the hotel.
SEG student: What would you have done if not a tennis player?
Stan Wawrinka: It is a question I am asked all the time. I do not know, but I like to cook.
SEG student: What makes SEG schools the best choice for hospitality management?
Stan Wawrinka: It is a tough school, but it's a good one. You learn a lot of things and have different possibilities – it's not easy, but the education is important for the future.
Julia Kostina is a professional luxury travel consultant at Renshaw Travel, one of the best luxury travel agencies in Canada.
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