Basic Info

Name:
Roberto E. Wirth
Contributor Status:
Native AdVice
Initial Contribution Date:
03/21/2016
Primary Location:
Rome, Italy

Career Info

Primary Industry:
Hotels / Hospitality
Personal Career Headline:
PRESIDENT & MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE HASSLER ROMA
Business Description (One-Liner):

Luxury hotel.

Experience Timeline:
41-50 years of work experience

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Career Snapshot:

Roberto E. Wirth, President and Managing Director of the Hassler Roma, is the first son of Oscar Wirth and his wife Carmen. As the second-generation owner of the Hotel Hassler, and fifth generation of a famous hotelier family, he believes in carrying on the rich tradition of the Bucher-Wirth hotel dynasty. For almost two centuries, the Bucher-Wirth family continues to make their mark in the field of luxury hospitality. In the past Mr. Wirth has received numerous personal awards, the most recent being: “Independent Hotelier of the World 2005” by HOTELS magazine, one of the most prestigious publications in the hospitality industry; the Prize for Economic Achievement by Rome’s City Government in an event presided by the city’s mayor (February 2006); the “Marco Aurelio” 2006 prize for Tourism from the Vice Mayor of Rome, Mariapia Garavaglia – this prestigious award recognizes those who have distinguished themselves in the Roman tourism sector, emphasizing the importance that tourism has for the economic and social life of Italy’s capital. In Nov. 2014 he was awarded the “Leading Legend Award” by The Leading Hotels of the World, for his commitment to the art of independent hospitality.

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How did you get into the industry?:

Since I was a child, I could experience firsthand the hotel life. My father managed Hotel Eden in Rome. I lived in the hotel, I ate in the hotel; all my life, as well as my family’s life was synchronized with the hotel’s routine. It was like a brain washing… I always wanted to become an hotelier. And it was not easy to realize my dream because I had not the support of my family. Above all my father strongly took position against my desire. He was convinced that my deafness could be an insuperable obstacle. I had to face and overcome many difficulties before I succeeded but I never gave up.

Industry opportunities and challenges?:

I cannot say we have specific partnerships; Hassler, as mentioned before, is an independent hotel but we have been member of The Leading Hotels of the World for many years and this helps in strengthening the development in the different markets and reach the right target of customers.  During its history, the Hassler witnessed a lot of implementation. Originally, it was a four stars hotel and the rooms had no bathrooms. My father in rebuilding it modified the room structure, created the upper floor, moved the restaurant – usually based on the ground floor – to the 6th floor (making it the first Roman panoramic restaurant in a hotel)… The Hassler became a five star hotel. In addition, when my father married my mother, who had live many years in New York, and had many important American friends who arrived in Rome to visit her, the Hassler started being very popular again. To keep the success and improve it we are strongly focused on Sales & Marketing activities and actions without forgetting one of the most important thing that a luxury hotel has to provide to its clients, I mean of course an excellent service.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?:

I am the second-generation owner of the Hotel Hassler, and fifth generation of a famous hotelier family of Swiss origin. My dynasty began with Franz-Josef Bucher, now considered one of the pioneers of the hotel industry in Europe. In 1890 Franz-Joseph appointed his son-in law – and my grand-father – Heinrich to manage Hotel Quirinale and later Albergo Minerva, bought by Bucher in 1894. Then Oscar, my father and Heinrich’ son joined the Hotel Hassler in 1921 as the partner of another Swiss Hotelier, Franz Nistelweck. My father Oscar later became the sole owner of the prestigious hotel. A curiosity: During Mussolini’s dictatorship, the Hassler had to change its name and became Villa Medici (Mussolini thought that the name Hassler had Jewish origin…). Thereafter the hotel was requisitioned by the U.S. Air Force to serve as their Rome headquarters during World War II. In 1947, the Hotel (again) Hassler reopened to travelers from around the world and took up its traditional position as a temple of hospitality. Today, I consider the Hotel my home and my family heritage. My first aim is to keep it as a jewel that shines more and more. It is an independent Hotel, I am proud of it, and I have no intention to sell it.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business? Greatest Accomplishment?:

I cannot say we have specific partnerships; Hassler, as mentioned before, is an independent hotel but we have been member of The Leading Hotels of the World for many years and this helps in strengthening the development in the different markets and reach the right target of customers.  During its history, the Hassler witnessed a lot of implementation. Originally, it was a four stars hotel and the rooms had no bathrooms. My father in rebuilding it modified the room structure, created the upper floor, moved the restaurant – usually based on the ground floor – to the 6th floor (making it the first Roman panoramic restaurant in a hotel)… The Hassler became a five star hotel. In addition, when my father married my mother, who had live many years in New York, and had many important American friends who arrived in Rome to visit her, the Hassler started being very popular again. To keep the success and improve it we are strongly focused on Sales & Marketing activities and actions without forgetting one of the most important thing that a luxury hotel has to provide to its clients, I mean of course an excellent service. The success comes from hard work… Just use the head and not the feet… I can say I achieve the aim to keep Hassler Roma independent and one of the most well-known worldwide property in the luxury hospitality industry.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?):

The most difficult thing is managing the staff. It is not easy… It happens that I have to repeat things many times before people do what they are supposed to. It is annoying and really upsets me. Luckily, it does not regards all members of my team!

Ideal experience for a customer/client?:

It is not simple to reply. Maybe the ideal experience is dealing with VIP guests, anticipating their desires, knowing their habits, giving them an unique experience up to their expectations.

How do you motivate others?:

Trying to be as gentle as possible but also severe when it occurs…

Career advice to those in your industry?:

You know, there are two different kind of hotelier: one who deals with independent properties and one who deals with properties member of hospitality chains. Working for an independent hotel is completely different; rules, activities and mentality change. Therefore, the first thing I would suggest to an aspiring hotelier is that he/she starts choosing between the above-mentioned categories.

What Else To Know

Tell Us More:

Life Motto: Never give up!

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