We caught up with hospitality professional and industry expert , who told us about his biggest career mistakes and what he has learned from them. He also gave us some words of wisdom to pass on to those on the up in the industry.
is currently a partner at Hotel Development Resources, an organisation that assists hotel developers, investors, owners and operators from the inception to the completion of their hotel project, as well as throughout the hotel’s life cycle. They help their clients achieve their goals and hit key milestones throughout the duration of the project, streamlining the entire process and helping to make it more hassle free. Podaras has been a partner at HDR since 2013, and prior to this he was an independent advisor in the hotel development sector, and before that as a director of Christie & Co., conducting financial analysis and feasibility studies for the Middle East and North Africa markets. He has been based in Dubai since 2001.
Biggest career mistake
We caught up with at the recent TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR event that was held in Dubai‘s Sheraton Grand Hotel on April 24, 2018. He spoke to us about some of the mistakes he has made in his career along the way, and perhaps the biggest one that sticks out in his mind was made when he first moved to the Middle East. He was sent to Saudi Arabia for work, unchartered territory for a newcomer to the region, and was presented with the client’s vision for his hotel project, which was very firm and very precise. However, Podaras, coming straight from the Western hotel industry, was convinced that this idea wouldn’t work, and instead suggested a different approach for the hotel. In the end, the client went down the route he had originally intended to, disregarding Podaras’ advice.
This was a big lesson for Podaras, who had to get to grips very quickly with operating in a region that was culturally, socially and politically different to what he was used to. He realised that when working in an unknown market, you have to put aside what you think you know and be open to and embrace the market you are in. Instead of looking for outside advice, speak to the people operating within that particular market, and listen to their insight and experience, especially if you are a novice in that particular region. He says it is important to value the perspective of others, and to appreciate differences between cultures and people. and his parting advice was to have an open mind.