Profile: Richard Valtr

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Richard Valtr

Founder & Director

MEWS

Q: What does a day at work consist of for you?

A: At the moment it consists of many things. I try and start the day by catching up all the news from the tech world, especially about any new companies offering new products, especially when it relates to hospitality. After that, I come into the office, and we go through the issues that we should solve by the end of day, and we try and catch up with our clients to see if there’s anything new in our system. I will then usually try and spend as much time as I can with our graphics and architecture team and go through some of the new products that we are implementing. Interspersed are calls to prospective clients and anything to do with finance, and I’m spending a lot of time trying to find new hires at the moment. It doesn’t really stop until late on in the evening, but I think that’s quite normal for a start-up…

Q: What’s the best part of your job?

A: When we manage to implement a major new update. We’re currently nearing the testing of our Mews Navigator, our virtual concierge app, in one hotel, and it’s just great to see how the actions I had in my head a few years ago, are now actually being used and implemented.

Q: Do you have anyone you’ve looked up to?

A: It’s a really dweeby answer, but I still have a great love for certain historical figures. My own personal favourite is Simon Bolivar. I know, it’s a little obscure.

Q: Do you have any nice traditions at your office?

A: We try and do a lot of activities, but I’d be lying that with the speed of what we’re trying it’s easy. I think it’s really important for every organisation to keep to these things as much as possible, no matter how big you may be. It’s all things around the Mews name: BarbeMew (BBQ), a-mews-bouche (Friday night drinks), Mewsquash (it’s actually just a squash session with most of our team), Mewsicals (karaoke nights), and a few embarrassingly-named others.

Q: How long have you been a member of HSMAI?

A: We have only just started really, though I have followed the organisation for a really long time.

Q: What do you think is the best thing about HSMAI?

A: I think the most important, and the most neglected part of the hospitality industry is education and training. I think that for such a social industry, we don’t get to share insights/frustrations/solutions enough, and I think HSMAI is a perfect forum for it. At the end of the day, we all want a great hotel that really is able to provide a great service to our guests with the rising revenue implications that go along with it, but it’s really difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff of all the solutions out there. The best way to really find out is just by asking the service providers directly, or to speak to other in the hospitality industry to see what they are happy with.

Q: Are there any activities or projects you think HSMAI should start up?

A: I think it would be great if there was some online forum so that hoteliers could actually consult a library of insights from hoteliers all over the world. Right now, you may have these discussion groups on LinkedIn and the like, but they are really too littered with, well, I guess companies like ours who are more trying to offer their product than by hoteliers themselves sharing experiences. I think this kind of practical unbiased analysis, commentary and advice forum would be really great.

Q: Describe your perfect weekend.

A: I think right now I think a great weekend would consist of being kidnapped away from my desk and computer, flown to Italy and made to sit and read all the great books that I’ve been putting off reading because of work.

Q: If you were the prime minister of Norway, what issues would you focus on?

A: I think Norway’s political system is great, so I wouldn’t try and do too much differently. I would mainly try and work out how to better-export the culture of intellectual voracity mixed in with a very healthy lifestyle that seems to be evident in all of my Norwegian friends. I think a lot of countries would really benefit from that. 

Q: What is the title of the book about your life?

A: So far, I guess, “Tried not to be a nearly man” 

Q: What is your next travel-destination?

A: I’m not sure if work will have other ideas, but I have a trip to Iran planned for the autumn. I really love to travel, and I’ve always really wanted to go and travel around Iran. I think politically, it’s probably as best a time as any to go now. 

Q: Do you have any special hobbies?

A: They’re all armchair hobbies (apart from things like horse riding), but I really love following US politics and reading about urban design, neurology and the intersections of tech and the real world.

Q: Thank you for your time. Do you have any personal comments?

A: Thank you also. I’m super excited for us to be involved in the upcoming conferences and going out on the road and speaking to the hospitality industry from all over Europe.