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Equinox Hotels is the ‘new kid on the block’ in the world of 5* luxury hotels. The company’s first property is now open in Hudson Yards, New York, and joining its launch team has been a perfect move for Italian-American Glion alumna Claudia Dalla Torre di Sanguinetto.

“In the back of my mind I always wanted to experience a hotel opening,” says Claudia, who is Director of Entertainment and Diplomatic Sales for the hotel. “When the team from Equinox Hotels contacted me about this role it was a career step I was thrilled to take.”

New York was already home for Claudia, who was headhunted to the sales team at The Langham in Fifth Avenue after graduating from Glion in 2016. This followed an internship at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in New York during her Bachelor’s studies, where she clearly made a good impression on the hotel’s then Director of Sales and Marketing, who asked Claudia to come and work with her again at The Langham!

“My advice to current Glion students is to be strategic in your career and internship choices; but also be open to new challenges. Any and all work opportunities will teach you something, whether they’re good or bad experiences,” she says.

“As a junior colleague you will be asked to fill many different shoes. More often than not, it will be shoes that are small and uncomfortable! But it is having perseverance that will get you to the next step.”

The art of persuasion

As with any new hotel opening, work becomes fluid and tasks change day-by-day. Claudia explains, “Most of my day revolves around engaging with clients, whether on the telephone, face-to-face, through webinars or email correspondence. However, as the New York property will be setting the ground for all the other hotels the brand is planning to open, it is also important that my team and I dedicate our time to ensure procedures are up to the standards of a luxury brand – and that they are scalable.”

Selling a new luxury hotel in a mature marketplace is a challenge for any marketer, and Claudia is no exception. She notes that clients from the entertainment and diplomatic segments tend to stick by the venues they are familiar with, to avoid any glitches.

“So when a new hotel brand enters the market, in a new neighborhood like Hudson Yards, it’s the job of someone like me to educate the clients and build their trust, to the point that they will be enticed into organizing a press day or delegate meeting with us,” she says.

Steep learning curve

These are significant responsibilities for someone who is still a relatively recent graduate. But it’s a rapid progression that Claudia has relished.

“I remember that just at the point I was about to graduate from Glion, I couldn’t wait to start working. I thought the stressful times of tests and dissertation were over. However, it turns out that was only the beginning. Nobody talks about it, but the first six months in your first job out of college are hard, very hard. As young adults we are forced out of our familiar world into a new reality made of clients, bosses and colleagues.

“If your career takes you to another continent, like mine did, you will be far away from the immediate support of your family and friends, so you have to figure things out on your own. On the flipside, once you get past that initial stage it is so rewarding. You will go from being the young college grad to becoming part of the team. You will be the one to take charge of projects, and you will be the one onboarding new colleagues.

“You will slowly realize that you are building your own life and becoming your own person. So for as hard as your first six months out of Glion will be – and however demotivated you might occasionally feel – these times will be the foundation of your future.

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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