Like his adopted home – Dubai – time has never stood still for long when it comes to Glion alumnus Martin Kubler.

“I suppose you could say I’ve had a ‘colorful’ career – others might be less kind and use different words!” says German-born Martin. “I’ve always tried to keep things focused on the hospitality industry; but at the same time gaining as broad an experience as possible.”

Having learned his trade in a family-owned luxury hotel, Martin went on to work across the full spectrum of hotel categories, before settling back into the luxury segment.

“I realized quite early on that I’m not really a ‘chain guy’, so I focused on independently-owned properties, with a few exceptions. At the time of my studies with Glion, I had just led the opening of a new privately-owned luxury hotel here in Dubai – although I was already making plans to set up my own company.”

Taking the plunge

With his postgraduate studies completed in 2013, this was all the impetus Martin needed to take the entrepreneurial plunge. “I resigned from my general manager’s job and launched my first company, Iconsulthotels, which was a boutique hospitality, leisure and tourism consulting firm in Dubai.”

After a strong start in business, Martin realized that to take his venture to the next level would require broadening its commercial horizons beyond the pure hospitality sector.

We needed to be able to attract clients from other industries. So my company took over another Dubai-based business consultancy and we rebranded to Strategic Partnership Solutions (sps:affinity). We endured a bit of a rocky start, as the economic climate in Dubai was tricky at that time. But now we’re doing well. I took on a partner in 2016 and turned the business into a partnership – and we’ve been growing steadily ever since!

Giving something back

Martin has always been keen to give something back to the industry he loves. For some years now he has been among the judges of the Hotel News Middle East Leaders in Hospitality Awards.

“I enjoy being a judge, because it means I can use my vast industry experience to really reward the ‘best of the best’. Award-winning candidates show passion for the industry in their portfolios, involve the entire team in the application process and are very outcomes-focused,” he explains.

In addition, he has long been engaged in mentoring, training and teaching up-and-coming professionals; plus he is also venturing into writing and public speaking. “My work has always been varied and there really are no two days that are alike, which is something I enjoy very much.

Finally, does Martin have any advice for current Glion students?

“Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom of the ladder. Talent always rises and sometimes you’ve got to take a step back in order to take two steps forward. Build your network from day one in the industry – hospitality may seem huge but it’s actually fairly small, and everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows you, so never burn your bridges!

“Don’t get too hung up with brand names and job titles – there’s no reason to work for a company if you don’t enjoy it. And last but not least, move! You are not a tree, so you can get up and go somewhere else. And so you should. Experiencing our industry in different countries and on different levels will give you valuable new insights.”

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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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