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Creating Unmatched Memories through the Eyes of a Hotelier: Dr. Iwan Dietschi

On our first episode of the APWASI Wine Buzz Series, we interviewed guest, Dr. Iwan Dietschi, hotelier and author of Mastering Hospitality.

What was the single catalyst that drove you to become a Hotelier?

I love to be with people, to make people happy. The hotel environment allows me to be with people from various backgrounds, to learn and grow through them. It was important for me to discover the world and its people. The hotel environment allows the world to come to you as well. Be around incredible diversity, experience various cultures, create unmatched memories and to become a more sophisticated professional and an enriched person as a result.

One of your philosophies is that you want to create an unmatched experience for guests for a life-time. How did this come about?

Seeing people happy is a wonderful feeling. I learned early on that I could make a difference simply by smiling and reaching out to them. Seeing others reacting positively was an important driver for me to learn more about people in general, my contribution to make the world better.

In any industry, people are the most important. Through my leadership and passion, I can inspire others, create exceptional experiences consistently. People might remember things but feel connected to those that touched their hearts. Those will last a life-time.

How do you define an unmatched experience for all the different cultures around the world?

Whenever we are in different countries, we are always guests in that environment. As hoteliers, it is critical that we don’t wait for the hand to be extended, but to take the first step, to try and be part of their culture and always remain positive in being a new environment. As soon as people know that you are here for the right reasons, the locals will open up, show pride and enthusiasm to teach and engage, and try to make others comfortable. Touching hearts is the easiest thing in life. It takes a smile, a proactive approach to embrace every thing new, to be thankful to learn from people in their culture, be humble enough to appreciate the difference and always act and engage in a respectful way.

It is important that we can empathize and engage, to know more and learn about the person and then act upon to create unmatched memories.

What are some suggestions that you would give students to advance their career in these challenging times?

I would like to emphasize the fact that everything starts and ends with you. I would ask everyone to focus on their talents and strengths and develop their own brand. I encourage everyone to think about a clear vision and mission. Dream big! Everyday is an opportunity to come closer to that goal. It is important to also find an employer to support your mission and mentor you to greater heights. To create sustainable success, I encourage everyone to do more than expected and demonstrate natural leadership by supporting team members and supporting everyone around.

China is considered to be a world leader in AI. How are you incorporating this technology into the hospitality business?

I take Alibaba’s FlyZoo Hotel in Hangzhou as an example, where you enter into a room through facial recognition, need your mobile phone to get the services you require, and robots provide many of the services.

AI is particularly used in human resources and recruitment. Technology will shape our industry for sure. On the other hand, I strongly believe that in the luxury environment. Guests want to be surrounded by professionals, who can create memories through professional engagement, competency and flair through authentic communication, which the customer will never forget. No customer will be able to forget a Maître D’ who can talk about wine with passion, love and experience.

What do you see in the generational liquor choices in your hotels?

As per my observations and professional surveys, although the people above 55+ still play the greatest consumption, the younger generation, the millennials have become the main power for spending money on liquor, particularly cocktails. The younger generation has discovered the love, the lifestyle that cocktail bars offer. There are many trendy establishments that are popping up. Hotels need to catch up and re-invent their own business model to compete. The stronger liquors are part of the many cultures in Asia as they are still consumed in the family and business settings.

However, the trend for younger consumers is shifting to beverages and cocktails with less alcohol. Many bars and establishments are sensitive to the changes and habits and are adapting to the expectations. There is a demand for particular cocktails, flavors, colors, shapes and glass wares as well, especially to the female guests, who are more sensitive to the look and feel and taste. An interesting study was conducted about Chinese younger consumer habits. Many chose to reduce the frequency of drinking and the amount of beverages consumed each time, as there is more concern about individual’s health, which has become more important than before.

The creativity of beverage professionals is required and expected and appreciated more than ever, as well as the overall environment that is created by the venue. Talking about all the senses, the connection that a brand can build with its consumer through social media and other means has become increasingly important and a critical focus as well.

As the new APWASI Global Hospitality Ambassador, what do you consider of prime importance before you accepted this role? 

Food, wine, liquor is in general a critical part of hospitality, not only enjoyed, but also expected from professionals to be able to speak about wines and liquors with great passion. A lunch, dinner or business, should always be accompanied by a great beverage or wine. Through the professionals in the trade, they bring joy to the guests’ palettes through the right choice of beverage and wine and help to create unmatched memories. I learned about the world as well through the world of wine. As hoteliers, we’re a part of that culture. I would like to encourage more hospitality professionals to learn wine and spirit knowledge as early as possible. My knowledge in wine culture helped to bring the world closer to my heart and mind. I am always learning, connecting the dots and experiencing different countries through their wine history, particularities and tastes. My primary role is to bring wine and spirits closer to all hospitality professionals and by doing so, for hoteliers to experience the world through wine makers, terroirs, history, culture and incredibly variety of taste through our world. Hospitality tell stories to engage with guests, to create memories that last a lifetime, to educate consumers through our own lens. Wine and spirits are part of the fantastic and never-ending story.

Watch the Full Youtube Interview Here

About APWASI Wine Buzz Interviews

The APWASI Wine Buzz Interviews is hosted by Dr. Clinton Lee and Ms. Stephanie Hogan, with the intentions of interviewing different professionals around the world in the wine, hospitality and related industries to share their insight into current trends, topics and data that we think would be interesting to our community.

If you know anyone who should be featured on these series, please send us an email to