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A year in the life of: Thomas Goval from Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku’damm

It takes a certain portfolio of skills to become a General Manager with one in particular shared among any GM –the ability to pay great attention to detail and multi-task while still having a great view of the bigger picture. 

From greeting guests’ front of house to managing from behind the scenes - General Managing really does cover every aspect in hospitality, ensuring that we deliver true hospitality. Thomas Goval knows all about creating Great Hotels that Guests Love.

No day is the same for Thomas, but we’ve been fortunate enough to catch up with him on his last year;

Clockwise from top left: Thomas Goval - General Manager,  Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku’damm exterior, interior decor 



I arrived in Berlin in February 2016 moving from Hotel Indigo Paris Opéra as Assistant Manager to Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku’damm as General Manager.  I spent my first few weeks transitioning from a franchise owned property to one managed by IHG. I focused on transferring contracts, operational plans, and systems handovers. The hotel officially transitioned on April, 1st 2016.


The hotel has been surrounded all year by an adjoining building construction site. In May 2016, one of the workers heavily drilled the pavement and hit one of the hotel electricity cables. The alarm went off disturbing guests, which meant they needed reassuring immediately that this wasn’t going to dampen their experience or ruin their stay. We also needed to organise a pre-booked lunch despite the kitchen not being in working order. Thanks to the support of both the team and neighbours, we still managed to welcome and serve guests!


In 2016 a lot of on-the-job training was supported by my cluster teams which I was really grateful of. In June 2016 I underwent a 5 day Learning Event with other Hotel Indigo General Managers. It was a great opportunity to share best practices and be inspired from a strategic perspective. And finally in 2016 I decided to complete additional loyalty & risk management training to learn how to better lead in those areas specifically.


I attended a Social Media Conference held at the Facebook headquarters. This was useful to share best practices and learn how to further expand our hotel online presence. A GM Meeting as well as the Sales Kick-Off Event both held in January 2017 were also a great opportunity to reflect on 2016 and therefore discuss plans for the coming year.


2016 was definitely a very intense year which showed me how engaging your team through hard work and passion can lead to quick improvements. It also confirmed that success cannot be entirely achieved on your own; the support of IHG and the cluster teams were essential. My resolutions were to further enhance our guest experience in 2017 and spend more time with my family and relatives – who are also really important to help recharge the batteries!

Biggest achievement in 2016

I believe passing the brand standards audit just 9 months after the takeover was our hotels’ biggest achievement last year. I am also particularly proud of our partnership with an international high-end clothing company which satisfies all hotel stakeholders: our guests often mention our stylish clothing, which puts our colleagues at ease. Not only do our new uniforms make the team feel great they have saved us a great deal of money too meaning we’re able to invest these savings into other areas of the hotel.

Thomas is the perfect example of life at IHG – he’s driven, passionate and focused on his career and providing the best experience for our guests. You can see even from a short insight into a year in the life of Thomas that his role is rich in events, memories, development and progression.

Do you think you may have what it takes to take one of our leading hotels to the next level? Are you passionate, creative and dedicated? If this looks like the kind of year you can see yourself living too then head over to our vacancy search and see what your next big opportunity could be.

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