Peter Vogel – A Guru in The World of Hospitality
Peter Vogel’s name is synonymous with expert leadership and hospitality training in the yachting industry. If you (have been living under a rock and) have not heard of him, he is the Managing Director at Luxury Hospitality Management. Based in the Netherlands, he is also a mentor to our very own Bec McKeever!
Peter has explored many different avenues in the world of hospitality, ultimately focusing on training and leadership development. Always on the go, Peter is full of energy and passion for what he does. Spreading his amazing expertise, and lighting up lives with his infectious personality. This month, lucky us had the pleasure of sitting down with Peter, as he took us through his wonderous journey from where it all began, to how he envisions the future.
Did you always know that you wanted to do yachting?
I did not, but I knew I was definitely going to work in the world of hospitality. Very early on, I stated to my parents that I would be working on a cruise ship. When I was 7 or 8 years old, my mother later told me, it was a statement which I made again with conviction. I was 19 when I joined Seabourn Cruise Line in Sevilla on the 4th of May in 1993. I will never forget it! It was magical and after 5 years I got head-hunted by Lady Moura, which is when my career in yachting kicked off.
How did your career begin in the world of hospitality?
I began as a dishwasher and waiter at our local wedding and event centre, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Not only did I enjoy it but, I completely loved it! I only worked there for four months to earn some extra money while I was at school. Eventually, I realized I loved it so much, that I changed schools and joined the School for Bakery & Hotel personnel. I am no baker, so naturally, I chose the hotel side, which led me to apply at a high-end restaurant in my hometown. I worked there for two-and-a-half years as an intern and learned the ropes of our trade.
How did you transition from yachting to Luxury Hospitality?
After 5 years on the cruise ships and 12 years in yachting, it was time for me to follow my heart. It told me that it was time to offer a service to the industry that was about the crew. I wanted to assist crew to learn all about being a hospitality specialist, as I truly believe that everyone onboard is in service. Not in a boring classroom, but onboard or onsite in the actual “playground”.
After my time with Vulcan Maritime, from the late Paul Allen, we launched in 2009 and enjoyed a great start as it appeared there was a need for it. Since then, we’ve added our leadership development programs for Captains, HODs, and middle managers. This is a field that I’m very passionate about as it is not taught in school anywhere. What a journey – it’s amazing to support crew in an ever more challenging industry.
Who is your mentor outside the world of hospitality?
My true mentor is an awesome gentleman, Mr Boerman. He is 85-plus now and I’ve known him all my life, he was my dad’s boss. My father has been a truck driver his whole life and recently retired. He travelled through the whole of Europe on his truck and as a kid, I joined him on week-long trips. I do think that my love of travel was inspired at an early age, thanks, Dad!
Back to my mentor, Mr Boerman, he always showed an interest in my travels and when I started my own business I asked for advice now and then. This grew into a great mentoring relationship and I aspire to be as great as him one day in coaching and supporting fellow entrepreneurs. He always listens and probes you with provocative thoughts and ideas for you to come up with your own solutions. Such a wonderful skill!
Where do you see yourself and Luxury Hospitality in 10 years?
This is a great question and I’m so glad you’re asking it. We are on a mission and this mission allows us to lift the quality in the world of hospitality to great heights. It is an industry whose focus lies on the human capital available to the owners and charter guests. Human capital that is appreciated, nurtured, and cared for will ultimately provide much greater experiences to their guests. These will naturally be oozing in personalized hospitality and Luxury Hospitality will be at the forefront of this mission and be a leader in the field.
How are you finding online training compared to face-to-face training in the world of hospitality?
There is a space for either form of delivery but online will never replace face-to-face training, it just can’t. There is something about human energy that can’t be transmitted through an internet connection and a screen. However, with the recent pandemic, it has been proven that you can deliver impactful training and development services, coaching for example, that support in-person delivery throughout the year. It inspired us to create leader and learner journeys for a multitude of our clients in recent months.
What do you love most about your job?
I would have to say discovering my own potential, as it is unlimited. Every day we assist people to do just that. We help people unlock their true talents and allow them to understand their purpose in life. Whilst doing this I realize that there are no boundaries. When you allow yourself to lead from the heart it is possible to inspire others to do the same. It is very rewarding and waking up every day with true purpose is available to everyone.
How has COVID affected your mindset?
It’s been interesting. I think that everyone, including myself, has had a bit of a wave effect as we are entering the third wave here in the Netherlands. Initially, during the first wave, I was rather happy to be home, to be honest. After all these years of non-stop travelling it was wonderful to be home and reset! This obviously changed quickly. After a few weeks of enjoying life’s goodies – great wine & food – the indulgence was too much I needed to find a more balanced lifestyle.
I shifted the focus onto my health and I’ve been very grateful for this time as I’ve found ways to recentre. My sleeping habits changed, yes even did a sleeping course! I have become a sleeping champion, which allows me to have far greater energy levels throughout the day. Right now I’m just glad to see that the world is seeing vaccines arrive and being distributed and it gives a sense of hope that this is almost behind us. Luckily we keep ourselves busy with work for our clients as they have all transitioned online with us. But like all of us, I think it’s time to start drinking corona beer again and leave this disease behind!
Is there anything you miss about yachting?
Waking up on the water, sitting on the deck with my cup of tea, and enjoy the scenery change every day. That I miss immensely!
What has been your most memorable training session in the world of hospitality so far?
There was one training during my early days, onboard an amazing Feadship. The owner had complained about the service during his previous trips and the Captain asked for me to come on board and figure it all out. Now, as I always look for the strengths in people, before introducing change, my initial assessment wasn’t received well by the Captain. He thought I was too “sweet”. I’ve been called many things in my life but not “sweet” haha.
Anyhow we continued on my training path, and the crew loved the training, they got opportunities to share their own feedback of what happened during guest trips and together we found a service approach that we all agreed would work. It was therefore a great moment when the Captain shared, following the next guest trip, that the owner had loved his trip! The service was amazing and we were asked to please come back to continue the development work. We have done so for 9 years now.
Peter is truly one of a kind and has a persistently positive outlook on life. His drive and creativity are certainly a huge inspiration to the world of hospitality and us at Virtual Pursers. If you ever have the pleasure of meeting him, count yourself lucky!