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Highly praised general manager joins HSMAI’s team of mentors and Advisory Board for Culture and People

July 21, 2018 Appointments No Comments Email Email

Jarle Moen, general manager of the luxury hotel THE THIEF in Oslo, first opening its doors back in January 2013, has been highly successful in establishing his hotel, owned by Nordic Choice Hotels, as one of the country’s leading luxury retreats. Moen has an impressive track record, as general manager for several Nordic Choice Hotels and is ready to join HSMAI Region Europe’s Mike Leven Mentor Program, as well as the Culture and People Advisory Board.

Moen’s huge success earned him the HSMAI Norway title Hotelier of the Year 2017 last winter, and just to give you an idea of the man’s qualities, here’s what the jury, made up by leading CEOs from Norway’s travel and hospitality industry, had to say:

The winner has been working at a high pace and been an efficient hotel leader for many years. He is in possession of much industry knowledge, which comes in handy both in day-to-day operations or extensive turnarounds. Team building is among his strong suits, which is crucial in problem-free and optimal hotel management. In everyday life he truly enjoys the company of guests and co-workers.

For many years he has been a loyal and highly treasured chain employee. He has been handed many challenges, solved to the owners’ great satisfaction. Today he leads a unique hotel for the fourth year in a row [this was last year, editor’s remark] and has managed to place it on the map as one of the world’s leading hotels. The hotel at Tjuvholmen has achieved excellent results and received a deluge of international awards.

The winner bestows a lot of confidence and responsibilities on his co-workers, and excels in nurturing talents and offering people new opportunities. These managerial qualities were decisive when he was invited as a mentor in HSMAI’s international mentor program. As chair of the Norwegian Hospitality Association’s Oslo and Akershus branch he assumes an industry responsibility, champions favorable framework conditions for the industry and is a visible spokesman in the media.

Highly acclaimed
But it doesn’t stop there. Add the following to the list, and you get a more complete picture:
2018: Condé Nast Gold List
2017: Condé Nast Gold List
HSMAI Norway: Veiviseren (pathfinder) 2016
VK 2017 (Nordic Choice Hotels’ Winter Conference): Nominee for General Manager of the Year and Hotel of the Year 2016
2016: Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards – #1 Hotel in Northern Europe
2016: Nettavisen Best Hotel in Norway
2015 and 2016: Grand Travel Awards Hotel of the Year
2016: Condé Nast Gold List
2014: Best Spa Boutique Hotel in Europe
2014: Nordic Choice Hotels – New Hotel of the Year
#1 hotel in Norway, Trip Advisor Travelers Choice Awards
‘I am, of course, proud of the many awards, won together with the great team at THE THIEF. It is hard to highlight awards on the list, but the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards as the number one Hotel in Northern Europe, as well as the Condé Nast Gold List won this year and last year, really stand out as special moments for the team,’ Jarle Moen says, ahead of taking a seat on HSMAI Region Europe’s Culture and People Advisory Board, as well as joining the ranks of HSMAI mentors in HSMAI Region Europe’s Mike Leven Mentor Program.

The HSMAI Culture & People Advisory Board, on which Jarle Moen is about to take a seat, consists of a select few general managers and professionals with leading European experts on marketing, management, learning and talent development.

A top-notch hotel, eateries, spa and bar
Tjuvholmen (the Thief Islet) used to be a haven for smugglers, thieves and scoundrels. Today it is home to THE THIEF, a modern hideaway – smack in the middle of downtown Oslo. If anything gets stolen there nowadays, it’s usually Jarle Moen’s hotel stealing its guests away from their everyday lives.

THE THIEF is filled with top international art pieces, carefully selected designer furniture, global Nordic cuisine, a top quality spa and cosmopolitan bars. ‘Escapees’ are able to enjoy refreshing dips in the sea at the Tjuvholmen beach or stroll off the islet across the footbridge to the bustling Aker Brygge restaurant and business area. Most of its guests come here to get away from it all, and for the relaxing atmosphere of THE THIEF, according to the hotel’s website, but we think it is safe to say that it’s no exaggeration.

‘Complaints most welcome’
‘In my opinion, we have managed to position THE THIEF as one of Norway’s leading hotels in less than five years because we have followed our business plan, strategy and branding guidelines to the letter, and tried to tick every box as we went along. It has, however, been important to listen to our guests’ feedback and make adjustments to the concept when needed. For example, when we established the roof top bar and restaurant,‘ says Jarle Moen.

‘You need to dare to be bold, to grab those international awards, be on your front feet and work hard. I have an absolutely astounding team of super-qualified colleagues, focused on one common goal: to deliver world-class service. Of course, we experience complaints, I would be lying if I told you differently, but poor feedback is feedback good as any! We use it to improve ourselves,’ he adds.

‘You never hesitated to address yourself as the hotel’s Thief Executive Officer. How is the hotel’s apparently informal interaction with itself and its surroundings received by guests and the public at large?’

‘That is exactly how we wish to be seen and experienced, delivering top class service while yielding profits for our owners, but seriously, I think the time we live in calls for just that. Each and every member of our team genuinely cares for our guests. You have to remember that even international celebrities want to be seen as people, so we treat our guests as rock stars and rock stars as guests. Simple as that, and yes, it does reflect on how we address ourselves,’ Jarle Moen explains.

Up close and personal
‘If you ask me, the qualities distinguishing a successful 21st century hotel manager are two things, primarily, depending on whether we’re talking general manager or hotel manager: curiosity and the ability to love your guests and colleagues. It’s all about being able to make your co-workers excel at what they’re supposed to be good at, to extract the very best from each and every one of them. I practice management by walking around, partly based on previous experiences. I have worked in organizations where the general manager has been hiding behind an office door, but you know, that simply doesn’t cut it anymore.’

‘Also,’ he says, ‘I pride myself on only hiring people who are better than me in their respective fields, which is also why we have the best team. I’m rather good at that, if I may say so myself. I think, perhaps, that’s where I really stand to contribute internationally, because that kind of thinking really isn’t that common.’

‘Another trait signifying a successful general manager is his or her willingness to actually meet the guests. There’s nothing quite as nice as being greeted by the general manager or hotel manager in person, which is something I try to do as often as time allows,’ says Jarle Moen.

‘You have had ample opportunity to get to know HSMAI’s Mike Leven Mentor Program. In what way do you think such a program can contribute to the professional growth of travel and hospitality executives?’

‘Being a top executive in the travel and hospitality industry means that you’re under constant scrutiny, day after day. You’re weighed, judged and measured on TripAdvisor and in the social media, so you cannot allow yourself to ever leave the stage, as it were. I live my work 24/7. I have guests just next to my office wall, so there is indeed a certain amount of pressure. That’s where HSMAI’s Mike Leven Mentor Program and the Culture and People…

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