A girl walks confidently along the hallway of a modern office. She is wearing a silk blouse from the latest collection of the famous designer, a pencil skirt. She's wearing fancy glasses. Her dark hair was pulled back in a tight bun. She moves quickly in high heels, clutching a brand new tablet. She hurries to the biggest and noisiest department, where phone conversations never stop for a second — to the sales department of the Ribas Hotels Group management company. To the department that she has been successfully heading for several years.

This is exactly how Valeria Rozhko, a second-year student of the Odessa national Academy of food technologies, pictured herself four years ago.

In 2015, she joined the organization as a sales manager. The girl with a smile recalls her first meeting with the owner of the company, Arthur Lupashko, after which she was hired. And calls the conversation the best interview in her life.

— The interview was scheduled in a restaurant of one of the hotels. It was a rainy day. I was terribly nervous, because I had a meeting with the CEO of the company. However, from the first minutes of communication, the excitement disappeared. Arthur is very endearing. I was surprised to find that all my fears about the fact that I have almost no work experience and have years of studying at the University ahead of me disappeared. He wasn't interested in my experience or the number of training sessions I completed. It was important to him that I wanted to study and work.

We asked the company's CEO, Artur Lupashko, to recall that same day.

— The company was so young at the time that I had no idea how to conduct interviews: what is important to ask, what criteria to rely on, what should be alerted. We started talking and I realized that I like the way she conducts the dialogue, the timbre of her voice and the way she responds to non-standard questions. She was light, funny, and very eager to learn new things. This was a crucial factor for me.

Andrey Marenchuk, Executive Director of Ribas Hotels Group, also shared his memories.

— Everyone wants to be the boss, but many are afraid to take responsibility. In addition, in the high season in the hotel business, you need to be able to stand up, firmly holding on to your feet, and not turn grey. Not everyone can do this. Lera came to us at just a time like this and showed that she can cope with the tasks in any situation. That is why we were not afraid to entrust her with the Department, which as of last year provided a turnover of our hotels in the amount of 150 million UAH.

— Lera, was the first day of work as inspiring as the interview?

— Oh, no, it was hell. The fact is that the high season was in full swing: the phone was bursting with calls, we had to study a lot of information about hotels and understand how to communicate with people who are worried about their vacation and are trying to find out everything possible about the hotel.

At first, the booking department simply didn't have lunch. Physically, there wasn't enough time to process all the calls and set aside time for meals. It should be noted that then our management behaved in a chivalrous way: they brought us food and drinks, supported us and shared jokes.

— What was the most unusual question that potential guests asked?

— Oh, there were a lot of them. We even have a document in which we record the most original pearls. For example, they asked: "How many mosquitoes are in the room?" or "what is the depth of the sea near the hotel?

— How to respond to such questions correctly?

— The answer algorithm is written in our corporate sales book. However, during training, I always tell our new employees: "When you are asked such questions, imagine that your grandmother or mother called. And you need to explain everything to them in detail."

— Speaking of the book. I know that you are the author of it. Tell us about this experience.

— The company's growth accelerated from year to year. Over the past four years, we have managed 25 sites. It became clear that the information we receive must be properly structured in order to be able to use it with maximum benefit.

What it looks like. For example, when calling guests, the manager has a list of mandatory questions and a list of additional ones. Among the latter, there is a point — "Ask the guest if he has been to our hotels." If he was not with us - you need to make a presentation of the hotel. Each hotel has its own presentation. But the general model of communication is the same.

We created a sales book for the Department of Ribas Hotels Group with business coach Felix Morozovsky, within six months.

We started by writing a working algorithm for the functioning of the 4* Wall Street business hotel. The company has invested a lot of effort in this project and it was decided to record all the components of our actions. After finishing the work, we realized that this is a very cool case that can be applied to other network objects.

The book is a corporate publication that the company has copyrights to. It is intended for internal use. But we share some parts of it with our colleagues at specialized conferences and seminars.

— Have you thought about how to replicate this publication?

— We use it to present the company as a professional speaker at reputable sites or thematic events. This is a kind of instrument of power. We do not expose it completely, but partially present it to the right audience at the right time.

The book also helps you enter the new season without any special difficulties. When we recruit new people for seasonal facilities, it allows us to adapt them as quickly as possible and recruit high-quality staff in the shortest possible time.

— During your time at the company, you have visited different departments.

— Yes, I managed to work in many areas: I was an employee of the booking department, a senior manager, an employee of the finance department, and a development agent who communicates with owners who express a desire to give their hotels to our management.

I believe that this clearly characterizes our corporate culture. The company gives employees the opportunity to show their skills in different departments. The only condition is the desire to learn, develop, and work.

You will probably ask if this has had any effect. As an answer, I will give an example. About a year ago, we went to a seminar organized by the "Academy of hospitality" and there I felt awkward, because I was in the group of experienced hoteliers. But not much time has passed and I myself act as a speaker at training workshops and seminars with cases of our sales department. To be honest, I still think that I need to learn a lot, but it is much easier to do this when the company's management actively supports the desire to acquire new knowledge and skills.

— Three years ago, you wrote what you would like to see yourself in five years. But, as we can see, it has implemented its five-year plan in three years. What's next?

— Recently, the CEO of the company stated that his goal is to see our chain's hotels in five different countries in five years. I like this attitude and would love to work in an office in Las Vegas and, of course, would reflect this in the new chapter of the corporate sales book.

Interviewed By Christina Vier