Regional Vice President and General Manager
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 1995
- First Four Seasons Position: Rooms Manager in Training, Four Seasons Hotel New York
- Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa; Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco; Four Seasons Hotel Miami; Four Seasons Resort Carmelo, Uruguay; Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires; Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills; Four Seasons Hotel New York
- Los Angeles, California, USA
- Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management, Cornell University
- English, Spanish
Tulio Hochkoeppler brings plenty of talent to his role as General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires. Plenty of memories, too. There was his earlier turn as Director of Rooms during the Hotel’s successful reflagging from another brand to Four Seasons in 2002. There was his engagement to a fellow graduate of Cornell University’s hospitality management program amid the twinkling lights of the La Recoleta district. There were sailboat races on the high seas off Buenos Aires, a passion that Hochkoeppler has stoked since his freshman year of college. And there was the tango, which always seems to shimmy its way into slice-of-life tales from the Argentine capital.
Still, the memory that stands out most to Hochkoeppler was the “caring nature of the Argentinians” he got to know on the job and through the city. “The spirit of taking care of the customer was already here,” he recalls, adding that every existing team member was retained during the Hotel’s reflagging. “Thinking back, it was easy to instill our culture locally because the Golden Rule already existed within them. We just formalized it.”
Among those Hochkoeppler worked with previously at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires was Rebeca Selley-Morales, who later became General Manager and led a major renovation prior to his return. Selley-Morales directed Food & Beverage back then, while Hochkoeppler headed rooms. “At that time the rooms division was very standardized,” he says, laughing, in reply to a query about who had the more creative role. “Not anymore. Today Four Seasons is all about customization and authenticity, as can be seen in the Argentine textures and décor that now grace the Hotel.”
There is plenty to keep Hochkoeppler busy in Buenos Aires, of course, including continuing the renovation through seven specialty suites in the Hotel’s Mansión. He is also focused on transforming the Hotel experience to appeal to growing guest traffic from Asia and Brazil, as well as for family travellers. Little touches that delight children, such as personalized turndown cards on kid-sized pillows or special rooms themed after favourite cartoon characters go a long way with the latter, he notes. “If we can customize the kids experience that we offer, the parents will just fall into our hands.”
Though Hochkoeppler grew up in a hotel family, his parents never pushed him into the business. Instead, his passion was sparked by a summer job washing dishes and busing tables at a Quail Lodge and golf club in California’s Carmel Valley. The more responsibilities he was given, the hotter that passion became, and when it was time to choose a college, he headed for Cornell. “I’ll never forget what my manager at the Quail Lodge told me: 'Don’t even think about getting into this business!’ I sure listened to him, didn’t I?”
Hochkoeppler’s Four Seasons career has taken him far, from New York City to Los Angeles and Carmelo, Uruguay, to Kuda Huraa, Maldives, where he not only managed the Resort but co-managed the three-deck catamaran, Four Seasons Explorer, with the GM of Four Seasons sister property at Landaa Giraavaru.
“Talk about the need for creativity and innovation,” he says. “In the Maldives, we were competing with 25 other properties including the other Four Seasons. Though our Resort was the oldest kid on the block, we earned the highest TripAdvisor rankings in the region and among the highest internal guest satisfaction ratings within Four Seasons.” Moral? Whatever the location, it all comes down to service: “Success isn’t about having the biggest rooms or the fanciest amenities, but having a service culture that gets things right.”