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Yael Ron has recently been appointed as the first female general manager at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. The Nob Hill property has long drawn inspiration from its striking neoclassical architecture and former history as the home to Cogswell Polytechnical College.
As one of only nine female GMs (and the first Israeli) in the Ritz-Carlton portfolio, Ron is excited to take her 25-year career to the next level at the ultra-luxe property. Here, she explains how the hotel’s story is grounded in a love of learning — and how that passion is reflected in the guest experience today.
Your career in the hotel industry has spanned 25 years so far. What sparked your interest in hospitality?My childhood took me all over the world, and I grew up in different places such as Asia, Central America and Europe. I was always in a destination that had stories to tell, and I wanted to be a good ambassador to a country or place, along with being able to see the world, travel, meet other people and be immersed in other cultures. It reminded me of how I was brought up, and that’s what inspired me to go into the hotel business.
What does it mean to you to be the first female (and first Israeli) general manager at this hotel?It’s a source of pride, of course. It tells a lot about our company and how diverse it is. It’s a huge privilege and honor to be the first-ever Israeli general manager for The Ritz-Carlton, let alone for one of our most iconic hotels. I feel more responsibility, and I believe that females can do great jobs in positions of management.
I also think I’m able to bring Israel’s forward and out-of-the-box thinking into my work day. I’m not just complying with how things are, but I’m also asking, “How can we make things better?” and “How can we drive more business?”
Tell me about your vision for the Nob Hill property.Our vision as a team is to make this hotel a place for more celebrations, such as weddings and events. The property is so gorgeous that it calls to be dressed up for celebration. We also have a plan to create a garden, so the community can have a place where they can grow trees or plants. The Nob Hill neighborhood is at the top of a hill, and sometimes we feel detached from the rest of the city. So, we want to make sure that we are attached to our partners in the community and create a meeting place that feels like home.
How does the hotel’s theme “The Gift of Endless Learning, Pride of Daily Teaching” impact staff interaction, guest initiatives, programs and partnerships?Knowledge is power, and we take great pride in that. All of our Ladies and Gentlemen (staff) have activities throughout the weeks and months to support that, as well. For example, we teach our departments different skills, such as how to make sushi or how to arrange flowers.
We also love to teach our guests about San Francisco. For example, we have fortune cookies that are filled with information about the city. We try to make every experience a place of growth and learning, which fits well with the theme and the property’s history as a school.
What do you want travel advisors to know about booking with you?I would love travel advisors to look at the hotel and say, “Can this be a place where we can send our customers to celebrate? Is this the place that would give them the exposure to luxury that they need? Are they going to take care of our special clients?” We want to do everything we can for our guests, and we want people to feel secure and confident in partnering with us.
How does this Ritz-Carlton property set itself apart from others in the brand?Each property sets itself apart because you can’t treat a hotel in Bangkok, Washington, D.C., or New York City the same way. Addressing the local market differs from property to property. This hotel is close to the San Francisco Bay and holds conferences, so it has the ability to be both a business accommodation during the week and then a family-friendly option on the weekends.
The DetailsThe Ritz-Carlton, San Franciscowww.ritzcarlton.com