‘Hold Yourself Accountable’: How One Hospitality Exec Manages a Luxury Hotel Empire

A meeting should last no longer than an hour, for starters.

Olivier Jolivet

Olivier Jolivet has spent the last two decades devoted to the hospitality industry. For eight years he led Aman resorts before taking the top spot at COMO Group, which owns COMO Hotels and Resorts, in 2017. Now based out of Singapore, the French businessman oversees a portfolio of 15 locations, including two in the heart of London and a resort in the Maldives where you arrive by speedboat. Many of the retreats, most notably Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos and Shambhala Estate in Bali, immerse guests in a luxe, wellness-focused setting. And, last year, the brand celebrated a new milestone under Jolivet’s leadership: opening its first property in Italy, Castello Del Nero, which drops visitors within the walls of a 12th-century castle in the heart of Tuscany.

What is the one thing you do every day to stay sane?

Exercise. I run or play tennis daily. It allows me to take on the day with a clear head.

What is your biggest annoyance at work?

Delaying or hiding bad news. Bad news is part of business, and it must be communicated quickly in order to find the right solution.

What do you look for in an employee?

The three I’s: Integrity, Intensity and Innovation.

Castello de Nero

Castello del Nero Courtesy of COMO Group

How long should a meeting last?

No more than one hour. I don’t believe people stay engaged any longer than that.

Do you prefer e-mail, phone, text or Slack?

To be honest, none of these. I prefer engaging face-to-face. What people tell you is important, but what people don’t tell you is even more important.

What’s one adjustment everyone can make in their lives to be more successful?

Set up clear objectives and timelines for yourself. If you hold yourself accountable, you’ll reach your goals.

Metropolitan Miami Hotel

The pool at COMO Group’s Metropolitan Miami Hotel. Courtesy of COMO Group

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Remember the “sense of time,” meaning that life is never black or white but rather in the grey area, and that grey will change its shade over time.

What would you tell your younger self?

Remain patient and enjoy the present moment.

What’s one thing you want to improve in your work life?

I would love to be able to find time to fully disconnect. No technology or distractions. It’s easier said than done.

A room at Shambhala Estate in Bali.

A room at Shambhala Estate in Bali. Courtesy of COMO Group

What was your first job, and did you learn anything from it that has influenced your career?

I worked for a leading management-consultancy firm. The job taught me about the importance of passion and how, if you implement effort and intensity into your career, you will succeed.

How has your experience at Aman informed your leadership at COMO?

The inspiration behind a brand is stronger than anything else, as long as you stick to it and employees are passionate about it. It takes time to build an undeniable brand identity, but I’m confident that COMO can reach that level of recognition.

Which COMO resort are you most proud of?

The next one.

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