One of HSMAI Europe’s primary objectives is to promote the hospitality sector as an aspirational career option, elevating its image and overcoming misconceptions. This mission is driven by a distinguished membership of accomplished hospitality professionals who act as industry ambassadors, sharing their expertise to inspire others to join the industry.

Among these ambassadors is Morten Malting, the F&B Director for Norway at Scandic Hotels, who this year joined HSMAI Europe’s People & Culture Advisory Board, bringing more than 25 years of rich industry experience and insights to the position. Kick-starting his career in foundational roles primarily within Food & Beverage, Morten has advanced to hold significant leadership positions at renowned hotels and chains globally and in Norway. He is widely recognised for his innovative approach and adaptability to industry trends, ensuring high standards of service and customer satisfaction.

At Scandic Hotels, Morten’s tenure has been marked by a strong commitment to sustainability and excellence in hospitality, underpinned by his deep understanding of the sector and dedication to continuous improvement. His passion extends to mentoring the next generation of hospitality professionals and leaders, both in the workplace and through his active involvement with HSMAI Europe. This dedication led to his selection as a speaker at the association’s inaugural Future You event in Oslo last year.

Future You aims to highlight the diverse career opportunities within the hospitality industry, encompassing areas such as marketing, branding, sales, revenue management, digitalisation, distribution, hotel management, and more. The event features a dynamic mix of concise, inspirational lectures delivered by prominent young leaders and seasoned professionals from the travel and hotel industry, targeting an audience of college and university students and graduates.

Following the success of the Oslo event, Future You is set to debut in The Netherlands on September 4, attracting more than 200 students from esteemed institutions like hotel schools and universities, as well as advisors and pupils from colleges. As Morten prepares to speak at this upcoming event, we seek to uncover the key messages he intends to share with the young audience, his aspirations for his role on HSMAI Europe’s People & Culture Advisory Board, and the critical importance of events like Future You in securing the industry’s future.

Q: Congratulations on your new role as a member of the HSMAI Europe People & Culture Advisory Board. Can you share what inspired you to take on this role and what you hope to achieve?

It all started when I was invited to HSMAI Europe’s Future You event in Norway. The question came unexpectedly, but the idea of inspiring young people to choose a career in our industry resonated with me. I found it very interesting and said yes. At Scandic Hotels, we work with different projects that help recruit young people, aiming to reach them in the 9th and 10th grades before they make career decisions. This recruitment process is close to my heart, and I find it inspiring. I also participate in HSMAI Europe’s annual events, like selecting the Hotelier of the Year, the Young Leader of the Year, and Young Talent of the Year, which has been highly motivating. At Scandic, we also offer apprenticeships to chefs, waiters and front office personnel. This is a great introduction to our business, and for many students the start of their career path.

Q: As a new member, what unique perspectives do you bring to the HSMAI Europe People & Culture Advisory Board?

My background includes roles as a General Manager, District Director, and F&B Director, giving me a broad understanding of hotel operations and the industry. My contribution lies in bridging the commercial and operational sides. Revenue management is vital, but it’s strengthened by a solid understanding of operations. Selling things that are well-handled by the organisation ensures profitability down to the bottom line. I bring this holistic perspective to the advisory board.

Q: Why is the HSMAI Europe Future You initiative so important for the hospitality industry?

Future You is crucial as an eye-opener, showcasing the vast opportunities within our industry. The hospitality sector offers significant growth and development progression, especially for young people. It’s essential to educate them about the various career paths available, from entry level roles to senior management positions, and how a passion-driven role in hospitality can lead to fulfilling and exciting careers.

Q: You are speaking at the first Future You to be staged in The Netherlands. Why is this a great location for this event?

The Netherlands, with its numerous hotel schools, is an ideal location for Future You. These schools are breeding grounds for future hospitality leaders. Hosting the event here can significantly impact students making career decisions, offering them a glimpse into the industry’s potential and inspiring them to pursue hospitality with passion.

Q: Your career in hospitality is impressively varied. Could you share some highlights and key moments from your journey that you believe could inspire young people considering a career in hospitality?

One significant highlight was my tenure at Hotel Continental in Oslo, a prestigious member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Starting as an assistant F&B Director and rising to Director of Operations and F&B Director, I managed high-quality operations and popular venues. Another pivotal moment was joining Scandic, where I contributed to developing signature hotels like the Grand Hotel in Oslo and establishing a strong F&B culture at all of our hotels across Norway. These experiences taught me the value of hard work, passion, and continuous learning in achieving success.

Q: What initially drew you to the hospitality industry, and how did you navigate your career path to become the Food & Beverage Director for Scandic Hotels in Norway?

My journey began in high school with a focus on finance and languages. I knew I didn’t want a career in finance or law, unlike most of my peers. A relative working internationally in the hotel industry piqued my interest. I decided to study hospitality in the U.S., and from my first class, I was sold. My career path involved various roles, starting as a bellboy and advancing through food and beverage management positions in prestigious hotels like Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale and Hotel Continental in Oslo.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?

The COVID-19 pandemic was the most significant challenge. We had to shut down hotels, let staff go, and manage substantial financial losses. Overcoming this involved human-centric management, exploring new commercial opportunities, and stepping up as a team. The crisis taught us resilience, adaptability, and the importance of seizing new opportunities for survival and growth.

Q: In your opinion, what skills and qualities are essential for success in the hospitality industry today?

Success in hospitality today requires passion, resilience, adaptability, and a holistic understanding of both operations and commercial aspects. Strong communication and leadership skills, the ability to inspire and motivate teams, and a commitment to delivering exceptional guest experiences are crucial. Staying updated with digital advancements and sustainability practices also plays a vital role.

Q: At the Future You event, you’ll be speaking to students and young professionals. What key messages do you plan to share to inspire them to enter and thrive in the hospitality industry?

I plan to emphasise the diverse opportunities in hospitality, the potential for personal and professional growth, and the importance of passion in this industry. I’ll highlight how hospitality can be a fulfilling career, offering chances to work with interesting people, engage in trend analysis, concept development, and even collaborate with celebrities. I’ll also discuss the evolving digital landscape and how young professionals can lead this transformation.

Q: What role does Future You play in changing perspectives and promoting hospitality as a career?

Initiatives like Future You are vital as they address the industry’s image and showcase its potential. They educate young people about the varied and exciting career paths available, counteracting misconceptions about hospitality jobs. By inspiring the next generation and highlighting the industry’s dynamic nature, we can attract passionate and talented individuals to drive future growth.

Q: What are some innovative trends and opportunities in the hospitality sector that you think young people should be excited about?

Young people should be excited about the digital transformation in hospitality, including AI and other technologies enhancing guest experiences and operational efficiency. Sustainability is another critical trend, with increasing focus on reducing food waste, minimising carbon footprints, and sourcing locally. The evolving landscape offers numerous opportunities to innovate and make a significant impact. At Scandic we prioritise diversity and inclusion when recruiting new team members, recognising that our differences make us stronger. We take great pride in offering opportunities to individuals and groups who face challenges entering the workforce.

Q: How can experienced industry professionals like yourself contribute to making hospitality an attractive and aspirational career choice for the next generation?

Experienced professionals can mentor and guide young talents, sharing their knowledge and experiences to inspire and educate. By being role models and actively participating in initiatives like Future You, we can demonstrate the industry’s potential. It’s also crucial to adapt our management and training approaches to align with the expectations and needs of the younger generation, fostering an environment where they can thrive.

Q: Can you share a piece of advice that has been particularly valuable to you in your career?

One valuable piece of advice is to always remember to have fun. The hospitality industry can be demanding, but maintaining a positive and enjoyable work environment is essential. Enjoying your work helps you stay motivated, perform better, and achieve a healthy work-life balance. It’s important to find joy in what you do and not take things too seriously all the time.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about working in the hospitality industry, and how do you stay motivated and passionate about your work?

The most rewarding aspect is the ability to make a difference to the lives of our guests and team members and contribute to memorable experiences. I stay motivated by continuously learning, embracing new challenges, and focusing on creating positive impacts. Working closely with teams, sharing laughs, and fostering a supportive environment also keep me passionate about my work.

By HSMAI Europe