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WOMAN BEHIND TOUCHSE
My name is Mia Niemelä. I can proudly ssay I was born and raised in Finland, in Lapland to be more specific. Although, I very much enjoy visiting Lapland and do it on regular basis, I don't live there anymore, but it is a very dear place for me, and will always be. I have lived in Australia as well, a few times actually due to family relations, but currently I live in Finland, although I travel quite a bit, for obvious reasons.
I was about 7 years old when I told my mother that I will be working in a luxury hotel one day. I had my first trip abroad, to Australia, at the age of 12 and that trip really opened my eyes; there is an amazing, interesting world out there. The more I see the world and the more I travel, the more I feel that I was really meant to do this, it's my path. Today I feel more passionate about hotels and the hospitality industry than ever before. There is one thing that has changed though; it's not just a little girl's dream anymore, it's a life style now.
During my trips and my leisure time I practice Krav Maga, keep up my social media network, play tennis and badminton as well as go hiking and camping. When travelling I always try to choose the location as close to the ocean as possible. I simply love waking up when the sun rises and do my morning training and stretching exercise on the beach or on the rocks by the beach. It's good for both body and the soul. I don't take life too seriously, life is a gift and I want to enjoy while living it, not just exist. I work hard, and go full speed ahead, I'm a business woman, but also someone who loves to have fun, travel, experience adventures and new places, new people, new things, as well as sometimes just stay still and chill out. As I stay in hotels as a guest, who actually is a hospitality professional, I tend to adjust to that particular hotels clientele. My business is me, my personality, my passion and my travelling, hospitality loving life style. Like a client once said: "Touchse wouldn't touch anyone without you, it's your personality that makes it so perfect, your passion for your work and life."
After college I followed my passion and went to study the hotel and restaurant management for four years and I got my Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Administrations (Hotel and Restaurant Management was my specialty), which basically covered all areas, stations, functions and guest touch points there is in hotel and restaurant business, starting from housekeeping to managing the hotel including designing hotels' decor to running its revenue and finances. I graduated 1997. I also have Specialist Qualification in Foreign Trade and I've also studied advertising, marketing and IPR law.
I have studied the hospitality industry inside and out; basics at schools, hands-on practice at work and the rest by experiencing everything as a guest starting from choosing a hotel and ending to checking out, all that from small boutique hotels to world-wide, 5 star corporate hotels. During my stays all kinds of problematic situations have come up and they have also given me great deal of perspective on how the situation should be solved the way that even after what happened hotel still has guest's trust, loyalty and the guest doesn't just leave upset, instead is still happy and willing to come back. Thus, educating myself and learning about the industry and its always changing topics will never end. That is what makes this industry so interesting, it's always changing and developing, and there will always be people who travel, whether they are millennials, generation x or baby boomers, or just families and business travelers, hotels and hospitality will always be needed.
I have worked in hospitality industry, hotels, restaurants, sales, bars, customer service in various positions for decades. I've also worked in IPR industry as well as sales, marketing and advertising; designing and executing advertisements for the radio and catalogs. In terms of being a professional hotel guest, I certainly can call myself one. I have experience of over 200 hotels around the world (for example in Scandinavia, Balkan, Southern Europe, USA, Asia, and Australia). Most of the hotels I've stayed at have been 4 and 5 star hotels, and because of that I have huge guest experience basis / knowledge on how service should be operated, guests treated and overall functions implemented in luxury hotels in order to keep the guest happy.
Curious, ambitious and passionate
Since I have always had the curiosity and willingness to learn everything there is to learn about the hospitality industry, I've taken notes, paid attention to all details, observed all the functions and actions that have happened around me. During my trips I've met some amazing professionals who have been kind enough to share their know how, as well as inside information on how things are done in their hotels. I can't say I'm perfect, nor totally ready - no one is. But I can say I'm always willing to learn more and know as much as possible. I want to become better and better, I set my goals and work my way towards them. I can say, though, that I am very good at what I do. Because my main interest is in helping; guests to become happy and hotels to become successful.
There should be room for growth and development in every hotel. I feel the same way about myself. I'm first to admit I need to learn more, as every hotel, every guest, every business is different. I participate in hospitality events around the world in order to stay tuned on what is hot right now, what seems to be the future of our industry, what are the problems and threats business- and service wise, what are the potential new features that I need to be aware of and so on. I also have strong basis for social media followers (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) and with those contact we continuously change opinions and share our knowledge for the greater good; so that our industry keeps going strong with this competitive world around us.
Starting my own business, no matter how much I love it, is hard work. Still, I love every moment of it and wouldn't' change it. I'm living my childhood dream, who can say the same?
It is a true honor and pleasure to be part of hotels' success story, to see them grow, starting sometimes from mediocre and growing to become a great hotel, from a good hotel to very good hotel, from very good to even excellent, luxury hotel - and that has happened with my help. Trust me, I feel very honored to be able to have an impact on all that.
Someone told me once: "You are so lucky to get to do all that."
This is not work for me, it's a lifestyle, 24 hours every day of the week and I love it!