Biting Questions with Oliver Kluth, Riu Hotels, Mallorca
were you born?
long have you been in the business?
25 years, starting as a purchasing manager for
a Belgian tour operator.
many people work for you?
For me as Senior Vice President of Sales & Business Development in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and Mauritius –
140. Riu employs some 28,000 worldwide.
the best part of the job? Definitely the travel. And I get to know a lot of people; experience
did you want to be as a kid?
A professional soccer
player. And I almost made it!
was your 1st job? In construction. I didn’t know what I wanted to do.
the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
in Turkey. Not going to do that
again! Parachute jumping was a great
experience but bungee jumping? Simply
Chocolate. Belgian chocolate.
your favourite airline?
Sunwing, of course! After that? Etihad. Very, very good –
probably the best in the world.
Well of course I must say Riu, but apart
from our own there are so many nice ones.
The Mandarin Oriental in Singapore. The Banyan Tree in Dubai, which is a
on your iPad?
Mainly things to make my travel more
entertaining. Ebooks, magazines, movies, music. Angry Birds 2!
do people not know about you? Well, my wife knows everything!
hobbies or interests?
obviously. Reading – especially thrillers. I’m old-fashioned and still like going to the cinema. Sports - soccer,
which I still play.
were you happiest?
At the birth of my 2 children.
skill or talent do you admire in someone?
who can cook well. I’m not very good,
there anything you won’t eat?
No. I’ll try anything once. Some I won’t have
again – barbecued monkey comes to mind.
at the top of your bucket list? The North Pole. That would be
had a brush with fame?
Yes, [German chancellor]
Angela Merkel, a few times. The Dalai
keeps you awake at night?
The neighbour’s barking
dogs! Apart from that, I sleep very
do you spend your frequent flyer points? I don’t. I forget about them.
is your greatest extravagance? Shoes. I like nice shoes.
If you could change one thing about the industry what
would it be?
We have convinced people, especially
in Europe, that flying must be cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. It’s hard to
get a normal price and provide a good service.
you have a favourite charity? Medecins sans Frontieres [Doctors without
will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months? Here in Canada, the exchange rate.