“Enjoy the ride,” was the closing remark from GBSB Global Business School Barcelona’s Master in Tourism and Hospitality Management Professor Ariel Castillo when asked what advice he would give to his younger self. He went onto say that he would have told his 20-year-old self to be more studious, to take learning more seriously at the time and to be a good student, but time travel aside, whatever he did worked. Having professional work experience in the hospitality and travel industry in Argentina, the UK and now Spain, his career is one that has seen many changes in the industry.
GBSB Global Business School prides itself in having a diverse faculty from 16+ countries with real-life experiences. Professor Castillo, owner and co-founder of Castlehart, brings 20 years of industry experience to the classroom. From working in Buenos Aires, at both the Hotel Caesar Park and Hotel Park Hyatt, in various operations departments to working for City Service Travel Agency as an Account Executive for the English market, he can provide insight on how business is done in Argentina versus the UK and on continental Europe. Crossing the Greenwich Meridian Line comparing South America and greater Western Europe, Professor Castillo says the two are dichotomic- while business in Argentina operates in the grey, working in the UK is a definitive black and white. “It is 100% different. With time, you learn which areas are the ones you can push and which ones you can control,” Professor Castillo said in regards to doing business in Argentina.
When asked about hot button issues or trends in the industry over the span of his career Professor Castillo said the field of hospitality and tourism has massively evolved from what it once was. The basic principles are the same, but the tools, techniques and technology used have been overhauled. With the emergence of collaborative business, co-living and co-working spaces, you can understand this new facet of the industry. When Couchsurfing, Airbnb and Uber hit the market we saw a shift and a greater acceptance of alternative forms of accommodation and transportation. In addition, as a society we have become mobile friendly. Having technology at our fingertips and in our back pocket has changed the way hotels, restaurants, airlines and other service related establishments conduct business.
As the owner of Castlehart Consultants, a company specialized in in-company training in marketing and tourism to mid-size multinational companies, Professor Castillo knows exactly what students’ future employers are looking for. He identified employees, in order to be successful in the hospitality and tourism industry, need to be highly professional and mega flexible. In an industry that is fast-paced, customer service oriented and always on the go, employees need to uphold quality standards while meeting and exceeding the needs of both the company and its consumers.
Teaching comes very natural to Professor Castillo. As a very active individual he compares education and the courses he is currently teaching at GBSB to that of learning to play a sport as a child. In both marketing and tourism, he focusses on the basic theoretical skills. Without learning the essentials there is no base in which to build a future. Imagine what would happen if the great NBA basketball players never learned how to dribble or to do a layup, how would they have ever advanced to greater stardom? The fundamentals need to be covered in order to create a stable base in which to build a successful career.
What makes all the work worth the while? Professor Castillo takes pleasure when he sees tourism and hospitality management students doing well, attending conferences and finding good jobs in the industry. But the greatest reward, he says, is when his students graduate and set up their own businesses.
At the end of the day, when asked if his career, up to this point, has met his expectations, he said that he is exactly where he wanted to be. And we are glad he is a member of our diverse faculty at GBSB Global Business School.
By Emily Dawn Szajda, GBSB Content Manager