How this CEO discovered his consulting future

Rob Sandall

Christian Kettlitz has employed his expertise in hospitality management and operations across both in-house and consultancy roles. We discover how he sees the career landscape changing for those with senior-level expertise.

By their very nature, expert consultants are more often than not exceptionally employable individuals, coveted by those in need of nuanced insight and informed strategy.

In-house employment at a senior level certainly has its attractions, but sometimes the promise of freedom and flexibility is just too hard to ignore. So it was for Christian Kettlitz, who decided to make the leap to consultancy following a long and illustrious climb through the ranks of the hospitality industry.

“Through my career with Ramada and then Marriott I spent a long time learning about effective operations and management across both city and resort hotels,” he says.

“It was a pretty linear progression as I worked my way up to a senior level, and in 2008 I then moved to AZIMUT Hotels Europe as CEO, responsible for locations in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

“There was a point, however, where I had begun to feel that I was only able to change so much while working in-house for a hotel group, and I began to think about the way I could apply my skills and insight while working with independent or boutique businesses.”

Expertise from the outside

In 2009 Kettlitz began to work as a consultant through his business Hotelpartner, his wealth of experience in both operations and chief executive positions seeing him provide support to hotel groups across Europe. From Berlin to London, he has advised on anything from on-the-ground operations and operator selection to prototyping hotel concepts prior to launch and assisting with permanent closures.

“It can be a complex industry and those smaller organisations might not have someone in-house who’s had previous experience of specific actions or operations, which is where I can really help,” he says.

“Otherwise it might be something that they only need help with over a specific period of time, and financially it makes a lot more sense to find an industry consultant.”

Back and forth 

As aforementioned, though, skillsets such as Kettlitz’s make them particularly strong candidates for longer-term senior positions, and after a year and eight months in consultancy he returned to in-house employment, accepting the role of CEO for Mamaison Hotels & Residences for four years. At the end of 2014, he returned to consultancy.

“As is the way with careers now, there are times when I’ll want to work in-house as a full-time member of staff, and there are times when I’d far prefer to act as an advisor on a project-by-project basis,” he says.

“I think a lot of professionals at a senior level will feel the same in terms of their flexibility, whether that be because of where they need to be based, or commitments to family and so on. Of course, when you’re a consultant the main question is always going to be ‘how will I find the next project to work on?’”

A perfect match

It was a particularly convenient moment, then, when Talmix reached out to Kettlitz concerning a consultancy role that required his particular expertise.

“It was actually a nice surprise to be contacted directly by Talmix – they got in touch with an opportunity that matched my background and added me to their roster of experts,” he says.

“Obviously I have to be discrete in terms of detail concerning the work, but it was a method of sourcing that works very well – it certainly makes things a lot easier to be a part of a network of this nature.”

It’s this network that changes the game for senior consultants across every industry and job-type, points out Kettlitz, who sees a bright future for the on-demand sourcing of specialists.

Are you an experienced consultant or you're currently client side and looking to change? Why not join our consultant network today.

About the Author

Rob Sandall

Rob has worked in marketing, journalism and SEO for over a decade, operating across b2b and b2c businesses in sectors as diverse as procurement, fine art, law, architecture, literature and financial services. His agency Blackledge & Sandall works with market leaders and award winning artists on anything from website redesigns to print advertising. Out of hours, you can find him wielding a guitar on stage, getting thumped in the boxing ring, or more often than not binge-watching television with his wife and cat.

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