Meet Walter Zueck, Co-Liv’s Ambassador for Switzerland
Walter’s extensive experiences and enthusiasm of working in the hospitality sector and of shared living provides his drive for coliving in Switzerland. He truly believes that the power of listening and teamwork have profound results on people and their role in a community.
How do you currently define yourself, and what drives you?
At 7 years old, I stopped hikers passing at our farm and invited them to rest and enjoy some home-made food. Now, at the age of 55, I’m as excited to work in hospitality. My desire to achieve excellence in the hospitality field and to discover the world was turned on at a very young age whilst working with Werner who just got home to Südtirol after working as a Maïtre d’Hôtel on the Queen Elizabeth II. Later, I worked with famous chefs in French and Swiss fine dining restaurants.
At the start of my career, I learnt that in order to achieve excellence, it takes the best products and performances of each team member. After applying this to my work in Switzerland, the UK, Italy and the US in the 80s and 90s, I settled in Zurich where at 29, I became GM at an airport hotel with 257 rooms. After a very tough first year, I managed to build a one-of-a-kind dream team, with whom we developed and implemented a unique hospitality concept where all employees were given the opportunity to bring in something from their culture to make guests feel at home during their stay. This distinctive concept gave the hotel a clear profile and positioning.
What makes you passionate about coliving, and why are you actively promoting the coliving scene?
I want to create conditions for “listening communities”.
I strongly believe that in order to create a great community, it takes more than hanging up an event calendar. Although I’m convinced that functional and aesthetic design is key, I believe that welcoming a person and listening are more important to develop a true sense of community. If a host is an excellent listener who pays attention to each resident’s narrative, what influence would they have on how all personalities under that roof respect each other? What if the host’s ultimate goal was to become redundant. This may not sound logical, but fundamentally, building a community of listeners who feel a true sense of belonging is crucial.
What are your visions and thoughts on the future of coliving for the year to come?
My credo is know, want, work
I know there are life-enhancing alternatives to the current forms of coliving.
I want to connect to people and use the creativity of a network.
I work with my team to contribute to creating new forms.
The coliving scene will go through a similar evolution as the hospitality scene in the last decade when it comes to evolving operating models in the lifecycle of the asset class.
You joined Co-Liv as “Switzerland Ambassador” — which opportunities do you want to create for the country you represent, the organization, its members, and the coliving industry?
Good listening and practical learning are my obligations, which set the conditions to achieve managerial and personal maturity. Over the last 35 years, I acquired a general understanding of the economic, political, hospitality and real estate environments. The economic environment of today’s hotel business, a social evolution and a career development controlled by annual evaluations allowed me to become who I am.
For me everything starts with people.
In my-eyes, coliving is more an attitude than a space. True coliving communities are “listening communities”. Therefore, I want to listen carefully to problems, thoughts, and ideas. I’m convinced that most of the solutions to these problems already exist, it’s only a question of connecting the right people to each other and working as a team. I’ve worked in the four different language regions of Switzerland. Speaking French, Italian and German fluently, as well as knowing about the particularities of each region, will help me build a strong Swiss coliving team closely connected to our colleagues in other countries to share research findings, ideas and best practices.
How did you get into coliving?
My first coliving experience dates back to 1986, when I worked as Commis de rang at the Hotel Crowne Plaza in Zurich: 19 people from 11 nationalities shared 16 rooms and two kitchens. Our only commonality was that we were all working in hospitality. The kitchens were the place where, besides cooking and eating, “everything” happened, from concerts to cocktail mixing competitions, language and computer lessons, repairing electronic devices, lambrettas and vespas. We all worked and played hard, everyone had another talent which they brought to the table. My rent back then was 600 CHF, one-third of my salary, but our little shared economy (a term which was not commonly used in the 80s) allowed me to save money elsewhere and fill up the tank of my Moto Morini Kanguro to explore beautiful Switzerland by motorbike on my days off. I was living in this community for one year during which not one single person moved out.
Thank you for being part of this movement! How can people reach out, and what can you mostly help them with?
In my opinion, one phone call reduces four times the number of emails in our inboxes, so call me: +41 79 585 16 90
Otherwise, please reach out to me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/walter-zueck
With lots of co-love,
The Co-Liv Team
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