Let`s talk to Carmen

Author: Jakob Koepernick, Mentor AICR Switzerland

In November we had the pleasure to welcome Switzerland’s Best Receptionist of the year  Carmen Többen to the Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern.

Carmen has won the AICR Switzerland’s Receptionist of the Year as well as the SwissSkills 2022 competitions and will represent Switzerland at the WorldSkills International championship contest of professions. What an impressive feat with this double victory by this ambitious, curious and positive-minded talent of our industry.

During her time with us we had a chance to talk about her experiences of the AICR Switzerland competition and her personal learnings from it.


The day of the competition is just the tip of the iceberg. What takes the most time and energy is the preparation.

For the AICR Switzerlands Best Receptionist competition, I was lucky enough to train with Martina Knitter. We met once a week in a zoom meeting. For me, those zoom calls were really important. I had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge, to clarify uncertainties and to talk about what I am feeling.

Differences between the competitions: 

This year there have been two big events in my professional life: the SwissSkills in September and the AICR Switzerlands Best Receptionist competition in November.

The duration of those two events is the biggest difference. The SwissSkills took place on one day. Meanwhile, the AICR competition had a duration of four days. AICR places a great value on networking. Personally, I am glad that I had the opportunity to experience both competitions. What I like about the AICR competition is, that there is time to get to really know each other. The SwissSkills have been over quickly, as competition days are intense.

My challenges:

For me, the biggest challenge is also what makes the competition for me so exciting: you do not know exactly what is going to happen and what is expected. But I learned that there is not just one perfect solution. There are many correct solutions, and the jury wants to see your individual ideas.

What I liked most: 

At the AICR competition I really enjoyed that networking and relationship building was important. Of course, the competition was the main part put we as participants grew close together in those four days. In the end, I can say that I never felt any kind of rivalry or jealousy.

I am sure, that I will keep in touch with some of the participants.

My expectations and outcome:

My goal was to leave my comfort zone and to learn something new. I can say that I have met my goals. Of course, there is still a lot to improve, but the competition showed me what my strengths and what my weaknesses are. So now I know where to start improving.

Would I recommed the partcicpations to others: 

You get to know ambitious people from the same industry, you have time to exchange and connect with them and you can challenge yourself. Because of those reasons I think it is a great opportunity for everyone. You will learn something new in any scenario.



Dear Carmen I hope you’ve enjoyed your stay with us at the shores of Lake Lucerne and you return home saying #imafan of Mandarin Oriental just as much as our team is a fan of yours and will be rooting for you in the next year’s competitions
Switzerland has truly found a great ambassador of the hospitality industry in you and you can be very proud of your achievements!




If you like to learn more about Carmen:  here is an article from the Hotel Revue dated 6-Jan-2023 in german language: htr kurz und bündig: Die zweifach Schweiz- Meisterin Carmen Toebben.