As per Helen Keller’s quote on teamwork, nothing compares to working with a group of talented individuals towards one simple yet complex goal: satisfying a client’s expectations.


In a series of articles dedicated to showcasing each of HoCoSo’s team members, we highlight the values and motivators of every individual, whom altogether, ensure clients’ needs are met. Never miss an issue! Sign up to our newsletter now.


Irene Zijlmans has been a part of the Swiss-based consulting company HoCoSo since its creation in 2013. Her past involvements with Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Vision Asset Management, PFK London and Tempo Hospitality Consulting have granted her expert knowledge in the field of hospitality consulting for the diverse and demanding European market. With more than 20 years of experience, Irene now focuses on hotel development, feasibility studies, operator selection, and sustainability and CSR. Among her recent projects with HoCoSo, she headed the operator selection for Europe’s first luxury aparthotel Alex Lake Zurich.

“When hotel owners and hotel developers or operators sign a contract for long-term management, it is as if they unite in a long-term marriage. That relationship can only succeed if both parties’ needs and wants have been carefully studied and provided for in that contract. I have worked for both sides of these businesses and therefore comprehend their various demands and worries.”

At HoCoSo, each individual is allowed to select his or her preferred work location, hence live and work as he or she sees fit. It is part of the company’s core values but is also in line with nowadays working solutions and trends. Irene, for example, currently works from her home office in Zurich and is in constant contact with all other team members distributed across Europe and the Middle East.

“So imagine living in the city you’ve chosen to live in, working with like-minded people from various destinations, independently, while being determined to provide to those clients who really rely on your deliveries. On one hand, that settles the work-life balance concerns. On the other, I feel that working with such a team, in such pleasant conditions, it makes a person think in a different way, it stretches your brain, and there is no stronger work motivator than that.”

Yet, these working conditions require personal discipline. HoCoSo’s clients are demanding ones and they have the right to be. The hospitality sector is known to be one of the most competitive sectors in business.

“If you offer a client a team with different personalities, you cover various concerns and give more room to understanding the client. There are no boundaries with such a team and that, I believe, is invaluable in hospitality consulting.”

HoCoSo organized in September 2018 its first ever networking event. An invitation only soiree that gathered elite hotel executives, owners, developers, investors and suppliers. The guest speaker that night represented Berlin’s first co-working hub and developed on the idea of that trend becoming one of today’s undeniable attractions for the modern traveler. The entire team was present and it was the perfect occasion for an annual team gathering. “Even though we communicate on a day-to-day basis, it is important to reunite every once in a while. We make an effort to keep the bonding going.”

Irene handles all Human Resources and admin matters for HoCoSo. It goes without saying that she also drives the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility projects. One of her latest community-based projects was for the Swiss family-owned Hotel Knobelboden, worked on together with a team of students from the Glion Institute of Higher Education enrolled in the HoCoSo created course International Hotel Development and Finance. “I take on such projects because I believe that it is important to pass on the knowledge to the future generation. With Hotel Knobelboden, we wanted to provide the students with a real-life, and a very topical for Switzerland, project. It is amazing to see how the new generation looks at these hotels and figure out small initial fixes that would bring about big changes in the future.”


To find out more about our team members, click here.


About HoCoSo

Swiss-based HoCoSo, brings together teams of global experts to create tailor-made solutions for client projects. Jonathan Humphries, Chairman and Owner of HoCoSo, and his direct team specialize in the extended-stay hospitality market, the boutique sector, and resort developments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). We create innovative and future-oriented solutions for each of our clients across the following three fields of services: