Vince Johnson started out as a waiter before deciding that hotel management was where he wanted to be. After returning to college to focus his skills he worked in HR and operations for a number of hotel chains before landing his first general manager job with Corus and Regal Hotels in Cumbria. For the past seven years he’s been general manager at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate.
How I got to where I am now:
Growing up, I never thought I’d end up working in hotels, but after spending two years working as a waiter to make a bit of money, I remember thinking to myself that I could do a better job than the assistant managers I was working for – it was this that convinced me to go to college and learn about the industry.
After taking BTEC and HCIMA courses at Brighton Technical College, I went on to spend five years in hotel personnel management roles with Forte and Veladail Hotels. I then progressed into operations with Shire Hotels and Swallow Hotels before landing my first general manager job with Corus and Regal Hotels in the Lake District and, later, Darlington. It was then that I joined Paramount Hotels as general manager of Redworth Hall Hotel, which was followed by a move to the Barceló Harrogate Majestic Hotel in 2004 – a wonderful opportunity for me and a great step forward in my career.
Simply put, it was pure chance that I ended up in hospitality, but the fun and mystique of the industry quickly enticed me and I soon realized that this was the industry I wanted to work in.
My greatest challenge:
Managing the aftermath of the fire at the Majestic hotel last year definitely presented me with one of the biggest challenges of my career to date. The fire damaged a section of the hotel, encompassing a period of hotel closure and the sad loss of a long-standing member of staff. Dealing with such a major incident was incredibly challenging, but it’s taught me a lot and now that the hotel is fully restored to its former glory and looking better than ever, I’m very proud of the way that we dealt with everything.
My biggest achievement:
For me, creating teams of people who truly care about customers is always a great achievement. Seeing the business benefits this brings in return shows how absolutely invaluable good team work and fantastic customer service is in the hospitality industry.
My top tip for success in the industry:
Be inquisitive. It’s really important to take the time and find out how things really work, what can go wrong and why, and to keep asking questions. I think that’s the best way to constantly and consistently improve yourself.
If I wasn’t a hotelier I’d be…
…in the army. When I was younger I always intended to take up a Commission in the British Army, but my career has taken me in a rather different direction to that – and I’m happy to say that I’ve never looked back.