How I got to where I am now:
When leaving school I was unsure of the path to take with regard to a career and while deciding, was asked if I wanted a temporary position as a luggage porter with a friend of the family who at the time was head concierge.
I started at what is now the Radisson Edwardian Berkshire Hotel (formerly the Stratford Court Hotel) and from the first day realised that the hospitality industry was where my passions lay. I was promoted to a desk concierge within a year and was then headhunted to become deputy concierge at another hotel. However I kept in touch with colleagues at Radisson Edwardian and within a year returned to the group as head concierge at the Radisson Edwardian Grafton. At that time I was the youngest head concierge of any four-star hotel in central London.
I remained in that position until the company restructured and there was an opportunity to move into management. The time seemed right for change and I was given my first position as a hotel manager at the Radisson Edwardian Grafton. One of the best qualities of Radisson Edwardian is its commitment to staff development and I am now relishing the prospect of taking up the helm of the new Radisson Edwardian Guildford, which opens on 29 September. The site is currently under construction, but I’ve had a chance to get to know the area and feel very excited to be opening in such an historic yet vibrant town and to developing the Radisson Edwardian brand outside London.
My biggest challenge:
The transition from head concierge to a management role was a great opportunity. My role grew from the responsibility of helping ensure the satisfaction and comfort of the guests staying at our hotel to an immense variety of tasks from budgeting, purchasing, housekeeping, maintenance, meetings and events, plus food and beverage. I had to call upon all of my management and leadership skills to galvanise the respective teams and inspire them to be the very best they can in order to optimise performance in all departments of the hotel .
My greatest achievement:
I'm very proud to be the recipient of two company awards. The first award was for service to the internal customer and the second was the Chairman’s award for driving revenues and business acumen. The greatest achievement for anyone working in this industry, however, is to see guests return time and time again; this is what we strive for daily in our business.
My biggest inspiration:
It has to be the family spirit within Radisson Edwardian – we are big enough to compete, but small enough to care – and the inspiring leadership of our Chairman, whose relentless passion for the industry continues to set the standard for service.
How the industry has changed in the past 30 years:
Today’s guests are widely travelled with increasingly sophisticated requirements from service to technology and, as such, our product is constantly evolving. Another noticeable change over my 30 plus years in the industry is the hotel restaurant. Where once hotel restaurants were mainly for guests, our restaurants today are designed to attract a discerning local audience and offer the quality, ambience and dining experience of a top restaurant.
My top tips for success in hospitality:
At the end of the day, ask yourself if you have given 100 per cent value today? If your answer is no, think carefully about what you will do differently tomorrow. If you regularly say no, hospitality is not for you. Have fun, be happy and strive to deliver excellence in everything you do.
My future plans:
I want to put Radisson Edwardian Hotels firmly on the map in Guildford, I want the hotel to be the best venue in the region for miles and be a thriving part of the local community. Recruiting within the local area will be our secret ingredient to success and be key to making our venture an unrivalled success story.