NQtac has had the pleasure of meeting so many bright minds in the industry, as well as having the privilege of shaping some of them.
Because of this, we thought it was a great idea to share an insight into how some of our students and some legends of the industry, navigate their way through the ever exciting Hospitality world.
A career path in hotels can be via several routes and each and every successful hotelier probably has a differing opinion of the best path to take.
Why did I wish to become a hotelier? The love of cooking kicked me into start mode and when I was 12 I was taken to a great restaurant in Bath called the Hole in the Wall and just watching the live cabaret show of cooks waiters and sommeliers enticed me into thinking top-class establishments could be a great place to work!
Thus having enjoyed school to its fullest! I was lucky to be selected as a candidate for Torquay hotel school which was part of the Tech in those days, the three years basics were enlightening, sometimes meaningless, but never the same with great variety. Yes, cooking I still loved but by then Management was my goal!
We were lucky to have to work in holidays and a few of us ended up in top hotels in USA, Switzerland Spain and UK and we all got basic ground experience in most of the usual hotel activities but Food & Beverage caught my passion. Why? It’s the vast variety and innovation in F&B that gives it a must for hoteliers! To fill rooms I still believe you need a great F&B offering, however, I know this is vital in top-class establishments but maybe not so in lesser service properties.
Food for thought! And then, what is more exciting for us lesser mortals than walking into a cozy cocktail bar or a full sumptuous lounge as used to be found at THE Lovely Michelangelo Hotel on Nelson Mandela Square – being coerced by the service team into a Classic Creme Brûlée or a bottle of great SA wine – Voila heaven on earth!
People of all walks of life stay in hotels and a manager should be capable of communicating with them all face to face… .this does take time to learn or acquire the skills but many of my lifelong friends I have met in my work life, and then there are the staff and management of a hotel team! Like many businesses, it’s the team that makes the property. 24 hours 7 days a week, each person is key to its success, and keeping correct standards of service and product will achieve a consistent guest experience, and this hopefully, in turn, will mean guests will recommend your hotel and recommend you to their associates – yes reputation is free marketing!
I have been lucky to work from the very bottom of hotels, (washing dishes and cleaning pots is a good place to start) then progressing into cooking, waiting on guests, front office (where a welcome smile always helped as did guest recognition!) It’s tough now with masks, so let’s hope that ends soon!
Then there is admin which can be at the management level or as an F&B cost controller or perhaps it is in HR! All these positions are key to the success of a team and it’s great to work with all the depts at a young age to help give one the solid base for future life.
Probably the most satisfying experience one can have in a hotelier’s life is where you have conference/wedding facilities – to meet the organisers from the beginning and follow through the whole process which includes Being There when they arrive and bidding them farewell when they leave as Happy guests. It gives huge satisfaction to the team and to the guests and what’s more can make one feel very honoured. The most wonderful variety of every day with different staff guests and opportunities does take its toll.
However, if you want a career where to cross paths with anyone from Kings, or Queens, Princes, pop stars, sports stars and normal people stars this is an industry to be in!