Who are you, what do you do and what’s been your experience over the past few months?
I’m an industry professional who obtained my Hotel & Catering education in Slovakia, classical training in France, customer service experience in the USA and management skills in the UK!
I’m currently Operations Manager at Hilton Bath and trying to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible to take me to my next step of becoming a General Manager. As a leader, I take pride in developing and inspiring others and I think my people management skills are one of my strongest assets!
I’ve moved to a new city upon joining Hilton Bath, with my first project being a full refurbishment that was due to start as the pandemic struck!
What have you and the hotel team been up to over the past few weeks?
Our hotel is currently closed and but we’re excited to have recently kicked off refurbishment with a skeleton team. Prior to this, we’d been focused on safeguarding the hotel and planning for the future; looking at and revising plans along with new SOP’s based around our “new normal” – finding new ways to create a warm welcome for guests and a safe working environment for our teams.
How has it been leading a team through a refurbishment amidst a pandemic?
I was told in my interview: ‘This property will test you and challenge you” and I can honestly say that is true! It has been challenging but you must acknowledge reality, stay calm, take a lead, create a schedule/plan and execute it – but be prepared and flexible enough to be able to amend it as necessary.
I have been honest and admit that I don’t have all answers but knowing our people are our key assets, for them – I make sure I am available, create win-win situations, and get them involved in creating our next plan, taking them on the journey. The hotel closing for refurbishment gave me the opportunity to really bond with the team, learn about them, their experiences, aspirations and make plans to help them achieve them.
“To everyone battling a difficulty or under attack right now, smile, keep your head up, keep moving and stay positive, you’ll get through it.” ― Germany Kent
What has been your favourite example of someone who has been “outstanding” day to day recently?
My General Manager – Chris Cottam. During worrying and uncertain times, Chris demonstrates honesty, transparency, informed decision making and always offers a clear strategic view. This man also has 7 lives and does all of this seemingly with no sleep! No matter what time you send him email or text, he replies straight away and is always there to support you.
What makes you feel proud to be part of the team you are in?
Having happy guests and a happy well trained and engaged team that I can rely on no matter what challenges we are facing. I really can’t wait to bring the team back to work and help them feel confident during these difficult times, so they can get back to what they enjoy most – delivering outstanding service.
What are you and the team focusing on over the next few weeks?
Our key focus will remain on completing the refurbishment and rebrand of the property, ensuring the implementation of all new SOPs and standards, all in line with our new normal. It’s also imperative that the hotel is beyond safe for our teams, that they feel confident in coming back to work. Hopefully, we will be able to get this all accomplished before my second child is born in July! (No pressure!)
What is the one piece of advice you’d give someone right now?
Keep your spirits up, nothing lasts forever, one day, this experience will provide us with a great experience for our CVs and I am sure it will be an interesting story to tell to our grandchildren!
We’re not recruiting at the moment here at Kew Green Hotels, but if you’d like to join our talent community for the future, please contact Natasha Nagra at firstname.lastname@example.org.