Hospitality professionals are born not made, it’s in our soul, ( which is why we often hire for attitude not skill ) and why would we choose to work when everybody else is enjoying themselves. The truth is we love it, even now, as a keynote speaker and hospitality consultant I still miss the buzz of a rocking Friday night at All Bar One where we were full to the gills, the place to be seen and your eyes had to be everywhere anticipating customer needs before they even realised they needed it themselves.
During lockdown this has proved even more evident, despite not knowing whether there will be a business to return to hotels, restaurants and pubs have been serving the community, from accommodating the homeless and key workers to providing food to the community and hospitals. Many furloughed teams have chosen to volunteer as part of this.
My personal experience during lockdown has been extraordinary, as you can imagine being in such a in person facing role working with facilities and hospitality, business has fallen off a cliff, so I have been trying to keep my business in the public eye and give back by offering free training to those that want to use this time to improve their skills or be inspired. This is in addition to supporting some of the more vulnerable in my community by doing their shopping & baking treats.
My hospitality family have been there every step of the way, emailing me to ask what they can do to help support and promote me and my business.
Throughout my career I have had the privilege to work with many creative intelligent and guest focused people. From bar backs to KP’s, the most important and NOT unskilled team members read my blog here, chefs, reception teams and GM’s. A hotel is often a reflection of the leadership. Read my blog hospitality leadership here
When I decided having spoken to Sheetal from the Institute of Hospitality to run an instagram takeover day I had no idea of the work involved, being me though, I decided to give it 100% and create the best experience I could for students, furloughed teams and industry professionals. We created 45 posts over 8 hours (by the way the average is 10) with each one taking an average of 15 minutes, from live chats, to cocktail making lessons, a skillsbootcamp live, a 30 minute inspiring training session on how to stand up and stand out for those looking for jobs, top tips, book recommendations, blogs and interviews with some of the industries best known role models. Their Instagram followers increased by 11.6% (the average increase in followers for an instagram takeover is 2.1%)
This is where the generosity and kindness of our industry really stood out, I approached my client base and those I did not know but had admired from afar and asked them to answer 3 of 5 questions in 3 minutes in a prerecorded video and send it to me to post through the day. I had no idea just how brilliant they would be, infact the response has been so good I am going to continue the series and post them on my own site, expand it to other industries and add them to my YouTube channel.
These hotel GM’s, consultants, owners, restauranteurs and HRD’s despite working incredibly hard at their day job, not only willingly gave their time but did it with verve and relish. Their words of wisdom, top tips and stories are incredibly helpful and inspiring take a listen to them here
What astonished me most however was how those I did not even know stepped up, messaging me on the day to offer encouragement and positive texts, retweets and reposts, to contacting me over the last few days, along with my other clients to enquire what other projects I have and if they can help me.
I have a confession to make, one of those people was Robert Richardson, The general Manager of The Grand Folkestone who is a hotelier I have admired for some time due to the number of awards his hotel and people team are winning, and when I saw him at an event last year could not pluck up the courage to go and introduce myself. Top tip, take an deep breath and always go and say hello because he, like so many others I know is one of the nicest guys in the industry. Focused with a huge dose of common sense, and a genuine people person.
The great thing about running your own business is that when you get to a certain point you only have to work with people you like, on projects you can be passionate about. I also have a rule of thumb when deciding whether to work with them, would I want to go and have a drink with them? I can honestly say everyone of the I interviewees we have had and those to come I would definitely have a drink or five with and one day the hugs I am know for.
So thank you to Robert Richardson, Chris Archambault, Joanne Taylor stagg, Janene Pretorius, Jon Dawson, Sean Wheeler, Wendy Bartlett, Robbie Bargh, Peter Ducker, Katharine Gourley, Arian Roehrle & Rachael Stevens. Also to those whose you have not heard yet, follow me on Instagram to find out who… we have a stunning line up.