Sarah is a house manager for a large hotel and conference centre on a university campus.
On a typical day she comes in and walks around the building, checking the public area cleaner is in and that there are no maintenance problems or issues with the contract cleaners who come in and clean during the night. She checks emails, checks the maintenance system and filters jobs through so they get done by the workmen. She then attends a morning meeting at 10am to discuss the day's business and any VIPs, checks the two housekeepers are ok and that all her staff are doing their job. She also checks the figures to see the business for the next day and decide whether to increase or decrease the staff numbers. Other duties include ordering maintenance items and stock for the hotel bedrooms, responding to any problems with rooms or guests who have left, organising the rota and cover any PPM (planned preventative maintenance) work and putting the rooms out of order on the system, and going to meetings. She says, however, that really, every day is different and she doesn’t know where the time goes.
Sarah has plenty of experience of the hospitality industry, having worked in the sector since she was 16 and in all departments (f and b, sales, back office, reservations). She also decided to study for a degree in hospitality and tourism management. She left university and went for a trainee graduate manager position with Bourne Leisure (Haven, and Butlins and British Holidays) and also worked as a manager on a cruise ship, as well as for Marriot in Boston USA. All of these were front-of-house positions and she fancied doing something back of house, as she ‘was sick of dealing with customer complaints!’ Her current role actually required an HND or degree in a hospitality or business-related area.
Sarah enjoys her job and also likes working for an educational establishment, as she feels the benefits are good (holidays, pension, training), so she plans to stay within the university sector and possibly move into sales, catering or domestic services, depending on where the right job arises. She likes being in charge of a team who respect her and who work well together and believes that this is achieved through understanding what they do and being prepared to share in the less desirable tasks.
‘It helps having a knowledge of reception and booking systems, as this can help with planning staffing levels and you also know what the receptionists are going through if a guest complains that their room isn't ready. You also have to be prepared to do the rubbish jobs yourself, so the team will respect you.’ She feels that it is important to be assertive, never to be complacent and to keep the team motivated through communicating their achievements regularly. Time management, patience, an eye for detail and organisation skills are also key to her role.
This website is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with CSS enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets if you are able to do so.