Case study

Hotel reception supervisor — Florian Mendes

After completing a double Bachelors degree in business, Florian undertook a Masters in hospitality at ESCP Business School, in partnership with Cornell University. He now works as reception supervisor at Raffles London at The OWO

How did you get your job working for Raffles London at The OWO?

It all started when I enrolled onto the Inspire management training programme while working at the Sofitel London St James. I'd had a number of short-term hospitality roles after graduation but this course prepared me for what was to come next.

The programme included a rotation over almost two years going through F&B (food and beverage service), guest relations, front office as a duty manager and sales coordinator.

Going through all these rotations made me understand that I liked multitasking and being able to help on projects and challenges, bringing my full understanding of all the departments together.

In discussion with my programme mentor, the Sofitel UK area general manager, as well as the hotel's director of talent and culture, the possibility of working on hotel opening or renovation was brought up.

After giving this some thought, it all made sense and I decided to look for opening opportunities - and of course The OWO was the perfect fit.

Why did you decide to work in the hospitality sector?

My mother has been working in hospitality since I was a child and I always said to myself that I'd never work in the industry, blaming the industry for the lack of time spent with my mother.

However, one summer, I had to start working to pay for my first holidays with friends and my mother helped me to get a job in a Pullman hotel in the south of France.

I was a waiter for the breakfast shift, quickly taking on more responsibilities, which I enjoyed a lot. I then extended my contract to work alongside my studies and after achieving my Bachelors degree, I moved on to study a Masters in hospitality.

What are your main duties in your current role?

My main job is to build the reception team and make sure they feel confident in performing their duties. The team here is the strongest I've ever worked with in reception.

We are so lucky to be working with such talented and passionate people. I'm excited to see it grow in the coming weeks and we have already received so much positive feedback.

What's a typical day like as a hotel reception supervisor?

I have to say that as the hotel only opened a few weeks ago, it's hard to describe a typical day. The fact that there's never a typical day is the main reason I decided to work in front office in hospitality - you can never be bored, as time spent working at the hotel just flies by.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy being the point of contact between the guests and our team. Reception is one of the key departments, we are at the heart of the hotel operations and the guest experience. We are creating experiences and unique memories all day.

What are the challenges?

There are various challenges, but they're mostly related to our guests. Working at such an ultra-luxury property in such a well-known building sets our guest expectations at the highest level. We must always make sure we are going above those expectations.

In what ways are your qualifications relevant to your job?

Business and hospitality school qualifications are relevant to improve the hotel experience and put processes in place. In our daily operations, the most important thing is your smile and having a positive attitude with both colleagues and guests, then the rest comes with experience.

What advice can you give to others looking to enter the UK's hospitality industry?

  • Join now - it's an industry full of opportunity if you are motivated and passionate about it. This is the perfect time to join with all the new openings around the UK.
  • It's all about people - if you're a people person, hospitality will make you the happiest person on shift. You will deal with different people all day and build relationships with colleagues and guests.
  • Consider working for a large hotel chain - by joining a big company such as Accor you'll get to take advantage of worldwide travel and have access to a range of employee rates and benefits.

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