My Real Story: Anthony M
Education: NCEA L3 (NZ), Higher Diploma in Hotel Management (Queenstown Resort College), current undergraduate of SCU – Bachelor of Business Management, majoring in hospitality and tourism.
Current position: Guest Services Manager, Park Hyatt Sydney.
Number of years at the hotel? 5 years.
What does my role entail? Management of a team of 30 associates for which our department is responsible, including Concierge and a wide range of butlers. I also manage relationships with our VIP guests, groups and suite business.
How I got my start in the hotel industry: My father worked in hotels, and my parents have always been in the hospitality industry, so from a very young age I have been influenced by the ‘service culture’ of this industry. From the moment I had my first job, I have been in love with it ever since!
Does anyone in your family work in a Hotel? My father has previously, however I am currently the only member of my family working in the industry.
Why do you like working in Hotels? I love that no two days are ever the same, or even similar! The ability to interact with people from all walks of life and, especially in my current property, to interact with very interesting people in a very personal way. Since I have started managing people, and now my own team, the rewards of seeing people that you have helped guide towards their goals is very, very satisfying. Hotels also have a sense of occasion. People are here with purpose and often not coincidentally, so to be a part of an experience and a destination for many guests is very exciting.
What surprised you about working in hotels? How differently people live their lives and travel. For some guests, certain things are totally unique and surprising and for others it can seem as mundane as doing their laundry. For some people, seeing the Opera House makes them jump with joy, while others just go straight onto their phone and barely notice it is there. What has surprised me most is what people notice in their surrounds, and what they choose to perhaps consciously ‘un-see’ or simply don’t notice.
What my career has looked like to date: I started working on Saturdays after school sports in a local café called Scotts Eqicurean, when I was very young (12 years old) to save pocket money. I did this for a few years until my family moved to Europe. On our return from Europe I started working at a local Italian restaurant on the weekends. When I was 16 I joined Wagamama group, and was a part of their opening team in Christchurch. This is truly where I fell in love with big operations, and companies with a training program and SOPs. After being quickly promoted to Team Leader, I worked until I left for university in Queenstown to study hotel management (where I had been offered a talent scholarship). During my internship I moved to Melbourne and began my journey with Hyatt as a Bell Attendant on a nine-month placement. I was so keen to see the way the hotel worked that I came to an agreement to work six days a week, two in Bell Desk, two in Grand Club, and one in Concierge, working my sixth day for free in Communications just so I could learn. This experience has taken me very far to date! After I finished my internship and returned to Queenstown, I began at Sofitel as a Concierge, which I absolutely loved. At the conclusion of my studies I applied to join the recently re-opened team at Park Hyatt Sydney. I joined in March 2012, as a GSO Front Office. After six months I became a Team Leader, then after another eight months was given the opportunity to become Assistant Manager – Front Office. I was in this role for 14 months before taking an opportunity to join the Guest Services team as Assistant Guest Services Manager. This was a big role, and I learnt a huge amount in my time as an Assistant Department Head. In December 2016, I was successful in my application for the role of Guest Services Manager.
During your time at this Hotel, what has been your proudest moment? Successfully managing our team through a very busy summer season that entailed special events, private dinners, yacht charters and last minute royal families.
What has been your greatest professional achievement to date? My recent nominations for HM and TAA ‘Service Excellence’ in 2016 and TAA Rising Star for 2017.
Where do you wish to go from here? I would like to continue working towards a role as Director of Rooms within Hyatt, and would love to join the pre-opening team of a new Park Hyatt property.
What challenges do you face in this role? The constant unpredictability of high demand and demanding requirements, makes it a real challenge to plan in advance. Just when you expect a moment of calm, something or someone will pop up!
Why do you like working in the accommodation industry? This is an industry which is grounded in its people, and it is only possible to achieve the things we do as a direct result of what we put into our people. I love that about this industry, as it’s a reflection of a group of people working well together.
What message do you have to tell others about working in the accommodation industry? This is a tough industry, however the satisfaction that you get from it is immense. The people you meet, the people you work with and the sense of pride you take in your workplace and what you do make it incredibly rewarding. Hotels are like small communities, and there is a real sense of belonging that no other workplace or environment can offer.
What advice would you give to people considering a career in Hotels? Take your time and go through the paces, it’s an industry that demands you have seen it and felt it, to be able to deliver it. My father gave me the best piece of advice about my career in general (and it’s very relevant to hotels): you are never too important to wash the dishes. What this means is that you need to be willing to do any and every job within the hotel. Only when you are willing to do this will you really see your career start to move.
Have you travelled as part of your career in Hotels? I have travelled a lot thanks to the amazing benefits of working with Hyatt, however this is only for leisure. There are a number of opportunities in the future for me to travel for work.
Can you bust any Hotel career myths? Absolutely – too many to write about!
What training have you received from your employer as part of your professional development? We receive ongoing training, via online and workshop style sessions.
Tell us about one of your best Hotel experiences? There were two guests that I met whilst working in Queenstown, who I instantly clicked with – we would laugh constantly whenever we saw each other in the hotel and throughout their weeklong stay – we are still in touch to this day nearly seven years later.
Do you manage people? If yes, what is that like? Managing people is as challenging as it is rewarding, and in all honesty this occupies a significant amount of my day-to-day schedule. There are real challenges with this skill, however I take great joy and pride in developing my team and it is all worth it when you see them kicking goals.
What skills have you learnt on the job? I have learnt a huge number of skills, but perhaps the most valuable is the skill of remaining calm in adverse moments or situations. The nature of my role occasionally places me in confronting situations with guests or team members where I’m required to lead by example and remain calm, cool and collected. The emotion that you project into a scenario has a direct influence on the outcome, so staying calm and clear in a moment of challenge, allows you to guide the outcome to your benefit.
What are your working hours like? I work flexible hours, and my employer gives me the freedom to manage my time how I best see fit. My time is often flexible to guests and operational demands.
What’s the pay like? Above average.