My real story: Harry S

Age: 37

Education: BA in Hospitality Management, Huddersfield University, UK

Current position: Director of Operations, Pier One Sydney Harbour

Number of years at the hotel? 3 years

What does my role entail? Managing all operational departments of the hotel. This includes Front Office, Housekeeping, Food & Beverage and Engineering.

How I got my start in the hotel industry: I used to love staying in hotels with my parents and was always fascinated by the grandeur. So I took up a course in Hospitality Management to make this dream come true.

Why do you like working in Hotels? It’s a social hub and the complexities of managing people and issues keep you on your toes all the time. It’s a great high.

What surprised you about working in hotels? It’s not as easy as it sounds!

What my career has looked like to date: I was a Management Trainee straight out of Hospitality College. Then I became Assistant Restaurant Manager, Banquet Manager, F&B Manager, and then Director of Operations of three different hotels. I’ve always worked within the Marriott Group, working in India and Australia through six different hotels.

During your time at this Hotel, what has been your proudest moment? When my restaurant at Pier One achieved a Good Food Guide Chef’s Hat.

What has been your greatest professional achievement to date? The rebrand and relaunch of the Pier One Hotel, post Marriott take-over.

Have you won any Awards? I have been a part of the team that has won a number of awards:

  • Marriott Asia Pacific Food & Beverage Hotel of the Year 2017
  • Marriott Asia Pacific Restaurant & Bar of the Year 2016
  • Marriott Asia Pacific Catering Growth Award 2016
  • Nominated for Marriott Award of Excellence 2016

Where do you wish to go from here? I would like to be a General Manager of a cool lifestyle hotel.

What challenges do you face in this role? Lack of new talent and a serious shortage of staff in all areas.

Why do you like working in the accommodation industry? I get to meet new people and every day is a new day with its own set of challenges, which make the job interesting and not monotonous.

What message do you have to tell others about working in the accommodation industry? It’s a fun industry and the learnings from it make you a great entrepreneur.

What advice would you give to people considering a career in Hotels? It is an amazing industry where you develop every aspect of being a complete manager.

Have you travelled as part of your career in Hotels? I moved to Australia for work in 2005 having worked in India for 5 years. I travel a couple of times a year to Asia through work, either for training or taskforce assignments.

Have you met anyone famous during your career in Hotels? Bill Clinton, Naomi Campbell, Robert Plant, Vladimir Putin, Mick Jagger, and more.

Can you bust any Hotel career myths? If you are committed and ambitious, you can grow fast in this industry.

What training have you received from your employer as part of your professional development? Cornell University modules in F&B Productivity; Seven Habits of Highly Effective Managers; and Marriott Business Acumen training.

Tell us about one of your best Hotel experiences? The Edition Hotel in London is amazing. Really slick room design, amazing bar, and Michelin-starred restaurant Berners Tavern with Chef Jason Atherton.

Do you manage people? If yes, what is that like? It is the most complex part of the job. I guess clear, precise communication is most important, along with delegation. My style varies to suit different personalities.

What skills have you learnt on the job? Managing people, cultures and creative thinking, whilst remaining methodical and strategic.

What are your working hours like? I work 8am – 6pm normally, and flexible if working on the weekend.

What’s the pay like? Really good.

Anything else you’d like to add? I have been working in the industry for 16 years now and loving every moment of it. Couldn’t see myself doing anything else!