My real story: Kylie M

Age: 29

Education: Bachelor of Business in Hotel Management, Hotel School Sydney

Current position: Key Account Manager, Frasers Hospitality Australia Management Pty Ltd

Number of years at the hotel? 1 year

What does my role entail? I am responsible for the effective account management of a portfolio of corporate accounts, ensuring set sales targets across transient, MICE and long-stay are met for each hotel within Australia. I am also passionate about business development and always look to identify and convert new opportunities for all four properties across Australia.

How I got my start in the hotel industry: During high school I always worked within a customer service role and whilst at school I studied Hospitality. As part of my study I was lucky enough to be able to do work experience at both Sheraton on the Park, Sydney and Sea World Resort in Queensland, working in all departments of a Hotel. From this work experience I quickly realised my passion for tourism and hospitality and sought to learn more about the education and career opportunities for my future.

Why do you like working in Hotels? I love that every day is different and that you get to work with like-minded people who share the same passion as you.

What surprised you about working in hotels? Sales is not all champagne and coffee! There’s a lot of hard work and long hours but, at the end of the day, if you have the passion it is a rewarding career that can take you anywhere.

What my career has looked like to date: After my school work experience spiked my interest in hospitality and hotels, I continued my tertiary education at the Hotel School Sydney and held a casual role as a Food & Beverage Attendant at Four Seasons.

Originally, I wanted to open my own gastronomy restaurant in Sydney with my best friend from Hotel School, however I quickly learnt during my studies and interaction with guests that I had a passion for Sales and I moved into Rooms Division.

From here I moved to Quest Serviced Apartments, where I worked as a Guest Service Agent, Night Audit Manager and Reservations Consultant. I wanted to learn more about sales and commenced work at the Head Office for Hamilton Island in Reservations, selling all accommodation options on the Island ranging from 5-star hotels to stand alone holiday homes, and even booking flights.
I moved to London in 2011, where I secured a role as Business Development Executive for The Apartment Service, a global corporate housing provider, and soon after progressed to Account Manager looking after 300 properties globally.

Upon returning home to Australia in 2014, I worked as a Business Development Executive at Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour. From here I moved into a national sales role as Client Relationship Manager at TFE Hotels, looking after 60 national properties.
Most recently I have joined the team at Head Office for Frasers Hospitality Australia as the Key Account Manager looking after all four Australian properties.

During your time at this Hotel, what has been your proudest moment? Being relatively new to the company, my proudest moments have been securing new business across the four Australian properties. I really enjoy positively impacting the business and meeting new clients daily.

What has been your greatest professional achievement to date? In 2016, I was awarded the peer-voted National Sales Award at TFE Hotels. It was an absolute honour to win a national sales award that is nominated by your colleagues and I was, and still am, truly touched.

Where do you wish to go from here? I would love to become an Area Director of Sales.

What challenges do you face in this role? Given that I am looking after four hotels in four very different markets and across three hotel brands this can be challenging as you often have to wear many hats within the one meeting. You need to be aware of all market conditions/trends and ensure your product knowledge is exceptional, as you will always be asked that random question such as “What is the wattage of the lights in the Conference Room?”

Why do you like working in the accommodation industry? Every day you get to work with like-minded people who share your passion. When you work with people who are passionate about your organisation and share the same values as you, work doesn’t feel like “work”.

What message do you have to tell others about working in the accommodation industry? It’s a rewarding career and the opportunities are endless.

What advice would you give to people considering a career in Hotels? A career in hotels can open up doors not only nationally, but globally. The customer service skills that you learn are highly sought after in all industries and are transferable across all hotel departments. If you don’t want to be doing a desk job and want every day to be challenging and different, then it is the career for you.

Have you travelled as part of your career in Hotels? Yes, I have been lucky enough to travel extensively throughout Australia, as well as Europe and the UK.

Have you met anyone famous during your career in Hotels? Ian Thorpe, Michael Maguire, Lleyton Hewitt, Tony Abbott and Usain Bolt to name a few…

Can you bust any Hotel career myths? Like anything, it is what you make it – just because you start out as a F&B Attendant or Housekeeper doesn’t mean you can’t climb the corporate ladder. Your skills are indispensable.

What training have you received from your employer as part of your professional development? The training has not only benefited me professionally, but also personally with development in converting sales and negotiation techniques, conflict management and neuro linguistic programming (NLP).

Tell us about one of your best Hotel experiences? During my time in the UK I was a Committee Member for the HBAA, which is the trade association for the hotel booking agency, apartment and venue community. As part of this role, I had the opportunity to sit on multiple panels and discuss the benefits of Hotels and Serviced Apartments and the impacts on travel and client spend. This provided me with global exposure to both the transient and relocation corporate markets and created multiple career opportunities during my time in the UK.

Do you manage people? If yes, what is that like? No – in my current role I don’t directly manage people, however I liaise with all hotel departments on a daily basis and all levels of management nationally and internationally.

What skills have you learnt on the job? I have learnt how to have both a hunter and a farmer mindset and be a visionary, understanding the big picture of the organisation.

What are your working hours like? In my current role I generally work Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm, so I am quite lucky to have office hours. As I am in Sales, I am required to attend evening or breakfast events so the hours are not always set in stone but I love my job so I don’t mind.

What’s the pay like? At the beginning, it can be challenging however like any industry as you work your way up the corporate ladder it is more than what you would probably think and the perks are great.

Anything else you’d like to add? If you’re bubbly, customer-oriented and are looking for a rewarding career with international opportunities, then a career in hotels is for you.