My real story: Will P

Age: 33

Current position: Director of Catering and Conference Services, Four Seasons

Number of years at the hotel? Five years

What does my role entail? I oversee the events division. I guide the professional development of 12 staff. I have full responsibility for the delivery of events and management of the catering budget. I’m the project lead on pilot programs including new menu concepts, system upgrades, and technology enhancements.

How I got my start in the hotel industry: My greatest influencers have been my parents who spend a lot of time travelling, so I guess my passion for travel inspired my move into the industry.

Does anyone in your family work in a Hotel? No.

Why do you like working in Hotels? I rarely do the same thing twice, I’m involved in multiple projects and meet many new people daily!

What surprised you about working in hotels? The large range of departments and career opportunities that the industry offers is something that few grasp until they are immersed in it. Its diversity is so far reaching that one could not comprehend the possibility of remaining in the same position for the duration of their career; it simply would not make sense.

What my career has looked like to date: I began my career as an Event Coordinator and then eventually made the move into a Catering Sales Executive position. Whilst in this position, I was promoted to Special Events Sales Manager, and soon after to Sales Manager. After some time in that role, I was promoted to Assistant Director of Sales, and then offered my current position as Director of Catering and Conference Services. My promotions have all occurred within a short span of time. Most people after hearing my story gasp and say ‘amazing!’ my response is usually a cheeky ‘yeah I know’, followed by a sincere ‘thank you’. I take much pride in my hard work.

During your time at this Hotel, what has been your proudest moment? Being able to meet the families that have been able to benefit from our contributions to charity.

What has been your greatest professional achievement to date? It was in 2013 when I was awarded Sales Manager of the Year Asia- Pacific for the Four Seasons, a momentous achievement in my career.

Where do you wish to go from here? Ultimately the goal is to become a General Manager; a goal that can certainly be attained with hard work and dedication, like any goal, if you can conceive it, you can achieve it.

What challenges do you face in this role? The landscape of Sydney is changing; exciting new competition is entering the city. Maintaining a strong market presence and consistently delivering quality service is a challenge. 

Why do you like working in the accommodation industry? It’s constantly evolving.

What advice would you give to people considering a career in Hotels? If you love meeting new people and travelling this is the industry for you!

Have you travelled as part of your career in Hotels? I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Dubai, and Marrakesh.

Have you met anyone famous during your career in Hotels? We’ve had numerous famous people pass through our hotel including Richard Branson, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Lewis Hamilton, Greg Norman, Malcolm Turnbull, and Tony Abbott.

Can you bust any Hotel career myths? This industry never fails to amaze me! It is an exciting industry that is constantly evolving and enables us to create unique experiences and personal touches for all guests.

What training have you received from your employer as part of your professional development? All training has been very position specific. Coming from a sales background the industry is always evolving.  I’ve undertaken leadership development through a mentoring program and taken part in sales training, both locally and in Singapore.

Tell us about one of your best Hotel experiences? Being involved in the Four Seasons Private Jet experience was incredible. Sydney was one of the first destinations to be selected. I loved understanding how the campaign was created globally. 

Do you manage people? If yes, what is that like? Yes. Managing people is challenging and rewarding.

What skills have you learnt on the job? Conflict resolution and how to manage large teams. I’ve also learnt how to sell a service as well as a product.

What are your working hours like? Long but enjoyable.

What’s the pay like? Above average. 

Anything else you’d like to add? It’s an exciting industry that is constantly evolving. The industry gives you the opportunity to create unique experiences for guests with personal touches.