My real story: Erin M

Age: 26 

Education: Diploma – Events Management, Diploma – Retail Supervision, Certificate II – Business Services and Certificate I – Tourism Operations.

Current position: Banquet Operations Manager, PARKROYAL Parramatta

Number of years at the hotel? 5 years

What does my role entail? As Banquet Operations Manager I am solely responsible for the successful operation of all events held in the hotel. At PARKROYAL Parramatta we have 13 conference and event spaces catering up to 550 guests in our Ballroom and up to 1,200 guests when all spaces are in use. This entails liaising internally with the Meetings and Events team, Executive Chef and Staging Connections. Prior to events I roster staff accordingly, set up as per client requirements, meet and greet clients prior to commencement of an event, brief the banquet operations team, manage the team during the event to ensure smooth execution and, at the conclusion of the event, have a debrief to ensure client satisfaction. Other duties of the role include recruitment, on boarding, on-job training of all new associates, payroll, and rostering for all F&B outlets including restaurant, bar, room service, mini bar and club lounge. I also order all equipment and guest supplies for the F&B department and book in services such as live music and security. I also chair the HACCP committee with the Executive Chef.

How I got my start in the hotel industry: My first job was at McDonalds whilst still at school which progressed to a full time management role. This afforded me the opportunity to study for a Diploma in Retail Supervision. Once that was completed, I started to look wider within the Hospitality industry to develop my skills and further my career. PARKROYAL Parramatta acknowledged my McDonalds training and gave me my start in hotels as an F&B supervisor five years ago.

Does anyone in your family work in a Hotel? I have a cousin who works in hotels as an F&B Director.

Why do you like working in Hotels? Great people! And there is always something different as you are dealing with clients from lots of different industries and different types of events ranging from corporate seminars to industry expos, weddings and end of year parties.

What surprised you about working in hotels? There is much more to a hotel than meets the eye, with many different operating departments working together to ensure the smooth running of a hotel day to day.

What my career has looked like to date: I joined with no hotel experience as an F&B Supervisor and was then earmarked as a suitable candidate for an Assistant Manager – Front Office cross training secondment for 15 months. After the successful completion of the secondment, I was subsequently promoted to Banquet Operations Manager in April 2016.

During your time at this Hotel, what has been your proudest moment? There a few, including: the successful re-launch of the Banquet department after extension works completed at the hotel added five additional conference and event spaces; Also being a finalist for the TAA award for Front of House employee as well as company recognition by achieving several hotel awards including Supervisor of the Quarter and Service Excellence Star.

What has been your greatest professional achievement to date? The successful re-launch of the hotel banquet space in 2016 after the hotel extension works as part of the re-launch project team, including hiring new recruits and pre-ordering of all guest supplies for the new operation. I was also proudly awarded Conference and Events Employee of the year at the 2017 TAA NSW Awards and then Food and Beverage Associate of the Year at the 2017 HM Awards.

Where do you wish to go from here? I wish to expand my skills and knowledge and further my career by experiencing the other side of events – being part of the Meetings and Events sales team.

What challenges do you face in this role? Last minute event changes such as numbers increasing, change of mind by clients, room moves due to business demands, picking up last minute events and day-to-day management of staff.

Why do you like working in the accommodation industry? With any industry there are challenges. Successfully overcoming those and having a client who is very satisfied with the event is very fulfilling. I have also had many staff members with no experience work within my team go on to bigger and better things, which is always rewarding.

What message do you have to tell others about working in the accommodation industry? It’s good fun, there is always something different happening around the hotel, you can work anywhere in the world with the experience you gain and you also make lifelong friends.

What advice would you give to people considering a career in Hotels? Be prepared to work hard, make the most of every opportunity, get all the experience you can and then use it to your advantage to travel and further your career.

Have you travelled as part of your career in Hotels? At this stage I have travelled with associate benefits to hotels to South East Asia and Oceania.

Have you met anyone famous during your career in Hotels? Yes I have, due to the hotel location we have a lot of famous sports people frequent the hotel including NRL and A League players, TV personalities and politicians.

Can you bust any Hotel career myths? It’s definitely not unexciting! It can be long hours, however with the right team and experience there is balance and I think the pay is ok!

What training have you received from your employer as part of your professional development? A range of In-house training courses such as Train the Trainer, cross training exposure in other departments and the TAA Enhanced Leadership program.

Tell us about one of your best Hotel experiences? While on secondment in Front office, walking in with no experience and transferring back to F&B 15 months later with a whole new department’s knowledge and a better understanding on how Front Office incorporates into the overall hotel operations.

Do you manage people? If yes, what is that like? Yes, I manage a team of around 50 staff and supervisors. It can be challenging at times especially because we have so many different F&B outlets in the hotel and our associates all have different skill sets that we try to maximise.

What skills have you learnt on the job? How to think on your feet, how to multi-task, prioritising, organisational skills, building rapport with guests, empathising with clients and how to get the best out of my team.

What are your working hours like? Flexible, as it is a dynamic role and depends on what is going on in the hotel with events.

What’s the pay like? For the industry our group is above average, so I think it’s good.

Anything else you’d like to add? Working in hotels your colleagues become like your second family, due to the hours and experiences you share which makes the job more enjoyable and exciting!