HM joins Frasers Hospitality Australia Group General Manager, Matthew Rubie, for a light-hearted chat on his career-to-date in accommodation and hospitality.
What was your first job in the accommodation industry and how long were you in it?
I was 17 and in Hotel School at the InterContinental. Because of my age, I wasn’t able to work in an outlet serving alcohol. So, I ended up running Room Service Trays for six months before I could branch out into the other areas of the hotel. I certainly learned a lot in this role.
Can you tell us a funny, embarrassing or memorable story involving you from the early part of your career?
I can still recall my first significant (heavy) tray delivery for a busy breakfast shift. I’d been struggling to balance the trays on my shoulder and had been practicing by walking up and down the fire stairs with full coffee pots. When it came to the crunch, my mentors were happy to let me go such was the pace of the day. My travels to room 2601 (I still remember the door number) were without incident, however, when I rang the doorbell, I looked down to see the newspaper on the floor. I’d been strictly informed I was to hand deliver any newspaper that was at the door – but I simply couldn’t bend down and pick it up.
The door quickly opened and I greeted the guest with a ‘Good Morning’ and then we both looked down to the newspaper. He quickly realised (and thankfully) I was unable to hold his breakfast much longer, let alone pick it up the newspaper – he laughed and bent down to pick it up. My colleagues were mortified and sentenced me to another week of the fire stairs training.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to young people assessing whether hospitality or tourism is right for them as a career?
Looking after others is a human trait that some people just naturally gravitate towards. In times like these, unusual as they are, we are reminded of the wonderful things people do to look after each other. We see this with doctors and nurses but it’s also prevalent in the hospitality industry. From checking people in, serving them lunch or pouring a drink – it’s hospitality at its core. Right now, it’s not that easy for many in this industry – but it’s amazing to see true hospitality shining through regardless.
It’s those feel good stories that everyone loves seeing and experiencing. Hospitality professionals simply can’t stop delivering, regardless of the circumstances. So, if you’re young, aspirational and halfway along the road to wanting to look after others as a career – it’s a very rewarding career and you could do a lot worse than getting into this great, great industry.