What was your first job in the accommodation industry and how long were you in it?
During hotel school, I had my first taste of the hospitality industry in a casual job at McDonald’s (an Australian right of passage!). However, my first full time role in the accommodation industry was as a Management Trainee at the Grand Hyatt New Delhi, straight out of hotel school. Completing the program after two years, I then moved to Burj Al Arab Dubai.
Can you tell us a funny, embarrassing, or memorable story involving you from the early part of your career?
In my days at hotel school, I had the opportunity to complete an internship at Taj Lak Palace Udaipur. It was my first week in night shift and the Night Manager asked me to go and check the temperature of a room for an early VIP arrival. A simple task gone awry, I took the wrong room key and instead opened the door of an occupied room at 2am! Rookie error!
Long story short, the guest was an Aussie couple who humorously had me do 10 sit ups on the Reception Desk as punishment, while kindly asking my manager not to punish me any further and to keep it quiet. The next day, I served them lunch in the café and the guest gave me some of the best advice I’ve received to date – don’t take life too seriously.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to young people assessing whether hospitality or tourism is right for them as a profession?
All you can do in life is be who you are! When you decide to be yourself, magic happens and opportunities will open.
Interestingly, there is no better industry than hospitality which has something for all to let your true self shine. Options and opportunities are limitless, and skills are transferable across the globe. Simply be yourself, try different things, find your place and passion, and enjoy the journey!