Lots of things look like “easy living” when viewed from afar, but a career in hospitality takes more dedication than outsiders may have believed. Whether you’re an aspiring guest house owner or a hotel school student, it pays to listen to the experts, and there’s no doubt that Robyn Hanney, owner and hands-on manager of Holmhurst Guesthouse in Bathurst, NSW is among the voices you should hear.
Location, Location, LocationRegardless of the niche you hope to occupy in the hospitality industry, your working experience dictates your style - and it could either open or close doors for you.
The location of hotels and guest houses dictates ambiance, atmosphere, activities, and style. And since the business’s owners and employees will be catering for their guests, it will affect the ways in which they work and the knowledge they gain in the process.
“Holmhurst Guesthouse provides accommodation for quite a wide range of people with varied interests. But it’s not only chosen by Bathurst visitors because of its relatively central location. It’s a historic building, and as such, people are expecting old-world comfort and an entirely different and more personal experience to the one they’d get in a very modern, convenience-only-based, “sleep-and-go” style establishment.”
“Whether you’re working in an establishment or starting your own business, you should think about the type of guests for whom you want to cater. Will they be adventure tourists, holidaying families, businesspeople, or honeymooners? What you do and what you offer depends on your clientele.”
Hours? What hours?Thoughts of a career in hospitality may conjure up visions of sun-soaked beaches and luxury living, but it’s a business direction that includes a lot of hard work, and the hours you’ll be busy can be unpredictable.
Robyn explains: “When you work in hospitality, your job is not about you. It’s about your guests and the overall guest experience from the first booking enquiry to checking out. You can try setting fixed working hours but be ready to be flexible.”
“Even in the biggest hotel chains where the staff is numerous and set shifts are prescribed, you’ll still experience last-minute needs for overtime and the dreaded midnight calls to cope with sudden crises. Once again, it’s all about the guests. When what’s going on behind the scenes is organised chaos, what they see and experience must be professional, always pleasant, and so smooth as to be seamless. Be ready for anything in this career because anything can and does happen!”
It Helps if You Genuinely CareAlthough Holmhurst Guesthouse was a new venture for Robyn Hanney back in 2018, she has always been a keen traveler. “I know what makes people feel welcome and valued, and I know how to deliver it. If you want to succeed in the hospitality industry, it’s knowledge you absolutely must have. If you think the hospitality industry is for you, I recommend traveling so that you can experience the hotel and guesthouse industry from the guest’s perspective.”
“But it goes beyond that. People can see whether you genuinely care or not, and it helps a lot if you do care. Knowing the right words to say and the right expression to wear isn’t going to convince anyone. You need empathy. You need to want that perfect guest experience as much as your guests do.”
“If you thought you were a people person, hospitality is the acid-test of whether you really are one. It’s more than how you work with your guests in person. It’s every detail. Cleanliness, food, those special touches you offer beyond the basics - it’s an all-out effort and, when you make it, it should feel like a pleasure to you too.”
For more information and to book your stay at Holmhurst Guest House visit, HOLMHURST - Affordable B & B Accommodation in Bathurst or call 0434 937 306