Mark Thewlis MIH joined the Institute of Hospitality in 2017. As Operations Manager at Foxhills Club and Resort in Ottershaw, Surrey, Mark shares his career story and thoughts on the challenges he is currently facing.
Tell us about your job.
Foxhills is a multi-outlet resort, with 70 bedrooms, 3 restaurants, 3 golf courses, 11 tennis courts, spa & gym and 3500 members. My role as Operations Manager is challenging because there is always so much going on around the resort and no two days are the same. I like to get involved in the revenue side of the business and walking around the resort chatting to the different guests we have on site and ensuring my team deliver an excellent customer journey.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Meeting different people on a daily basis and working in a passionate and fun environment.
What attracted you to a career in hospitality?
I’ve worked in hotels since I was 16, and loved it, since then I have never looked back and worked my way up the career ladder.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for the industry right now?
Recruitment, it has become so difficult to recruit chefs and front of house staff. We are losing staff to the agencies because they can pick and choose when to work and ultimately receive a higher salary. Younger people don’t want to work the long hours anymore and it’s a challenge to recruit.
Who has inspired you most in your career so far?
Dale MacPhee, General Manager of Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian. Watching her passion for service and more importantly her passion for staff. Learning the names of all team members was an important touch and created a team spirit. She always managed to know something about each employee that she could ask them about and was very approachable herself. Watching Dale show the importance of the team and making them feel welcomed certainly raised spirits and ensured the service levels around the hotel remained at the highest level. That is certainly one aspect I will be taking with me when I reach my career goal of General Manager.
What would you say are the job highlights to someone considering a career in hospitality?
That no day is ever the same and meeting with different guests on a daily basis. We meet such wonderful people in this industry and also friends for life. Yes, it can be long hours but ultimately we do this career because of a passion to provide a high-end service that will create lasting memories for people and we get to be a part of those memories…there is no other career like hospitality.
What were your main reasons for joining and how is being a member of the Institute already benefiting you?
I wanted to broaden my networking group, and meet other people within the industry to share best practices with. Being a member allows me to meet other industry people, share my stories and listen to theirs. I enjoy the online training as well,and then adding those skills into my property.
What are your career ambitions?
To become a General Manager within the next 2-3 years.