Monday, 18, January 2016
A Day in the Life of: General Manager, Mark Payne
It takes dedication, hard work and a passion for hospitality to make sure that all departments of a hotel run smoothly. We catch up with The Bristol’s, Mark Payne who gives us an insight into a day in the life of a General Manager.
What’s your background in Hospitality and what led you to this position?
As part of my work experience at school, I chose to go work in a local hotel for two weeks. I really enjoyed it and at the end of the fortnight they offered me weekend work. After two years of part time and summer work at The Castle Hotel in Macroom Co. Cork, I decided to go to college and do Hotel Management. On hearing this, the owners offered me a Trainee Management Development Program (TMDP) which consisted of 11 months at the hotel and one month in College (GMIT) over three years. The fact I got paid via the hotel to do the course sealed the deal for me as the thought of eating fish finger sandwiches for three years in college never truly appealed to me. At the end of the TMDP course I received a cert in Hotel Management, I then went back full time to Galway (GMIT) and joined the Diploma year for 6 months and completed the course in Hotel catering and Business Management. After College I took a position as Assistant Food and Beverage Manager at The Marylebone. I did 12 months in London and then took up management positions in Bristol, Manchester and Dublin before Opening Jury’s Inn Aberdeen, which was my first General Manager Position. I did two years in Aberdeen and when the opportunity came up to return to Bristol, it really felt right.
Tell us a typical day in the life of a General Manager
Every day is exactly the same (I bet you weren't expecting that answer) Guest expectations don’t change day to day, they always expect to receive great service, therefore the hotel has to run at its optimum every single day to make sure each guest has a unique and memorable experience. I see it as my job to make sure the conditions are correct so the team can deliver on these expectations and spend a lot of my time making sure the physical hotel is being well maintained, in addition making sure each department is delivering the correct training to deliver our standards. I also meet everyone before they start work at the hotel. Every day starts with me checking my phone before I even get out of bed to look over the Duty Manager log, daily sales report, IDEAS forecast and ensure nothing dramatic has happened on our social media channels for the day before.
What do you like most about The Doyle Collection?
I really enjoy working for a company who want their guests to leave feeling like they have had an amazing stay. Every hotel within the group has a fantastic product and offering and I am proud to recommend them to anyone who asks. The company looks after its employees really well, this is evident from some of the long term team members I have seen here in Bristol, most notable being our Breakfast Chef whom retired last summer after 42 years’ service. The company values are also very similar to my personal values and I think that helps enormously as generally I know the tough decisions I sometimes need to make will be the correct ones as long as they are aligned with the values.
What’s your favourite thing to do in Bristol?
Going out for Sunday lunch is routine at this point and there are some fantastic places to go, The Pump House, The Albion, The Pony and Trap (One of three Michelin Star pubs in UK) and this weekend I am off to The Cowshed. The festivals around the city also make it a unique place to live and my favourite two would be The Harbourside Regatta and The Hot Air Balloon Festival.
What do you find most rewarding about the role of General Manager?
I think having the opportunity to help people in any small way has got to be seen as a reward. In my role I find there are constant opportunities to do this, whether it is a Honeymoon couple who have booked a standard room and you give them an upgrade or being able to give my time to local hospitality students in local colleges to give some advice. Seeing team members develop so you can offer them opportunities is something I take a lot of satisfaction from as well, which ultimately also benefits the business.
Describe a perfect day in Bristol, that you would recommend to guests?
- A walk around the Harbourside, up on to the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
- Afternoon tea and a drink on the terrace overlooking the Avon Gorge, at the aptly named Avon Gorge Hotel.
- Trip to the zoo.
- The SS Great Britain Museum is also world class; it is a museum ship designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and was the first Iron streamer to cross the Atlantic.
- Dinner and drinks in the evening in The River Grille overlooking the harbour.
- Finish it all off with an evening walk to go looking for Banksy art work
- If one has kids, on a wet day @Bristol is the UK’s largest 3D planetarium and is amazing to keep them occupied. There is also an aquarium next door.
How do you relax in your spare time?
I make a habit of signing up for the Bristol 10K and Half Marathon every year, so in the 10 weeks leading up to each, I try to get to the gym or go running as often as I can. I also enjoy eating out and trying craft beers.
What’s your favourite dish in The River Grille?
Since we have installed The Josper Grill, the Whole Sea Bass dish has gone to a different level.
To find out more about The Bristol, visit the website here.