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Learner Profiles

Each year we celebrate the achievements of our learners at the HOSPA Annual Awards Ceremony. This video, sponsored by Entegra Europe, shows our celebrations. Read on to find out more about our learners.......

Finance Management Learner Profiles:

 
Management Accountant
The Sloane Club Management Ltd

Winner: Level One Financial Management, February 2019 & Overall Learner of the Year for Financial Management

Quintessentially British with a history spanning centuries, The Sloane Club is a Private Members Club in London’s most exclusive neighbourhood. Fine dining, luxurious Drawing Rooms, homely bedrooms, a private roof terrace, an indulgent Spa and the highest standards await.

Number 52 Lower Sloane Street started life as part of a handsome late Victorian development on an old 18th Century site in Chelsea known as Hans Town. The buildings, with their red-brick gables and fine detailing, were in the style dubbed ‘Pont Street Dutch’ and were enviably near the many fashionable milliners, mercers and glovemakers lining Sloane Square.

Sarunas was studying Hotel Management in The Netherlands and had the opportunity to complete an internship in London. He enjoyed the experience and decided to stay on in the UK.

Of his time as a HOSPA learner, Sarunas said: 

“I hope that the knowledge gained at the course will help me progress my career and deepen my understanding of the finance world. I hope to become a Finance Specialist and to achieve understanding of even the most difficult built company schemes. I aim to accumulate knowledge and apply it to help other people. I do believe that quality finance function has a deep understanding of operational side of the business. Finance should never be the law of the land and should always aim to cooperate with all other departments and find flexible and agile solutions for company’s problems. This is what aim is for my future. To be a manager of such finance function which delivers statutory reports to shareholders in timely manner alongside delivery of support to operations team”.

Assistant Cluster Financial Controller
Crowne Plaza Plymouth (Valor Hospitality Europe)

Winner: Level Two Financial Management, completed February 2019

The Crowne Plaza Plymouth is a refined hotel with a leisure club, meeting rooms and rooftop restaurant.  It is situated an easy walk from the seafront and city centre.

 

The Drake Circus shopping centre, shows at the Theatre Royal Plymouth and the shops and cafés of the Barbican harbour are all within walking distance. A stroll to view the sharks at the National Marine Aquarium takes you past the Mayflower Steps, the departure point for 17th-century pilgrims. 

 

Simon tells us:

 

“I first entered the Industry in F&B as Kitchen Staff, moved to front of house and worked up to F&B and Accommodation management positions in hotels and restaurants.  Eventually working up to Operations Manager.

I was working in Cornwall as Operations Manager of a Hotel and I wanted a role that was closer to home and more conducive with Family life, but still within the hospitality industry. This narrows your options within this industry, and Finance was an area of Hotels I hadn’t worked in, I wanted a new challenge and to broaden my understanding of this area of the operation.

 

As I had no Finance background the course has helped to improve my understanding and capability within the department. I started 3 years ago as an Accounts Assistant looking after the purchase ledger, and developed from there to my current role of Assistant Financial Controller of two hotels.

 

I would like to progress into Management Accounting, possibly within the hospitality sector.”

Simon completed Level Three of the Financial Management course in August 2019.

Maria Gutierrez Mondragon
Accounts Assistant
Crowne Plaza Basingstoke

Winner: Level Three Financial Management, completed February 2019

The Crowne Plaza Hotel offers 140 spacious, contemporary bedrooms, 8 meeting rooms, state of the art Affinity Health & Leisure Club and the 1449 Restaurant, Bar & Grill.

 

It is a 5-minute drive from Basingstoke railway station and 40 minutes from Heathrow Airport.  It is located near the M3 motorway and offers easy access to central bars and restaurants, the high-street stores at Festival Place mall and Anvil concert hall with its diverse performing arts programme.  Twenty minutes’ drive away, Jane Austen’s House Museum is the 17th century house where the famous novelist spent her later years.

 

Maria obtained a degree in Business Management and Administration at the University of Spain and then moved to the UK four years ago looking for a new challenge and an experience abroad.

Maria explains:

“I wanted to improve my English Language Skills and develop my career in finance.

My first job in hospitality was as room attendant and public area cleaner and after one year had the chance to move to the accounts department and it was then when I joined the course.

 

With my previous experience in a hotel finance role, this new opportunity came up as a next step in my career, a more independent position dealing with both Accounts Payable and Receivable and working closely with Head Office in the preparation of accounting reports.

 

The HOSPA course refreshed some of the knowledge acquired at university, helped me with my daily tasks incorporating best practices to improve efficiency.  Also provides a better understanding of the hotel as a whole and how different areas operate.”

 

Maria’s hopes and aspirations for the future is to keep learning and growing within the industry and willing to achieve a senior/management position.

Winner:  Level One Financial Management, completed

August 2019

Martin Jessop, who is a Director within the Commercial Banking business of Coutts, specialising in Hotels,  was presented with an award at the HOSPA Annual Awards Ceremony in January.  Martin achieved the highest overall grade for Level One, Financial Management course which he completed in August 2019.

 

Martin provides a full Relationship Management service to hotel clients across the UK.  His main role is Lending to hotel owners for acquisition, property improvements, refinance and repositioning.  Also, assists in servicing their day to day banking and working with fellow industry specialists to help Hoteliers to reach their goals.

 

Martin’s client portfolio currently consists of 50 hotels ranging from budget to boutique, limited service to full service, independent to brands.  Aside from servicing existing clients, Martin networks extensively and undertakes business development activities to win new business for the Bank.

 

Coutts has a world-renowned reputation for a personal approach to private banking and wealth management.  For over three centuries, Coutts have perfected exceptional service.  With an unrivalled appreciation of the intricacies of wealth, Coutts understands both the subtlety and the complexity of the lives our clients lead.

 

The Bank has a rich and diverse history, dating back over 300 years.  From our foundations in 1692 to the present day, Coutts have always worked with exceptional people and maintained values of excellence.

 

Coutts is proud to have won a number of industry awards including Best Private Bank in the UK – Global Finance – World’s Best Private Bank Awards 2019.

Martin says:

“Prior to my HOSPA studies, the last time I studied was 31 years ago at the age of 23 when I achieved my ACIB Qualification (Associated Chartered Institute of Banking).

 

Around 20 years ago I was working in a Business Development role for a competitor bank with stretching lending targets.  I established strong relationships with Financial Intermediaries and Brokers, and many of the deals that were offered at the time related to the Hotel sector.  I built up a portfolio of hotel clients and attended industry events to learn about the sector and advanced from there.

I now have 36 years’ experience in Banking and have worked my way up the ladder for four Banks.  Immediately prior to joining Coutts five years ago, I headed up a Hotels team at a competitor Bank.  It was a challenging time through the recession and I wanted to end my career at a Bank that was looking to grow their lending book.  Coutts is a fantastic brand which has opened up lots of doors.  We have established a strong team and have built up a strong portfolio of hotel clients in the short time I have been there.  Our sweet spot is debt between £5m to £30m but we can go higher and continue to look for new opportunities in London and the Regions.

 

Coutts encourages and expects Continued Professional Development from all its employees.  It forms part of our annual performance targets and is geared to the individual in terms of approach and content.  Lending to the Hotel sector is a specialism and this year I wanted to take a course in Hotel Financial Management as I receive 50 sets of Management Information every month from my hotel clients which I read, interpret and assess.  What I thought would be useful is to understand how it was put together in the first place.  Understanding the background to hotel accounting including preparing a trial balance, a profit and loss account, a balance sheet and a cash flow forecast together with the intricacies of stock management, depreciation and debt write-offs has increased my knowledge.  By undertaking four assignments which were thought provoking and then sitting a three hour exam was a challenge given the long hours I work.  However, I am competitive and here was a challenge so I went for it.  My colleague Oliver Powell also undertook the course and we were battling all the way to the end.  I think I beat him by 0.2% overall.  He should have revised harder!!

 

Having successfully completed this module I will be taking a break from exams, and next year I intend to spend several days with a selection of my hotel clients and shadow an operations team, a finance team, a revenue management team and a sales team, for on the job experience.  It is unusual for a Bank Manager to spend time with clients in this way and show such an interest in their business.  The hotel sector is thriving, it is a people business, and by investing time and being visible creates more business opportunities.  I would love to remain within the sector when I eventually finish my Banking days, possibly as a consultant, adviser or a non-Executive Director.

Winner:  Level Two Financial Management, completed

August 2019

The 520 acre five star Fairmont St Andrews resort encapsulates luxury, elegance and truly breath taking surroundings in the ‘Home of Golf’.  A truly unique and special venue that makes your visit one to remember, with its lavish and stunning surroundings, peaceful setting and stunning cliff top views of St Andrews and the North Sea.

 

The resort prides itself with an array of fabulous facilities including two championship golf courses, The Kittocks and The Torrance, excellent dining experiences for every palette, ranging from our Italian eatery La Cucina to St Andrews Bar & Grill serving the freshest of steak and seafood.  All of our 211 luxury guestrooms are spacious and well-proportioned with thoughtful Scottish touches.  Our sumptuous Fairmont Spa offers a range of treatments.

 

When Jennifer graduated from her degree in 2013 (English & Mathematics Joint Honours, Dundee University) she was looking to become a chartered accountant.  Upon leaving university Jennifer decided to get some experience in an accounting department first of all to decide if this was the career path she wanted to take.

 

Jennifer joined Fairmont St. Andrews shortly after graduation and fell in love with the hospitality industry.  She had a lot of friends who were working in practice and her experience was so different to theirs’.  Working in hospitality is so varied even for those in the office, it is an ever-changing environment and really does feel like a big extended family.

Jennifer explains what led her to her current role and hopes for the future:

“When I first joined the team, I was hired in the role of Income Auditor, within six weeks I moved to the Account Payable role, these were invaluable in giving me a grounding in hospitality finance.  I then left the company to pursue a chartered accountancy opportunity with an investment bank.  I quickly realised how much I missed the ‘buzz’ of hospitality and knew that hospitality was the industry for me! I returned to the hotel in a Human Resources role to gain experience in another aspect of the business but it wasn’t long before the accounts department needed some cover, this time in the Account Receivable position.  This allowed me to get the full picture having worked in all of the junior positions within the office.

In 2016 it was decided the payroll position would be moved back into the Finance department and I was asked if I would like to take on this role alongside responsibility for the cash handling.  I have immensely enjoyed this role as this was my first introduction into management accounts and having a role which is responsible for a process from end to end; from input to management account and reconciliation.

 

The HOSPA financial management programme has helped me in my current role already.  Everything I have learnt about finance has been work based and although this has been a great way to learn HOSPA has given me the opportunity to gain a foundation knowledge which I can refer back to, this has given me more confidence in my own ability and confidence to query and ask questions.

 

The part of HOSPA which is so beneficial is that it is specific to hospitality and you can apply the knowledge you learn instantly to your working environment.  Through HOSPA and the information I have learnt I have progressed very quickly in my career both on a personal level but also in the responsibility and projects I have been given.  I recently ran a £35k capex project from the proposal phase along to implementation.

 

In the future HOSPA has given me a great foundation to move forward in my career.  Through my performance in HOSPA and the skills and knowledge I have learnt, my employer has offered me the opportunity to complete a chartered accountancy qualification upon completion of HOSPA.  This is the first time this has been offered to anybody in my company and is due in huge part to my HOSPA experience.

 

I hope to complete HOSPA with a Distinction in January 2019, directly after this I will embark on a chartered accountancy qualification.  In my career I hope this will enable me to become a Finance Manager within the hospitality sector and encourage others to achieve their potential.”

 

Jennifer also completed Level Three of the Financial Management course in February 2020.

Winner: Level Three Financial Management, completed

August 2019

Overlooking Edinburgh Castle, the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa is part of the Sheraton Grand tier, a collection of premium hotels and resorts that feature the highest level of design and service.  This is a unique urban resort, featuring the distinctly modern One Square and award winning One Spa, perfectly suited for City Spa Breaks.

 

During Simon’s 6th year at Hermitage Academy he undertook a ‘Welcome Host’ course at Cameron House.  After enjoying this Simon took a gap year working at the Beardmore Hotel in Dalmuir which led him to study hospitality at University.  Simon achieved a 2:1 in BA (Hons) Hotel and Hospitality Management from Robert Gordon University.

 

Simon was also awarded the ‘Hilton Treetops’ Prize for the highest grades in 4th year which led to a job within Hilton as an Income Auditor in Aberdeen post-graduation.

 

Simon explains what led him to his current role and how the course will help him now and in the future:

 

“After working as an Income Auditor at the Hilton Aberdeen Treetops for 1 year I decided to travel round New Zealand for 6 months before returning to Scotland and settling in Edinburgh.  I re-joined Hilton hotels within Revenue at the Caledonian, however, my interest in finance led me to return to this department as F&B Controller.

Following 6 years during which I was retained during the centralisation of Hilton finance within Scotland as a Cluster Finance Officer for Edinburgh I moved to the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa.

I joined the Sheraton as F&B Cost Controller in December 2014, being responsible for procurement and cost of sales, before starting to become more involved in the finance department taking on an additional role as cashier and cross training with other roles including AP and AR.

 

I then trained in the AFC role including the reconciliation of balance sheets and monthly P&L preparation before being promoted into this role in August 2018.

 

The 3rd stage of the course included several aspects that I have had little exposure to in my role.  As a result, I felt this really assisted in developing by base knowledge as well as being able to use this theory in the workplace.  It has led to me requesting additional exposure to forecasting and budgeting as well as being part of the substantial ROI calculations for some large CAPEX projects that are ongoing at the property.

 

Being able to support the theoretical text with case studies focusing on industry specific examples have really helped benefit me and allowed the application of the theory to be easier understood.

 

Long term I would like to think I have the potential to move into a DOF role however, I am fully aware that this is several years down the line.  I also have an interest in the auditor perspective following a recent hotel finance audit that I took the lead on and am also looking to gain experience of this within my organisation.”

 

Revenue Management Learner Profiles: 

Leanda Laughey
Revenue Manager
Coombe Abbey Hotel,
Coventry

Winner: Level One Revenue Management, February 2019 and Level Two Revenue Management, August 2019.  Overall 'Learner of the Year' for Revenue Management

Leanda is Revenue Manager at the Coombe Abbey Hotel near Coventry. Founded in 1150 AD as the Abbey of Cumbe, Coombe Abbey Hotel, settled in amongst acres of parkland in Warwickshire, enjoys a rich and fascinating history, with ties to royalty and the Gunpowder Plot. With 121 rooms and wedding, conference and banqueting facilities, the hotel provides an excellent location for relaxing weekend away or venue to celebrate the most special of occasions.

Leanda began her professional life in 2007 with a BA (Hons) Event Management from the University Institute of Wales, Cardiff.  Her first role was as Conference & Events Sales Executive at the Hilton Cardiff.

Leanda explains:

 

“I was Conference Manager at Coombe Abbey and then went on maternity leave, I was about to return when the position of Revenue Manager became available and I was asked if I would consider it.

I had been interested in the revenue career path so the timing was perfect.  I suggested that I do the HOSPA Revenue Management course so that I could learn the theory alongside doing the role. Whilst I had gained some understanding of the concepts throughout my career, it’s been hugely beneficial to learn the theory and really develop my skills.  It’s given me the confidence to challenge existing processes and develop my own, leading my hotel to become much more Total Revenue focussed.

 

I want to continue building my knowledge and experience in Revenue and use that to further develop my career in hotels.”

Leanda has recently completed Level 3 of the HOSPA course and received her results at the end of February 2020.

Kasia Serafin
Revenue Manager
The Hut Group

Winner: Level Two Revenue Management, completed

February 2019

Kasia Serafin, is the Revenue Manager for King Street Townhouse and Great John Street Hotel in Manchester, part of The Hut Group.  At the time of her studies, Kasia was employed as a Revenue Manager at CitySuites Manchester.

 

CitySuites is Manchester’s only aparthotel with an 18m indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, state of the art gym, 24 hour reception and concierge.

 

You have the choice of Family, Studio, One Bedroom, Interconnecting and Two Bedroom apartments in Manchester city centre. Our serviced apartments in Manchester are within easy reach of many famous landmarks as well as having Deansgate, Manchester Arndale, Piccadilly and Spinningfields on our doorstep.

Kasia first joined the hospitality industry through her school work experience and later completed Rooms Graduate Scheme at Soho House, London.  She wanted to specialise in Revenue Management and relocate to Manchester.

 

Kasia explains how the course will help her now and in the future:

 

“Fantastic theoretical foundation with great examples applicable in real life, great knowledge from industry experts. Course is recognisable throughout the industry so great to have on CV!

 

In the future I would like to work as an Area Revenue Manager looking after multiple properties within the 5 star luxury market.”

Commercial Analyst
Amaris Hospitality Limited

Winner:  Level Three Revenue Management, completed February 2019

Andrew Bunting, who is currently a Commercial Analyst at Amaris Hospitality was presented with his award at the HOSPA Annual Awards Ceremony in January.  Andrew achieved the highest overall grade for Level Three, Revenue Management course which he completed in February 2019.

 

Amaris Hospitality is a leading hotel investment and management company, currently managing a portfolio of 30 hotels in the UK and Ireland trading under prestigious, international brands such as Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, DoubleTree by Hilton, Mercure and Ibis Styles.

Amaris Hospitality was established in 2015 and has a proven track record in delivering operational excellence, exceptional customer experiences and superior performance through people development, active management and smart investment.

Between 2015 and 2018 Amaris Hospitality completed a significant £125 million investment programme and a series of other successful strategic initiatives, including the rebranding of 21 hotels, aimed at significantly enhancing the quality and performance of our portfolio.

 

Andrew first joined the hospitality industry as Banqueting Staff at Brig O’ Doon House Hotel (Ayrshire) when he was 15 and explains what led him to his current role.

“After graduating from University (BSc Chemistry), I wanted to be part of a team working with the public rather than working solo in a lab. I took a reception job with Park Inn by Radisson in Glasgow and worked my way through Thistle, Principal Hayley and Hilton Hotels working in varied roles (Assistant Front Office Manager, Duty Manager, Guest Relations, Sales) before landing in revenue and moving into my current role.

 

Studying for my HOSPA Revenue Management level 3 has provided me with an opportunity to refine my knowledge of total revenue management and apply the techniques and learning to real life examples. The course has provided me with a framework upon which I can build my career in revenue, with a firm knowledge of the processes, terminology and expectations of the industry.

My hope is that I use my qualification and learning to further my career, and to make use of the opportunity that I’ve been given. I would encourage anyone who has aspiration of a long-term career in hospitality (even if not in revenue management) to consider a HOSPA qualification due to the deep level of understanding achievable and the support and community involved.”

Revenue Manager
Sanderson and St Martins Lane Hotels

Winner: Level One Revenue Management, completed

August 2019

Located in the bustling theatre district in London’s Covent Garden, St Martins Lane London, is a dramatic and daring evolution on English luxury, at the very heart of the energetic West End.
 

Guests can begin their day with a delicious coffee from EllaMia, before heading to The Den to sit back, relax and unwind in after a day spent battling the busy streets of London for a spot of afternoon tea.

 

Award-winning chef, food writer and broadcaster Gizzi Erskine has been welcomed to the St Martins Lane family as The Nitery by Gizzi Erskine opens for a three-month residency, encompassing sumptuous French, American and English biodynamic food, wine and cocktails.

 

Guests can complete their experience by heading through to Blind Spot, set behind the façade of a boutique tea counter and a secret golden hand-shaped handle to sip on bespoke and signature cocktails bursting with flavours influenced by the British Empire and its ancient tea trade.

Anastasiya tells us:

“After completing my A levels, I decided to study Hospitality Management with my primary interest being Hotel Management.  Having worked as a Reservations Supervisor after graduation I have developed a strong interest in revenue management as this is where you are able to set objectives for the business and develop strategies in order to achieve them.

 

The course has given me theoretical insight into revenue management, now I am able to approach daily challenges from more of an academic perspective.  I am looking forward to continuing building my career within the 5 star market reaching my aspiration of becoming a Cluster Revenue Director.”

Group HR and Revenue Manager
Best Western Ship Hotel

Winner: Level Three Revenue Management, completed

August 2019

The Best Western Ship Hotel (Desborough Hotel Group) is located in the heart of Weybridge and is ideally situated for visits to Hampton Court, Windsor, Kew Gardens, RHS Wisley, Twickenham Rugby Ground, Thorpe Park, Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures, Brooklands, Mercedes-Benz World and Wimbledon Tennis Grounds. There are also numerous race courses and golf clubs within a short distance to make the hotel a superb place for a leisure break.

 

The Best Western Ship Hotel successfully combines the individual elegance and space of a modern contemporary hotel while maintaining many of its original features that date back to the 17th century.

 

Prior to studying with HOSPA, Sarah completed a Post Graduate Diploma resulting in Chartered MCIPD (Chartered Institute of Professional Development).  Sarah first joined the hospitality industry working part-time as a HR Officer following her maternity leave with her second child.

Sarah goes on to explain:

 

“I have worked in the same business for almost 17 years developing my knowledge and skills across the whole business.  I was working as HR Manager and was asked if I wanted to take over responsibility for the revenue team.  It was quite a different role from my current but I enjoy a challenge and learning new things so accepted the opportunity offered.  That was 5 years ago and since then have got involved in meeting and events as well as reservations and revenue.

 

Although I had a common sense approach to revenue the course has given me a greater understanding of revenue principles including a broader and longer-term approach to reservations.

 

I hope to continue developing my knowledge of revenue management and improve the practices in my current role.”

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E-Mail: hospa@hospa.org

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