ON THE FRONT LINE
MEGAN ELSEY works as a receptionist at Cork’s four star River Lee Hotel.She tells us about life at the front desk.
Name: Megan Elsey
Works: The River Lee Hotel, Cork
Why did you choose a career in tourism?
As soon as I started my first job working in a bar I knew I wanted to do something which involved being face-to-face with the public. I considered doing a Bar Management course at college, but after a little research I soon worked out that I would have a broader and more pliable skillset by doing Hotel Management. As soon as I started my first year placement at The River Lee Hotel I knew I had made the right choice. Since then I have held various roles and enjoyed the different challenges that they bring.
What advice would you give future hoteliers?
Find a good company, like The Doyle Collection which owns The River Lee, that has a culture of providing training to everyone from the bottom all the way to the top. It is hard work and everyone has bad days, but the rewards are fantastic so be prepared for a challenge. People notice what you do even when nothing is said directly to you, so always give what you can.
What do you do each day?
No two days are the same, just as no two guests are the same. At the front desk, I am viewed by guests as the voice of the hotel. We are their first interaction and their last impression, as well as providing help with any questions or queries about the hotel or local area during their stay. I also have many duties that the guest does not see, such as cash handling and sorting out reservations.
What does your role entail?
There are many different elements to my current role. First and foremost is providing guest satisfaction. We must go above and beyond forour guests. Secondly, I am a training buddy to new members of the team. This gives people a ‘go to’ person if they have any questions which can be less intimidating than going to management. My last role is to help out the rest of the team whenever needed.
What kind of person do you feelwould suit your job?
The most important attribute a person should haveis an eagerness to learn and progress. If you don’t then you can become stagnant and stuck in a rut. Being confident and outgoing is important, but it can alsobe developed within the right company.
What are your plans for the future?
I 100% want to stay in the hotel business. I would like to increase my knowledge and skills within the sales and marketing sector. This could be either a short-term placement, one day a week in the office here, or an industry-recognised course. Within the next few years I aim to become a duty manager at the hotel. The long-term goal is to either become a general manager or to work in the sales and marketing department at group head office.
CAREER PATH: Front Office
As a receptionist or front office manager you can work in hotels and guesthouses across Ireland and around the world. The front desk is also a great step on the ladder to senior management.
Job: Rooms Division Manager
Estimated salary: from €35,000
Job: Front Office Manager
Estimated salary: from €30,000
Job: Senior Receptionist
Estimated salary: from €23,000
Estimated salary: from €19,000
Courses in hotel front office management and hospitality management can help you get started at the front desk. Visit the The Next Level section to see a list of Higher Education and Further Education providers offering tourism and hospitality programmes. and Further Education providers offering tourism and hospitality programmes.
This article first appeared in the 2015 issue of Get a Life in Tourism.