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Kirsty Williams - My journey through the hospitality industry and these challenging times

Tell us a bit about yourself…

My name is Kirsty Williams and I am a 35-year-old Hospitality professional specialising in Sales and Revenue management for the 5-star London hotel, Royal Lancaster London.

My apprenticeship programme has helped me gain promotions within a recognised organisation as I establish my career in hospitality.

What role do you play in your organisation and what skills have you gained from your apprenticeship?

During my level three apprenticeship, from the application of my newly developed skills and opportunities provided, I was promoted to Business Development Manager for our serviced apartment product, Basil Street Apartments. Within this role, whilst promoting a business proposition to a wider market, I am mainly responsible for the sales and revenue of an outlet contributing to the hotel’s profitability. Having completed my level three apprenticeship I was ready for the next level; focused on developing my career in revenue management. This inspired and motivated me to take on the level four apprenticeship bespoke in hospitality revenue. Stepping up to the next level my leadership skills improved through coaching others and I was able to support the training of others based on my experiences.

Furthermore, my apprenticeship has allowed me to build a strong network of contacts including both colleagues and clients, some of which are now good friends. Most importantly, it has put me on the right track by giving me focus, confidence and belief to achieve my long-term career and personal goals. As my knowledge of the hospitality industry has strengthened through my apprenticeship so has the role I play within my organisation.

What are your main accomplishments?

In the duration of my Level 3 Hospitality Supervisor apprenticeship I consider my promotion from Reservations Supervisor to Business Development Manager as one of my greatest accomplishments. In achieving this milestone I gained great results for our AA calls (industry standards audits) with an average of 98% across all the sales calls taken and have peaked to 100% in September 2019. In addition, I regularly contribute key information for meetings with our key stakeholders and executives. These include revenue forecasting, sales strategy and monthly or quarterly business reviews. Fueling my interest on budgeting and sales targets, within my apprenticeship and role it has helped me develop the necessary skills that contribute to the overall financial achievements of the hotel.

Are there any activities that you took part in during the pandemic that you are particularly proud of?

During the national lockdown our hotel was forced to close in mid-March. I then volunteered to be part of the live-in team that took on the responsibilities of safe guarding our hotel, its facilities and general infrastructures. The team were a mix of different departments taking on various responsibilities, day and night, during which we all bonded and became good friends. I was responsible for reacting to all hotel sales enquiries whilst managing our reservations system and ensuring a sales presence within our organisation. This enabled me the time to complete my apprenticeship studies either through my coach online or with my live-in colleagues. One project included setting up our pop bar offering a drinks takeaway service when we came out of lock down. Not only did this help sell on dormant stock and achieve some revenue but it gave me a valuable experience in understanding commercials and front line sales which was valuable evidence for my apprenticeship.

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