How Did I Get Here? Paul Kay, Moat House Hotels

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Paul Kay
Customer Sales Training Manager at Moat House Hotels, Paul Kay, spills the beans on his career to date.

All the previous career profiles can also be seen in the special How Did I Get Here? page.

Current Job title:
Customer Sales Training Manager

How did you come to work in training?
I was actually working as a reception manager in a Marriott hotel and decided I wanted to try my hand at something different by specialising in actually training the use of front office systems instead. An opportunity arose so I went to work for a training company called Cyntergy who specialised in both retail and front office system training. I was seconded onto a new project role with Forte seven years later and now find myself as both a revenue and training specialist.

Describe your role
Essentially, with my new role with Moat House Hotels I assume the training and development of the Customer Sales Centre team members within each of the 33 hotels in the company’s portfolio. In addition, we also aim to support the individual hotels in making strategic decisions on revenue maximisation to maintain our leading market position in what is a very competitive industry.

What activities do you spend most of your time on? We are currently evaluating the performance of our customer sales centres based on our company policy and procedures to ensure that the systems are working and that team members are benefiting to help them do their jobs properly and effectively, ultimately making the booking experience more efficient for our guests. To further enhance the teams, we are also implementing a series of training courses at our offices. From a strategic perspective, we try to retain our edge by constantly reviewing the market place and how our current pricing policy is working with each hotel.

Is training in your organisation mainly organised according to a strategic plan, or mainly arranged when a need has become evident?
Training is always adapted to suit the needs of both the individual and the business. As a company, we pride ourselves on the training procedures and policies in place and this is always at the fore ensuring team member retention and individual success to further develop their skill set and overall career.

Is any of your training accredited by external bodies?
Currently the training we deliver is in-house only, so no.

Do you feel that training has a high enough profile in your organisation?
Yes I do. We have both the revenue development team which I am part of and three training mangers reporting to the HR function. Moat House has never stopped investing in the training and development of its people, who are pivotal to its success.

How do you demonstrate the value of your department to your organisation?
Essentially, this is done through the evaluation of Customer Sales Centre’s in our hotels. The movement of these scores reflects the development and the success of the training we have put into the business to help individual hotels. We also monitor the number of delegates trained through the course of the year to see how they are actually utilising the skills we have trained during our monthly hotel support visits.

What influences do you think have had the greatest impact on the training sector in recent years?
The need to have specialist trainers for specific functions within the business as we do at Moat House Hotels, i.e. revenue specialists delivering reservation and front office training. In addition, the utilisation of IT throughout the business within each department as well to help the use of e-learning. Cost has had a significant impact with many companies outsourcing the training function, realising that this isn’t working then putting back into the business, which in the long run is more cost effective.

Do you think that training professionals should have a greater say in planning national training policy?
Yes. Being the ones at the heart of the training departments means that we have a much better idea of what is required and what people want. We often deliver what is expected but not what is required by either the individual or the business and it is fundamental that there is synergy between the two.

How do you see your work changing or developing in the next few years?
Undoubtedly systems will have evolved, such as central pricing. Centralised reservation processing will become the norm. Focus will be on new ways of developing revenue streams and we will support a reduced specialised group of individuals.

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