By Silvia Kirkland
My blog - my new adventure - all starts here! It's born from a movie-like, extremely difficult, worldwide meltdown. When Covid-19 hit, I found myself with no work, no income, no comfort, nothing to do, no idea of what was coming next...like so many others.
It was a first for me. I had never been laid off before and I am someone who typically has it all figured out. This time I found myself not knowing what to expect, except for one thing... I had plenty of time on my hands and desperately needed some productive way to invest it. And as I thought more and more about it, I realized creating a blog could be a great investment not only of my time but of my knowledge, expertise, and energy. It was also a way for me to give back to the hospitality world and contribute as much as I could during difficult times. Finally, it was an exciting way to help and connect with all the people in my same shoes. In 2020, this was many!
I have worked in the hospitality industry for about 17 years. I tried sales & marketing, food & beverage, guest relations, and then found my real devotion: Rooms Division. If you work in the industry, you know very well that hotel life is not for everybody. As fun and enjoyable as it seems from the first glance of a guest, this business can be pretty tough. It requires extreme flexibility, incredibly long days, full availability, a second-to-none ability to multitask, the capability to diplomatically please all guests all the time, and to work under great pressure. And don't expect to get rich; it doesn't pay good money.
So why do we do it? Because we love it. PASSION, there is simply no other way to explain it. I have seen several colleagues burning their last bit of energy in the industry. They get weary of working like crazy for low salaries. They all ask me, "How are you still in it??". I am still in it because hotel life gives me energy... the guests, the employees, the complex yet exciting operations, the action, the fast pace, the madness... that's what keeps me going, I'm a hotel animal!
My experience includes 12 luxury properties, two of which I proudly opened, in five countries (Greece, Italy, UK, The Netherlands, and the U.S.) and 9 cities (Rhodes, Milan, Portofino, London, New York, Austin, Amsterdam, Washington DC, Vail). Most of my career has been in the Rooms Division, which is where I consider myself somewhat of an expert. Don't get me wrong. I don't think of myself as more of an expert than others and I have no intent of telling you what is right and what is wrong. My only aim is to provide my humble opinion and to share things the way I've experienced them.
I strongly believe knowledge is power and sharing knowledge is what I like to do. When we know something and we pass it on, we increase the opportunity for success in our network. I am not the greatest teacher in the world, but I am happy to tell you everything I know about the rooms division and the hotel business. And I hope you will share your knowledge back with me, tell me your opinion and let the network know what your experience has taught you.
My blog is intended to give and share opinions on operational and behavioral topics with my fellow hospitality experts, to bring support and advice to beginners, to provide mentorship to middle management looking to shape their leadership skills, to create a powerful network where we can help and support each other, within our crazy but fantastic world called hospitality.