Gemma Balaam

exceeding customers' expectations every day

General Manager at the Buckland Tout-Saints Hotel
I’m in early to open up, check the hotel is clean and ready and staff are on duty. I greet guests at breakfast then get a few hours office work done before 10.30 ’prayers’, our daily meeting. Then I am working lunch, often on the wines side, before checking rooms with the Head Housekeeper. I return to the office, check revenue and staffing levels then I’ll see the guests again before handing over to the next shift.
I started as a kitchen porter in a pub and fell in love with this vibrant industry. I did my HND at South Devon College, which gave me vital practical experience, and I joined the Grosvenor Hotel as a receptionist. I quickly worked my way up to Front of House Manager then General Manager – staying there for 8 years. I left to join the Thurlestone Hotel as Assistant Manager to learn the next level of hospitality at a 4 Star hotel with impeccable standards. A great grounding for my present position as General Manager at the Buckland Tout-Saints.
I love the variety of the areas I work in and the people I work with. I’m dealing with new challenges every day and strive to exceed customers’ expectations. It can be demanding at times, both physically and mentally, but it’s a great feeling to overcome the challenges. I hope to be here in the foreseeable future – it’s rewarding, challenging and really interesting.

My advice is to get experience working in as many areas /departments as possible and to tie this in with training. Perhaps look for a Mentor to help and advise you about your career progression.

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