Meet Tom, Our Revenue & Business Manager
Meet Tom, our revenue & business manager here at The Cottage in the Wood. Tom was named Revenue Manager of the Year at the Boutique Hotelier Personal Service Stars Awards in London on Tuesday 16 October, which we’re absolutely delighted about!
Tom is the go-to person here for anything to do with tech and numbers. His maths degree helps, but he clearly has a talent for hospitality, too, producing successful outcomes from room rate setting, maintaining and upgrading tech systems, marketing support, and doing the accounts and payroll.
Modest by nature and very down to earth, we had a chat with Tom about his unexpected career in hospitality so far.
1) What led you to starting work at The Cottage in the Wood?
I started working at the Cottage in the Wood at 18 after seeing an ad in the local paper. To be honest it was mostly to get out of the house on weekends because my parents were annoying me. After uni I moved away from Malvern for a couple of years. I ran the restaurant in the Wales Millennium Centre for 6 months and then went to Basingstoke to work for a management consultancy. When it turned out I didn’t want to be a management consultant, or live in Basingstoke, I moved back home and within two weeks The Cottage in the Wood called me and offered me my old job back. I’ve been here ever since.
2) You started as a receptionist – did you know then that you would become business manager of the hotel? I actually started as a waiter but as I learnt more about the business and how things worked I gradually moved into reception with Siân, who is still our reception manager. She’s ace! I never thought I’d end up as business manager though. Back then I just saw it as a fun and flexible way to earn money and make friends.
3) Did you ever imagine working in the hospitality industry? No. With my maths degree I always thought I’d end up working in accountancy, computer programming or engineering. I’m glad I didn’t though. It’s nice to work in an industry where all your customers say thank you as they leave.
4) Which skills are most important for your current job? Being comfortable with numbers. None of the maths I’m doing now is degree level, but having done that means that I’m not putting energy into working out formulas so I can spend my time looking at the bigger picture, focussing on ways we can grow revenue, save time or reduce costs. It’s really not glamourous, but having good excel skills is also really handy. It’s not uncommon for me to be in a meeting half listening and half calculating what effects our decisions will have on the business. Being able to simultaneously knock up a spreadsheet and hold a conversation saves us all a lot of time.
5) What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being part of a growing business with plenty of opportunities to celebrate success is really lovely. Whilst some elements of my job are very structured, I’m allowed a lot of freedom to be creative and find ways to improve on what we’re doing here which I really enjoy. Working with owners who are keen to invest time and money into both the hotel and our team makes it feel like we’re all working towards the same goal, and means coming to work on a Monday morning isn’t awful.
6) What would you say to a graduate with a maths degree just starting out after university? Erm… I still don’t feel like a proper grown up myself so I’m not sure I should be dolling out advice to fresh faced graduates. If I was talking to 21 year old me though I’d say that it’s ok to have no idea what you want to do right away. Just get good at something you enjoy and eventually opportunities will open up for you.
7) What are your three top tips for running a successful business? Look after your customers and your numbers, and have fun. In that order. If you can get the first two right there’s more time for the fun bit.