Tell us a little about your background in hospitality?
I spent around five years in hospitality in ops roles, mainly within stadiums and the premium events sector. I always knew I wanted to work in the hospitality sector so after completing my university degree in Events Management I took on an Event and Hospitality Coordinator role at Epsom Racecourse, before being promoted to Deputy General Manager. My responsibility there was to look after and run all of the hospitality and retail events that were happening across the venue. Later I got the opportunity to move into London to work at Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal football club. I managed their premium hospitality boxes which is one of their highest revenue generating areas of the business. That led me on to do lots of training with my own team and on a match day I looked after around 300 staff and 20 managers. Training was a big part of that as well as recruitment and selection. Then after spending some travelling the opportunity at Flow came about.
Digital learning for hospitality
Corporate learning is fairly similar in terms of its main concerns, but in hospitality, you have a lot more time pressure and multiple priorities. Especially in a business such as Costa, where trying to find time for learning, and to make it valuable for people is super difficult. One of the biggest things in hospitality I've had to learn is how you utilise the time that you're given effectively and efficiently. I always want to make sure that we're giving learners more bang for their buck.
What attracted you to work for Flow and leave the ops role behind?
Well the bit I really liked about my job at Emirates was training staff and developing them. You do get quite a few gems that come through and you get the opportunity to develop talent and you know you can put them into management positions and nurture that passion for great hospitality.
Flow was therefore the perfect next step. I always wanted to stay within hospitality and the fact that I could take elements from my old role and apply that to something like Flow was great. I found it very easy to apply my challenges and my experiences that I had in hospitality and help people with the solution that we were offering, with a platform like Flow.
From your experience within hospitality what would you say were the top benefits of using online learning or learning management solution?
There are so many benefits that I can see now as in my time working in ops roles we never had an LMS to work with. I think probably the biggest thing is consistency of training. I used to run my own training sessions or I’d have managers doing it, and I had no visibility over the standard of the sessions. Some manages were better or more thorough than others and relying solely on face to face training made me very nervous. With so many and I would have liked to have personally seen those people who have trained them myself I didn't have the opportunity to do that. Another thing would be the time saved, particularly when you have people off sick or on different shifts. A lot of management time was spent training staff in subjects that could have been done online, allowing managers to focus on other elements of the business or more valued adding training.
What client challenges do you get most excited about?
I love working with clients who are really interested in their staff development and looking for ways to engage staff in a career in hospitality. I particularly find it interesting when working with events or contract catering clients, as all the challenges I faced five years ago are still prevalent today. As our platform is developing I feel like we’re solving more and more of these problems which is extremely satisfying for me. I love the problem-solving aspect of the job and being able to apply my own experience to their unique needs.