How to be successful in the hospitality industry

03/05/2016 12:24:56

Charlotte Horler, Operations Manager at Billesley Manor Hotel, The Hotel Collection Ltd and winner of the 2016 Acorn Scholarship talks us through her experience in the hospitality industry...

How has life changed since winning the 2016 Acorn Scholarship?

I am extremely privileged to have been selected as 2016’s Acorn Scholar, it was and still is a real honour. It comes with the most amazing opportunities including my recent trip to Luxembourg to visit Villeroy and Boch HQ as well as my upcoming stage at Cowarth Park. I have been introduced and am lucky to be mentored by some of hospitalities greatest leaders and am involved much more heavily with Caterer & the Springboard Charity.

What are your top tips on being successful in the hospitality industry?

Be passionate and enjoy hard work! It is the most rewarding industry out there in my opinion, but you have to have hospitality in your heart to be a success. There are few industries where your colleagues become your family and watching their progression and development and being a part of making them the future leaders is a feeling that will never get old! My best advice to anyone up and coming in hospitality is just to always ‘be the best you can be’.

What do you think millennials are looking for when visiting a hotel or restaurant? And how does this differ from Generation X or Baby Boomer Guests?

We prefer a casual dining experience nowadays. Gone are the days of small ‘arty’ portions, we enjoy a hearty meal using local products at an affordable price. There needs to be more choice on the market now as well as dining out is enjoyed much more regularly. 

How is technology changing the visitor experience?

I am lucky to be Operations Manager in a country manor house and therefore we don’t have a ‘technology-minded’ audience. I can see in the more modern properties that you can stay in a hotel without speaking to a member of staff. If you’re a businessman residing away from home then you probably welcome this, however I will always make a beeline for the reception desk, regardless of the technological options, as I want to speak to someone and receive my warm welcome they are proud to deliver.

How is technology important to your role?

Systems are important – they always will be. There are certain functional aspects in any business that rely on technology

Do you think technology can replace people working in the hospitality industry?

Never!! There are some things technology can’t do and that is indeed to be hospitable. A friendly smile, a warm welcome, a personal approach – all key to hospitality and cannot be delivered in the same way by any amount of technology!

What motivates you?

Motivating other people. I love watching success and being a part of it. I am motivated by a successful guest stay, great feedback, achievements being made by my team members and the pride that they feel when doing a great job.

When you were a child, what was your dream job?

An Actress! I love musical theatre and always saw myself on the west end stage! I guess you could say I am on my own stage now…

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

By the age of 30 – 4 years’ time – I will be a General Manager and hopefully enter in to a city centre environment to build on my experience further. I would like to achieve an Acorn Award and to also launch an apprenticeship programme in my first GM role.


Charlotte Horler
Operations Manager 
Billesley Manor Hotel, The Hotel Collection Ltd