What’s your career background in hospitality?
My passion has always been hotels. One of my earliest memories is travelling around the country with my family and staying in small regional Flag hotels (rebranded now into Choice Hotels). I loved looking through the hotel directory my parents kept at home and seeing all the different hotel locations with varied facilities. I was infatuated and knew that one day I would be owning and operating my own hotel business. Fast forward to university where I studied a Bachelor of Business, Tourism Management at LaTrobe University and majored in subjects like hotel marketing, accounting and legal studies. I secured my first part time hotel job at the ParkRoyal St Kilda Road while studying. I was employed as a Car Park Valet Attendant where I really enjoyed the interaction with guests as they were coming and going. I progressed through a number of roles at that property over a 10 year period: Sales and Marketing Coordinator, Business Development Manager, Regional Sales Manager then finally Director of Sales and Marketing where I was responsible for a team of 5. I continued my career in a Conference and Events Sales Manager role at Hilton Melbourne Airport (I was looking for 5 star experience), later joining Ascott as a Senior Sales Manager. During my time at Ascott, the partnership with Quest was in its early stages and that’s when I was introduced to the Franchise model at Quest and then it was clear that I needed to move my way into that space. I requested a transfer over to the Quest Corporate Office with my intention to learn more about the business and support structure. I secured a role as an Area Sales Manager with Quest which was fantastic as it provided me with 1 on 1 support to the franchisees so I could easily see what harnessed business and owner success. I then transitioned into a Sales Operations role for new properties which again was instrumental in my own development as I had full access to pre-opening systems and processes required to successfully open a new Quest property. After almost 3 years at Quest Corporate Office, I was then successful in getting into a franchised greenfield Quest business and here I am today.
Why did you think Quest was a good business ownership opportunity?
This was the most financially viable option for getting into my own hotel business. The Business Format Franchise Model ensures that a large amount of capital outlay is not required by the owner. I was also very familiar with the brand and its stronghold in the local domestic accommodation market. Over the later course of my hotel management positions, I noticed the shift of business clients out of hotels and into locations and apartment style products that were more suited to their long stay requirements. This further reinforced my need to join a brand that serviced this market exclusively.
How does being a business owner compare to being an employee in the hotel management industry?
It provides you with the freedom and ability to write your own destiny. The more you put in as a business owner, the better the result at the end of the day. I thoroughly enjoyed my roles in hotel management in the past however the thrill and excitement I get as an owner is unmatched. Having skin the game does give you the awareness of where your time is best spent to get the best result. There really are no limits when you are in business ownership.
What are some of the best aspects of being a Quest business owner?
I really enjoy the mentoring I provide the team daily. Bringing out the best in people and seeing them develop both professionally and personally is very satisfying to see as an owner. It also helps when you have a very dynamic team as you are only as good as the people around you. Surrounding yourself with good people is the key. There is also plenty of room to grow within the Quest network once you are in. I’ll keep growing with Quest with the hope that one day I’ll pass the baton onto my kids so they can run their own Quest property one day.
Advice to other hospitality/hotel management professionals who are considering owning their own business?
If you have the desire and want to get into your own hotel business, then it makes sense to look into Quest …but please do your own research and due diligence of course! The financial and personal rewards are possible and will far outweigh any leading management role that you can find in the tourism and hospitality industry today.