What's your career background in hospitality?
I was born into a hospitality family that owned and operated a hotel / motel in Ballarat. My first home was above the reception at the motel and for as long as I can remember I was around guests and hospitality staff. During school holidays my brother and I would strip beds and take rubbish out of the room to help the housekeeping teams, or we would be in the kitchen washing pots and pans for the chefs.
Throughout my early adult life and to support myself through uni, I worked a number of front line hospitality jobs in food and beverage, housekeeping and rooms, before landing my first management role out of uni (Bachelor of Business, major in Tourism & Hospitality at La Trobe University) with Rydges Hotels in Cairns where I was employed as the Sales Manager for the three Rydges Hotels in Cairns at the time.
I continued to pursue the Sales & Marketing path in hotels, next landing the role of Senior Business Development Manager for Mantra Lorne. I continued my career within Mantra Group being appointed as a Senior Area Sales Manager based in Melbourne.
After four and a half years with Mantra Group, I joined Quest Apartment Hotels as an Area Sales Manager. The major drawcard to pursuing a role with Quest, was the Business Format Franchise Model and the opportunity to eventually become a business owner.
Why did you think Quest was a good business ownership opportunity?
Before joining Quest, my wife Tricia and I looked at a number of motels and bed and breakfast leaseholds and freeholds. None of them stacked up commercially for us, some due to our financial position at the time, and some due to a lack of brand presence and risk around achieving a top line revenue number that would sustain our financial commitments and grow the business.
Quest has a reputation and a brand presence in the corporate and leisure markets that provides the significant revenue opportunities that produce profitable and sustainable businesses. I also believe that Quest Apartment Hotels has a significant point of difference and core customer. Our apartment product and the locations we operate in, are exactly what and where our corporate long-stay customers are looking for in an extended stay experience.
How does being a business owner compare to being an employee in the hotel management industry?
I really enjoyed my time in hotel management companies and much of my professional and personal development occurred in these environments. I still have mentors from senior leaders in the hotel industry that I lean on today. However, the liberation and autonomy of being a business owner is something that I will never be able to compromise on for the rest of my working life. In addition to the financial benefits of owning a successful business, I would say that there is true reward for effort as a business owner compared to being an employee in a hotel management company.
What are some of the best aspects of being a Quest business owner?
There is true reward for effort as a Quest business owner, not just financially but also through the investment you make in your people and to the community that you operate in.
Advice to other hospitality/hotel management professionals who are considering owning their own business?
If you have held department head positions within the hotel management industry for a number of years and you are passionate about the industry, then I think you’re well placed to consider ownership of a Quest business. There are a number of entry points into Quest ownership that hotel professionals might not be aware of like being part of a business partnership, so I highly recommend heading along to a Franchise Insight Event to find out a bit more about becoming a Quest business owner. While the past 24 months have been challenging, I have never regretted being in charge of my own destiny.