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Hotel Management – The importance of first steps

Posted on 10/07/2012 by

Brent Westein started his career working in hotels in 2001 as a food and beverage attendant. He is now the HR manager for the Novotel & Ibis in Ellerslie in Auckland. We are lucky to have Brent as one of ITC’s industry advisory members. Here Brent tells us about his journey so far, and the importance of getting your foot in the door.

My first role in a hotel was in 2001 as a food and beverage attendant during the busy breakfast shift in Gantry’s restaurant at the Centra in Auckland (now the Crowne Plaza). Eventually I moved onto night shifts and this gave me the opportunity to work at the bar as well.

I then got my first role in the rooms division as a porter. This was an excellent job – we were the face of the hotel, as we were some of the first staff guests met on arrival and we carried their bags to their room.

After about 6 months in the rooms division I moved to the telephonist office. This gave me the chance to learn a whole new range of skills, including how to use the hotel computer system and the workings of the front desk. I actually moved to a role at the front desk next and was there for another two years, by which time I had been made front office supervisor.
The Centra was now the Crown Plaza Auckland, and I was lucky enough to gain the role as the human resources co-ordinator. I remained in that role for two and a half years, after which I was promoted to a 12-month maternity leave position of human resources manager of Centra Auckland Airport. This was an awesome opportunity to take on my first head of division role.

At the end of that contract I transferred to Wellington to work as an assistant manager at the Intercontinental Wellington. After being blown around in the capital for 14 months, I took up a role as the human resources manager at CityLife Auckland Hotel. CityLife is a great, vibrant hotel in the heart of Auckland’s CBD.

Early in 2012 I moved on to become the human resources manager at Novotel & Ibis Ellerslie in Auckland with Accor.
Having so much early experience in line level roles gave me a great understanding of what hotels are all about – it allowed me to experience different aspects of how hotels work behind the scenes and how all the divisions work together to support the overall running of a hotel. This was vital experience before I took my first steps into a supervisor’s role.


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