Lauren Holliday, The Big Move

It's no lie that the long hours, emotional labour and the hard work remain some of the core qualities in the hospitality industry. However this is specifically relating mostly to the operations and guest facing side of the industry. Some hospitality leaders start out in operations only to find that their heart belongs still with people but more behind the scenes in an office, running the show from elsewhere. Sometimes this can be a difficult decision, because the love and passion we have for our industry is intense. However Lauren proves that changing your role and moving out of operations is not always as scary as it sounds. Sometimes, we need to step away from the guests and focus on ourselves to find our way back.

I had the chance to speak to Lauren who has achieved greatness in the hotel world so far. She has just taken on a role outside of hotels but still relating to people hence - the big move. She will be expanding her horizons in the world of her love for people, the world of HR. The move between the guest facing operational side of hospitality to behind the scenes is something close to me as I made the move not so long ago myself. A strong leader, her heart remains attached to the Hotel Industry but it was time to take a jounery forward from guests.

So lets find out more about her work and about her journey!

Hey Lauren! We Would love a background on what you do and your role.

Hey! I am originally from Perth, and I had no idea what I wanted to do! I was looking into journalism and dance as a career move but still didn't know. My mother suggested the hospitality route when I was in year 12 and we went and visited a few of the hotel schools and universities that offered a degree with hotel management. I fell in love with BMIHMS’s Leura campus and decided this is what I wanted to do. I still had no idea what the industry was, but was excited just to leave Perth and start new. While at BMIHMS, I interned at Como the Treasury in Perth and The Four Seasons Park Lane in London. From there I fell in love with hotels, and continued my journey through the front office operations of hotels.

Starting at the Sofitel in Darling Harbour, all the way through IHGs Future Leaders program to then the Guest Services Manager at the RitzCarlton Perth (pre opening). I was with the Ritz for just over a year and loved it. However, as most would agree, Corona changed our lives pretty quickly. I was headhunted by Michael Page Recruitment Agency and decided to try my luck in a secure office job. I always had a passion for HR and got involved in it as much as I could within the hotels I had worked in. I absolutely love it. The culture is very similar to those in hotels just that we don't work the crazy hours! I speak to lots of new faces everyday and ultimately help them get their dream role. It is incredibly rewarding and I look forward to seeing what recruitment has in store for me.

That is incredibly exciting about your big jump from operations to HR! you are embarking on a new path. How do you feel your role in hospitality led you to where you are heading now?

My Mum did a similar degree in England and had an amazing career over there in catering etc. If it wasn't for her then I would have had a very different path in life. I always wanted to be in HR or sales within hotels. I guess where I am now is kind of on that path. I love the people side of the business but not all the time guest facing. I loved the learning and development side of HR. So i guess if a new hotel in Perth or anywhere was to open up, I would love to get involved in that side of things. I have always been a person to be open to the opportunities given to me and I suppose that's why I have found myself in a new industry.

Do you still have goals within the hospitality industry even though you have just made the jump to HR?

I mean I just left it but that was never my intention. I think everything just got turned on its head this year. I do love the industry and no doubt will be back in it, just not the operations side as I learn't for myself it can be a litter hard at times. I’d love to be in charge of a hotel chain's learning and development or overseeing their induction programs and helping others grow within the industry.

What would you say was your best memory working in hotels?

Gosh there are so many! Probably all the crazy celebrities I got to meet. Working in some of our country's best hotels helped me meet some amazing people.

It is true! You really do meet celebrities quite often and it the feeling of excitement never fades. - Tayla

Do you prefer to work in larger hotels or more boutique?

I prefer small- mid size hotels. I am not so much a transactional person, so really getting to know our guests is great and not usually possible at larger hotels. I love boutique because they usually have so many quirks and insane interior design. I think it really depends on the city and what they have to offer.

What advice would you give to future hotel leaders, something that you always remember for yourself?

A: Don’t hold back. This industry may be crazy but it also has some amazing opportunities that most of the time come out of nowhere. Always be open to what's to come as it is constantly changing.

I think that the most important thing that Lauren acknowledges here is that the industry is ALWAYS changing. It will never be the same day after day, and if you feel like you sometimes don't know which direction to take, just watch the opportunities that come your way because they always lead you to where you are meant to be.