After her graduation alumna Lonneke de Graaf [F 2016] ended up at Hilton in London. Read all about her spectacular career in the blog below.
How did you end up in your current job?
During Module 7 of the HMSM I visited the ICE Job Fair where I got talking to a Hilton recruiter and told her that I was looking for an internship in Revenue Management in London. She shared my CV with the head of the Revenue department in the Hilton EMEA Head Office in Watford UK (near London) and I got an internship there! For 6 months I was a part of the Revenue Analyst Team and got offered the position afterwards. I then continued to develop in that role, taking on lots of different opportunities and completed a year’s training course to eventually get promoted to my current role: I am now a Cluster Revenue Manager at the Revenue Management Consolidated Centre in the Hilton EMEA Head Office and look after the commercial pricing strategies of 6 hotels in UK and continental Europe.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Hmm I always find this a rather tricky question! I strongly believe your plans could change in an instant, as you never know what might cross your path, people you might meet, places you visit. If I hadn’t visited the ICE Job Fair 5 years ago who knows where I would have been today! I would love to be in a role that combines strategy, relationships and analytics like I currently have. Oh and I am quite certain I will not return to the Netherlands - for now my plan is to stay and settle in the UK.
Do you have any tips for the current hotello’s?
Things take time, so take and give yourself that time. Be ambitious and driven, but at the same time be realistic about how much time you may need to for example settle in a new country, city or job. To find what you’re searching for, like your next step or your passion. Things take time, but things will work out :)
Anything else you would like to share?
If you’re ever in London, hit me up! Also if you’d have any questions about working and living abroad or the world of Revenue Management just let me know :) —> firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you do in daily life?
I live in West Kensington in London, UK and work for Hilton Hotels at their EMEA Head Office in Watford, UK as a Cluster Revenue Manager. I look after 6 properties in the Hilton portfolio located in Newcastle, Exeter, Oxford, Birmingham, Venice and Paris. In my free time I like to play pub quizzes at my local pub, meet with my friends for drinks and food and love exploring new bits of London, especially as I have a bike again :) Also, now that I have been here a while - over 3 years - I am making my way out of London more and try to explore more of the UK as well, it is a gorgeous country!
What is great/fun/special/fantastic about your job? And what isn’t?
Working for Hilton is an incredible experience and I feel very proud to work for such an iconic company! This year we celebrate out 100th anniversary, 100 years of Hospitality, and it is amazing to witness and be a part of its continuous growth and innovations in the business.
What I love about my job is the combination of doing in depth analysis, finding your next step forward and then the best method of communicating and implementing your ideas. I work with so many different people from different backgrounds, not just in my office and at the desks around me, but also in the 6 properties I overlook. I spend a lot of time building individual relationships with each an every one of my hotels, adapting my style and tailoring my way of working to them It makes my job very diverse and fun, as I get to be a part of several hotel teams at the same time. Sometimes this also means that my days can get pretty packed when for example a common deadline nears, but luckily we have a large team in the office as well that supports and assists each other when needed.
What have you learned at the hotel school and what can you put to use right now?
SWOT Analysis - every Module we touched upon this and every time I asked myself if we would ever need it: I do and thanks to this I can now write a mean SWOT haha. On a more serious note however, I think the HMSM teaches you - even unknowingly - a lot of (soft) skills. From active listening to presenting, from conducting research to delivering and receiving feedback, from working in a challenging team to SMART goals. These can seem quite trivial when you learn them, but I have found in many cases already that the fact that I had gotten so used to them so early on in my career has helped me overcome many challenges in my job and personal life a lot easier and quicker every day.
What was your first job? How did you end up in this position?
My first job was that of a Revenue Analyst in RMCC Europe in the Hilton EMEA Head Office. I got this position after I had successfully completed my management internship there.
Where did you do your internships?
My first internship was at the Hotel Russel in London UK as an F&B Assistant - this is when I fell in love with London and knew that I’d be back some day. My second internship was a the Hilton EMEA Head Office at Watford UK as part of the Revenue Analyst Team.
What puts a smile on your face when you look back at your time at the hotel school?
Oh so many things! Great friendships I found, trips we took, my time on Campus, several projects, internships, evenings at the Bar - too many to name really. However two events really stand out for me of which one was my 19th birthday when I had to do a kitchen shift at l’Etoile and my classmates had dressed me up for the occasion. Later I was called out to the restaurant because a guest had a comment on my desert: I had put salt with the almonds instead of sugar… Plot twist: they liked it very much and continued to sing Happy Birthday to me! Another fond memory was the Funda Graduation, where I got to speech on behalf of the graduates to all attendees. I had prepared the speech only the night before (sssshh, no one knew!) and I was quite nervous, but it went incredibly well! I got a lot of nice comments and I couldn’t have wished for a better way to end my time at HMSM.