Gayatri Marsiglia's story
I have been in hospitality since I came to England five years ago. I really enjoy the contact with people, talking with them and learning about their point of view. Hospitality puts you in touch with guests and that is what I enjoy the most.
I have been at Accor for a year and always at the Novotel London Bridge. Management here is approachable; they listen to you, so I know I can be myself. Also, there are young managers, which makes me more comfortable. In previous jobs, having managers with years of experience and me being new to the work environment made me feel that career growth is something very far, hard to reach. Seeing younger managers at Accor as an example has given me a much more concrete idea of success and where I can be in a near future.
I am front office team leader, on reception, and mainly, we work with people; we give guests their first impression of where they are staying. The team is around 15 people; it is a big hotel with a floor of meeting rooms and 182 bedrooms. At the moment, we are almost fully booked with families, which is nice because there are lots of kids.
We have corporates outside the school holidays and we get fully booked then as well; it can get very busy but it is different because business people don’t want a description of the city, they are in the gym or their room or the bar.
My mum is from Uruguay, my dad from Brazil and I was born in Italy. My multicultural background allows me to communicate easily with guests coming from countries that speak Spanish, Portuguese and Italian; I have conversations that lead me to reflect on my journey since I came here and why I decided to work in this industry. I also welcome them and make them feel more comfortable by speaking to them in the first language.
Also, many parents arrive at the hotel with teenagers and want to encourage them to travel and learn English, and I see that many of them are shy; this reminds me of myself when I arrived six years ago and I could barely talk.
So I always talk to them in English. My mission is to help them understand they can let go, which is how I needed to feel when I arrived here. Speaking four languages fluently has opened many doors to me.
Heartist is wherever the people of Accor are. I had come from a workplace where people were taken into consideration and they had missions and commandments, but during the course, we came to understand that Heartist is to express yourself. For me it means being myself and being able to contribute to a community; I really like that.
And they trust us. My manager said this should be the way with Accor, the way we treat our guests, but if any situation arises when you feel you need to do it another way, just do it. If I feel I am trusted, I am going to do whatever is right, and if I could have done better they will let me know.
We keep the sofabeds open in rooms during the holidays because we have so many families, but one guest was extremely upset because the sofabed was open and they were only two people. My colleague was talking to him but he was so loud, I had to intervene. I took him aside and said I would send housekeeping upstairs, and we will solve the problem. He insisted he had been here before and the sofabed was a double and would never fold into a sofa.
Housekeeping folded the sofabed away and he came back down and said, ‘I’m sorry, you were right and I was wrong.’ That makes you feel good; I know I did the right thing and made him feel I was listening. At first, people are angry and act as though you are ruining their day but the first impression people give you is not always the right one.
Anyone looking for a first job should come into hospitality because it not only teaches you how to approach people but also to know yourself and how to face difficult situations; just because you are kind, it does not mean everyone will be kind to you and I have learnt not to take things personally. For me it was internal growth, I understand myself and how I react.
- Gayatri Marsiglia
- Front Office Team Leader
- Novotel London Bridge (United Kingdom)