Rebecca Vreeman's story
I have had a varied career in different aspects of travel and tourism. I started at the tourism board in Amsterdam, which gave me background on guests visiting the city, what they needed, their questions, how to react, and I learned about their cultures.
Then I moved to the front desk at a Disneyland Paris hotel for 2½ years, working with systems, handling complaints, dealing with many nationalities, and that has helped me to connect with different types of people in my current job and navigate them through their visit.
Apart from the hotel, I took VIP tours, escorting guests through the park and giving them information about the rides, and I ran questionnaires to get feedback on restaurants. Guests there are usually on vacation but in my current location in Gent city centre, they are on weekend getaways and there are more business people.
Every job I have done was right for that time in my career, my age and experience, and I enjoyed them to the fullest. Now, I really like to see my team grow, to help them develop, and when we hire someone new, to see them flourish and get the hang of the job. When I started my career, I looked forward to being that mentor and giving people confidence, it is something I always hoped I would achieve.
The All Stars Talent Management Programme is about self-development. I have learned about my fears and faults, and how to deal with them to make sure they don’t get in the way of my professional or personal growth. It is also very nice to connect with managers from F&B, front office or housekeeping, and to share advice on how to be your best self as a manager.
I plan to stay here for a while and eventually become a general manager or operations manager; I definitely want to stay in hospitality and, of course, with Accor!
To someone new in hospitality, do not take complaints personally and do not fear them. A complaint is an opportunity to make someone happy again and if you think about it like that, guests will know they can come to you with a problem. If you fear complaints and think, ‘Oh no, I did something wrong!’, the guest will feel it and will get even madder if you don’t find a solution, but if you are positive, they will know you are professional and taking care of them.
Hospitality is never boring and as a first job, the industry can teach you a lot personally and professionally. You have to be patient and you get the opportunity to speak to people of many cultures. Every day is different, anything can happen – that is the charm of it; you learn to be flexible and to live in the moment.
- Rebecca Vreeman
- Front Office Manager
- ibis Gent Centrum Kathedraal (Belgium)