Ricky Lam's Story
I’ve only been with Accor a year and a half; I joined ibis in Edinburgh last year, when I moved here from Hong Kong. I started as a multi-task team member and moved on quickly because I learned a lot, and I am now front office supervisor. I have been in that role for a bit more than eight months.
When I was in Hong Kong, I worked as a flight attendant. Then Covid hit and everything changed and the travel industry was not looking too good, especially airlines, but I always enjoy a conversation with people from around the world. I love making sure people are happy, safe and enjoying their holidays, and hospitality is similar to that, so I dived in and here I am.
Looking after people is one of the more positive things for me about the industry. It can be quite demanding and tiring, but I am enjoying it because some people who come into the hotel may be tired because they just arrived or they have something on their mind, and I greet them and make sure they are well taken care of. I feel I am making a difference.
I have not been here long and want to know more about how the hotel runs. I love being at the front line with guests, so I would like to keep exploring as a team leader or maybe front office manager so that I can keep doing what I love, take more responsibility and make sure everything is running smoothly for everyone.
Edinburgh is lovely; I have been here before and I love the city, that is one of the reasons I moved here. There is history and tourism but it is not like Hong Kong, which is a business city and is fast paced. When people come to Edinburgh, they enjoy eating and drinking, taking life slowly. When you are here, it feels like going back in time. I work right next to the castle – who would say no to that!
Accor offers lots of opportunities to travel and I have been to London and Glasgow. There is an Accor five-a-side football tournament coming up in London and I am looking forward to joining that; there are opportunities if you are willing to grab them.
To someone who is new in the industry, whatever you are doing, try to find your passion, follow your heart. If you work in something that you love, you will never feel you are working. Be true to yourself, don’t convince yourself that you are something that you are not. You will feel motivated and that is what keeps me going. You need your team – it is always nice to rely on people who have more experience; I am just one person, I can’t do everything. This is a good tip from some of my colleagues.
And to someone who is looking for work, hospitality is fast paced and dynamic, with lots of things happening throughout the day. In this hotel, I meet 50, 60, 100 people every day, and I take a different approach with each of them. It’s a unique experience and you learn how to talk to people; communication skills are very important wherever you are and hospitality is the perfect way to prepare yourself and learn who you are.
It is an extraordinary experience for new graduates. It’s an eye-opener. Most people who have graduated just go for an office job where they sit at a desk with a laptop. In hospitality, you don’t have to sit all the time, you can move around and interact with people, which is part of the fun.
- Ricky Lam
- Front Office Supervisor
- ibis Edinburgh Centre Royal Mile (UK)