In keeping with our theme of Women’s Month, we spoke to Executive Housekeeper, Nicole Vella, about her role at Royal St Andrews Hotel. Working in the hospitality industry, Nicole grew her passion for Front Office Management and decided to flip the coin and try a position in housekeeping, which is where her love for the team, coordination and planning grew from. Citing her grandmother as the biggest inspiration in her life, this dedicated mom leads by example, bringing positive energy to the team each day.
What inspires you in life?
Faith: I don’t necessarily mean religion, although that is part of it. I mean the ability to have faith when times are hard. Faith that right will win. Faith that the sun will rise and life will move on and things will be okay in some way, somehow, even when it doesn’t seem like it at the time. That is inspiring.
How did you come to be in the hospitality industry?
It was by pure curiosity about the “flip side of the coin” that led me in this industry, while applying for a receptionist position that came available. While working as a receptionist, I was constantly pushing myself, eager to learn as much as I could and always willing to grab an extra shift. I was finally called to try out a position in Housekeeping as the Housekeeping Manager. I discovered that I loved the department’s huge team, its many moving parts, and the coordination that I must have to master in order to succeed as an Executive Housekeeper.
What does a typical day at work look involve?
My day begins with receiving my reports and receiving a hand over from the late shift from the night before, so that I can organise and prepare for the day ahead. Planning is vital; I need to go through guest arrivals, check room allocations and sometimes reallocate with the Font Office Manager if we agree that the guest would be better suited by a different room to meet their needs. We’ve a well kept guest profile record with every request and every comment of their past requests, in order for us to know just what they want and how we can accommodate. Our departmental meetings help all the staff to stay informed of any developments and tasks for the day, before I head off to a management meeting before doing my rounds of the property from about 9am each morning.
We have 60 rooms which are checked randomly, while checking in with the front office for any change in timings of guests. This helps me to calculate the time left over to complete any rooms, managing the Housekeeping teams’ progress and updating room statuses.
It’s a juggling act or a jigsaw puzzle – you’re constantly forward planning and looking ahead. The longer you stay, the more you know how it all fits together.
What is your favourite part of life at Royal St Andrews Hotel?
My favourite part of life with Royal St. Andrews Hotel is my team. Each person with their own crazy and wild personalities, we all do our best to stand as a single unit in order to give a service / experience to each guest that we encounter.
Did you have a female role model growing up? If so, how did she influence the person you are today?
Although my entire family (especially my mother) contributed and still contributes to influence me with moral values, my grandmother on my mother’s side is the person who inspired me more than anyone. She was such a positive person, who always reminded us that “we were put on this earth to make people laugh and if you can’t do that each day, then what’s the point? “. She left a huge impression in my life “much like a foot print in the sand on the beach, it does fade but you know it was there”. She was a very strong woman that never judged, never criticised and never turned her back on anyone.
How do you help to mould the people you work with each day?
I try each day to channel positive energy and dedication towards my department, hoping that this enthusiasm filters down to everyone in the team.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Make your career your friend
Being a single mother and having the responsibilities of an entire department can be overwhelming at times. I take time out for myself and my family, to enjoy the small wonders – something as simple as a good laugh. I try my best to focus on work when I’m at work, and to focus on family when I am at home.
What would your advice be to other women in maintaining their work/life balance?
This may sound like an old cliché, but it’s one thing everyone should always remember: doing what you love will never feel like work. The reason many employees or workers hate their jobs is because they treat it as their enemy. They don’t enjoy doing it and they complain every time things aren’t going their way. If you don’t like this exhausting and stressful lifestyle, then you should treat your job as your friend. Enjoy everything about it because if you do, you will never feel tired and stress.
Seek out tasks and discover new things.
Respect you’re “Me” Time
Respect your private time in the same way you respect your guests or co-workers time. If you set a time for yourself or for your family, try your best not to take home work. Give yourself enough time to rest and sleep. You need it in order to become more productive and focus.