A Day in the Life… Eóin McGrath, business development manager at Hastings Stormont Hotel
This month HRNI speaks to Eóin McGrath, business development manager at Hastings Stormont Hotel
Eóin McGrath, business development manager at Hastings Stormont Hotel
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
I am the business development manager for Hastings Stormont Hotel and have been in post from January 2016, with responsibility for sales, and developing business growth in all revenue streams throughout the Stormont Hotel. My key responsibilities include forging strong relationships across all sectors, prospecting to new clients, managing accounts and maintaining and developing current clients.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND IN HOSPITALITY/TOURISM?
I began my career in hospitality in 2009 during a placement year whilst studying my degree in Business and Psychology at Ulster University. Now in a senior management position within the Stormont Hotel, I believe that Hastings Hotels are a forward thinking vehicle that continues to build momentum for tourism in Northern Ireland given the attractive range of properties on offer scattered throughout Northern Ireland – with the addition of the Grand Central Hotel opening mid-2018.
WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB?
I enjoy communication with all the staff in the hotel, industry representatives and clients. I have a huge commitment to being open and transparent, honest and trustworthy, as I believe it to be the foundation for doing business and creating long standing relationships. The worst part of my job is that there are not enough hours in the day.
WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT THE SECTOR?
Given the uncertainties that have been observed across all industries post-recession and during Brexit, clients’ decisions are much more complex. However, we see this as opportunity at Hastings Hotels, proactively bettering our product and service offering, and in my role I offer solutions to those uncertainties.
OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY
I normally wake a few minutes before my alarm sounds around 6am. First thing I do is check my phone for emails, appointments etc. My day can range from internal meetings, to meeting clients at the hotel or at their offices, working lunches or attending external events. I arrive into work an hour early around 8am to plan and catch up on anything from the previous day, and normally finish at whatever time my last appointment is at. I schedule my appointments around clients, whether that be 7.30am coffee or 9pm dinner.
PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE
My proudest moment in my career to date is securing this position within Hastings Hotels. I watched Lobby Lives a lot of years ago which featured the Europa Hotel and James McGinn, the general manager. There is a considerable amount of time invested in staff training and development, and I am proud to say I work for the Hastings family.
BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED IN THE LOCAL SECTOR
Over the years I have watched the market grow from strength to strength both in business and leisure tourism, which is supported and strengthened by our strong links with our domestic and international clients. The addition of Belfast Waterfront as our largest host venue, the cruise ships, our reputation and affiliation with the Game of Thrones series, our history steeped in Titanic, Van Morrison’s home land in East Belfast and C.S. Lewis the infamous novelist. The various world events hosted in Northern Ireland has placed us on a platform, showcasing NI across the globe. I love the fact that no matter what event I am at, I always know a friendly face from within the industry.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?
On evenings that I get home early from work, my partner Graham and I take our one-year-old pug called Buddha out for a walk. We live close to some woodlands with a small lake, therefore we are not a million miles away from a chilled ‘getaway- from-it-all’ walk. I also love having friends and family over for dinner parties. Having been brought up in a family of chefs, it is no wonder I enjoy it. I love baking too – and eating the bakes! I also collect gin, although they are not ‘collector’ worthy as the seals are all broken!
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW
Following on my love of baking, I entered the Great British Bake Off competition early in my final year at University and was shortlisted through to interviews. Due to a clash with final year exams, it was not possible to pursue.
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