00:00:02 My name’s Bruce R, and I’m operations manager for the Dakota Hotel group.
00:00:07 I’m ultimately responsible for the guest experience, general managers of the hotels report in to myself and the other dimension to my role is I oversee all construction and design for the new hotels as we go forward. So it’s two different disciplines but it keeps it very interesting.
00:00:26 I’m a graduate engineer and, while I was at university I worked with Ken McCulloch at 1 Devonshire Gardens as a porter, carried the bags. And it was purely part time. I’d always make sure that I was on a late shift followed by an early shift because if one guest was in there just for one night, I’d be the person that met them in the street took them up into their room, and collected their luggage and anything in between if they’d want to book a restaurant or needed a taxi I’d be the point of contact, so they’d have the impression that I was the only person working there.
00:01:00 Ken McCulloch called us to oversee their construction and the refit of a hotel in Monaco so I didn’t need much convincing to get out to Monaco. And effectively that was that, oversaw the construction in Monaco, spent a year and a bit doing that, and then waiting for the next project I got involved in the hotel operations.
00:01:21 The pressure just after opening Monaco and then we were straight into the Grand Prix so it was full on. So, you hadn’t had any recovery time from the opening, very, very long days. Not long after that I just didn’t feel right in myself, I had burnt myself out and I flew home and, embarrassed to admit I flew home, phoned our chairman from Heathrow at seven o’clock on a Sunday morning and said, I can’t cope, I’ve had enough.
00:02:01 A couple of days later I get a phone call and it’s our chairman and he says, how are you feeling, would you like to meet for lunch. I said well where are you, he’d come over to Scotland.
00:02:13 And then, my sense of not feeling valued evaporated instantly. That’s when I realised no you can’t do it on your own, you’ve got to take care of good people when you, when you see them. And that’s stood me in very good stead, that there’s really, really a strong core to the business now, and there’s an awful lot of trust and mutual respect and, I think a lot of that came from the way Ken McCulloch treated me when I’d got to the end of my tether.
00:02:40 I’m from Drumchapel in Glasgow which is a colourful area but it’s certainly not renowned for its shellfish either so, I didn’t have the breadth of knowledge but I had a thirst for it.
00:02:55 My father’s a shopkeeper I lived above the shop and it was almost an assumption that I was gonna be a shopkeeper.
00:03:02 It appeals to my nature to be involved in sharing knowledge and teaching and, but a teacher I spoke to at the time actually gave me great advice in that, said, you can always convert a vocational degree to a teaching qualification whereas at seventeen or eighteen you make that choice of being in teaching it’s limiting your options thereafter.
00:03:27 Hotels are probably one of the last industries where they’re not great respecters of academic qualifications, it really is an industry where you need experience and experience is simply something that’s happened to you before. So to get it in that context, you have to be in the hotel to really get it.
00:03:47 I think I’ve learnt as much from seeing people do things incorrectly as I’ve learnt from seeing things correctly done as I’ve been coming up through the ranks and I’d always sort of felt that no, I could do this.
00:04:00 Hospitality or hotels really is, it’s a combination of fairly straight forward tasks and putting them all together. So, I don’t believe there’s a great deal that we can’t teach but you can’t put in what god left out so you do need, you do need the brightness, you do need people that are wanting to get on, that are eager and if you’ve got that keenness or eagerness the rest of it can be taught quite easily.