Running a busy hotel in the city centre is anything but easy. From demanding customers to working unsociable hours, it can be quite a challenge. Ramada Encore Leicester’s general manager Henrik Jespersen took some time out of his busy schedule to give us an insight into the world of hospitality.
Henrik Jespersen has been working in hotels for the past 25 years. He left school and took up a few odd jobs until he realised that working in the hospitality sector was his true calling. He started at the grassroots level working behind the bar and then gradually worked his way through the various departments. He was appointed as the general manager of the Ramada Encore Leicester in August 2011, around five months ahead of its official opening in January 2012.
“I came on board when it was still a building site and was working alongside the owner and the contractors. I was involved in deciding what uniforms the staff were going to wear, what crockery we were going to use, the design of the menus and was involved in pre planning the launch parties. There was a lot to do during those five months,” he said.
Working in a hotel is no nine to five job and can involve some incredibly unsociable hours. On average Mr Jespersen says he works between 50-60 hours a week and that’s because he’s blessed with having a great team behind him.
A typical day for the general manager would start of with analyzing the takings from the night before. Mr Jespersen said: “I go through the figures for the room occupancy and look at the books and compare this to how we thought we were going to do. We look to see if we need to implement any marketing strategies to get more people through the door.”
This is followed with a meeting with all of the departmental heads from the operations and reservations team to the sales and catering team to check what is happening on the day. After going through arrivals and departures the general manager may undertake some spot checks with house keeping and maintenance to make sure everything is perfect for the guests. The rest of the day can involve going over accounts and invoices.
There are around 35 people employed at the Ramada Encore Leicester, which has 115 rooms in total. The lounge bar and restaurant is also open for public to use throughout the day and there are also a further two meeting rooms upstairs. Keeping in tune with the Cultural Quarter the hotel has also introduced a live music night, which takes place every Saturday.
Summing up his role, Mr Jespersen said: “My job is to keep the guests happy, keep the staff happy, the owner happy, the head office happy and the branding team happy. We try and measure this by looking at results in profit and loss and looking at how people rate us on hotel websites. It all comes down to service and hospitality. We’ve had some challenges we’ve risen to and have been very successful.”