The George Best Hotel is looking to bring a sprinkle of Signature Living style to the Northern Irish capital. Known for our fresh approach to the hotel industry, this will be something Belfast has never seen before!
George Best always said he wanted “more, more of everything” and that is just what we’re looking for – especially for our Front of House team. With our restaurant set to open in time for Christmas celebrations, we’re in search of talented hospitality staff.
So, we sat down with our Front of House Manager, Andrew McWhirter to find out more about him and everything he is looking for to make this stunning hotel the very best in the city…
Hi Andrew, so what are your career highlights so far?
I came into hospitality just over two years ago as a casual part time receptionist, 3 days a week while I was finishing my masters. Then it was within the year that a supervisor position came up after that House Manager came along…and now I’m here!
What made you choose hospitality over a job linked closely to your masters?
Its funny how things interlink! My degree and masters are in psychology, so that’s obviously dealing with people, understanding people, how people work, what people want, what people need. Hospitality in some way shape or form is like that. So, the likes of psychology are obviously about helping people, but hospitality is about helping people too. So, its in some way about making a difference in somebody’s day and that’s what I like about it.
What do you think makes a great customer service experience?
Empathy, sort of. We’ve all stayed in hotels, we all know what we expect. If we can put that into what were doing for our guests, that’s what makes the difference, its about putting yourself in their shoes and thinking what I would want before they’ve thought about it.
What are you excited to bring to Signature Living?
I think Signature Living here [in Liverpool] is so different to what we have back home, it has really opened my eyes to what hospitality can be, its about bringing what I’ve always wanted to do about that fun, about that freedom, about that real passion to a business that falls in line with that every single day, its brilliant.
What would be your dream check in?
I think everyone wants to check in celebrities, don’t they? I think that’s always the nice bit. Maybe someone like Leonardo DiCaprio walking through your door. Or imagine John Travolta – he’s my idol.
What can we expect the check ins to be like at The George Best Hotel?
Something completely different to what Belfast has seen already. Signature Living itself is just miles beyond anything we have back at home.
In terms of hiring for The George Best Hotel, what are the three characteristics someone working front of house needs?
First and foremost is passion, for example – I was given an opportunity without any experience, but I knew that I was passionate about what I wanted to do. If you hire passion, then you can train everything else so passion first. For me, I need to be trustworthy, if I’m going to hire someone, they need to be able to trust me and trust that I’m going to deliver on what I say. Then, you need to be fun. You need to enjoy it and have a laugh, don’t take things too seriously. We’re all here to have fun and ensure the guests have fun, they’re here for a good time so let’s make it a good time.
What tips would you give someone thinking of starting a Front of House career or progressing in one?
Give it time. It doesn’t always happen overnight, I know that I was lucky to get the opportunities that I had. Don’t rush, there’s no rushing in a career. Things happen and the way the business is, something can change within an hour. Enjoy each stage of your career.
Would you give one of the Front of House jobs to someone without any experience considering you got that opportunity?
Yeah, I would because I know how well it worked out for me. I don’t think prior experience is 100% necessary as I said before, its all about passion and you can train the rest.
What skills can we look for or expect from your new team?
So, having been in Liverpool now for just over a month, there’s lots of different skills that I’m going to be pulling together. We’re going to have the fun of Arthouse, we’re going to have the classiness of 30 James Street then we’re going to have the history of The Shankly Hotel all rolled into The George Best Hotel and the team so it’s going to be fun, it’s going to be upmarket in terms of class and professionalism but there is going to be that sense of we’re all here for a good time and we’re going to try and help you have a good time too as a guest!
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