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Here he talks exclusively to Traveltalk, revealing his plans for the award-winning property…and also the time he spent almost 10 hours placating his baby daughter on a plane.

Q: What was your first job and what did you learn from it that you still use today?

A: My first job was working for K-Mart while I was still at school. I worked at the Kodak photo desk back when film was still the rage and when digital cameras were first emerging in the consumer space.

This gave me a good foundation in customer service along with product sales skills. It was a ‘fun’ job because of the team I worked with, we had a great team culture.

Q: What’s the first thing you do when you start a new position?

A: Be a sponge. Absorb the environment, the processes, the dynamic, business flow, systems and everything that makes a hotel tick. I make lots of notes and ask lots of questions.

Q: What advice would you give someone considering a career in hospitality now?

A: There has never been a better time to join this industry. There are amazing opportunities in every city and town around Australia and indeed around the world.

Say ‘Yes’ to opportunities as they present themselves and be passionate about what you do. There are so many different pathways in and around hospitality but they all centre around the guest and providing an experience.

Q: What did the pandemic teach you about yourself?

A: The pandemic allowed me to spend a lot more time with my family and really sparked our creativity to ensure that our time spent in lockdown(s) didn’t become too monotonous.

This period also provided time to pause and reflect on how fortunate we are. Professionally, it taught our industry to be resilient; hospitality was often the first industry to be shut down and the last one to open.

The constant state of change ensured that we could rally together as an industry to ensure we could collectively bounce back.

Our associations around the country, Accommodation Australia (previously TAA and AAoA) did a fantastic job in advocating for the industry while keeping us all up to date with the latest change to guidelines and department of health directives.

Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office?

A: I have a double espresso and run through a series of reports that provide a snapshot of how the hotel is going and what the coming days, weeks and months are looking like.

Following this, we hold a team briefing to run through the operations for the day.

Q: How do you think the travel industry is looking at this moment in time?

A: Overarchingly, it’s positive. Hotels across Australia are still being affected by the international travel deficit and while we are seeing international visitor numbers increase each month, it has been a much slower return than was anticipated.

With this, hotels are still enjoying the higher domestic leisure market mix with the ‘staycation’ still proving popular.

Q: Who would you most like to sit next to on a plane, living or dead?

A: Great question! Sir David Attenborough. He has had a fascinating life and has truly shown passion and dedication to educating the world on the environment, its history and our impact on it.

Q: What is your best travel story?

A: This was quite a few years ago – however it was the promise of white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees in Hawaii with two much younger parents (my wife and I) embarking on our first overseas travel with our 10-month-old daughter. Before children, the overseas travel was easy and carefree…

With high hopes and carefully laid plans, we booked the coveted bulkhead seats on the overnight flight from Sydney to Honolulu, dreaming of a peaceful journey with our daughter snoozing soundly in the bassinette. But alas, fate had other plans.

As soon as we had settled into our seats, it became apparent that our daughter had inherited our adventurous spirit and was not about to be confined to a tiny bassinette for the duration of the flight.

Oh no, she had bigger plans – like turning our row of seats into her own personal playground!

With a mischievous glint in her eye and boundless energy, she declared war on sleep and embarked on a mission to explore every inch of the aircraft.

Armed with nothing but waning energy and a repertoire of expert baby-rocking moves, I stood tirelessly in the galley for nine-and-a-half hours, performing the delicate art of mid-air soothing to keep her cries at bay.

We finally touched down in Hawaii, bleary-eyed but triumphant. As we checked into the hotel and collapsed onto a couple of pool loungers, my daughter – now exhausted from her airborne escapades – promptly decided that it was the perfect time for a marathon nap, leaving us to bask in the rarely afforded serene tranquillity of parenthood and pina coladas… until the next adventure.


Q: What do you hope to bring to The Calile in your role as General Manager?

A: For me it is about equipping the team with all the tools and skills they need to ensure our guests have a wonderful experience.

As a passionate hotelier, I gain a lot of personal satisfaction from guests enjoying their stay while equally seeing our team members grow and develop in their careers and goals.

Bringing a methodical approach and business processes will see the hotel continue to grow and excel.