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Acorns 2018: Emma Kirk, front office manager, Blythswood Square – Principal Hotels

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Acorns 2018: Emma Kirk, front office manager, Blythswood Square – Principal Hotels

Front of house manager, Principal Glasgow Blythswood Square

Nominator Jennifer Ganson, people and development director

Proudest moment “Being shortlisted for a Catey in 2017 and at 27 being recognised as one of the leading front of house managers in the country.”

Biggest inspiration “Claire Gamble, director of sales, entertainment and media for Principal. As deputy general manager at Hotel du Vin Glasgow she gave me my first job as a receptionist and encouraged me to broaden my experiences, remaining a coach and mentor after I left.”

Ambition “To be as inspirational to others as the leaders in my life have been to me. I plan to get involved in the wider industry, supporting the work of charities such as HIT Scotland.”

Emma Kirk knew she had found her true vocation at 16, working at Hotel du Vin Glasgow. After a brief three-year stint in retail in New Zealand, she returned to the UK and to hospitality in 2015, when she joined Principal Glasgow Blythswood Square as the first ever guest relations manager. Just 18 months later she was made front of house manager aged 25. Responsible for a team of 25, she delivers a revenue budget of £5m, representing 48% of total revenue, and has driven additional revenue through bedroom upgrades, worth £2,000-£10,000 per month and increasing sleeper-diner ratios by 52% a year.

Among her other achievements, the hotel scored highly in a recent health and safety audit, with the auditor suggesting Kirk’s handbook should be used as the template across the group.

Kirk is innovative, having launched a voicemail service encouraging employees to provide snippets of guest information for the guest relations team. This year she has taken an apprentice under her wing, nurturing them to stay on in a senior receptionist role.

Kirk has been singled out for a training programme designed for operations managers who wish to become general managers. This is a remarkable achievement for one who is not yet an operations manager.

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