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Acorns 2018: Lucy Louise Murphy, operations manager, Premier Inn – Whitbread

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Acorns 2018: Lucy Louise Murphy, operations manager, Premier Inn – Whitbread

Operations manager, Premier Inn London Waterloo (Westminster Bridge)

Nominator Jay Khan, area manager

Proudest moment “Achieving a 100% balanced score card in 2016/17, from a 50% score six months prior, while hitting a 96% team engagement score… then being promoted to a large central London hotel.”

Biggest inspiration “My line manager, Jay Khan. He supports, coaches and connects with his team and inspires me every day. Also, my parents, who gave me a strong work ethic.”

Ambition “To become an area manager and ultimately an operations director.”

Whitbread’s Shooting Stars leadership development programme helped fire Lucy Murphy’s ambition. In three years she progressed from being a graduate to running one small hotel to overseeing two properties. Today, she leads a 234-bedroom central London flagship hotel with revenue of £10m.

Part of her success is down to the fact she takes ownership of projects. On introducing a new guest service toolkit, she delivered it to hotels in the whole area, not just her own property, and then created guest champions at every site. That year, her area had the highest improvement in guest satisfaction in the UK.

She is also diligent. Her strong financial acumen helped the company improve its area cost per sleeper by more than £20,000 in one period because she scrutinised the profit and loss from 15 sites to understand exactly where the issues were.

When it comes to developing people, Murphy looks for qualities rather than skills and is passionate about unlocking potential. To date, she has directly helped progress 14 apprentices as well as supporting the wider cohort.

She has created strong links between the industry and schoolchildren, adult learners and disabled children. Most recently, she started an association with Lambeth Adult Learning that supports adults to get back into work through work experience placements.

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