Matt Rake, operations manager at Butlins Bognor Regis, tells Janie Manzoori-Stamford about his rise through the ranks at the British holiday resort
Your career started at the age of 18 in 1996 as a Redcoat - how has that role changed?
I'll never forget my first night as a Redcoat when I was dancing and entertaining the kids during the live act that evening, Edwin Starr. Every day was so different from the last and I met many different people. Nothing has really changed - they are still the ultimate holiday. What has changed is the uniform, except for the Redcoat jacket. That will always stay.
How has your career to date prepared you for your latest role?
The biggest element for me is the experience that I gained working in the resort in Bognor Regis for 15 years. I have been involved in many changes in that time and have seen huge improvements made to the resort, including the introduction of our three hotels and all-weather Skyline Pavilion.
How has Butlins helped your personal development?
The time, support and advice that I received from the many people I have worked with has helped me become a better leader. But ultimately our way of working is unique, so I have been able to apply this in every role. Whether I'm a Redcoat, entertainments manager, central support or the operations manager, my purpose has always been to focus on the guest experience.
What are you working on now?
Outside of the day-to-day operation, I am working on a few projects. One is our communication on resort, looking at how we can improve our signage to ensure that it is easy to navigate around the resort, even if you have never been here before. Another is preparing for the opening of our brand new £25m Wave hotel and apartments.
Has the British holiday market changed?
I think people's needs and expectations have changed over the years, so naturally our offer has evolved over time to ensure we remain ahead of the game. In the past few years we have shown growth with our visitor numbers and the first five months of 2012 is no different. This suggests to me that more people are taking a short break in the UK, either as their main holiday or as a second holiday this year.