The Caterer

Acorn winners 2012 – Tara Cruise

28 September 2012
Acorn winners 2012 – Tara Cruise

Age 27

Position Operations manager, Premier Inn Heathrow

Nominator Dean Madge

Proudest career moment It would have to be opening my own hotel last year. There's no better feeling than that.

Greatest inspiration Most people in our industry could benefit from spending a weekend in the home of an Irish granny - what they don't know about looking after a guest can be written on the back of a postage stamp.

Ambition I'd love to open my own affordable boutique hotel chain across the UK, combining a signature style of relaxed but luxurious service to business and leisure traveller alike.

Tara Cruise began her career working for Whitbread in 2001 as a part-time reservation co-ordinator at the customer contact centre in Luton while studying for A levels at Leeds University. It persuaded her to pursue a career in the hospitality industry and over the next few years she worked up to the role of head of group reservation sales.

By April 2010 Tara wanted to sharpen her experience so she moved into the business development team for 18 months. She opened 40 Premier Inn hotels, overseeing training, recruitment, marketing and supporting the onsite management teams. Needless to say, Tara now wanted to head up her own Premier Inn. Her first appointment was in September 2011 as operations manager at Heathrow M4 J4 Premier Inn, responsible for revenue in excess of £3m - it's an appointment that she classes as her proudest career moment to date.

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