November's Star of the Month is Namibian Antoinette Le Grange, reception manager at London's Hotel 41, part of the Red Carnation Hotels Luxury London Collection. She was nominated by human resources officer Aideen Whelehan for the training programme she developed for new staff at the hotel.
Why did you nominate Antoinette?
Aideen Whelehan Since joining as reception manager, Antoinette has put together a fantastic training programme for her new staff and is building up a brand-new quality front-desk team. This has included her taking the team on a full-day bus and walking tour of London to ensure that they can respond quickly to any concierge-type questions, which has proved particularly important as many of the team are new to the city. She has also worked with each member of staff individually to coach them, which is no mean feat with so many new starters. She always works with huge commitment and enthusiasm, and takes her responsibility for the department and its success very personally.
How does it feel to have won Star of the Month?
Antoinette Le Grange It's such a surprise, and I'm really happy to have won. I had no idea that I had been nominated, and when the hotel told me about it, I was told that I had done something wrong and that guests had complained about me. I was so shocked and worried, but when I found out it was a joke and I had won Star of the Month, I was just really pleased. It's great to be recognised for your hard work.
What motivates you?
ALG It's all about keeping both the guests and the staff happy. It's so important to create a work environment that everyone feels comfortable in, so the staff can be confident to do their job well. Going the extra mile for guests is hugely rewarding, and it's all about creating a bit of magic. Often we have marriage proposals taking place at the hotel, and making this just that extra bit special for the couple by adding flowers or chocolates to their rooms is a simple yet greatly appreciated gesture.
How is working in London different from home?
ALG In London, you have a much bigger exposure to the international market and to executive travellers who are at the hotel for work rather than leisure and haven't got time for errors. This makes working here more challenging but also more rewarding. In Namibia, things are a lot more laid-back and not as fast-paced as they are here, so it's less of a challenge.
What are going to do with the prize money?
ALG I'm climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in January, so the money will go towards climbing gear. Sadly, this isn't as glamorous as buying a pretty dress or jewellery, but it'll come in handy, no doubt.
To nominate someone for this award visit www.caterersearch.com/starofthemonth