General manager, Hotel Indigo London Kensington (Cairn Group)
Nominator Chris Whiting, group HR manager, Cairn Group
Proudest moment "Achieving the role of general manager before the age of 30, which had been an aim since starting my career in hotels at the age of 17. Another highlight was assisting in the hospitality management of the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations."
Greatest inspiration "I believe I can better myself by absorbing information from everyone around me. I try to take the best parts of every hotel and restaurant I visit and then implement them for my own and the team's development."
Why hospitality is a great career "It equips you with a diverse skillset that transfers into day-to-day life. You get the opportunity to travel and forge great relationships with colleagues that you carry throughout your career."
Craig Bennett has skipped up the career ladder, often through pursuing his own self-development, but also because his employers have been keen to harness his talent.
He joined the Cairn Group in 2016 as pre-opening venue manager of Birmingham Conference and Events Centre (BCEC) and his first step up came in 2018 when, having doubled business from £1.5m to £3m, he was made director of operations.
Bennett's acumen has been evident from the start. Not least as operations manager at Q Hotels Stratford in 2014, he achieved a 95.2% TripAdvisor ranking, delivered £101.10 in revenue per available room, rising to £102.56 in 2015.
He has also given seminars at Stratford Catering College to promote hospitality as a career, and introduced an apprenticeship link with the college as well as supporting Cairn Group's Flexible Chef Network.
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