Acorns 2019: Ilona van Rooij, 28

19 June 2019 by
Acorns 2019: Ilona van Rooij, 28

Commercial director (maternity cover), Conrad London St James

Nominator Beverly Payne, general manager, Conrad London St James

Proudest moment "Facing my fears as a young female leader, taking risks and delivering great results with my manager, mentors and team."

Greatest inspiration "My general manager Beverly Payne, who has been a great coach, mentor and friend. I couldn't have made this significant career step without her support."

Why hospitality is a great career

In 2013, aged 22, Ilona van Rooij was one of just 10 people out of 2,500 applicants selected for Hilton's graduate general manager fast-track development programme, Elevator. The 18-month training included gaining operations, finance, HR and business development knowledge at Hilton hotels in Italy and Austria.

Just 18 months after graduating in 2015, she was promoted to assistant director of the London cluster, responsible for groups, conference and event sales, planning and reservations at seven Hilton hotels with an annual budget of £16m. Being as ambitious as she is busy, she also managed to complete the Director of Business Development Aspire programme.

In 2018, this led to her being promoted into her current position with a team of 18. It's a role that has showcased her financial acumen, delivering rooms revenue growth of 8.7% and over-achieving budget by £500,000.

Van Rooij hasn't been neglecting her own development. She has won a place on Shine 4D, Hilton's development programme for commercial and operational directors, and has built bridges with other departments through a weekly running club, improving lines of communication at work. This has resulted not only in better financial performance, but also in a happier team and, therefore, a more satisfied guest.

Continue reading

You need to be a premium member to view this. Subscribe from just 99p per week.

Already subscribed?

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking