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Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.

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Michelle Ryan, Corporate Sales Manager
Tourism & Hospitality

Michelle Ryan, Corporate Sales Manager

Michelle Ryan is Corporate Sales Manager with the Park Plaza Hotel in Tyrellstown.  She took a degree in Hospitality Management in Cathal Brugha Street with Failte Ireland. The degree was a 4 year programme with a work placement in the 3rd year.

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What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

The major career milestones for me began when I was in school. I began working in hotels at 16 and really enjoyed the atmosphere in the workplace as well as the work itself. From that age I knew I wanted to work in the Hospitality industry so I applied for a Degree in Hospitality Management in the CAO. I commenced my Degree in DIT Cathal Brugha Street. The degree was a 4 year programme with a work placement in the 3rd year.

I continued to gain as much experience as possible in the Hospitality Industry while in college. This was helpful as it acted as a complement to the course and was helpful to have practical experience when completing projects etc.

I travelled to London to complete my work experience in the Sheraton Belgravia, which opened my eyes to the working world! I worked in many areas of the hotels and this gave me a chance to decide which area I would like to specialise in.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

The people who influenced me most were fellow colleagues within hotels as they were able to provide feedback on their experiences within college and within the workplace. My parents were very supportive of my decision to work in this industry as they knew it was something I enjoyed, which I think is extremely important in your career choice.

How did you go about getting your current job?

After completing my degree, I moved to London and began working in hotel sales. I decided it was time to move home so I was keeping an eye on the new positions in Dublin.

I saw my current job on the Irish Jobs website and sent an application letter and CV. As I was based in London my initial interview was over the phone which went very well. I was then asked to attend an interview in Dublin, which I did and I was offered the job the next day. I moved home and began working for the hotel in August 2006.

Describe a typical day?

For me a typical work day begins at 8.30 am. Each day I will check who is arriving in that day so that all VIPs are acknowledged and to ensure our regular guests are well looked after. Most days I have a number of appointments with current customers and also new customers. These would normally involve a show-around of the hotel and lunch, but at times we will also meet the client in their office.

The day passes extremely quickly as I am constantly in and out of the office which I really enjoy, but there are pressures with this also as mundane office tasks can sometimes build up. I will also attend trade-fairs, wedding fairs, UK fairs to ensure that the hotel is being promoted at these events and to meet new potential customers.

Another aspect of sales is entertaining  where we bring our top customers to nice events and meals as a means of thanking them and building loyalty, which is alot of fun.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

As Corporate Sales Manager at the hotel my main tasks and responsibilities are to manage our top corporate accounts to ensure that they are happy with the hotel service and facilities. In addition to this I will always be on the look out for new businesses in the area and new opportunities to expand the business in the hotel.

What are the main challenges?

The main challenges in sales are our competitors in the area which keep us on our toes!  It is important to constantly analyse what the competition is doing so that you can respond to this in an effective way. Competition is also healthy as it pushes all departments to provide an excellent service and exceed expectations.

What's cool?

The best or coolest thing about my job is I get to travel, which is always exciting. We go on a number of trips to London and other cities in the UK. I really enjoy getting to see new cities and meeting new people in these cities.

What's not so cool?

Hotels today are operating in a very competitive market which means you always have to be alert and aware of your competitors and their strategies. This can be stressful at times.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

I am very good with people which is a very important aspect to my role. I love meeting and chatting to new people. I am very organised which is important and I have a passion for hotels and the industry so I think that this also reflects in my work and in my attitude.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

I was unsure in school what career path I wanted to follow. It is very difficult at such a young age to know what career you want for certain. My advice and what I did was take a good variety of subjects so that I had options and could apply for a wide variety of college courses.

What is your education to date?

I completed my Leaving Cert and was offered a place in DIT Cathal Brugha Street studying a BSc in Hospitality Management.

Of course the Leaving Certficate is extremely important and a necessity today for any job or any course. The course in Cathal Brugha Street was a 4 year degree course with one year work placement in the 3rd year. I hope in the future to complete a Masters in Marketing.

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

The degree in Hospitality Management meant studying a variety of business courses e.g. Law, Accounting, Strategic Management etc. The first and second year of the course had subjects which were more practical and related to the hospitality industry.

We also ran a restaurant for 6 weeks in the college, which was fantastic experience and fun! The subjects in the final 2 years were more business orientated. This was essential and very relevant to my current role.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

The most rewarding event was when I was promoted from Sales Executive to Corporate Sales Manager in November 2007. I had been working as a sales executive for 2 years and I was very proud and happy to get this promotion.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

I am an ambitious person and I put 100% into my job which reflects positively in my work.

What is your dream job?

I would love to be a clothes designer. The fact that I cannot draw or I am not very creative makes this difficult! I would love to have my own fashion show in Paris, Milan, New York, London and of course Dublin!

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

I am very pleased with the lifestyle I have working within this industry. Working within sales means I generally work a 9.00-5.30 pm day although weekend and evening work is required at times. This allows me to plan for my weekends off and allows me to have more of a social life. I enjoy all aspects of my role, especially meeting people. Lots of training and support has been provided to me so that I am constantly learning and moving forward within my role.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Firstly it is very important that you get a third level education as this is a requirement in most hotels for a job in sales. This is the most important step in working in hotel sales. You should gain as much experience within the industry which I found very beneficial.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

1) Be a people person - working in sales means you are meeting with new people all the time. You have to be confident when dealing with potential customers.

2) Communication skills - it is important to have very good communication skills when dealing with clients and giving presentations. You must be bubbly and energetic when meeting clients and selling your hotel.

3) Organised - I find I am out of the office a lot so it is important that I am organised and plan each day/each week, which means my week goes with less stress and more effectively.

What is your favourite music?

I have an interest in all music types but I listen most to Johnny Cash, The Kings of Leon and Cathy Davey although my music choice can alternate depending on my mood. I enjoy going to see live music.

What is your favourite film?

My favourite film is Moulon Rouge; I must have seen it 20 times.

What is your star sign?

Aries

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

I have taken part in a number of on-the-job courses for sales training, presentation skills, revenue management etc. I hope in the future to complete a Masters in Marketing, but to also continue taking small courses throughout the year to keep learning and developing my skills.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

I think to work in the hospitality industry whether it be a hotel, restaurant or bar is a good background for this position. I think if you are interested in working in hotel sales then working in a hotel and learning about the different departments provides an extremely good foundation for the job. This also means you work better with the other departments as you understand their pressures also.

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