Nick Halliday, COO at Hotel du Vin
Hotel du Vin's chief operating officer Nick Halliday charts his career so far and gives us an insight into what life is like at the luxury boutique hotel chain...
What does your role involve?
Our company is a diverse business of bistros, bars, bedrooms and terraces in characterful buildings ranging from an old brewery to a restored sugar house.
Ultimately the business is about providing an amazing guest experience and my role is to ensure all components come together to make that happen.
No one day is the same but I lead a team that delivers on all operational facets as well as the sales, marketing, finance and revenue management to ensure a strong commercial performance and statutory control.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
My career in hospitality started straight out of school when I joined the Savoy Group in London on their management training programme.
I spent four years learning from the best in iconic hotels such as Claridges, the Berkeley, the Connaught and the Savoy before spending a year learning languages working on reception at the Palace in Lausanne.
I worked in some fantastic resorts and locations including the British Virgin Islands, Bali and Canada before joining the trailblazing boutique brand Malmaison as general manager in 1999.
After five years I joined Andrew Brownsword and Michael Caines in developing and rolling out Abode Hotels as MD before returning to Malmaison Hotel du Vin in 2014.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Someone with clarity of vision who can inspire people to believe in themselves and deliver their best.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Hotel du Vin is such a well-loved brand with over 20 years of history and loyalty. One of the challenges is evolving and moving it forward whilst remaining sensitive to what inspired it and where it came from.
Fortunately I work with some great people who have been with the business from the early days and are instrumental in helping forge its future.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
Home is in rural Northumberland. Quality time with my wife Jilly and the kids is precious and often the best tonic away from the cut and thrust of work-life.
I spend a lot of time on the road with the job so I always pack my running kit and try to ensure I get out and pound some great routes at the end of the day - fresh air and no phone!
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A farmer! I still love tractors...
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Our new owners Frasers Hospitality have a global presence and an appetite to grow both Hotel du Vin and our Sister brand Malmaison.
There’s huge potential for a brand like Hotel du Vin to continue to evolve and position itself in characterful market places across the globe.
Our acquisitions team are currently busy identifying opportunity so I would expect positive change and significant growth over five years.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Recognise and empower good people within your business. Trust your instinct and be consistent in your actions.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Not to be afraid of making mistakes in order to learn when starting in business and to recognise and draw on the talents of others in order to achieve goals.