Hotel Missoni: Meet the GM of Hotel Missoni, Edinburgh
Carina Williamson, GM of Hotel Missoni Edinburgh speaks to hotel-industry.co.uk about running what is now officially the “Best New Hotel in Europe”.
Meet the GM:
- Name: Carina Williamson
- Property: Hotel Missoni Edinburgh
- Number of rooms: 136
Hotel-industry.co.uk: How did you begin your career as a hotelier?
Williamson: I’ve always wanted to have a career in hospitality, as my family background is tied to the industry. I studied hotel management at the University of Stavanger for two years, specialising in finance and marketing. During my career, I was also awarded the Per-Axel Brommeson Scholarship for a two-week management course at Cornell University.
I’ve worked in the hotel industry for 17 years, working in various roles with Radisson SAS in Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Dublin and Manchester, Limerick, Edinburgh and Belfast. When working in the Radisson SAS Hotel Belfast, I was the first female GM in the group – and at just 30 years old, I was also the youngest!
This was a life-long ambition that I’ve had since the start of my career, and have had continual support from my family and the Rezidor Group to help me succeed in my goals.
Hotel-industry.co.uk: How would you describe your style of management?
Williamson: I have a very hands-on management style and enjoy being front of house, greeting our guests, and making sure they receive the “Missoni experience” at all times. No two days are the same in the hotel industry, and we often have lots of different things going on in the hotel – from business conferences to birthday celebrations to exclusive events. I therefore like to ensure that a working day runs smoothly for staff across the entire hotel, so that in turn, our guests feel their needs are always catered for.
Hotel-industry.co.uk: What achievements are you most proud of at your current property?
Williamson: Last year was a big year for Hotel Missoni Edinburgh. In the last 18 months, we have enjoyed great success and in a short space of time not only welcomed guests from near-and-far, but we’ve also hosted exclusive dining events, fashion shows, and opened our boutique spa.
However the biggest achievement was to be awarded “Best New Hotel in Europe” by Worldwide Hospitality Awards … quite an achievement for a hotel less than two years old!
We continually strive to further our guest offering and in doing so, place huge investment in our team. I’m extremely proud of the team at the hotel because people are at the heart of our business, and in the service they provide, it is evident that they live and breathe the Missoni brand. This is evident in our customer loyalty and repeat business.
Hotel-industry.co.uk: What keeps you awake at night?
Williamson:Working in this industry, you don’t get much sleep! However, what does keep me awake is thinking of new and innovative ways to keep our guests 100% happy and add value to their stay with us.
Hotel-industry.co.uk: How is the market changing in your sector and region?
Williamson: There is no doubt that people are spending less, and this is apparent across the UK. This said, we’re striving to make sure we add value to the guest experience. We place great focus on listening to what our customers say and in providing customer feedback cards, we’re continually learning about traveller and diner trends and customer opinions continues to shape our plans going forward.
Hotel-industry.co.uk: What is your strategy moving forwards?
Williamson: As we approach our second birthday in June, we’re focused on increasing awareness of our recently opened Spa Missoni as a destination spa. We’re also building the Missoni brand, and in opening our second hotel in Kuwait this March, we’re becoming internationally recognised as a strong and exciting new hotel brand.
Carina Williamson’s top three pieces of advice for hoteliers:
- Be customer facing – it lets you understand what customers want and need.
- The people are at the heart of our business, and happy people provide great service and atmosphere for guests.
- Love what you do, every day!