Rosemary Paterson once vowed never to work at a hotel. Twenty years later, still working in the hospitality industry, she is ecstatic about her career as a hotel general manager.
Following her graduation from a Hospitality and Tourism Management program, Rosemary was hired to work at Expo 86. Immediately following that, she helped open the Vancouver Trade and Convention Center and then ventured off to Toronto where she landed a marketing job in the 1600-room Canadian Pacific Royal York Hotel, now part of the Fairmont chain. After four years there, she moved back to the Okanagan and joined the Grand Okanagan Resort and Conference Center in Kelowna as its director of marketing and sales.
Now the general manager of The Best Western Inn in Kelowna, Rosemary still finds a tremendous amount of joy in her work. She loves the diversity of dealing with customers, being a support person for the front office, meeting individually with department heads, and each week joining a department during coffee break to monitor concerns. With a keen eye for detail, Rosemary circulates throughout the hotel daily, looking for room for improvement. She also enjoys fitting in the occasional sales call when she’s back in the office.
The most important aspect of the hospitality industry, she says, is to have the right attitude. “Warmth and willingness to serve, and the dedication that comes with that, are vital. Of course there are challenges, but they’re all part of a great job. You have to look for solutions and move forward as a team. It’s important to solve issues together and put policies and procedures in place so you don’t repeat the mistakes.”
Rosemary would absolutely recommend working in the hospitality industry to those considering a career in tourism. “If you have a positive attitude, love to mix and speak with the public, and like a busy environment, there’s no better career,” she says. “Try to show your employer that you are dedicated and love what you are doing. Make your supervisor and property manager aware that you would like to grow further and try a different department. Ask them, ‘Do I need extra training, and what can I do?'”