#113 - Hospitality Meets Katariina Reissaar - The Rising Star Hotelier - Hospitality Meets... with Phil Street

Episode 113

#113 - Hospitality Meets Katariina Reissaar - The Rising Star Hotelier

Another week and another rising star of the industry.  This week I got some time with the wonderful Katariina Reissaar, Front Office Manager at Jurys Inn Birmingham (https://www.jurysinns.com/hotels/birmingham).

Despite being quite new to the hotel world, Katariina is already making her mark and co Chairs the Institute of Hospitalitys Youth Council, giving a much needed voice to the next generation of hospitality stars.

In our chat we covered:-

  • Birmingham
  • The weather (Obvs)
  • Being busy
  • Starting with the family business
  • Tents
  • Becoming a nanny
  • Working the student bar
  • Moving off the path
  • Joining a graduate program
  • Unexpected flight upgrades
  • Moving through departments
  • Moving into leadership
  • Mentoring
  • IOH youth council

And so much more. Katariina is brilliant company and it's very clear that she is going to leave her mark on Hospitality.

Enjoy!

This week’s episode is brought to you in partnership with Zero Procure who are here to make procurement simple, offering great value and quality for products and services, all for zero cost. Just click on this link or visit their site at www.zeroprocure.com/podcast to help support both this podcast and your business.



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Podcorn - https://podcorn.com/privacy
Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy
Transcript

00:00.00

philjstreet

Hello and welcome to the next episode of hospitality meets with me your host Phil Street now I've had the fortune of meeting today's guest through her continued work and support of the institute of hospitality where she's incredibly active through networking and being the now co-chair. Of the ios's none ever youth council and we'll talk about that in a minute I'm sure for her day job. She is the front office manager at juries in Birmingham a none bedroom city center property in the heart of the Uk's None largest city that sounds busy. I am delighted to welcome the absolute rising star that is Katariina Reissaar.

00:40.77

Katariina Reissaar

Very good morning Phil you certainly did your um background work and research so well done on that one.

01:34.14

philjstreet

Thank you Very much. It's something I didn't do and I first started this and and you get found out very very quickly and um I'd like lost I can't hope to know everything about you? Yeah ah little bits and pieces that here and there just help. Things move along was all of that accurate by the way.

01:27.73

Katariina Reissaar

No absolutely.. It's very very accurate and as you said definitely is busy and getting busier and busier. Um, even I mean we can't imagine it but it is um so we're just trying to get and keep up with everything I Guess. Um, but it's ah it's all part of the fun.

02:49.54

philjstreet

Yeah I mean 445 bedrooms is a big property.

02:16.13

Katariina Reissaar

It certainly is and I think it's I want to say one of the largest in Birmingham um, we do have other hotels around who come to that size close enough. But I think we are and I might be wrong.

03:20.36

philjstreet

Yeah, yeah.

02:49.77

Katariina Reissaar

But I'm going to be proudly saying that. Yes, we are one of the biggest.

03:34.24

philjstreet

Yeah I think there's the there's a Hilton is it the metro pole or something like that that's in it I don't know from a rooms base if it's bigger, but certainly I think it's got one of the biggest banqueting suites in all of Europe.

03:18.37

Katariina Reissaar

Yes, you might be right? and then we do have um yeah, a couple of other bigger ones around. Um Hyatt is one of them that comes heightwise almost as as tall as us as well. Um, but yes.

04:26.56

philjstreet

Yeah, well enemy. That's not about them. This is about you. How are you enemy.

03:59.97

Katariina Reissaar

I'm really good. Thank you very much. Um, yeah, just um, this morning even the weather is starting to actually show some summer finally which is pretty crazy because I'm quite so tired of putting the same scarf on that I've been doing for the nine months um

05:07.94

philjstreet

Um, yeah, it's been a funny old year isn't it on the on the weather front.

04:36.81

Katariina Reissaar

Oh yes, and yeah, you know as we you I think you all always start most of your podcast with weather talks now. But.

05:28.46

philjstreet

Um, yes, and and you know I recorded one yesterday and we did exactly the same thing. It's it's the it's the most british of british things to do is to talk about the weather.

05:02.39

Katariina Reissaar

Yeah, and even the foreigners like myself adapt that you know would you look at that We're not going to go through much into detail of that. But yeah, no workwise as well and well personal life and work life both. It's just I know how to keep myself busy and um.

05:54.62

philjstreet

Now.

05:36.89

Katariina Reissaar

I've always known that and and it's just never it never stops. Even even when the pandemic was on and full full ongoing I managed to still get myself really busy with everything and anything and um I didn't even feel like there was None

06:44.48

philjstreet

Really yeah and I mean that that's the thing though when people who like to stay busy will always find ways to stay busy.

06:13.43

Katariina Reissaar

Oh yes, yeah and when a quiet sound for me or a man there is a day that I have not really much planned then I genuinely do nothing and I and then I feel a bit guilty at all I actually didn't get up to anything today. Let's let's change that.

07:25.54

philjstreet

Yeah, don't beat yourself up too much. You need the down days as well. Yeah, absolutely cool. Well let's get stuck in then let's go all the way back to the beginning of your career. How did you end up.

06:51.31

Katariina Reissaar

Oh yes, everybody does.

07:58.62

philjstreet

Getting into hospitality in the None place where did the spark come from.

07:21.99

Katariina Reissaar

Yeah, well I guess it's um, it's been part of me almost most of my life I think um and it's not like I'm trying to sound I'm super old already I'm not but that well I think I'm not um. But I guess it all goes back about maybe 15 years or so um, when really young, gauge. Um, when I was a teenager. My mom was part of the catering company and manager and in there which then actually eventually became her own company. But. Um, we start I started off very small with her just during the summertime when the school wasn't running. Um, we had like these outdoor catering events for companies who were doing their like stuff days out or whatnot. Um and we were catering just like. Barbecuing and and all sorts of that kind of stuff. Um from early hours setting up and then going through the day and then finishing quite late in the evening but it was always super fun. Um, and it wasn't that I was doing too much in there but like selling ice cream. You know, starting off very small and then. Um I always had a little bit of a bossy gene I think in me, my brother got my brother got most of it. Yeah, um, yeah, we'll see um, but yeah, um, my brother was ah under a terror most of the younger ages I guess younger years.

10:41.00

philjstreet

Um, oh we're gonna we'll have to explore this.

10:29.59

Katariina Reissaar

Um, but then um I started to to take over from my mom quite quickly when the years went by and when we were setting up for these events and putting all the outdoor tents up which is sometimes a bit of a um, looks like a rocket science. Um.

11:42.80

philjstreet

Um, I think you do need a master's degree. Don't you in in tent building.

11:05.39

Katariina Reissaar

So yeah, oh yeah, and I honest think putting these numbers together and polls and what length and that you know it's it's It's not ah easy as as as easy as you think? um.

12:06.68

philjstreet

No, and you get what you pay for when it comes to tents as well I have learned this a hard way. We we did ah a stag do once in down in Cornwall in the middle of July we think that's quite a safe a safe time to go to Cornwall at.

11:56.73

Katariina Reissaar

Yep.

12:40.52

philjstreet

The worst storm that they'd ever had in July came in that weekend and we'd built our tents and my tent collapsed around me at three o'clock in the morning and it was just blowing ah a gale outside and I literally just wrapped my tent around me like a sleeping bag and that's how I slept. Ah.

12:03.81

Katariina Reissaar

Of course.

12:30.11

Katariina Reissaar

Ah, that is certainly a story to talk about. Ah yeah, yeah I was going to ask you? Ah you know when was the next time but I was I'm not surprised that you have never gone.

13:18.98

philjstreet

Yeah, I'm not sure I've ever got over that to be honest I still have never been camping again.

13:39.26

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

13:04.69

Katariina Reissaar

Um, but yes, um, so and then later on um when I got a little bit older as well. Um, it was the the catering company was still going and you know weddings were happening and all sorts of kind of different events and then eventually um from um. Actually at the same time that I was going to school sometimes after school I went to work in the bistro and then I got into a restaurant um and doing my whole summer in there. Um, and then I actually took a little break in in hospitality as such um and when I finished. High school in Estonia um I moved over to us. Um, and I became a nanny for 2 years which it does um entail a little bit of hospitality I guess um and then um, after that adventure I um came back to Uk when.

15:18.20

philjstreet

Um, yeah for sure.

14:59.10

Katariina Reissaar

Went to uni and started my degree but at the same time we're still working in a bar. Um, actually in uni itself. Um, and then I took another break from hospitality and actually went to reinsurance broking for a year believe it or not. Ah.

16:05.88

philjstreet

Um, obviously yeah.

15:33.31

Katariina Reissaar

Very it was a very straightforward decision and you know, kind of a path to go um and exactly exactly um it was ah it was worth going off off the trail a little bit and and experiencing something new and you know.

16:22.62

philjstreet

Sometimes you do these things to remind you of why you were on a path in the None place right.

16:11.69

Katariina Reissaar

Working in the middle of Manhattan in New York on ah on a very high building um in an office where your canteen overlooks to empire state building. Um, yeah, and dream come through hey um, and actually in a way in a way. It certainly was and then.

17:07.50

philjstreet

Um, Wow Yeah, take that box.

16:48.10

Katariina Reissaar

Once this um, it was it was a placement year so it was a twelve month um kind of track of the uni un unique forces and then I came back to Uk and to Bradford where I was studying and my dad was like so you're coming from New York and going back to the bar in Bradford in the U K and I was like yes. And like to me ah quite happy too. You know that was my natural habitat so to say um and and and and I really did enjoy it there. Um, and the best part of it was that when all of their students were spending money and drinking on Fridays and Saturdays and well all around the week really

18:14.60

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

18:02.85

Katariina Reissaar

And I got to work and be still part of that fund but actually earned money. Um, so that was a really really good thing and then um, when I when I ah graduated university um I was looking for a. Graduate program and that was my very specific condition that I wanted to get into a graduate program. Not just not just to go on ah on a specific job. Um, and it took me a while to actually get somewhere and then of course at the busiest time of my life just before. Official graduation was happening when I was you know flying around europe I found the graduate program um with juries in and Leonardo hotels and I applied for it. Um, and when I was in Germany not planning to come back to Uk for about a month or 2 they called me to gum and to do the assessment center in your k so I was like okay then file and found another flight and um and got to Uk for about 12 hours and to do the assessment sensor and then fly back to Germany. Um.

20:30.72

philjstreet

Um, of course.

20:15.55

Katariina Reissaar

But I was successful and it paid off and honestly I wouldn't go back any any other way and and I've been part of the dury in the Leonardo hotels now almost three years so I graduated my graduate program officially um, just about a month ago um

21:30.76

philjstreet

Um, okay.

20:52.65

Katariina Reissaar

And and yeah, so it got very official and and obviously I stayed on and continued with the company and we'll see where that journey now takes me.

21:49.20

philjstreet

Yeah, absolutely well, there's a couple of things to unpack within all of that. Um, first None None of all the the the travel element um and the and taking you to the the us to do to.

21:20.45

Katariina Reissaar

Um, couple. Yeah yes.

22:22.48

philjstreet

To be at all pair and yeah, yeah long did you say you did that for 2 years

21:43.83

Katariina Reissaar

So I did that for 2 years I went for 1 year and believe it or not so I was I was gonna be an out pair for twelve months and then go back to Estonia as a good child and kid and and go and study law and that was my very specific plan at the time.

22:53.18

philjstreet

Um, right.

22:18.91

Katariina Reissaar

That just changed very quickly when I got to us? Um, but yeah I was there for 2 years with the with the family and and that was one of the best things that I could have done really because they have become my second family and I would never ever they are like almost my blood.

23:03.60

philjstreet

Um, right.

22:53.57

Katariina Reissaar

Family because we we became very very close and we're still very um, very well in in touch and keep up and it's just like my own kids kind of growing up there because now they're teenagers and I can't believe that because they used to be just very very little when I started with them. Um.

24:03.46

philjstreet

Yeah, yeah, and ah, the and what do you think that experience brought to you in terms of the yet because I I travel comes in many forms I think travel for me is just about taking yourself away from.

23:30.67

Katariina Reissaar

But yeah.

23:58.83

Katariina Reissaar

Yes.

24:40.16

philjstreet

The place that you're comfortable and um and so you certainly did that not notwithstanding the fact that you have changed countries massive change in culture massive change in people. You're now living with a different family as well. How did you cope with all of that or did it kind of just kind of.

24:36.19

Katariina Reissaar

It surprisingly it did actually come quite naturally to me that was one of the None flights that I ever took believe it or not and so I had actually been just.

25:17.94

philjstreet

Come naturally to you.

25:36.32

philjstreet

Um, right? um.

25:07.79

Katariina Reissaar

On my none ever flight on that year a couple of months before that to go from Estonia to Austria um, other than that it used to be just the bus travel or what you know, kind of whatever around europe and or car or. But mainly bus travel but there had been almost all around Europe from you know North to south to west to not too much to east because that would take me to Russia. Um, no, um, um, but yeah, um, and and I was.

26:40.28

philjstreet

Yeah, well we don't need to go there today.

26:16.47

Katariina Reissaar

You know, always very very grateful and and really happy to see all of the Europe and and I knew that traveling was something that I well actually no I'm lying here I didn't know at the time that traveling would be such a big part in something that I would really enjoy that much. Um. But then it was one of the none flights and the whole flight story is a completely different story and something that sounds like um things that wouldn't happen to somebody in a lifetime. Um, but oh no I i.

27:51.76

philjstreet

For go on I can't leave that out there.

27:26.59

Katariina Reissaar

Now. So yeah, well Estonia is such a small place so when you go and usually fly somewhere like us you would have to go and change the flight somewhere so I did I don't even remember that changed that much or anything but the flight that I was on from I think I changed in I want to say in Germany. Um, but I don't remember too much now my have been Finland um, but when I got to the flight that took me to New York at the time. Um I sat somewhere all the way to the end of the big airplane. Um like it was None seats and then I guess 4 seats and None or 2 and 3 and.

29:22.70

philjstreet

Right.

28:43.39

Katariina Reissaar

Something like that. Um, and then I had sat down um in in the um back of the airplane and were starting to get ready. You know, kind of taxing and getting up in the air. Well that wasn't I don't know if we got into the air at the time a lot of details are fuzzy I guess because it was so many years ago. Um, but then at some point a um, a gentleman came to approach me and said that um well would you would you mind swapping the seats because like my partner is just sitting right next to you and we kind of want to spend the flight together I was like yeah well. No problem like I don't mind I I don't really care where I'm sitting on this plane because you know it doesn't matter and I was like so where's your seat. Well he see was in the None class. But.

30:47.14

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

31:00.80

philjstreet

Welcome to your None ever flight.

30:26.95

Katariina Reissaar

But so um, yes, so I swapped with him and I was like sure and no problem and I felt like an alien in that none class people looked at me like why are you here? Um, but I was so grateful that I actually had that because I got really really bad headache on that. Flight like something that would make you like extremely sick but in the none class at least you can put the seat down and kind of lay down and and that really got me through the flight. Um because I yeah, it's a long flight as well. I guess about seven eight hours so um it all went.

31:49.64

philjstreet

Um, right.

32:12.56

philjstreet

Ah.

31:41.29

Katariina Reissaar

So Wow and I I'm so grateful that it all happened but it's um, but it's just um, yeah I didn't really expect that at the time you know? Um, ah oh I got spoiled with that in us my host family whenever we fly because they took me everywhere.

32:34.86

philjstreet

Yeah, and I can never fly an economy again.

32:19.81

Katariina Reissaar

We really went um which I can't tell you how grateful I am for all of that because they showed me so much of us. Um, but a lot of times we were either in in like business class or none class because my my host mom used to fly a lot before the pandemic. So. Um, we just had the chances to do that and or sometimes it was you know, not particularly in the none class but it still was um, really comfortable flight experiences. Um and um, and now you know I'm back in Europe and because the.

34:01.62

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

33:35.63

Katariina Reissaar

Direct flight from UK to Estonia is Ryan air then that's what I'm on usually so now that I'm complaining they get me from a to b.

34:23.67

philjstreet

Right? Yeah, as long as they yeah I mean that's that's subjective number 1 right? Yeah, as long as they as they arrive then that's I mean that that's all up in the air at the moment pardon the pun um and it's such fun to travel at the moment. But then anyway.

34:06.79

Katariina Reissaar

Yeah, that's that's a really good thing. Um, but yeah, so um, but traveling definitely became then a really really big part of me and of course now living in a completely different country but all of my family and friends. Well not all of my friends but.

35:00.20

philjstreet

Um.

34:45.55

Katariina Reissaar

A lot of my long-term friends still live back in Estonia um, so that means that I actually fly quite often and it's not just an unfortunate unfortunate, not just for a holiday. Um, which is still a little bit of a holiday when I go home because I'm not technically at work or anything but um, but yeah, it's um, it's just. Part of me now and I wouldn't really quite imagine that any other way now and and I'm really hoping to incorporate that more into my whole hospitality career as we as we go forward.

36:26.64

philjstreet

Yeah, so within the ah graduate program that you're on the apprenticeship program just talk us through for it because people have perceptions of what our graduate program might look like but some listeners might not have a clue so just talk us through. What your program kind of exposed it to.

36:26.50

Katariina Reissaar

Yeah, So um, graduate program. Why it was so um, attractive to me at the time um, was because it was um. Always designed to be in different departments. It doesn't really matter where I think you do your graduate program. But you always go through a certain elements of the business. Um you you know you you get to experience different sides of it and I think that's the whole um, kind of concept of it. Um, and. And this was a management graduate program. So It was kind of the fact that you started all the way from the bottom um I was super super. Um, lucky again like in a way like I was in us with the family because unfortunate, not all of the all pairs um have as good of an experience as I did and.

38:50.10

philjstreet

Um, sure.

38:14.65

Katariina Reissaar

I think a little bit and maybe that sounds a little bit cocky at the time but I was very very lucky with the hotel that I got um and and the team that was in there because um, as as the graduate program is designed I managed to go through every single department of. Off the hotel and the first hotel that I went into was Leonardo Royal grand harbor in Southampton just right at the docks and that hotel had oh did yeah wasn't a good experience.

39:45.74

philjstreet

Yeah I've actually stayed in that hotel. Yeah, but it wasn't ah it wasn't it was out of but because it it used if I've got the right hotel is it that it used to be a devere. Yeah yeah.

39:30.30

Katariina Reissaar

Yes, it used to be de beer The one that looks a bit like pyramid.

40:22.40

philjstreet

That's the one. Yeah, we used just it because I used to sail out of Southampton on Cruise ships. Um, and as a ah staff member crew member not I wasn't off on cruises all the time. Um, and um, yeah, and that was one of the hotels of choice. Really.

39:44.77

Katariina Reissaar

How nice.

39:58.27

Katariina Reissaar

Who.

40:56.20

philjstreet

If you were overnighting before you would join the next day.

40:16.39

Katariina Reissaar

Yes, yes, that's what it still is um, you know, um, sometimes there were some of the staff members. Um, but mostly and mainly the cruise passengers who either come or go from the cruises they stop in Southampton and they would well. It's. 1 of the few hotels that is that is so close to the terminals and everything. So. But yeah, all in all that hotel actually had every single department that you could imagine a hotel really having um you know from a Marco Pier white steakhouse to just a bar. Um that serves just a different crowd. Um, two really big um conferencearian like meeting rooms to spa and obviously then reception and and then housekeeping and everything else. So um, yeah I went to my very natural and already a department that I had. Experience a lot. So I started with the Marco Pi white steakhouse I was there for a month or a month and a half then I moved to the bar again, something quite familiar to me then the whole Christmas period came and all the Christmas parties and so on so I moved to the meetings and events departments. Um, again, something that I haven't already been part of but ah new things to learn because in hotel it's it's all kind of operates a little bit differently but then um, when the new year had passed. Um I started in reception something that I had never done before. And I was like don't know like I have never used a system before that was something a little bit maybe scary at the time because I genuinely had no idea what I what I should and would expect in there. Um, but very very quickly that became my favorite department. As my role now reflects front of his manager. Um, and yeah, well unfortunately unfortunately then the pandemic happened and we would have with the graduate program we would have had to change the hotel at that time. So in my graduate program we we should have changed the hotel twice so we would have done 3 hotels alltogether. Um, the none hotel was meant to be the one where you do all the departments. Um, and then the second hotel more when you're in a duty manager role and then the none hotel when you start getting into like a head of department role. So either just kind of assistant.

45:10.40

philjstreet

Right.

44:59.69

Katariina Reissaar

Somewhere and then working your way up and then securing the head of department position. Um, or whichever way you know it works for anybody and everybody um, but yeah, ours went very very differently. Um, mine. Um, so then the pandemic happens. Um I was extremely. Lucky and grateful to the general manager. Um Andy Gray at at Grand Harbor Hotel because um, he took me as one of his small team to close the hotel. Um, so obviously the day came when we had to well he had to announce that we're closing the hotel and most of the people will go on none but then some people had to stay to close to hotel and for me that was a bit of a surprise because I had only been in the hotel about Eight nine months compared to obviously a lot of people who had been there for years sometimes um, but so yeah, that was one of the biggest compliments that he could have told me really.

47:17.88

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

46:54.61

Katariina Reissaar

Um, and and and I did stay there and I was one of the last ones to leave the hotel once we we actually shut it completely down after a couple of weeks from the announcement and then I was one of the first ones to come back and as well. Um, and then I was. 1 of the very very few ones even from that small team who then kept working five days a week um because of just the front office was the main one that we you know needed the people on and not everybody had as much of a experience with the systems and so on.

48:28.92

philjstreet

Um, if.

48:02.39

Katariina Reissaar

So I stayed in there. Um, then obviously we had to close the hotel again after a few months um which again I was one of the last ones with a couple of other people to leave the hotel. Um and then the hotel was shut. Um, but then very soon. I had an opportunity to go and work in None of our hotels in heathrow airport when that was turned into a quarantine hotel so that was a little bit of a couple couple of months projects. Um, and then I went back to open the grand harbor.

49:29.70

philjstreet

Um, right.

49:11.55

Katariina Reissaar

Um, and we got that all on a full swing. Um, it all came back very quickly and and it definitely got really busy very very soon after the reopening. Um, but then I managed to secure in the position in Birmingham um, and then the transition period was a little bit of a time where I just wrapped everything up in Grand Harbor and then came over to Birmingham and then that's where I have been ever since but the yeah the graduate program definitely really really helped with a lot of it. Um, and I did manage to see almost every single apartment. Um, and and that's that's what I wanted and that's what I got.

51:01.82

philjstreet

Yeah, and I suppose then it allows you to make a but a better decision for some something that feels right for you right? as opposed to I suppose I don't know starting life as ah as a waiter in a restaurant and then just working up through the restaurant. You wouldn't necessarily then get the exposure into the.

50:44.87

Katariina Reissaar

So yeah.

51:38.70

philjstreet

Ah, the other side of the business just you know those over there that um, what do they do over there.

51:03.65

Katariina Reissaar

Yeah, exactly. Um, yeah, no 100% and um, it just makes me a lot more comfortable being in a hotel as well, especially as ah as a duty manager I suppose because I I know that I can. And help any any department that I need really if it's housekeeping I would say maybe not today but's and and I'm only saying that because I know how hard work that is and I cannot say how grateful and thankful we are especially in Birmingham as well to the all of the housekeeping team that.

52:40.92

philjstreet

Are.

52:18.79

Katariina Reissaar

Works here because what they do is just absolutely crazy work and crazy job and to manage all of these bedrooms in such a short period of time as well. It takes me about half an hour to do a douve and a bed. You know, not even considering that the whole room needs to get done with that time or less.

53:33.74

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

52:58.39

Katariina Reissaar

Um, so no I would always go anywhere and and help any department that needs needs helping but um, and and that's what the whole graduate program gave me and and that's what's um, the pandemic really gave me as well because you you just had me. You didn't have anybody else in there helping out. Um.

54:13.76

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

53:38.13

Katariina Reissaar

And um, and I think every manager especially in hospitality and and if you are in a hotels you should know kind of where these people are coming from and what they're doing daily basis because if you don't know I think it's a lot harder to make effective and efficient decisions day you know day in and out. Um, because you would say that oh they didn't do this again or they didn't do that. But do you know how to consider why this wasn't done or you know.

55:06.50

philjstreet

Yeah, yeah, absolutely and actually that point on housekeeping I think it's such a good one I mean you you take anybody who works out of in housekeeping out of the equation right? You don't have a hotel basically end of and I remember I had was lucky enough to have Joanne Taylor Stag on

54:49.30

Katariina Reissaar

No no.

55:46.50

philjstreet

Ah, here who's the general manager of the athenaeum in London and she was saying that she's her housekeeping team have been grateful that they were able to get back up to capacity fairly quickly because they didn't want her anywhere near the housekeeping because you know as you say. They do. They have a ah system. It's efficient. They they know what they've got to do she comes in. She's like ah ah what they're doing you know I've got an idea but you know is this the right you and all of that sort of stuff. So it's um, yeah, where every business is um, no job is more important than the other right? It's ah it's all.

55:51.39

Katariina Reissaar

Yeah, yeah.

56:20.49

Katariina Reissaar

Yeah, exactly and I think on that on that note as well as you said you know in hospitality and you you can't have ah sorry not in hospitality. Yes, but in a hotel you can't have a hotel if you don't have housekeeping team.

57:01.72

philjstreet

Part of the same machine. Yeah.

56:57.97

Katariina Reissaar

If you for some reason need to close. Let's say restaurant or bar. Yes, great I mean not great, but um, there's lots of them around just outside the hotel as well. Usually but if you don't have a bedroom to give to a person that's where it really just comes and that was what it was during the pandemic and lockdown as Well. You could only operate with. But with the bedrooms you couldn't operate. You know the bars and the restaurants if they weren't outdoors. They were closed and you couldn't open them. Um, but you have to have housekeeping to do the bedrooms because otherwise you don't have a business.

58:26.26

philjstreet

Yeah.

58:40.10

philjstreet

Yeah, absolutely. So now you're your leading team. How have you found that transition into to leadership.

58:19.43

Katariina Reissaar

Um, you know as I mentioned earlier. There's the the bossy gene was always there. Ah ah oh hundred percent and I think that's what I have really learned um, over the time. So um.

59:10.52

philjstreet

Um, yeah, you have to if you want to be a good litter. You got to re the bossage in back.

58:57.53

Katariina Reissaar

And despite the graduate program helping me with the whole managerial part of the business and kind of getting into the role. Um I didn't really get to the whole team leaning part until I got to Bremingham because in in grand harbor I was more of a.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

59:34.81

Katariina Reissaar

Team player then team leader in general yes, in department sometimes I had to you know take the take the lead and and sort some things out but I was never a head of department there or a kind of a manager of a team and I was a manager but just in a different perspective. Um. When I got to Birmingham that's when I got um a a team and in in Birmingham as you you know we mentioned it's four hundred and forty five bedroom so it's not the smallest team especially in reception. Um, so it was quite a lot of people um under me and um.

::

philjstreet

Um, ah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Definitely not as many as some other managers have but um, but as ah as somebody doing None time kind of the thing and getting the ranges of it. It was a sufficient amount. Um, and um, yeah, it definitely took time to to get in there and and get. Get hold of it and get an idea of what it actually means to be ahead of that team and and and leading them and actually one of the questions that the general manager at the time asked me when when she interviewed me, she asked me um, quite straightforwardly that you know we do have a quite a. Strong team in in reception in here. So How do you think you would fit in and how do you think that you would make the changes and I was really honest and I said that listen I'm I'm actually quite glad to hear that there's a strong team because I have a lot to learn from them and and if we need to change anything or do anything then I would do that together with them. And I think that's one of the biggest things um in me as ah as a manager or as a leader um I am part of them. It's not that I'm above them or or anything like that I am part of them and and we work together and and I want you know I.

::

philjstreet

No.

::

Katariina Reissaar

As many managers hopefully would say I would never ask them to do something that I would never do myself. Um, so um, despite being a head of department I still get into operations quite a lot you know reception desk and so on um, and.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

I Want to be there and you know I have to be there because otherwise I wouldn't really know what's going on daily basis if I would sit in an office all day and and and do everything else that I need to um but I've I've learned so much about myself. Definitely while being the leader I I know that I can't be a very.

::

philjstreet

Are.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Angry and you know, um, negative and serious because I just don't know how to do that I want to solve things in a positive way and every person has its own their own Story. You know? Um, if there's something that's not quite functioning well or if there's something that's. Going a little bit off tracks or or sideways. There's a reason for that. Um, and I am there to be a leader to find these reasons out and find out how we can amend these things and how we can make sure that that person can thrive in the role. Um, so um.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Definitely many many things and a lot of things still to learn. But None thing that I do know and is that as a leader I want to be there to progress and help these people to progress and make sure that they get somewhere and yes in hospitality, it's hard to keep. People sometimes um and the turn turnover is quite big in terms of stuff and they tend to go off somewhere but I don't mind that I actually would love them to do that and especially when they go and do and get to somewhere higher in a position like if we can for example. Ah. You know, um, offer that to them at the time because of the vacant is being full. Um I would be quite happy for them to go and pursue something higher somewhere else at least that I know that you know they have learned that and they're confident to go and do that.

::

philjstreet

Yeah, yeah, and the um if it's so time to fly. Let them fly. Yeah absolutely um, another wonderful cliche from me there just as always. Um, no, that's that's cool and so and let's talk about the.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Exactly. Ah.

::

philjstreet

The youth council. Well let's talk about the I in general. So it's funny enough this is weird right? because we just did a podcast on this last week so it's a look out for that on the other podcast that I host and I think I might upug this podcast last time on that one and now I'm doing vice versa but whatever. Um.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Exactly.

::

philjstreet

So how how did you get involved with the ios in the None place.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Well, you know if I did tell you that I like to get myself busy and you know even though there's four hundred and forty five bedrooms to manage and the team there's still time for everything else right? Ah yeah.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah I've got to have a spare 10 minutes this week. So how can I fill that.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Well, that's really much. Um, yeah, how it was I guess um at the time. Um, when I got involved with the institute of hospitality that was I think a year ago um last year in January for every time I believe. Ah, which was still a little bit of the whole pandemic time so we had a lot more time. Um, but then you know it had to continue so that's something that I'm now trying to fight in time for um, but at the time ah it was actually um, Libby Davies who ah used to be my colleague.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Then went off to do um, different things and now is doing event management which is definitely something that she's really good at and but she um, got onto institute of hospitality and got into the mentoring program. Um, and she was lucky enough to have ah Robert Richardson as a mentor.

::

philjstreet

Um, ah would we would we say lucky enough at that that I don't know. Yeah, ah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

For her I don't know this is recorded Phil I can't say Martin Junior um so um, she was the one who then kind of got me along um and. I wanted to get to the mentor program and I I as much as I I thought that I can do a good job. But I think I could do better if if somebody else kind of shows me or guides me in some some little other ways. Um and I managed to get on on on institute hospitality and the none thing that I did was to sign up for the mentor.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Ah, me program which is absolutely great. Um, in in ios. Um, and I I was paired up with a mentor. Um and her name is Sarah Ballinger and I could have not imagined that being a better match. Um, at the time because we are literally I'm just. Um, a little bit younger version of her so she's gone through anything and everything and and daily life personality wise and everything we we know what it's like and we just understand each other really really well because we're just so similar. Um, and she's a little bit. Um, no.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

I guess I'm a little bit like her but she she likes to travel and and she she's she's great at it and she flies all around the world now as well. Um, for her job and so but then a few months down the line. Um Robert Richardson was you know, um, put in a position of Ceo which. Um, is has gone I think really well um, and um, ah, he kind of did a little shout out in link in well I link it in was the channel then I got onto it but um to put together the youth council and as I still had some time to fill you know in my.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Daily life and calendar. Yeah, yeah, exactly um I reached out to him and I said that I um you know would love to be part of it and would love to um, um, be part of that idea and kind of get involved with the whole.

::

philjstreet

don't don't don't 7 minutes No.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Younger parts and younger generations of and hospitality but in Ins Institute hospitality as well um and then it's just all kind of started to um roll very quickly and then we got together as a team and youth council and all of these people were super fantastic. Um, for our ideas matched everybody kind of brought something different on onto the on the board. Um, but it all blended blended in really well and we we just started to kind of do our thing and um and now year forwards I think we've been quite. Successful on what we're doing. Um, um, we're just done our none live event as well. Which was super exciting. Um and went really well and and we just proved to ourselves as well that this is why we're doing it and this is what we want to see more and this is the people that we want to do it together with and. And kind of March forward and have them on the backside of you know all of that as well because there's so much out there and there's so much talent There's so much knowledge. Um, and it comes everywhere every side of the hospitality really is not just hotels or restaurants or bars.

::

philjstreet

Are.

::

Katariina Reissaar

All of the other sides of the business are involved as well and it's it's just so great to see um and I would have definitely not imagined all of that going that direction when we first started and when I first joined instead of hospitality. Um I would have. I had no idea but at the time you couldn't even have an idea because that didn't exist. Um, so thanks to Robert it all kind of materialized and we're hoping that this will kind of be forever kind of thing now. Um going forward then supporting the younger.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Talent and giving them the little push and confidence that they need.

::

philjstreet

Yeah, but also it bridges the gap between ah generations you know it puts it gives everybody a seat at the table and that's the thing that I like about it the most is that in order to affect anything positively you have to keep as many people as possible at the table.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Yes.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Exactly and.

::

philjstreet

For that discussion and um, yeah I mean you having giving everybody a voice in whatever is being discussed I think is is great and but also the creativity comes in many different forms from many different places. So.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Yeah, and that's what we've definitely seen as well and and the response that we have gotten back from other like Ai members or student members in institute of hospitality has been just so so positive and there are people who want to get involved and and there are people who want to kind of um. Match the same purposes that we ah we are kind of preaching about and you know to to make sure that other people know that hospitality is a career. You know we've all started somewhere and we've all done kind of the.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Nice bar jobs in a uni bar where you have the Rockby teams doing all the pleasant stuff on their socials and you know? Yeah, oh yes, it's all so responsible. Oh my goodness I couldn and even imagine in any other way. Um.

::

philjstreet

Um, yes, drinking responsibly I think it's cold isn't it? Yeah, ah yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

So it's it's a nice job to have at the time I'm surprised that I stayed in hospitality after that. But no, but it is the fun part. Um, but just I'm kind of giving the people the idea and the young people especially and their families I guess. Um, that's um, you can progress and you can progress so fast and you know me who I had never been in hotels before I am leading a reception team in a hotel that has None bedrooms. Um, it's just something that again I would have never imagined even when I started the graduate program.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Um, but within just couple of years even despite the fact that the pandemic was in between and and all of the hotels were shot and you know, um I still got there and and I have such a long way to go up but I know that it's possible and I know that I can do it and I just need to kind of want it.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Um, and and put myself out there. Um, but that's that's what it's all about and I think that's what we want everybody to kind of know and understand as well.

::

philjstreet

Yeah here. Yeah absolutely and keep surrounding yourself with good people who who give you advice doesn't have to be good advice all the time but just you know it did to help broaden your own view of something. It's good to be surrounded by people.

::

Katariina Reissaar

I Think it's best if it's not good advice at all times because otherwise you wouldn't know what the good advice is ah exactly or bad advice. Yeah, because that also have.

::

philjstreet

Yeah, yep, that's very true and sometimes you can't know if it's good advice until you actually put yourself in the situation whereby you're acting it out but yep and did yeah absolutely awesome. So um, from your career so far.

::

Katariina Reissaar

And.

::

philjstreet

Do you have any? yeah, any funny stories that spring to mind I mean apart from being upgraded to None class in a jet.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Ah, you know, um, hospitality itself is quite a funny thing itself I guess um and I think the the funniest parts are the ones that you don't always realize at the time that it's funny. But when you are in a hotel on a kind of Friday afternoon evening when. You know you have almost a full hotel coming in and then just everything can go absolutely you know I don't know what's the appropriate word here to use. Um but everything just yeah happens at the same time you know nothing during the week it's all nice smooth. Everything goes. Well.

::

philjstreet

Yeah I understand.

::

Katariina Reissaar

But then when you need everything to run super well, that's when everything just goes downhill you you know your fire alarm goes off or you know, um, perhaps and the lift malfunctions or you know what? and and it's not like you know three o'clock this happens five o'clock this happens? No no, no.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah, when that big table of 20 comes in. Yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

It all happens at None or None when just you know you don't need it to happen and then when you just yeah, exactly then one that you missed out from the list. Um I think that's when you then couple of days look back in your life. How did we even do this like how is that even possible. But I think that's beauty of hospitality. Um, and and those funny stories or fun stories. They definitely happen all the time. Um, so it's hard to pick the best ones out I think um. But it's certainly um and just the kind of ah small things aligning at the wrong like um and but that's i.

::

philjstreet

Yeah, but they they teach you um, essential skills Really you know because because that's kind of life Really here we go I'm going deep again. But um, yeah, but you know stuff happens all the time and actually your ability to respond to it.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Oh very deep Phil. It definitely. Yep, it certainly tells you the life scales and you you know you need to learn how to not walk out of the door at the time.

::

philjstreet

Um, as as how you win. Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Because that's maybe something that you definitely want to do at the time. But no, you're right? and it is certainly the the resilience I think that's one of the biggest things and I think nowadays resilience is something that you you just have to have um because there are always so many things happening it might not just be. At the work or you know it might be the personal life or or whatever. But I think what you what you learned from them is that okay everything happens at that time and it's not great and um, you might not know what to do then. But then you realize after you know it all passes.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

And and there is a solution to absolutely everything and everything. It's not like the world um will touch wood but it's not going to collapse on you because there is a It's just um, there's a solution.

::

philjstreet

Yeah, please do touchwood? yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Genuinely for every single situation and you can always get out of it. You might not know the answer at the time but you will find it and in hospitality if you don't know how to find it. There is somebody next to you who will.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Um, because that's what it just brings together isn't it. It brings together all of these people with different experiences in in their own lives personal lives with different experience from their work life. Um, and there's a solution somewhere in there. You just yeah and you might not even know that these people. Could help you in those ways but then situations like that Definitely bring it out and and that's when it really just turns into a bit of an anecdote afterwards you're like you know what happened this happened? Um, So yeah.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

philjstreet

Ah, yeah, and these anecdotes come up in your mind at the most inappropriate moments as well like you I'll remember stories from you know when I was a right old Raga muffin when I was ah I used to tear it up at it. Um, and um. You know and then I think myself God was that me did I You know back in my early career did I Really do that My God need to sit down with that young man and give him a piece of my mind. But um, no I But that's you know that's all part of development right? And you I think the key thing but all of that is is.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Yeah, so hundred percent

::

philjstreet

As you said you know there's always going to be somebody who knows more than you so and also be in a ah position as supposed when stuff does go wrong if you did everything that you could to prevent that then just own the fact that that happened and you know it's just.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Yep.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Yep.

::

philjstreet

1 of those things we we learn. Let's try and make sure it doesn't happen again and we all move forward. Um, great. So um, final question before I let you get on your way and what would be your top 3 reasons for someone to come and join hospitality.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Exactly.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Oh you know? um I think choosing the 3 out of everything um is very hard. Um.

::

philjstreet

Um, ah, glad to hear it.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Ah, um, 1 did you want me to say that oh I only have two so we might need to think about the third one now. Um, no, um for myself I think one of the biggest things is flexibility. Um, yes, you sometimes have some crazy hours and whatnot and um.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah, but.

::

Katariina Reissaar

For me I've always been the type of a person who loves to sleep in the morning. So for me doing like evening shifts I would be still awake at 11 you know PMMidnight doesn't matter whether I'm working in the morning or not and but during the evening shift where I get to just sleep in the morning and then um.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Get um with my day. A little bit later on um, that just helps. But then at the same time sometimes it's really good to just work wake up really early in the morning when everything is just super quiet and you you walk to work and you're like oh it's actually really nice when in the the whole city hasn't woken up yet. It's good to see the contrast but it's just the flexibility because um I I don't know many other jobs in other industries where you can say that. Oh this Tuesday Wednesday I'm taking off and going to you know somewhere where I have never been in England or even abroad sometimes you know if you're really adventurous.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Um, and and and it's actually good because the weekends are busiest everywhere and anywhere anyway. So if you take the time off in the middle of the week to go somewhere. You actually get to experience properly as it is because you don't need to think about the big crowds or or you know.

::

philjstreet

Boy damn good point that is yeah god I do I never thought of that. Um, actually no yeah, but that's that you're the None person that's ever said that? Yeah, um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Um, things like that. So.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Did you not? It's like you never been part of hospital really? Okay, well there we go then that goes down in history with me. Ah, but no I've I've experienced that so much and I do find not yeah.

::

philjstreet

Absolutely.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Not that I don't love Birmingham you know because what's what's there not to love? Um, but um I do tend to go somewhere away almost well not every week but very often. Um, just to even see my friends down in Southampton or go to London or you know, um. Other cities and towns where we have my hotels in that I can just go and visit and kind of get away and it's brilliant to do it during the weekdays. Um but indefinitely flexibility. Yes, there's a world out there. Um, one of yeah so one of the none things would be flexibility. Um, the other thing.

::

philjstreet

That there's a world out there for sure.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Um, second reason I guess would be the fact that I just spoke about the the career progression. The the fact that you can go from the the you know the lowest of the low to highest of the high I guess are the topest of the top. Um, and. And you know anything is possible and it's it's not even just moving from you know bottom to the top It's also sideways because you can go. You know you find that oh this is maybe not the department or the you know section of the business that business that I want to be part of but maybe I'm better at something else. Um, and you can move um all the way across because even people in our hotel. Um and especially the managers on on the top as well. Um, that we have they have been part of you know the office jobs but they've been operational and they've tried it all out in different ways. Um because you have always decides. You know the conference side where you need to talk to the clients and get them booked into the conference rooms or the finance side or whichever so there's many many people that I know especially here in the Birmingham hotel that have you know, worked their way through a different department and then found themselves where they are most. Um, comfortable and where where they they know that they can put all of their skills to um to work. So um, and and and there's so many people in in in my company but also through the networking that I've um learned from institute of hospitality and so that they've you know they they started as.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

You know dish wash if it was just washing dishes or um, just being in you know, reception and now they're are general managers or you know which which whichever way you you want to you want to see it so 100% and I don't think that's possible everywhere. Um a lot of other sectors and in other industries.

::

philjstreet

Um, yeah.

::

Katariina Reissaar

And not that it's a bad thing but you would need to go and get another degree to get higher or you know you need to um, learn other things but it's just and I think hospitality is the beauty of the fact that you can learn things on the job and even the like a kind of admin side of it. Um. You know, getting getting into P and Ls and and stuff like that. Yes, you might not be the greatest at it. But there will be a fight. There will be a way to to get there and somebody can support you on this if you want to go higher and then the final um I think well.

::

philjstreet

Um, step.

::

Katariina Reissaar

As I said there's so many but I think one of the other things is just the benefits that come with the hospitality. The fact that you um, you know everything? Even if you work in the hotels and you want to go and travel around the world or or whichever you can go and do that there's nothing that holds you back um. And if you are part of in bigger hotel groups like like well I don't know if jurors and Leonardo is the biggest but it's definitely on an average side and and we do have hotels across all of the Uk and Ireland and and also in Europe so we get to you know. Go and experience them and and and add to very affordable rates for us as well. So again, not something that you can can can do with every industry and and everywhere so and there's so many other things you know, um, the awards that are being done every year across.

::

philjstreet

Now.

::

Katariina Reissaar

All the world really? Um, the the recognition the it's It's just it's It's really good and it's it's something that definitely motivates you and wants you um to get higher and and and something that wants you to make um make a mark and prove yourself to everybody else as Well. And. Um, yeah I think these are the kind of 3 top 3 in a nutshell.

::

philjstreet

Yeah, perfect. Yeah well I mean look I I have been wanting to get you on the show for quite some time life gets in the way of course, um, ah, but we got there in the end I think you're you're absolutely on the path. To ah where you're definitely where you should be because you know the hospitality definitely suits you. You seem to ah resonate with it as well. Importantly, and um, no I wish you continued success and I'll be ah, we'll maybe get you back in a year's time to see.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Yeah, may be changed. It's no pressure. But you know we'll try to get there. But no thank you so much Phil appreciate that.

::

philjstreet

How you're progressing. Yeah pleasure no problem at all I Well I shall let you on your way and and thanks again for your time.

::

Katariina Reissaar

Now problemable thank you for inviting and and have a good day and and good week ahead thank you Phil Bye bye

::

philjstreet

Um, you too. Thanks Katrina bye bye.