Why hotel general manager Kimberley Hughes wants her team to love work — and have a life outside of it
Under the watch of general manager Kimberley Hughes, the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort consistently ranks high in both guest satisfaction and employee satisfaction. How does she lead her team so successfully? By not only making sure they love the job that they do, but also encouraging them to make time for their life outside of it.
By Sarah Kelsey
Kimberley Hughes, general manager of the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, is a literal dream catcher. Spend a little time chatting with her and you’re bound to leave feeling inspired.
“We’re at our best when we’re around people we love, and doing what we love,” she says when asked about what inspires her on a daily basis. “We have to take stock and to be true to ourselves and to what really matters to us.”
For her, that means balancing a career as a busy hotel manager (a hotel, we should add, that’s been named “Delta Hotels and Resorts’ Managed Hotel of the Year” several times under her watch) and a personal life that includes raising two young adults, maintaining a successful marriage and doing things she loves like golfing, reading, and going on regular walks with friends.
“Yes, I’ve had a busy job and felt the pressure and guilt of not being home for dinner, but I definitely feel like I am always there when it counts,” Kimberley notes. “I am really passionate about this issue, and it’s not just about moms either. Everyone has a life outside of work that matters. I want people to have a happy and full life outside of work. When they have that and also love what they do, they’ll naturally go above and beyond.”
These aren’t realizations Kimberley came to overnight. She was mostly focused on working her way up the corporate ladder when she started her career as a server and front desk attendant at a hotel in Whistler. But as Kimberley grew within the industry, she ended up working with people who believed in her and gave her new opportunities, and also showed her what it’s like to lead by example.
“You can’t come into work to do a mediocre job and expect to get ahead. You have to give everything you’ve got. You have to help your boss be successful, you have to consider what their needs are on top of what your personal goals are.”
Surround yourself with smart, creative and motivated people and the sky’s the limit.
You also have to consider who you work for. Working for a company you admire and that supports you, Kimberley says, is part of the “doing what you love” equation.
“I really encourage people to find a company they love. You’re either aligned with the culture of your company, or you’re not. And if you’re not, you’re not going to be the best you can be or reach your potential.”
Kimberley knew early on in her career the kind company she wanted to work for. She started as a Director of Rooms at the Delta Whistler Resort and moved into Operations Manager at Delta Whistler Village Suites, and eventually worked her way up to Director of Operations at Delta Sun Peaks Resort. After a brief stint working for a competitor she jumped at the chance to rejoin the chain in her first role as a General Manager. When Marriott International acquired Delta Hotels in 2015, they continued to foster the positive working environment that Kimberley believed in.
“Culture drives us here. I get so many people saying ‘I love your hotel, but the staff made my experience incredible.’ I’m empowered to really take care of my associates and to take care of my customers.”
For her that means overseeing several company-created leadership programs that help her team members set and achieve various goals on a daily and weekly basis. The chain also offers larger corporate initiatives people can take part in like their Women’s Leadership Development Initiative, which helps grow the circle of females in decision-making positions.
It’s about building a team environment where people feel like they’re contributing to the overall success of the hotel and company.
“Success comes from everyone being all-in while also having their own goals and objectives, and getting everyone headed in the same direction and understanding what the company’s goal posts are,” she notes. And, of course, it’s about having fun.
“I’m very vocal about that. If our associates don’t love what they do, there’s no way our guests are going to love staying with us. Surround yourself with smart, creative and motivated people and the sky’s the limit.”
Marriott International, Inc. is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,000 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 122 countries and territories. Marriott Hotels of Canada continues to rank as one of the top 50 best places to work in Canada by AON Hewitt and was awarded Hotelier Magazine’s prestigious Company of the Year Pinnacle award for 2015. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. Connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.