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My Job in… Hospitality: Richard Williams, Sales Manager at Vale Resort

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BNW speaks to Richard Williams challenges and rewards of being Sales Manager at the four-star Vale Resort in the Vale of Glamorgan

Why did you decide to work in hospitality? 

I started working at the Vale Resort because I wanted to be in the golf industry. My first job in the pro-shop allowed me to play and practice around my shifts.

Tell us about how you joined The Vale Resort.

My first shift at the Vale Resort was a day after my 16th birthday, working in the restaurant as a casual food and beverage assistant. I worked in food and beverage for about three years, until I went to Cardiff Metropolitan University, then returned to the resort after graduating.

How long have you worked at The Vale Resort?

I’ve been there full time for about 12 years now, but it could be as many as 17 years with the part-time work beforehand.

Explain your job to us in a sentence.

Head juggler.

What does your average working day look like?

Every day is incredibly different. My role involves heading up a sales team of five, who manage more than 200 weddings a year, hundreds of conferences, two national sports teams and the entire golf breaks business across both the Vale Resort and Hensol Castle.

One day I could be dealing with a national football team planning a 15-day training camp, and the next I could be analysing and developing different marketing promotions, which have helped us double our golf breaks business in the last five to seven years.

What’s the best part about working in hospitality? 

Pre-Covid, I was lucky enough to travel to amazing places like Dubrovnik, Barcelona, Sibenik, London and Frankfurt, all so I could promote the Vale Resort to the international business market.

Another perk is that I’m a huge sports fan and I get to manage both the Football Association Wales and Welsh Rugby Union accounts, meaning I get to regularly meet the players and ensure their time at the resort runs smoothly.

What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment, I’m inundated with pre-season sporting training camps for June and July. As we have a number of sports pitches just a stone’s throw from the hotel, we’ve been incredibly successful in attracting the top teams for training camps, such as Juventus, AC Milan, Real Madrid and the French and British and Irish Lions rugby teams.

What are your job’s biggest challenges?

With Covid still causing uncertainty with events, the hardest part of my job has been managing large bookings and dealing with constant postponements.

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in hospitality?

That we just sit back and take reservations. So much work goes on behind the scenes to plan and prep – I am constantly reviewing our offering to make sure we are providing the very best at competitive prices, etc.

What advice would you give to people wanting to work in hospitality?

Understanding what people are buying is different from what you want to sell, and the quicker you remove any barriers to what sells well, the easier the job becomes.

What are the major challenges facing the sector and how does your role factor into tackling them?

Covid has had a huge impact on staffing, so the challenge is to maintain the level of service we are known for when it’s been busier than ever with UK staycations.

What does the future hold for you and the Vale Resort?

Over the next few years, I would like to see our major accounts grow even more so we can really put the Vale Resort on the international map. We’ve also just added bedrooms to Hensol Castle, which will provide a further string to our bow for the events, corporate and wedding market and I’m looking forward to seeing how that takes off. www.valeresort.com