Neville Graham, managing director, International Member Services, Best Western International, takes the Business & Finance 60-second challenge.
Q. What was your first job?
My first job was working in Dublin City University’s student accommodation while on summer holidays from secondary school. The university rents the on-campus student accommodation during the summer months to tourists from around the world.
That first summer I cleaned rooms as a part of the housekeeping team. It was my first experience of the hospitality business and from it I caught a bug which I have never been able to shake to this day!
Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?
Personally I’d have to say my two sons, Ben (6) and Max (4). If I never achieve anything else in my life the boys would be more than enough for me to hang my hat on.
Q. If you could step into the shoes of one businessperson for the day, who would it be and why?
I’ve been a big admirer of Steve Jobs for a number of years now and after he passed I found his biography to be a fascinating read.
It gave me a real insight into how he operated, which was unconventional but also very simple, not to mention effective.
To spend 24 hours in the shoes of such a creative and driven leader and to work in a company as cutting edge as Apple would be a fantastic experience.
Q. In three words or less, how do you define success?
Achieving your goals.
Q. How do you relax?
It sounds strange but I try to keep active to help me relax. I still play football twice a week when I’m not travelling on business and recently I’ve been running more often, which allows me time to think about any issues I might be facing and often come up with solutions.
Of course I also allow myself some downtime in the evenings and weekends to relax with my wife Deborah in front of the TV.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Q. What’s your motto?
Nothing in life that is worth doing is easy to do!
Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?
Best Western Hotels & Resorts is a very dynamic company to work for and operates in the ever-changing hospitality sector so staying motivated is easy for me.
Almost every day brings a new challenge, which I love. With my team, I think communication and strong relationships are key to keeping the team engaged and motivated.
Communication on the company direction and aspirations gives them the ability to look beyond their day-to-day responsibilities, provide their own input but also ensures that they feel a part of the global brand.
Q. What are your aspirations for the future of your business?
It is a very exciting time for Best Western Hotels & Resorts. We have introduced new logos (after 23 years) in the past 12 months and we have introduced new brands and also launched a brand new franchising option – SureStay.
All of this allows more independent hoteliers operating in different markets to enjoy the benefits of a global brand at a fraction of the cost and with greater flexibility than is normally associated with international hotel chains.
I believe that as a result the brand will continue to grow with high quality properties in key destinations and generations of new customers (including millennials) will get to enjoy the truly unique personal experience offered by our hotels around the world.
Best Western Hotels & Resorts celebrated its 70th year in 2016 and I am confident that the brand will be around for another 70 years and more!
Almost every day brings a new challenge, which I love. With my team, I think communication and strong relationships are key to keeping the team engaged and motivated