Paul Walsh is General Manager at The Alan.

Hospitality was a part of Paul’s life from a very young age as he grew up with an extended family that ran pubs; but Paul revealed that working in the industry long-term wasn’t always his “plan”. Initially going to university to study computer science, after a family bereavement, Paul stepped in to help with the running of the pub. Recalling the memory, Paul said, “Six months into it I realised that hospitality was where I wanted to be – I enjoyed the challenge and the activity around the job, not being sat at a desk all day.”

From there Paul became a Bar Supervisor at a hotel and that set him off on a trajectory into the hotel industry working his way up to an Assistant Restaurant and Bar Manager, then into the meetings and events side. Later Paul transitioned into various roles, including Front of House Manager, still keen to learn as much as he could about the running of hotels, then into an Operations Director for a large hotel in Leeds. When the GM for that hotel left, Paul was Acting General Manager for six months and he said, “That experience really solidified my intention to move into a permanent General Manager role.”

Commenting on what he loves most about his role, Paul told us that guest satisfaction and delivering exceptional experiences are his “core motivators”, but in terms of the day-to-day, he said, “I thrive in the variation in my role. Each day is different, and being able to touch so many parts of the business keeps me busy, interested, and allows me to see how everything interlinks to achieve the overall vision. In big hotels, departments can become isolated, but I see my job as investing in the team, bringing them together and ensuring everyone is aligned with the hotel’s strategy to help them and the hotel grow.”

Passionate about growth, the advice he would give someone coming into the hotel sector, hoping to further their career is, “Building a network is crucial as, in this industry, once you’ve proven you’re able to do the job, sometimes it’s who you know that can make a real difference in your career.”

For Paul, securing his first General Manager role was a significant achievement. Having spent years working across different departments, Paul explained how that role “really brought everything together.”

Paul explained how he thrives on winning and seeing the tangible results of his team’s efforts, which is already coming to fruition at The Alan. “Team engagement has gone up by 10%, market share is improving, and guest feedback is getting better. Most importantly though, the team has a clear understanding of, and shares the vision of the hotel. We can only go up from here.”