Scottish Careers Week: Our Hospitality Heroes
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Scottish Careers Week: Shining a Light on Our Hospitality Heroes

Scottish careers week 2023

Here at Dakota Hotels, our unwavering dedication to providing exceptional service to our guests is what drives us. We are committed to ensuring that every guest has an unforgettable experience, and while we don’t intend to boast, we take pride in our ability to deliver this promise. 

There is one key ingredient behind our service success stories: our people and their unwavering commitment to delivering our Dakota values.

In celebration of Scottish Careers Week, we pay homage to our roots in Scotland while highlighting the exceptional career journeys of some of our valued team members. From Joanne Martin’s transformation from part-time Room Assistant to esteemed Area Manager to Kieran Docherty’s progression from Restaurant Supervisor to Operations Manager, and Natasha Davison’s rise from receptionist to Hotel Manager at Dakota Eurocentral, each story embodies the ethos of opportunity and growth at Dakota Hotels. 

At Dakota, we believe in providing our team members with unique opportunities for personal and professional growth within our organisation. We encourage our teams to delve into their passions and expand their skill sets, fostering a culture of exploration and diversification during their time with us. 

Illustrating this ethos is the remarkable journey of our very own Area Revenue Manager, Joanne Martin. Her story serves as a shining example of the opportunities and development that await those who are part of the Dakota family. 

Joanne, can you tell us about your career journey so far? 

At the age of 18, I joined the Dakota Edinburgh team as a part-time Room Attendant, during my studies. I started at Dakota for a weekend job, I never expected to find a career. 

After some years there was an opportunity for me to join the reception team – and I decided to try something a little out of my comfort zone.  

After my graduation, I realised just how much I loved working in the hospitality industry – so much so, I decided I no longer wanted to pursue a career in the field of my degree, but instead, I saw a future here, with Dakota Hotels, prompting me to apply for a full-time role in Reservations.  

Working under a great mentor at the time, it’s here that I found my passion for reservations and revenue. I was given the opportunity to develop on this as I completed my HOSPA qualification in Revenue Management soon after, now I am delighted to be working as the Area Revenue Manager for our Scotland Hotels – and have 3 locations under my remit. 

Joanne – what do you feel made Dakota the right place for you to grow your career? 

It has to be the career development and the opportunities across departments – from working in the kitchen or accounts to maintenance or revenue there are always opportunities to develop. I feel proud to work for our brand – and it helps that the interiors are beautiful too! 

Do you have any advice for someone starting out in their career? 

As someone who started out working in the ‘back of house’ I was probably a little shy, but I really surprised myself when I enjoyed being guest-facing working in reception. My advice would be to never say no to a new opportunity – you could surprise yourself and find new passions, just like I did. 

Finally – what’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?  

Don’t sweat the small stuff: you are going to make mistakes – and that’s okay! 

For anyone who has dined in the Dakota Grill, you will know we are truly passionate about good food, high-quality ingredients, and delivering a memorable dining experience. We are incredibly grateful to our highly skilled team who make our Dakota Bar & Grill the heart and soul of Dakota. 

A shining example of this is our very own Kieran Docherty – who has kindly offered to share his unique Dakota journey – seeing him progress from Restaurant Supervisor to Operations Manager.

Kieran, can you tell us about your career journey so far? 

I first joined the Dakota Eurocentral team as the Restaurant Supervisor, I soon progressed within my role becoming the Assistant Restaurant Manager, and then onto becoming Restaurant Manager. At the beginning of 2022 I was given the opportunity to move to our Dakota Glasgow location as Food and Beverage Manager, and just this year I have been appointed the role of Operations Manager. 

Kieran, why do you feel Dakota is the right place to grow your career? 

Dakota puts its people first. There is a genuine interest in personal development throughout the business. Since joining Dakota there have been countless growth opportunities offered to me, which I gladly welcomed. I have been able to complete my WSET Level 2 & 3 in wines, and WSET in spirits. I’m also proud to have achieved an SVQ Level 7 in Leadership & Management through Xtra-Mile. I even continued to develop during lockdown where I completed two HIT Scotland Scholarships and a CMI course in ‘Forming Successful Teams’. All of this has been achieved not only through my hard work but also with the encouragement and support of the inspiring leaders I have surrounding me every day. 

Do you have any advice for someone who is just starting out in their career? 

Be curious! Ask lots of questions and don’t be afraid to run towards the things you might not be that confident in. You will grow when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone. 

Kieran – can you share with us the best advice you have ever received? 

People will forget what you did. They will forget what you said. What they will never forget, is how you made them feel.

Driving the embodiment of our Dakota Values in each of our hotels is a dedicated Hotel Manager, leading their teams to deliver excellence day in and day out. We are privileged to have a team of accomplished professionals at the helm, demonstrating the core principles that define our brand.

Among them is Natasha Davison, the esteemed Hotel Manager of our inaugural hotel, Dakota Eurocentral. Her unwavering commitment to embodying our Dakota values serves as a beacon of inspiration, setting the standard for excellence within our business.  

Natasha – can you share with us your Dakota journey so far? 

I honestly came into the hospitality industry on a whim after graduating with a degree in French and Applied Language Studies. During my first week in a 9-5 role working for a translation company, I knew almost instantly that this wasn’t the lifestyle for me, so I quickly decided to change my career path. 

I started my Dakota journey working as a receptionist, where I quickly worked my way up into a management position, leading a team. I continued to expand my knowledge within the business when I joined the housekeeping team. After almost 7 years working in various roles across the business I took a huge leap – moving to a different property, where I now run Dakota Eurocentral as Hotel Manager.  

Natasha – in your experience, what makes Dakota the right place to grow your career? 

The culture here at Dakota is unrivaled. Our people are invested in what we do and live by our value to be service-driven. Alongside this, there are so many development opportunities within the company, and the business is willing to invest in the training to help you advance your skills. As an example of this, just last year, I was able to complete a HIT scholarship in Revenue Management – this has always been an interest of mine and has helped me greatly in my current role. I’ve received incredible support during my Dakota journey, and I’ve learned a lot throughout the process thanks to the great mentors I’ve had over the years.  

Do you have any advice for someone who is just starting out in their career? 

Every role comes with challenges, it’s about having confidence in what you do while embracing what you fear the most. Ask the right questions and learn as much as you can. 

Natasha – can you share with us the best advice you’ve ever received?  

It is so, so important to spend the time finding a career you truly enjoy. We spend a lot of our lives at work, so make sure you find something fun that you love to do!

With a commitment to nurturing personal and professional development, Dakota Hotels beckons aspiring individuals to explore a world of career possibilities within our esteemed hotels; we promise a culture of exploration and diversification.  

Are you interested in embarking on a fulfilling journey? Discover your path to a rewarding career at Dakota Hotels today.