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View From The Top

Bonnie Howard 21 February 2017
View From The Top

Roomzzz-Mark-Walton-High-resName: Mark Walton

Working Title: Chief operating officer

Place of work? Roomzzz, aparthotel chain

How long have you been in your current position and what was your first job in hospitality?

I have been with Roomzzz since 2007 and in my role as Chief Operating Officer since 2015. My first job was as a trainee manager at Whitbread’s after being invited onto a two-year training programme with the company. This propelled my career into the hospitality industry and lead me to where I am today.

What have your career highlights been?

I have been fortunate in my career to travel the world opening hotels across Europe and Dubai, working with many people from different cultures and walks of life and broadening my knowledge of varying legislation processes. I’ve also enjoyed working with a variety of building and construction companies watching the ways of working that can differ from place-to-place.

What challenges do you face in your working day?

I would say that one of the biggest challenges for brands is understanding and adhering to constantly changing legislation. One in particular is employment legislation – ensuring that the right people are recruited for the right jobs and making sure you exceed employee expectations is integral. I have experience working with fantastic managers from France and Spain and admired their frank and direct approach to legislation.

What’s your favourite role?

That definitely has to be opening completed developments. One of the next Roomzzz aparthotels that I will be launching marks my 60th hotel opening in my career history. I really enjoy watching the process unfold, from visiting the site, drawing up plans, commencing construction to watching the final touches come together – it gives me a great sense of achievement.

What has been the most important lesson learnt so far?

Not to expect anything, to plan for the worst and be surprised when things go smoothly!

What are your future plans?

I would like to retire in the next five years and enjoy my retirement coaching rugby part-time. Rugby has always been a passion of mine and something I’d like to get more involved in.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

Due to my passion in sport, when I was younger I really wanted to be a sports teacher. However, I got a part-time job in a hotel when I was studying for my A-levels and I never looked back. I recall using my first pay cheque to buy myself a motorbike!

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Driven, decisive and (really) stubborn.

If you weren’t an hotelier, what would you be doing?

I would hopefully be working in some sort of sporting environment, whether that be a sport teacher, rugby coach or similar – it has always been my passion.