Nicola Edmunds, Director of Revenue and Sales, at St David’s Hotel, Cardiff.

Tell us about your professional experience within the industry so far and your journey to being Director, Revenue and Sales?

I joined St David’s Cardiff 12 years ago as a Business Development Manager and it’s been rewarding to progress to my current position as the Director of Revenue and Sales.

What do you love about working at voco St David’s Cardiff?

I’m incredibly proud of where I work; it’s such an iconic building in Wales and such an accomplishment to remain Cardiff’s only five-star hotel for over 20 years. Being the only five-star hotel, voco St. David’s tends to attract VIPs, Celebrities, Artists and the exciting new industries and events that come to Cardiff.  Seeing how we contribute to building business and success in Wales gives me immense pride and satisfaction within my role.

What made you choose hospitality as a career choice?

Diversity. There are such a variety of events and situations in hospitality, so every day you’re doing something different in a dynamic and fast paced environment. It certainly keeps me on my toes!

My job has given me the opportunity to travel and meet new people, many of which I can now call close friends. I get a thrill from chasing and securing new business for the hotel and Wales; particularly when it is for high profile events or new industry coming to work in Wales! It’s great to win business not only for the Hotel but to help put Wales on the map and secure business from other UK locations.

What have been your highlights and proudest moments, so far, working in the industry?

There have been many of things that have made me proud during my time in hospitality but, securing the position at St David’s Hotel was a highlight as it is known to be the best hotel in Cardiff. I am very competitive within my team and I always put my department up for winning awards. Previously we have won department of the year 3 times, best sales for the company and most improved RGI in the group.

I am also extremely proud of the charity work we do at the hotel, which has helped to raise over 100k for different charities, including two Zip Wires and three abseils down the hotel.

What is your advice for anyone looking to begin a career within the sales industry? 

Working in sales you will mix with a wide variety of other people from different industries, which will allow you to be better informed about changes and opportunities occurring within your market. Being informed will enable you to be prepared to face sudden changes, which could affect you, positively or negatively.

Hotels are known for unsociable hours, how do you cope?

There’s a specific phrase that comes to mind, “when you find something you love you never work a day in your life”. I hate to sound like a cliché but that sums it up. In a Sales role, there’s always pressure to remain at the top of the market and we manage to do that in voco St David’s Cardiff. I also have a very understanding GM who gives me the flexibility to work from home when appropriate and flex my hours to balance my job with my very important family life.

Given all your experience in the field, how would you say client expectations have changed versus the industry itself? (Has the industry kept up with the expectations and needs)

Client expectations have changed over the years because what we value as society changes too.  In the past, guests placed value on the physical and luxury aspect of a hotel but, our more sophisticated guests value the experiential and sustainability elements of the hotel, such as the restaurant menu that takes the best local produce from Wales with flavours and spice from around the world.

They appreciate the fine linens and luxury quality of the bed but appreciate the bedding made from recycled materials.  They love the full-size luxury Aveda bath products, which eliminate single-use plastics in bathrooms and we have introduced aerated rainfall showers saves on water usage.

The rooms also have SMART TVs so guests can stream content from their own devices.  Luxury and sustainability rarely go hand in hand but the Voco brand has introduced these elements to the hotel to deliver on the brand promise.

Do you see any trends that are emerging when it comes to the branding of hotels and venues?

Emerging trends in hotel branding are about respecting individuality and choice and that is both from a hotel product but customer recognition basis.  Today’s travellers are more sophisticated because they have higher standards of living at home and in the retail space.

Gourmet food can be found in the local supermarket, free access to powerful WiFi is available on buses, trains and the corner coffee shop, luxury toiletries and high-quality bedding is a norm at home, so hotels need to deliver a more sophisticated experience rather than a bed for the night. Therefore, today’s hotels must appeal to a variety of markets, to suit a variety of customer needs.

Can you summarise what your typical day could look like?

It’s never really the same, I balance both revenue management and sales, pricing, conference calls/catch up with my team, appointments, executive meetings, board reviews, show rounds and 2 children!

What does your ideal weekend look like?

I love spending time with my family, most Saturdays I watch both boys play football.  It’s important to have family days and games night. I like to go out walking and spending most of our time out in the fresh air. Also, visiting some of our other IHG properties as we have the perk of fantastic staff rates.

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