Alanis Morissette is distancing from new documentary that claims she was raped at 15
Alanis Morissette is distancing from new documentary that claims she was raped at 15

Holly O'Neill

Dulux have revealed their colour of the year for 2022, here’s how to use it in your home
Dulux have revealed their colour of the year for 2022, here’s how to use it...

Megan Burns

With unbroken sea views and an outdoor Jacuzzi, this architectural home in Kinsale is on the market for €2.35 million
With unbroken sea views and an outdoor Jacuzzi, this architectural home in Kinsale is on...

Lauren Heskin

Liane Moriarty has a new mystery book for your book club
Liane Moriarty has a new mystery book for your book club

Holly O'Neill

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make Time 100 Most Influential People list
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make Time 100 Most Influential People list

Holly O'Neill

Meet five Irish embroiderers doing amazing things with needle and thread
Meet five Irish embroiderers doing amazing things with needle and thread

Megan Burns

Saying you are a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ is the ultimate conversation stopper
Saying you are a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ is the ultimate conversation stopper

Amanda Cassidy

The Hygiene Bank’s Sorcha Killian on hygiene poverty and how it’s impacting Irish families every day
The Hygiene Bank’s Sorcha Killian on hygiene poverty and how it’s impacting Irish families every...

Shayna Sappington

Wildfire: ‘We knew we wanted to tell a story with fierce women at the heart of it’
Wildfire: ‘We knew we wanted to tell a story with fierce women at the heart...

Jennifer McShane

The initiatives fighting hygiene and period poverty in Ireland
The initiatives fighting hygiene and period poverty in Ireland

Holly O'Neill

Image / Editorial

“I guess I’m a perfectionist” – Hotel manager Aisling Arnold on Love Your Work


by Erin Lindsay
08th Oct 2018
blank
Women are making their mark in the world of business like never before. In every industry and at every level, we look to women who’ve made it their own as an example for us to do the same. For our series ‘Love Your Work‘, we ask women who have achieved stunning success in their career to tell us how they got there, and their advice on how we can join them.


Aisling Arnold is the manager of her family business – Arnolds Hotel in Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal. After six years of working in Dublin in a high-powered accounting job, Aisling took her skills back to the hills, and revitalised her parent’s hotel – which is a member of Original Irish Hotels, a collection of 60 family-run properties – growing the business and developing it into a complete experience for its guests. On this week’s Love Your Work, we chat about unexpected career turns, family connections and misconceptions.

 

What was your favourite subject in school?

I loved maths and accounting, and I suppose that’s because I loved the problem-solving end of things.

What was your first job, and what other jobs have you had since?

I started working when I was 12 in the local hairdressers, making tea and brushing the floors. I think I spent two summers there, before moving on to the family business, which was the hotel, where I worked in almost every department. From pot washing to housekeeping to working on reception to the restaurant, where I eventually became a supervisor. I ended up moving on after that; I said I’d had enough of the hospitality industry and that I was never going back!

I headed to Dublin to follow my own career path and forge my own identity, and completed a degree and Masters in Accounting, before working for Deloitte and Touche. I worked with them for over six years, and got great exposure and experience and it left me very well-rounded in a lot of areas. It was my first taster of managing people and managing a client, and it taught me so much.

After six years, I started to veer back towards the hospitality industry; I got a phonecall from my mum to tell me that dad wasn’t in the best of health and the hotel was declining after the recession too. They were struggling, and they asked me to come home. I said I’d come back for 18 months, forge a turnaround for the hotel and hopefully bring them back to life. Those 18 months turned into six years, and I’m still here now!

I worked a lot on refreshing the hotel, opening a coffee shop and wine bar, because I feel it’s really important that people living outside of big cities can still enjoy the same luxuries, and it was my main goal to achieve that. The business grew and I was able to bring in more people to manage the team that had grown there, opening things up to step into the role that I’m in now.

What does your daily routine look like?

I always laugh so much when people ask me that, because anyone who works in hospitality will agree that no two days are the same, and that there really is no such thing as a routine. The main things I try to keep consistent are checking emails first thing on my shift, and then handling any issues that might have arisen while I’ve been away – whether it’s a customer issue, or a HR or a maintenance issue. I’ll then have a look at the figures from the day before, before planning out the day and the week ahead, making sure everyone is on the same page with any events or functions going on in the hotel.

My role is so diverse; you’re the marketing manager, the finance manager and the operations manager all at once sometimes. Anything can be thrown at you, so you have to be ready to handle anything that needs to be addressed. Routine goes out the window, but as long as you’re keeping on top of your strategy, goals and budgets, and of course, that the customers are happy, that’s the priority.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

The fact that no two days are the same and that I get a lot of variety at work is great. Another of my favourite things about the job is planning and executing a new idea or project and seeing it come to life and do really well. If you can see the customer satisfaction, and the reward that comes to the business from that, I love that. I also love seeing my team grow within their roles, and developing new staff is very rewarding.

What’s your least favourite part?

I guess I’m a perfectionist, and as a result, I’m hyper-conscious of things going wrong. Because this is a family business, and I’m so involved in it, I can get very emotionally attached to the job, which makes it hard to switch off and detach from problems or things not going to plan. You’re striving for perfection all the time, but that’s pretty much impossible to achieve, so I struggle with that a little bit.

What are the key skills you need to make it in your industry?

You need to have drive and determination, and stamina is definitely key. It’s not a glamorous lifestyle; it’s hard work, 24/7. It requires a lot of passion and love for what you’re doing and the industry, because if you don’t, it would be a complete stumbling ground to work at.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned for success in your career?

You’re never going to please everyone, and you have to be able to step outside yourself and trust your decisions about your business. I say this all the time, to myself and to my staff, that you are the captain of your own ship. You have a choice in the decisions you make, and you have to take responsibility for the consequences of them too. Learn when they go wrong and celebrate when they go right.

Try and put structure on your day, even when it’s completely manic. As a hotel manager, you’re everyone’s first port of call when things go wrong, and it’s hard to not get pulled in all directions. But your role is really important, and putting boundaries on your day and taking time to look after yourself is so important.

Any regrets?

Absolutely none. I love my job.

What’s the number one piece of advice you would give to young people starting out who want to follow in your footsteps?

You need to try it out before committing fully. People have a misconception about what my job entails – they think I work 9-5 in an office. That isn’t the case at all. If you want to give it a shot, you have to get in there and start at the bottom, because it gives you a real taste of what the job is all about. It’s so highly rewarding, and there are so many positives, but it’s also difficult, so you need to have experience of all the ups and downs.

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
This is what happens when you hypersexualise young girls growing up

Who is demanding the fetishization of young girls anyway?”When I was working in my early twenties, and even my late...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Attending multiple weddings this year? How to save money as a guest

These days, going to a wedding is the equivalent of going on a short holiday in terms of cost. From...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Suddenly alive again’: The heartbreaking joy of finding a deceased loved one on Google Maps street view

“I look at my mum’s old house on Google maps street view, the house where I grew up. It says...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend

This is a great way to get a juicy roast chicken, bursting with flavour.     Bord Bia’s Spatchcock Chicken...

By Meg Walker

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
When speaking about ageing, we should follow Julianne Moore’s lead

Actress Julianne Moore is tired of all the cliched tropes about female ageing. The way we speak about it; the...

By Jennifer McShane

brain
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE

blank
EDITORIAL
Sarah Harding’s heartbroken mum announces the singer’s death aged just 39

Sarah Harding has died at the age of just 39, her heartbroken mother revealed today. The Girls Aloud star had...

By Amanda Cassidy