HOSCO / Blog

Chatting with Nan-Birthe Os

General Manager, First Hotel Marin

Posted on: April 23, 2012

Nan-Birthe Os graduated from César Ritz Colleges Switzerland with a Higher Diploma in Hospitality Management in 2004. She then went on for a 1-year bachelor degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has worked for Radisson Blu hotels in Bergen in Front Office, Reservations and Sales. In addition, she joined the Front Office team of the Hilton Manchester Airport during her studies there.

After graduation, Nan became Front Office Manager at Thon Hotel Bergen Airport. The position was only for a year and Nan then proceeded to Clarion Hotel Bergen Airport to hold the same position for the hotel opening in 2007. In fall 2008 she was awarded “Young Leader of the Year in the Hospitality Industry” and won a scholarship at the GM Programme at Cornell University.

By the end of 2008 Nan stepped into the role as a Revenue Manager, but soon was offered a General Manager’s position at Comfort Hotel Holberg in Bergen. This was a temporarily position for 1 year as the GM was on leave, but Nan managed to move on as a GM at First Hotel Marin where she has been since April 2010. The First Hotel Marin has 152 rooms, a restaurant and a conference room for 180 people: www.firsthotels.com/Our-hotels/Hotels-in-Norway/Bergen/First-Hotel-Marin

First Hotels www.firsthotels.com is a privately owned hotel chain with head office in Oslo and 60 hotels located in major cities in Scandinavia. The mission of the chain is "To create positive and memorable guest experiences". First Hotels lives by their core values of Joy, Care and Innovation. 

Your day-to-day at First Hotel Marin?

My day starts by logging in to the computer and finding out the results from yesterday and how we are doing in comparison with our forecast and budget for that month. I check room pick up and if we have any nice revenue pick-ups in the restaurant/bar the previous night for example. I then proceed to the breakfast area to see that the buffet looks nice and to make sure that the guests and staff are happy.

Then, I move around and see that things are looking good and go talk to the front desk staff and back office staff. After making sure that everybody and everything is okay and that I know what is exactly happening today, I “attack” my mailbox and deal with issues as they come. I have an “open door policy” which means all staff is allowed to knock on my door and talk to me. This of course makes me quite busy because of the constant disturbances so if I need to work with financial statements or other important things, I will close my door.

We have a meeting with all operational departments every day at 1 pm to discuss the previous/ongoing/coming days. It takes only 15 minutes but is meant to ensure that we are all well aware of what is happening and we all have the information we need.

Once a week, the management team of the hotel sits down to talk long-term issues and go through the financial statements (we also have a specific revenue meeting every two weeks). Once a week, I also have meetings with each operational department’s head to go through their staffing (and revenue if relevant) for the last week and their plan for the next week. We also look at guest reviews and plan what to do. It takes about 10-15 minutes with each manager.

The hotel being relatively small, we don’t have that many managers, meaning that I need to do the local marketing/newsletters myself for example. I also do some sales and I participate in recruiting new staff.

What do you like the most about your job?

The various days. Making people develop and satisfying them, either it’s staff or customers.

Your best achievement or memory since graduation?

Opening Clarion Hotel Bergen Airport and winning the price “Young Leader of the Year 2008 in Hospitality Industry”.

And your worst?

Being thrown out into an unknown world too soon. I became a GM at the age of 30. Looking back, I would have wanted it differently and would not have rushed to the position. It is good to be an assistant for a while to learn from others’ mistakes. All is fine now but it took me a while to get used to being the one taking ALL decisions no matter how hard and having no one to really talk to. You’re quite alone at the top!

Your advice to the young talents of our industry registered on HOSCO?

Work like mad, say yes, take responsibility and show initiative. Learn from your mistakes and improve. Be an active learner from the managers around you and they will see you. Tell your manager what you want/what your ambition is. Make sure you ask people around you when you’re unsure about things or just need a second opinion; you don’t need to do ALL by yourself.
When I look for staff I look at their “can do attitude” as well as their skills. If you want to be a GM it is an advantage having experience in different areas. Sales and revenue are always important. Make sure you have great managers around you that you can trust.

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