Dean Thompson, General Manager at Hotel Cromwell and Rump & Wade Brasserie, shares his top tips for candidates looking to pursue a career in the boutique hotel industry, including pointers on how to start, the benefits it brings and how you can WOW an interviewer.


What are 3 important tips for candidates who are looking to start a career in the hotel industry? 


The great thing about working in Hospitality is that you can start from ground zero and work your way to the top. All I look for in a person is that they:

  • Have a great work ethic – they look for different tasks they can do when they aren’t busy, get ahead of themselves for the next shift and show off great body language. Remember that everything in this business is in the customers’ eye.
  • Be on time, have great energy and attitude towards your work, co-workers and customers.
  • Be prepared and flexible – be prepared to be coached and be flexible enough to change your whole working day to help a customer.


What are the different areas to work in within a hotel? Is there fluidity to move between different areas within a hotel?


Total fluidity to move between areas. I have worked in every department of Hotel Cromwell. It’s necessary to hit the top. Do what you feel comfortable with, then when it becomes easy, challenge your boss to move you across to somewhere outside of your comfort zone.


Are there any skills which are needed to work in a boutique hotel that isn’t needed in a non-boutique one?


Not in my opinion. You should always have high-levels of customer service whether you work in a 10 bedroomed hotel or a 100 bedroomed hotel as well as a good eye for standards. This includes in the bedroom: is everything clean? In the restaurant, does every table have every piece of cutlery on it? In the Kitchen, have the fridge temperatures been recorded?


What can candidates do to prepare for an interview? Can you name a few good things that some of your best candidates have done during their interviews which impressed you?


  • Look smart – you are in a customer-facing role
  • Be confident
  • Have passion
  • Never ever criticise your previous boss
  • Tell me what you know about my hotel
  • Impress me with your knowledge, even if it’s only the number of bedrooms we have
  • Tell me about your successes in previous roles/ education/ real life at home with your family
  • Be positive.