Getting to know you: Stephanie Pinto

In this edition of our “Getting to Know You” feature, Stephanie Pinto, Vice President of Sales, shares with us what she thinks makes Interstate stand out from the crowd and what she enjoys most about working with the team.

Tell us about your role and what it involves:

My role is primarily to lead the sales function here at Interstate. I oversee our team of Sales Effectiveness Directors and Specialist Sales Team each of whom have their own sectors to work within: leisure, entertainment, MICE, associations and sport.

I support and advise the team, working with them to set clear key performance goals and ensuring that together we take a strategic approach to sales.

The industry has changed so much in the last 18 months, the role of our sales leaders is to offer solutions and to be specialist in key verticals. Our we focus a great deal more on the mix of the business we target, working hand-in-hand with Interstate’s wider commercial team to identify gaps in the market and ways we can offer increased value to our customers.

What does a typical day in your role involve?

The reason I love my job so much is because there isn’t a typical day! I could be meeting with one of our hotels along with the commercial team, to help them tackle a specific issue, I could be pitching for a new management contract, working with our brand partners, delivering training to our sales leaders or spending time with the regional commercial leadership teams.

You never know what new opportunities each day will bring – and that’s all part of the attraction!

What’s your favourite part of the role?

As well as the variety of the job, it’s also the team at Interstate. Everyone is so friendly and passionate about what we do and how we do it – it’s a great place to work.

Equally, I love the buzz of helping our owners achieve success through the sales and commercial strategies we put in place.

We don’t own any hotels, we are a pure third-party management company so 100 per cent of our efforts are focused on making the properties we manage for our owners a success.

Seeing them flourish and the teams go from strength-to-strength is a great feeling.

What, in your opinion, makes Interstate stand out from the crowd?

The people really make it. A large proportion of us have worked our way up through the hotel industry – I myself started out as a sales executive in a hotel twenty five years ago – and so we have a lot of first-hand experience between us that is invaluable to hotel owners and new investors.

In addition, the fact we don’t own any of our own properties and focus wholeheartedly on the success of our owners’ businesses makes us truly unique.

I love the buzz of helping our owners achieve success through the sales and commercial strategies we put in place

Stephanie Pinto, Vice President of Sales

Stand-out Interstate employee enjoys the trip of a lifetime

Jas Sandhu, who is Director of Sales & Marketing at Holiday Inn London Heathrow Bath Road and Staybridge Suites London Heathrow Bath Road, was the deserved winner of the Sales Manager of the Year award at Interstate’s Commercial Forum event held in Newcastle earlier this year.

But the recognition then went global, as to acknowledge his incredible dedication and performance over his seven-year career with Interstate, he was then invited on an all-expenses paid trip to the Bahamas along with other top sales performers from across Interstate and the US division, Aimbridge Hospitality.

These top sales performers – Very Important Producers (VIPs) – were treated to a trip to the luxurious Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau.

Jas said: “I really enjoy working in sales and for Interstate who have been so supportive as an employer helping me develop my career and progress through the company over the last seven years.

“To win the Sales Manager of the Year at the Commercial Forum was a wonderful acknowledgement of my work and that of the strong team I work with at both hotels as together we really drive the business and our results.

“It goes without saying that a huge bonus of winning the award was the trip I was invited on, along with my wife, to the Bahamas. It really was a once in a lifetime experience not only to enjoy the benefits of visiting such a wonderful resort and country but also being able to meet other top sales performers from across the company as well as the senior leadership from Aimbridge. To be in the position to spend time with them in a relaxed environment was an incredible learning opportunity for me both personally and professionally so it really was priceless.

“I particularly enjoyed the awards dinner which saw everyone in one room together celebrating our collective achievements.

“Providing the opportunity for employees to go on such as a special and exclusive trip like I have enjoyed is almost unheard of in this industry. It does not happen very often so for Interstate to do this just goes to show what a great company they are to work for. They look after their staff and encourage you to grow your career, so you really feel valued and supported and part of the wider Interstate family. This is so important for those looking to come into the sales and hospitality industry.”

Stephanie Pinto, Vice-President Sales at Interstate Hotels & Resorts International, said: “It has been an absolute honour to watch Jas build his career with us here at Interstate. Jas is unassuming, driven, incredibly commercial and throughout the pandemic he has been central to his hotel’s success.

“I was so pleased to see him win the Sales Manager of the Year at our Commercial Forum which meant he was then able to enjoy this fantastic all expenses paid trip to the Bahamas. He is incredibly deserving of it and this is our way of saying thank you for the effort and commitment he puts into his work. It is very much appreciated by us all.”

I really enjoy working in sales and for Interstate who have been so supportive as an employer helping me develop my career

Jas Sandhu, Director of Sales

Getting to Know You: Lucy McNicoll

In our latest Getting to Know You feature, we speak to Lucy McNicoll – Interstate’s Sales Effectiveness Director.

Here, Lucy shares an insight into her role, as well as some little-known facts about her time in hospitality.

Tell us about your role and what it involves?

I am Sales Effectiveness Director for the UK3 region of Interstate Hotels & Resorts, looking after 29 hotels mostly Mercure and IHG branded, from Brighton to Inverness. I manage the sales team and work with the wider commercial team to ensure the best revenue results possible for our hotels.

My role involves training and coaching, assisting with advice on large business opportunities, making sure we are offering the best solutions to our customers and agents and that all the systems and tools are utilised to their full capacity to help us achieve our sales goals. I am also the brand lead for Accor, so I provide guidance and insight to our Accor hotels to ensure they make the most of the Accor tools and initiatives to drive performance.

What does a typical day in your role involve?

Every day is different! There’s a really good mix of future planning, day to day hotel team support, understanding and actioning business analytics. Presenting on various topics around learning and development to wide ranging audiences across the UK and International locations, ensuring we are up to date with industry and customer trends and partnership reviews with suppliers.

What’s your favourite part of your role?

I love working with my Commercial colleagues on new initiatives! It’s fantastic to bring a new concept to the wider team that drives revenue into out hotels. It is extremely rewarding to see my team members being successful and to celebrate their successes through their hard work and resilience, especially recently through the pandemic. I love seeing happy customers and helping them achieve what they require from our hotels in our ever-changing world!

What do you think makes Interstate stand out from the crowd?

Being nimble and adaptive really helps us keep ahead of the market and ensure our business is competitive, therefore offering our owners the best resources in the industry. Sharing news, information, and tools with team members to help them perform their roles to their best ability and working together collaboratively to share best practice across the portfolio of hotels.

Tell us something about you that not everyone knows

Working in hospitality has allowed me to travel all over the world and visit some amazing hotels. I got into hospitality at a young age, as I liked to cook – I started my career as a trained Chef. My first job was as a Chef in a summer camp in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania USA and I also got to travel to China as a result of working in events at a London hotel and I have been lucky enough to represent hotel portfolios at trade shows around the world.

I got into hospitality at a young age, as I liked to cook – I started my career as a trained Chef.

Lucy McNicholl, Sales Effectiveness Director