You may have read all about the time that #TeamCoco were in residence at The Westbury Mayfair for 48 hours of inspiration, goal setting and private dining. It was all part of a fun initiative headed up by the hotel’s Director of Sales and Marketing Manager, Monika Mulder, as her way to showcase everything that the hotel can offer with a hint of glamour and fun. You all know by now how much we enjoy shouting about strong inspiring women here at House of Coco and so we wanted to put the spotlight on Monika. Our Founding Editor Laura Bartlett spent some time chatting with her to find out more about life in the fast lane, juggling her career and personal life…
Laura : Tell us about your role at The Westbury Mayfair…
Monika : I am in charge of Sales & Marketing supporting business development for rooms revenue, catering, food and beverage revenues whilst at the same time overseeing PR.
Laura : So basically you do everything?
Monika : *laughs* The Sales & Marketing department is connecting all the areas of the hotel business so keeping me nice and busy all the time.
Laura : So when did you join the team at the hotel?
Monika : I joined the team only in February this year.
Laura : Oh wow, I got the impression you had been here for years as you clearly know what you’re doing and have already made a name for yourself in the company…
Monika : Yes, it feels like ages! Before being here, I was at a previous hotel in Heathrow where I was in charge of Sales and business development of the airport property. It is a very different market from Mayfair. Although I first started in Mayfair many years ago working at hotels in this area, so it’s great to be back doing what I love in the area I established many connections.
Laura : So what attracted you to the role at The Westbury Mayfair?
Monika : The location of the hotel is amazing, the prestigious address. Also, the fact that the hotel is part of the Luxury Collection portfolio made it an easy decision for me. Mainly though, my choice was because the people I met during the interview process, especially Andrew our General Manager, as I had heard a lot about him in the industry and everyone I knew told me what amazing leader he is. He has a great reputation in the hotel industry and I always said to myself that when I will be choosing a new role, it will be based on who I will work for and not just about the hotel itself.
Laura : I have heard a lot about Andrew too, he sounds like a great person to work for but also someone that makes decisions pretty quickly. Would you say that’s why The Westbury Mayfair has so much success because they’re agile and can move quickly?
Monika : Yes, Andrew is a very professional hotelier and because of his experience in the luxury world, he is also a great mentor for me. I am constantly learning from him but at the same time, he’s like my business partner who can make sound decisions very quickly. In the Sales and Marketing role, you sometimes need to be spontaneous and be able to make fast decisions. Some other General Managers can be more focused on Operations or finance-driven but Andrew is very much involved in the commercial side of the business too.
Laura : That’s great to hear, I do often think a lot of businesses fail because they’re not proactive and by the time they make decisions the ship has sailed and the opportunity is lost. So I guess I answered my own next question which was what sets The Westbury Mayfair apart from other hotels?
Monika : We are the only hotel on Bond Street and that is a key selling point. What makes it unique it’s not only our luxury hotel but also the opportunities we have around us, the partners we work with. Since I joined the hotel no one day is the same. I have met a lot of our neighbours and had a chance to discuss how we can strengthen our relationships with the local partnerships and how we can benefit from one another which I think is the key to our success. No other hotel in Mayfair is privileged to share the address with renowned fashion houses, jewellers and artists. It’s amazing to have these unique opportunities just on our doorstep.
Laura : What exciting things are you working on right now?
Monika : Currently, we are working on an exciting partnership with Bentley Showroom. But another interesting project more long-term is a collaboration with LAPADA, this will be the first year that we are supporting partner. We are planning to have our Polo pop-up bar at the LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair and it’s the first time our Polo Bar will travel to a different location from Conduit street. The Polo Bar has been here since 1955 and it’s the place to be for Mayfair residents, it’s really famous in the Mayfair neighbourhood but we’ve never taken the excellent service and team passion somewhere else. This will be exciting for the Polo Bar team. Also because I have worked on two hotel openings in the past, I had the opportunity to work on many pop-up projects and so this is exciting for me too. I’m glad we can work on very unique projects and differentiate us from other luxury hotels in the area.
Laura : Exciting! So, to change direction, I know that you have two children, how old are they?
Monika : Yes I have two beautiful boys and they are four and two years old!
Laura : How do you find balancing a hectic hospitality career with two children?
Monika : When I think about it, it’s not just about me, it’s my husband too. Sometimes as a woman, you decide you want to pursue your career and I am lucky to have my husband’s support because he’s a hotelier himself, so he understands this industry and what it takes for me to be successful in my job. Without my husband being there for me, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do and would be a full-time mum. It is important to learn discipline and to follow a certain routine. I think it’s a big change in your life when you hold this beautiful little person in your hands for the first time and then you realise that it’s for the rest of your life and it’s no longer just two of you, it’s all about your children. So you have to slowly win your time back for yourself whilst you’re still being a mum.
Before children, I used to work long hours because it was exciting and I had an amazing social life. Now I have my two little boys waiting for me, so I can’t stay late at work and I have to leave on time as they are my priority and that’s how I get a balance between my work and personal life. Before having children, I wasn’t that committed to a work-life balance. Children teach you how to enjoy your life and at the same time be successful in your career.
Laura : I agree that routine and discipline are so important when it comes to kids, though I am still learning how to look after myself! It sounds like you have the balance just right. Now, final question, would you ever open your own hotel?
Monika : It is not my dream to open my own hotel. Working in hotel was always my passion as I’ve been in the hotel industry for 15 years, but I am afraid that if I was to have my own hotel, I would lose that passion because it would be too much. It is a very complex world running your own hotel. Sales and Marketing part of the business is what I love. I have been asked if I would like to be a General Manager one day but that is not my direction. My focus is to stay in the international hotel industry and now to create magic for all customers and guests that come to stay at The Westbury Mayfair.