Melanie Cash, Hospitality Business Development Specialist

It all started when I was very young. Dad was an hotel general manager and this had been my grandmother’s life as well, so I suppose it was in the Cash genes. My mother, sister and I were born in Cardiff but then we travelled north to Manchester and then on to the Midlands following Dad and his career which culminated in his role developing The Belfry Hotel & Resort and hosting the first two Ryder Cup golf tournaments. It felt like there really was only one career path for me and I started working in restaurants and bars whilst still at school and then when at college. I always had a particular interest in the sales and marketing side of the business, plus Dad had warned me of the long unsocial hours he had endured in operations. However, in hospitality you know you have to put the hours in whichever role you eventually choose. It is a very rewarding and enjoyable industry to be a part of and that’s why I am still loving working in hospitality today. I did take a slight detour on my journey when I was plucked from Bobby Browns Restaurant in Birmingham to take up a sales role for Canon selling photocopiers. However, although the sales training was extensive, I didn’t feel that this approach to sales was for me. I much preferred a more “consultative” way of helping customer to say “yes”. So, I headed back to hotels and the Strathallen Thistle where they were happy to have me help organise the general manager and assist with business development. I still have very fond memories of Lenny Henry popping his head round the door by reception to amuse me before going off to film Tiswas, for those of you with longer memories. My career with Thistle continued when I moved to the East Midlands but I was then fortunate to work for both Hilton and later Marriott Hotels.

One of my favourite roles was most definitely when I was the sales leader at The Lowry Hotel in Manchester. This 5-star gem in the city centre was owned by Rocco Forte, (also from a famous hotel dynasty!) and would host the great and the good who were visiting the city. Whether it was the Man United team staying for their home games, Real Madrid visiting when playing Manchester City or one of the many stars performing at the arena, I had the most wonderful four years in the company of stars from every walk of life. A few highlights include: giggling with Sir Alex after he had bumped into Kylie Minogue in the lift and told her to take her cap off, before realising who she was; being asked to recommend a restaurant for a night out with David Beckham by Gary Neville and being blessed by the Dali Lama. I worked many long hours but had a ball! Finally, I felt the time had come to spread my wings and work independently, allowing me to work with organisations both small and large. I could now provide consultancy, training and coaching to help their teams to improve their communications skills, increase revenues through better sales skills and develop managers to lead their teams to achieve more success. Since originally stepping out on my own back in 2004, I have had the great pleasure and benefit of working with a wide range of brands, independent hotels, pubs, restaurants and venues throughout the UK. I have also had the opportunity recently to move to North Wales and start a new phase of my life here whilst continuing with my work in lots of different locations. It would be wonderful to develop more relationships and uncover new opportunities in this region and I am learning Welsh so that I can fully embrace the local culture and build my confidence in speaking the language. It may take a little time to be more proficient than I am currently but I’m very keen to try!