Hotels never really sleep, even when the guests are tucked away comfortably in their beds. We interview Piero Loi to see what it is really like working as the Night Manager at Hart’s Hotel. Piero has 16 years of service with Tim Hart, currently the longest serving employee at Hart’s Hotel and a wealth of hospitality experience. If you haven’t had the privilege to meet him yet, we hope you get to meet him soon – if only to ask him for his autograph!
What inspired you to work in hotels?
I was born in Sardinia in Italy and I have the ability to learn languages very quickly and was bilingual by the age of six. I wanted to explore the world so I started travelling by the age of 18 – by this age speaking Spanish, Italian, French and German. This is how I started a career in hospitality which I have thoroughly enjoyed over the years.
What drew you to this role at Hart’s?
I had been working at Sat Bains restaurant in Nottingham, and Sat kindly put me forward for this role. I have a passion for hospitality and delivering excellent customer service and I always wanted to run my own bed and breakfast, but that never transpired. So being a Night Manager gave me the opportunity I was craving without the financial outlay.
I had already worked in a number of high-end hotels across Europe including Hotel Steigenberger, Stuttgart, Germany and Hotel Bellevue Palace, Bern Switzerland, so this role felt suited to my experience.
What celebrities have you met?
Working in high-end hotels has given me the opportunity to serve hundreds of celebrities over the years. I would say the most memorable are;
Mick & Bianca Jagger in Switzerland
Shirley Bassey in Germany
Margaret Thatcher in Bournemouth
Paul McCartney at Risley Hall in Derbyshire – he asked for my autograph, because he thought I was Danny Devito. I gave it him of course!
Cliff Richard at Hart’s Hotel
What aspect of your role do you love most?
I love that from handover at 9pm the hotel is my baby and I am here to ensure every guest has a warm, memorable and personalised stay in an environment where they feel safe and welcome.
What tasks get done while everyone is sleeping?
I am responsible for managing the operations and activities during the overnight shift and ensuring communications and follow-up with day shift on any problems, guest requests or special requirements. I also monitor the staff activities to assure that standards are being met, staff are being supported, and guest needs are being met. My other main task is taking action in all matters related to the safety, security, satisfaction and well-being of hotel guests and employees.
Do you watch films when at work?
I generally watch the news, I love politics and current affairs so I like to keep up with what’s happening in the world. It also enables me to interact with our guests about relevant and topical news discussions.
Do you need any qualifications to be a night manager?
Excellent written and communication skills and basic computer skills are a minimum requirement. You also need to be a strong leader, making sure standards and policies are maintained and co-ordinated between departments. The general manager hands over the reins and requires trust to ensure the hotel is managed well during their absence.
Do you have any spooky stories?
I have in the past told new trainees that Hart’s used to be the mortuary for the NHS hospital as Hart’s Restaurant used to be the old A&E. They would come back from their walkaround saying that they felt cold, had seen shadows and heard noises. It would make my night! Seriously though, I have never seen anything spooky during my time here at Hart’s.
What do you eat during the night?
Nothing out of the ordinary – if I get hungry, I can choose anything from the snack menu. Our room service menu is available 24 hours, so I am responsible for preparing these dishes all the time for our guests.
Can you sleep at work? Or do you ever get tired?
Officially, I am not allowed to sleep whilst on duty, I need to be able to react and respond to any situation that arises during the night. I prefer to keep busy, but I can get tired, more so due to monotony when the hotel is quiet.
Are you a night owl? Do you sleep much during the day?
My routine is very simple, and I stick to it which works! I go straight to bed when I arrive home and I sleep for 4-5 hours maximum. I may have the occasional snooze later in the day!
So, next time you are staying in a hotel, think of the Night Managers around the world. In this industry that never sleeps, people like Piero are working to ensure that guest expectations are met, no matter what time of the day or night.
To find out more about the wider team at Hart’s Hotel, Nottingham explore the links below.