Meet the Team: Josefina Jones
What is your role at the hotel and how long have you been here?
I am the Reservations Manager. I don't even remember how long to be honest with you – it's been a long time!
I started working as a Reservations Agent in 1996, then quickly moved to Reservations Supervisor and then Assistant Reservations Manager for another year before I became Reservations Manager. So I have actually been at the hotel for 22 years. I was the first person in the Reservations department, even before there was a Reservations Manager. I started before the hotel even opened!
Where did you work before?
I was working for a 5* hotel in Cancun, straight after I left university. That was my first job. I then got married and that's when I came here. This is the only job I've had since I came to this country.
What was your first impression of the hotel?
There was no furniture, nothing in the office, no central heating. I had to work with my coat, hat and gloves on. There was no computer so I had to do everything on a chart with pen and tippex. If we had a group who changed their dates, I had to use tippex and change the date manually because the computers had not arrived yet. So it was quite interesting! The only person who had an office was the General Manager. On Fridays we used to have pizzas delivered to us as a treat as we didn’t have a canteen.
So it's changed a bit since then?
Yes, big changes. I've seen a lot of colleagues coming and going and coming back again. One girl who used to work in the Reservations Team 15 years ago came back and started working with us again yesterday. Straight back into the same team! And another colleague who used to work at Reception started with us last week after 10 years. It’s always nice to see people returning to the hotel.
Part of your role is looking after Royalty Rewards and the benefits of booking direct – what does that involve?
Royalty Rewards were implemented just over one year ago. It's our way of saying thank you for booking direct with us. We try to tailor our guests’ visit to ensure they have an excellent stay with us. It's very important to find out the reason why the guest is coming to London. If it's a family event or a special occasion for example, we want to know about it so we can make it even more memorable. But even if it’s someone flying into London in the early hours, we want to know when they are arriving so we can have their room prepared if occupancy allows.
When young children come to stay, our Guest Services team put together a little backpack which has a book in it, some crayons and special a map with what they can do around the area.
What does a usual day consist of for you?
Mainly it's ensuring that all the teams are up and running. We have four shifts – six sales agents and a supervisor in total every day. So I need to make sure that everything is in place and that everybody knows what is happening on that day. If there are any complaints during the day, we make sure we know what has happened and what we have to do to avoid it happening again.
What's your favourite thing about working at the hotel?
Having studied tourism, working in the field that I studied is one of my favourite things. I wanted to be in the hotel industry and I like the reservations side of things. I like to manage my team, I like that we're always learning new things. It's not just about ticking the boxes and picking up the phone. You learn something new all the time.
What would you recommend to guests in this area?
It all depends! If it's somebody who has never been to London, sometimes they want to go to the museums, see some shows or go to Harrods. It all depends who they are, that's the first thing you need to find out, asking the right questions so you can give the best advice.
Why choose the Royal Garden Hotel?
I think one of the reasons is because we always try to be good listeners. We listen to what you need, and make sure we exceed your expectations. . We want all guests to have a memorable stay.
What do you get up to outside of work?
My family! I have a little girl who is 14 and taller than me! I live in Sevenoaks, it's a long journey but I go straight home to meet them or if it's a Friday and it's nice weather they come here and we go for a walk or we just go and do some activities in London.