Meet Ben Kynoch, Area Manager UK

Whether he is managing the hotels, the extension of his home or elsewhere, Ben Kyoch considers himself as ambitious in his work. The HFC Area Manager started 25 years ago in the Hospitality industry from a Glass collector through to Area Manager. Nowadays he is responsible for the daily integrated hospitality services at CitizenM, Marlin and Yotel, UK. In this interview, we will get to know Ben’s rise through business, what inspires him and more.

ABOUT| He is a secret Tina Turner fan.  His morning ritual is not strict, but it does involve coffee at some point. His favourite travel spot so far is Disney Land. But he also likes travelling to Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Can you tell us more about your first contact with HFC?
In 2015 I had a meeting with a recruitment consultant about a different role when he proposed the role with HFC. Things moved quickly, the following week I had a meeting with the Director, Annuska Veldhoen.  Following that I was flown to Amsterdam to meet the owner of the company, the rest is history.  I start shortly after that with a week-long introduction in Holland before coming back to the UK to start my new role.

Was the position as you expected?
Joining HFC was quite mind-blowing. At that time, we had 5 properties in the UK with 3 different clients and 2 new openings on the horizon. I did wonder how such a small company could create such a global footprint already. In the initial stages of the role, it was very hands-on with the new openings which were a great success.  After they had settled down, I had the opportunity to step back and assess my first 6 months with the company and then really get my teeth into how I was going to shape the operations of the UK. Over the last few years, we have grown, not only with our current client base but new ones. The structure of HFC is changing also, in the last 6 months there have been some significant changes that will allow us to grow even further.

How do you see your future in HFC, what are your hopes?
With the continued rise of HFC, I have the vision of growing and expanding integrated hospitality management in the UK. Diversifying our portfolio, not only in Hotels & Apartments but into offices too.

What is the most favourite part of your work?
Feeling part of the team with the properties we work in. The partnerships that we form with our clients and suppliers is the most important part of what I do, yes there is a physical task to be achieved but there is also a relationship of trust & integrity that needs to be established. Understanding each other’s business as part of that partnership is vital to the success in what we do in integrated facility management. Valuing our partners as people and not just a business or supplier also contributes to the strength of the relationship we form, we are there to support each other not work for each other.

What does it mean to you to work in a diverse industry?
When I joined HFC I learned a lot about culture and the people. One realisation of the value of the partnership is the genuine care for people and one particular day when I had all day meetings once in Amsterdam, by the same person, several times in the day I was asked “how are you?”.  I reeled off a list of what I had done that day and what was left to do.  Later that day I was asked again: “how are you?” I replied with the same answer as before. In the evening, we went out for dinner, and they made a point by asking me again how I am. They said: this is the third time I am asking you how you are, and this is the third time you tell me about your job list. That was not my question, my question was how you are, not what you have done today. People are genuinely interested and have a level of care in me and how I am, wow!!

As an Area Manager you need to handle different things at the same time. How do you manage your days?
Making sure that everything I do is relevant. What I did yesterday is not necessarily relevant today.  Always look at ways to make my day more efficient but at the same time share this with my colleagues to see if what I do helps them and vice versa.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
At the moment some renovations on our house so a lot of time spent on that.  If not that then spending time with the family out and about and when not in lockdown, like entertaining and cooking for people.

What inspires you the most?
The change in the cultural landscape that we live in.  There are a lot of challenges that have overcome and am sure there are many in the future but the way society and people are evolving and embracing changes is very inspirational.

If you imagine your younger self, what advice would you give yourself?
Allow yourself to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid of asking for help. And admit when you are a bit misguided in what you do and seek advice.

How do you define success?
In my career, I recruited many people. After hiring, they grew, held good positions within the hospitality industry and carved out very successful career paths. I have still contact with a lot of them and I believe that my success is defined by the people that I worked with, what successes they achieved and what they do.

How would you describe yourself?
I am somebody who doesn’t compare myself to others. Yes, I take interest in what people do, but I focus on what I am doing or who I am doing it for.