London, August 15 2021
INTERVIEW | Kind greetings from the UK! Whether he is managing the hotels, the extension of his home or elsewhere, Ben Kynoch considers himself ambitious in his work. The HFC Area Manager started 25 years ago in the Hospitality industry from a Glass collector to Area Manager. Nowadays, he is responsible for the daily integrated hospitality services at CitizenM, Marlin and Yotel, UK. He is a secret Tina Turner fan. His morning ritual is not strict, but it does involve coffee at some point. His favorite travel spot so far is Disney Land. But he also likes traveling to Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. In this interview, we will get to know Ben’s journey through business, what inspires him and more.
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 flew to Amsterdam to meet the company's owner, and the rest is history. I start shortly after that with a week-long introduction in Holland before returning 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 five properties in the UK with three different clients and two new openings on the horizon. I did wonder how such a small company could create such a global footprint already. The initial stages of the role were 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 six 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 also changing. There have been some significant changes in the previous months 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 and diversifying our portfolio, not only in Hotels & Apartments but into offices too.
What is the most favorite 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 an essential 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 what we do in integrated facility management. Valuing our partners as people and not just an industry 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 the culture and the people. One realization 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?
I am 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. I also enjoy spending time with the family out and about and entertaining and cooking for people.
What inspires you the most?
The change in the cultural landscape that we live in. There are many challenges that have been overcome, and I am sure there are many in the future. Still, 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 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 am interested in what people do, but I focus on what I am doing or who I am doing it for.
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