Name: Chris Eigelaar
Job title: Resort General Manager, The Belfry
Highlight of your career so far? Being given the opportunity to navigate The Belfry Hotel with the team during the most challenging period in its history and together, emerging stronger on the other side.
If you could choose three guests, dead or alive, to dinner, who would you choose? I would choose Nelson Mandela, Ernie Els and Sir Richard Branson. The conversation will of course be around sport, innovation and being visionary – interesting and inspirational.
Last hotel you stayed at? Stoke Park Hotel. The team was amazing and looked after me and family very well. The grounds are fantastic and hopefully I will be able to play a round of golf there next time I stay.
Best piece of advice you ever received? I’ve received many valuable pieces of advice over the years but something that resonates with me is, “it’s a marathon not a sprint”. Allow yourself time to reflect and make the correct decision.
Biggest service bugbear? I have two – the first is not using a tray to carry or clear glasses, and the second is people not appreciating the importance of the guest experience. When guests stay with us, they place their trust in us to deliver an outstanding stay for them and it’s imperative that we live up to that.
If you went on Stars in their Eyes, who would you portray? I really don’t think anyone wants to hear me sing!
Which other company (inside or outside the industry) do you most admire and why? I have always kept a close eye on Virgin Atlantic – as a company it is energetic, innovative and offers outstanding service – qualities that our industry should always aspire to.
What’s the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning? Walk the resort and talk to the team; without doubt the most important aspect of my day daily routine.
Your first job? I grew in our family hotel in South Africa and ever since I can remember I was either cooking with my Mum in the kitchen or helping my Dad front of house. I’ve been in the hotel industry ever since.
If you weren’t a hotelier what would you be doing? I’d be a Wildlife Game Ranger – protecting our natural resources is very important to me.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? We have a huge number of exciting projects in the pipeline at The Belfry and I’m really looking forward to leading the business through those. Despite everything that’s happened in the last 12 months, the future is looking very positive.
Your dream job? To be honest, genuinely I am really enjoying what I am doing right now at The Belfry. It offers me some great challenges daily which keeps me motivated and I love working in what is a very vibrant industry with a great team.
Something you wish you knew before joining the industry: That I would one day be dealing with a global pandemic!
In one word…
Favourite food? I know it’s more than one word, but anything on a braai
Favourite UK city? Manchester
Favourite request on the jukebox? The Gambler, Kenny Rogers
Favourite drink? Crisp Pale Ale
Favourite holiday destination? Cape Town, South Africa
Favourite film? Any Die Hard film
Favourite gadget? Garmin Fenix watch
Favourite thing you own? Asics running shoes currently; running is something I enjoy doing at the moment and long may it continue.