GETTING TO KNOW: Kate Firth, general manager, Ye Old Bell


Name:  Kate Firth

Job title: general manager, Ye Old Bell

Highlight of your career so far?  The elevation of Ye Olde Bell from a 3 star to a 4 star hotel for the first time in its 450 year history was a definite highlight. It was the culmination of many months of hard work improving the physical product and ensuring all service standards were honed to achieve the all-important consistency.

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If you could choose three guests, dead or alive, to dinner, who would you choose? I’m a little bit obsessed with the history of the hotel  so it would be; Hans Nielsen, the private owner of the hotel who guided it through the golden era of the 50s and 60s, George Clarke who presided from 1800-1842 known for his hospitality throughout the North of England and our current owner who would enjoy it as much as I would.

Last hotel you stayed at? Cliveden House, it was an absolute privilege; the sense of history and level of hospitality were awe inspiring.

Best piece of advice you ever received? Keep things in perspective and think carefully before you speak.

Biggest service bugbear? Automated telephone systems, I just want to speak to someone not press a series of buttons that invariably send me round in circles.

If you went on Stars in their Eyes, who would you portray? Stevie Nicks

Which other company (inside or outside the industry) do you most admire and why? Nespresso, I love the branding, the store experience and the consistent level of service. I cannot walk past a Nespresso store, I love their perfect displays, I always leave with a purchase ….and I don’t even drink coffee!

What’s the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning? A walk round.

Your first job? Delivering service at an early age as a petrol pump attendant, I was only 15, £5 of petrol was a big purchase and I prided myself on putting the exact amount in every time.

If you weren’t a hotelier what would you be doing? I’d probably be a history teacher.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? I will hopefully still be here at Ye Olde Bell continuing to welcome guests and helping them to make special memories.

Your dream job? I have it….

Something you wish you knew before joining the industry:  I sometimes wish I’d known how much my social life would vary from the norm.

In one word…

Favourite food? Tough one…tapas

Favourite UK city? Leeds

Favourite request on the jukebox? A Town Called Malice

Favourite drink? A good Rioja

Favourite holiday destination?  Pembrokeshire

Favourite film? Calamity Jane

Favourite gadget? My click counter

Favourite thing you own? Super Scrabble

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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