Mark Clayton is regional general manager at Hand Picked Hotels, a collection of 20 hotels across the UK and Channel Islands. Here we discover what makes him tick and how he approaches business.
Highlight of your career so far?
It’s been so varied, from starting out as a chef to then managing several premium hotels as general manager and operations director before taking the helm at Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa. The success we’ve had has contributed to my personal growth within Hand Picked Hotels as I’m now regional General Manager responsible for almost half of the group’s portfolio. That was a proud moment!
If you could choose three guests, dead or alive, to dinner, who would you choose?
David Attenborough, Annie Lennox and my Nana who sadly passed away when I was 18 and who was a huge part of my life.
Last hotel you stayed at?
It has to be Caesars Garden’s Hotel & Spa in Lindos, Greece – the perfect resort for a restful sunshine break.
Best piece of advice you ever received?
That anybody can complicate things but it takes a real genius to keep things simple. No matter how far you advance in your career, remaining absolutely focused and committed to the needs of your customer and the needs and development of your team, will take you far.
Biggest service bugbear?
Not being acknowledged with a friendly smile and eye contact when you’re in front of them – it can instantly change your opinion of somewhere.
If you went on Stars in their Eyes, who would you portray?
Which other company (inside or outside the industry) do you most admire and why?
Dr Davide’s Comfort Zone Italy – The founder is a scientist but is equally massively focused on his people. Their company ethos and commitment to its people and the environment is in a total different league to most other companies and their products are amazing.
What’s the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?
I walk the property and greet all the team on duty for the day.
Your first job?
My first job was a paper boy, but my first step into a career was as a Young Training Scheme Chef which triggered my love of food and hospitality.
If you weren’t a hotelier what would you be doing?
A psychologist as I love being around people and all sorts of personalities.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I see myself continuing my passion for cycling and taking it to new heights across the globe, covering as many miles in as many countries as possible.
Your dream job?
Ooh, outside of this? I’d love to be a Sports scientist working for INEOS
In one word…
request on the jukebox?
Human by the Killers
Garmin Edge bike computer
thing you own?
My blue retro designed Ridley road bike and my dog, though he’s not a ‘thing’ but I adore him.