Alumni Interview Series: Ben Lancken

Alumni Interview Series: Ben Lancken

Ben graduated from BMIHMS in 2008 with a Bachelor of Commerce: Hospitality & Tourism Management. Since then, he has rapidly risen up the ranks at TFE Hotels, where he is currently working as the Learning & Organisational Development Manager. We sat down with Ben to chat about his career after BMIHMS.

Tell us a bit about your career path since graduating.

When I graduated I started with TFE Hotels as Duty Manager at Travelodge Southbank in Melbourne before transferring to Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne as a Duty Manager. I was then a part of the opening team of Travelodge Docklands as the Assistant Hotel Manager in 2010. In 2011 I moved to Adelaide as Hotel Manager at the beautiful Adina Adelaide Treasury. I then moved back to Melbourne, this time as Hotel Manager at Travelodge Southbank. In 2013, I transferred to my current role at our Sydney Home Office as Learning & Organisational Development Manager.

Tell us a bit about your current role. What does it involve and what does a ‘day in the life’ look like?

In my current role I work at the intersection of our customer and team member experience. Primarily my focus is on building culture through learning and supporting our team members to deliver transformative experiences for their customers, guests and team members. I am responsible for learning and development for the group which includes our ACADEME leadership programs, our Go MAD Customer Experience Program, Our qualification programs and Team Member On-boarding. I also look after our strategic talent management, internal communications, change management and work closely with our operations teams to sustain high performance through various group wide projects and initiatives.

Ben_Headshot_cropped_Portrait_fix

My days are incredibly varied. I can go from facilitating a leadership workshop to attending project meetings, to supporting the opening of a new hotel or delivering customer experience training to frontline team members. There is lots of travel involved in my job, getting around to all of our Hotels in Australia, New Zealand & Europe as regularly as possible!

What did you like most about studying at BMIHMS?

The relationships that I have formed would definitely be the best part of studying at BMIHMS. The professional network that BMIHMS fosters combined with the lifelong friends I made during my time at the school standout as the highlights.

How did your degree contribute to your current career success?

My degree enabled me to hit the ground running as soon as I graduated. The combination of theory and practical learning that BMIHMS offers enabled me to move into a management role as soon as I graduated. This really kick-started my career.

Is your current ambition to stay working in hotels?

Absolutely.  I don’t think there has ever been a more exciting time to be a part of the travel and hospitality industry. With the hyper-connected consumer now in the driver’s seat & almost every corner of the globe now fully discoverable, we are on the verge of a hospitality revolution. The rise of personalisation and experience based travel is heralding the end of mass tourism as we’ve known it for the last 20-30 years. Combine this with the emergence of awesome new technology that will completely change the way we stage hotel experiences and engage our customers and you’ve got a pretty exciting future that I definitely want to be a part of.

Any advice for students interested in a career in hospitality management? 

  1.  Focus on relationships – Business success in this new world we live in will rely upon the size and quality of your personal network. Work hard early in your career to cultivate a strong personal brand and foster great relationships. Put simply, people do business with people they like and the person you work with as a graduate, may one day be your boss, or you may be theirs.
  2.  Volunteer – We all get the responsibility we choose to take on. If you are looking to fast track your career, seek out opportunities to volunteer within your business, get involved in new projects and initiatives, and volunteer to help in different areas. It will broaden your knowledge and experience increase your sphere of influence.
  3.  Be mobile – There is life beyond the East Coast of Australia! The best opportunities will come to those willing to relocate for them. Stay as mobile and as flexible as you can for as long as you can and enjoy the wonderful experiences that moving around and living in different parts of the country/world will bring.