We are delighted to introduce Emma Underwood as the first female General Manager of Lancaster House. Emma brings a wealth of experience to the role, including almost fourteen years working for English Lakes Hotels. She tells us a bit about herself.
Home for me is Lancaster and I've lived all my life here. My home is close to the beautiful Williamson Park. Even when I worked in the city of Manchester, I would commute so that I would get home to my beloved Red Rose county.
When I'm not working, I enjoy going to the theatre, and travelling to experience new cultures. I am a regular at Sandpiper Club exercise classes.
I spend a lot of time with my family and friends, and socialising is a big part of any downtime I have. In particular, I love to be around my Mum, my sister and Holly, my niece. Holly is definitely a mini me, and she thinks she is the little boss of Lancaster House! She is certainly full of character and is lots of fun to be around.
“Work Hard, and Be Kind”
Emma and Holly
In terms of hobbies, when conditions are right, I do very much enjoy a spot of open water swimming.
Working backwards in my career, I’ve spent almost fourteen years at English Lakes Hotels as Deputy Manager of Lancaster House. I’m thrilled to be taking the reigns as General Manager and it feels very apt as I know the hotel and the team inside out.
Other roles include a time in a large conference and banqueting hotel in Manchester. It would be quite normal for us to do three to four weddings each week, and host conferences for up to 250 people. The hotel also had a Spa which brought in different clientele and lots of day visitors. Prior to that, I worked as Reservations Manager for Holiday Inn, and then took a position as Operations Manager. I thought that moving to operations was a great idea at the time, but I missed the revenue side of the business. Now, as General Manager, I get the best of both worlds!
I started my hospitality career as a waitress. It didn’t take me long to realise that although it was great fun and enjoyable, it was also extremely hard work. I treasure my Dad’s words of wisdom when he told me to ‘Work hard, be kind, and you will reap the rewards!’
Some of my favourite parts of the job have been working with a great team, and in particular interviewing many different people for roles in the hotel. I’ve learned to go through the recruitment process but also to trust my gut as to whether the person will be a good fit in the Lancaster House team.
I’ve also enjoyed getting involved in the creative decisions around refurbishments and upgrades – choosing wallpaper and carpets for the Dalton suite was an enjoyable experience. Other stand out moments are when we host the Lancaster Food and Drinks Festivals.#
I love the English Lakes + 1 culture which is about going the extra mile to deliver the best standards in every aspect of the business. It is also about caring for our guests and looking after our team. I believe it is this culture that makes us stand out from the competition, and I truly hope that everybody that walks through the doors of Lancaster House experiences this type of welcome and service that goes above and beyond expectations.
I’ve got to say, ‘ensuring Lancaster House is the best hotel in Lancashire’. That is my passion and I hope to do this through creating leisure and corporate packages that people love, as well as delivering the best customer service. Continuing to develop the Lancaster House team is also key for me, and I’m happy to pass on any wisdom I’ve accumulated through my career to date. I like to be approachable and transparent about the direction I am taking the hotel. We can all achieve the vision if the vision is clearly defined and communicated to the whole team.
My first objective is to look again at our offering. Does it need to change? There is the old adage, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! But like everything, adjustments and improvements can always be made and found. I want to develop relationships further with local suppliers and to ensure that when it comes to weddings, events and functions, Lancaster House is always at the forefront of the minds of those in our local community. I believe that everyone in the county should try which I believe to be Lancashire’s finest Afternoon Tea!
Lancashire Afternoon Tea
Emma Celebrating 25 years of Lancaster House with the team
Lancaster House is a great place to work, not just because I work there!! We are a family. Most of the team are happy to get involved in other areas of the operation as and when required. I believe this gives us an appreciation of different jobs, and the challenges as well as the joys that each role presents. We only recruit people with the right attitude, and it is very much the case that the people make Lancaster House tick! Guests are always remarking about the way the team interacts and comment about the friendly camaraderie between us. My hope is that every team member will continue to feel value and have a good and positive work life balance.
Perhaps it's time for a new challenge and to be part of a great team. Take a look at the hospitality job opportunities at Lancaster House and our three other English Lakes hotels.