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Water cooler chat with Neetu Mistry, Commercial Director

Water cooler chat with Neetu Mistry, Commercial Director

  • Describe your role in one sentence: Given Cycas’s ambitious expansion plans, and the fantastic potential of the many different international brands we work with, my job is to maximise the commercial performance of our hotels with the best sales, marketing and revenue management strategies.
  • What are the most exciting milestones for Cycas as it grows? With Cycas set to open ten new hotels across several new markets over the next six months alone, there’s lots to look forward to. And it’s testament to Cycas’s strong and driven leadership that the company can continue to grow, evolve and thrive, even during a global pandemic. Aside from the exciting impact this will have on recruitment and growth plans, we hope these openings will also have a positive impact on the wider hospitality industry and potential investors.
  • What industry trends excite you most? Whilst innovations such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality have been around for a while, we’re starting to see a lot more practical implementations at a hotel level as customer behaviours and traveller expectations continue to change. Given the challenges currently faced by the industry, it will be particularly interesting to see how technology can be used to enhance the guests experience by helping increase personalisation, heighten safety and cleanliness standards, and improve sustainability. After all, if technology can help bring efficiencies and emotions closer together, it will have a tangible impact on the way people stay.
  • What are your proudest achievements after two years with Cycas? These last two years have certainly been a rollercoaster of activity, development, and expansion. In line with Cycas’s exceptional growth, we have significantly expanded the central commercial team and now have a talented group of people helping me drive performance and results across our portfolio. From a leadership perspective, I’m also part of Cycas’s Leadership Team, which ensures there’s a commercial voice at the table as well as at the heart of every hotel.
  • What do you feel is the biggest strength for Cycas right now? Cycas has always been known as the extended-stay experts and our home-from-home approach. And, whilst we have grown significantly in the traditional hotel sector over the last few years, the pandemic definitely showcased the benefits of accommodation designed with longer-staying guests in mind, which made our extended-stay portfolio one of our biggest strengths. However, our hotels’ success throughout the COVID-19 crisis has come down to our Cycadettes who have been working tirelessly to maintain a homely atmosphere for guests and minimise any potential risk.

The Fun Five

  • What did you want to be when you were growing up I guess I’ve never had a fixed path, because I have always enjoyed learning and experiencing different things, so didn’t want to restrict myself to a discipline early on. That’s something I’m sure a lot of people can probably relate to. In fact, the career I have now didn’t really exist when I first started out, and I think one of the exciting things about the hospitality industry is how quickly it is evolving to create new opportunities for those who have a passion for people and for embracing new ways of working.
  • What do you do when you are not working? This may sound a bit of a cliché but, because my working life is so fast-paced and ever-changing (which is why I love it so much), when I’m not working it’s all about my family. Whether it’s a casual weekend with my husband and son in the local park, or brunch with mum, dad, my four sisters and their partners out in London, it’s really important for me to spend quality time with the people who matter most to me.
  • If you could do it all over again, what – if anything – would you change? I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason, so it’s always worth taking advantage of hindsight to reflect and learn. For me, the experiences that I’ve had, the people I’ve met and the places I’ve worked have all made me who I am today, so I guess – cheesy though it might sound – I honestly wouldn’t change a thing.
  • What would the industry be most surprised to discover about you? I’m a big foodie, so anyone who has spent time with me knows that I’m always on the hunt for snacks. But what they might not realise is how much I love making cakes. Whilst many people claim baking relaxes them, it’s quite the opposite with me as having a 4-year old as a sous-chef brings its own challenges – and yet I remain steadfastly ambitious about my kitchen creations! For my mum’s birthday I was pretty proud of my three-tiered coconut rainbow cake, not least as it actually looked remarkably similar to the recipe book photo.
  • What have you learned from lockdown? As someone who used to spend most of my time on the road, visiting hotels or head office, the pandemic has been a great lesson in how to maintain efficiency and close-knit teams without travelling. For me, the virtual technology we’ve all become so reliant on over the last few months has reinforced the importance of face-to-face conversations, and in many ways my team and I have actually made more of an effort to stay in touch and spend time with other departments than we might previously have done. A much-needed silver lining from 2020.
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