Sam Trollope from London, who has been Summer Operations Manager for Mark Warner since 2004, talked to us about his work and also shared his resort recommendations.
• Hi Sam, how did you make your way to the job of Summer Operations Manager for Mark Warner? What’s your career background?
I was a qualified motorsports engineer, so the travel industry wasn’t on my radar at first. But after being made redundant at 19, I fancied a change and some sunshine. I started at Mark Warner as an assistant sailing instructor in Kos, as a bit of fun for the summer!
After one season and a lot of learning, I was hooked and had to do another season, which I did after gaining my instructor qualifications in sailing and windsurfing.
Another great season went by and I was looking at management on the beach for my next job. I went to Portugal for my third season as Beach Manager and worked alongside a fantastic team. The beach was fantastic – brilliant weather, lots of wind and waves, and a great lifestyle to top it off.
During my time there, I wrote a simple program to help organise beach equipment and presented my small idea to Head Office. I was later offered a job as the Shipping and Logistics Coordinator! My foot was firmly wedged in the door…
I did that job for three years, giving everything I could to be involved in any part of the business. I travelled to the summer resorts as much as I was allowed, and was occasionally able to teach the odd lesson to keep my skills up.
As the company evolved, I took on more and more roles. And after my 4th year, I became the Sports Manager, looking after the general activities and the biking side of the operation. Just over a year after that came I was promoted to Summer Operations Manager, overseeing all parts of some of our hotels. It has been a steep learning curve from there – and it is ongoing to this day.
• What originally attracted you to working in travel and tourism?
Seeing the world, learning something new (becoming a qualified RYA instructor), teaching sailing and just generally having a lot of fun!
• What does an Operations Manager actually do?
I’m ultimately responsible for the end-to-end product while guests are away with us. I pull together all aspects of the summer operation, picking the right managers for the job and working closely with them to deliver the best holiday we can, plus reviewing feedback and constantly looking at our holidays and hotels so we can improve.
• Is there a typical day in your job, and if so, what is it? Or is every day different?
Every day is different. Some are admin-based in the office, and some are spent travelling to resort, getting to the airport at 5am in the morning in time for a Wetherspoons’ breakfast.
• How much time do you spend in the resorts?
Anything from 24 hours to one week at a time, with the busiest periods being ‘set up’ just before the resorts open.
• What’s your favourite Mark Warner resort and why?
San Lucianu in Corsica. Over the years we’ve shaped it into a great beach resort for families and adults alike, with amazing sports and great food. The surrounding area is stunning and there is loads to explore.
• Do you have any great insider tips for our readers, in summer and winter resorts? Unmissable bars and restaurants, for instance…
Nisaki in Rhodes, just down the beach from our fabulous Levante Beach Resort, is a traditional Greek restaurant serving seafood caught that day, including shrimps only found in that bay. You sit out on the front looking out at the harbour and bay – bliss!
Read more about Mediterranean beach holidays with Mark Warner.