Manager of our Tignes Val Claret resort since November 2014, Matt from Leicester (and a big Leicester City fan!) talked to us about his work and about life in the French Alps.
• Hi Matt, how did you make your way to Tignes and to the job of Hotel Manager for Mark Warner? What’s your career background?
I started my working life as a lawnmower repair man – a job I absolutely loved. Then I went on to build pine furniture for a few years.
But I soon realised that I wanted to see what else was out there, and applied for my first winter season. I’ve not looked back since.
One of the great things about working for Mark Warner is that there are several opportunities for you to progress with the company. I started out as a chalet boy and have very steadily worked my way up to where I am today. I’ve gained lots of experience in several departments on the way. The first few seasons working chalets in Tignes were definitely all about having fun (and boy did we!).
• What originally attracted you to working in the travel industry?
Having had several really great holidays as a recreational skier, I’d well and truly caught the skiing bug, and I simply needed more time on the snow.
I always promised myself at least one winter season of skiing. I got this in 1999, when I first travelled to La Plagne for five months as a chalet boy. I can honestly say that it was the best five months of my life and the best decision I ever made.
I soon realised I couldn’t just do one season, so I ended up filling the summer with a season in Corsica. Apart from the odd season here and there, I’ve done back-to-back seasons since then.
• What are your responsibilities at the hotel?
My role as a hotel manager is simply to give our guests the best holiday we can. There is a fair bit of staff management involved in the day-to-day running of a hotel, and as with most management jobs there can be a fair bit of work that needs attention in the office.
• What are the greatest challenges of your role?
Keeping our staff in one piece is always a big ask! Our staff are so full of energy and enthusiasm for what they are doing, we sometimes need to remind them to take a breather to give their bodies time to catch up.
Sundays (transfer day) can also be challenging if you are not prepared. Some of our staff will start work at about 3am to make sure breakfast is ready for our early-departing guests.
• And what are the greatest pleasures?
It’s always lovely to receive good guest feedback – it’s something our hotel teams are really focussed on. I’ve also met some people through my job (guests and staff) that I now regard as good friends.
• What are your favourite things to do in and around Tignes when you’re not working? Do you have any insider tips for guests coming to the resort?
There is so much to do in Tignes when you’re not skiing. Mark Warner has a very good relationship with the adventure school Evolution 2. I’ve been lucky enough to do most of the activities they lay on, including paragliding, ice diving, husky rides and ice-track driving. My top tip is to do at least one non-skiing activity when you are here.
• What do you like to do outside the winter season?
I’ve been very lucky to have completed a few summer seasons in Tignes, where we have some really good downhill mountain-bike trails. This is another sport I got hooked on! There are also some amazing walking/running trails that are easily accessible in Tignes and the surrounding villages that simply must be tried if you have the time.
I’m also in the local football team. We play a few times each summer against some of the other ski resorts around.
Read more about ski holidays in Tignes at the Chalet Hotel l’Ecrin.