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Gareth Long

General Manager, Holiday Inn Sydney Airport

How long have you worked for IHG and what were your first impressions?

I have worked for IHG for 13 years. I started on the I-Grad programme at the InterContinental Wellington in New Zealand. It was an amazing start and I immediately knew that I had chosen the right company. My on-boarding was comprehensive and I was made to feel very welcome and important from day one.   

“I love telling people that I work for IHG. The focus on its people is what makes IHG stand out!”

Tell us about your career journey with IHG?

I began on the I-Grad programme after speaking with an IHG recruiter during our Hotel Management School graduation. I have been fortunate enough to work for the Holiday Inn, InterContinental and Crowne Plaza brands in my career to date. I have also been very lucky to work in Wellington, Perth, Sydney, Hunter Valley and Amritsar in India! In fact, my best memory of working at IHG would be opening the Holiday Inn Amritsar Ranjit Avenue in India. This was my first General Manager position, my first opportunity to work outside of Australasia and my first hotel opening. The immense feeling of pride when we opened the doors was incredible. This is a special memory that will stay with me forever!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? How do these hobbies play a part in your working life?

I am sports mad and enjoy playing golf, squash, tennis and running. I am a huge ‘All Blacks’ fan and being a New Zealander, rugby is my main passion. I also love music and enjoy listening to new bands and making playlists to go running to. I believe that engaging in things outside of your work that you are passionate about helps you to bring passion to the work environment. 

What's a typical day like for you?

I always start my day by going for a walk around the hotel to see who is on shift and how they are. If we are busy in the restaurant, I enjoy helping the team out and clearing some tables or assisting a guest in the lobby. My team appreciate the help and I know that they are there for me when I need their assistance. I think of my role as an enabler of success. If I can remove obstacles for the team to allow them to better deliver the customer journey, then I am a happy man. There are meetings that I attend each week, whether we are looking at ways to drive revenue, improve the guest experience or make the working environment more engaging for our team. I also have the opportunity to connect with our owners to make sure they love how we manage their hotel and deliver beyond their expectations.

Do you know where you want your IHG career to go?

I am passionate about continuing to grow within IHG. I look forward to opportunities to work in other regions and expand my knowledge of the business in different markets. My experience working overseas has taught me so much, not just professionally, but personally. I look forward to continuing to benefit from the amazing people development programs that IHG offers and broadening my capabilities with the company.