A Chat With Katherine Holt, Manager of Ravello at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World

Assignment 5 in the interviewing class focused on putting together and conducting an informational interview with an employer.  For my interview I set it up as if I was applying for a job.  Then I in turn asked some questions in response to the questions and information provided.  Below is my report.

The Four Seasons is one of the top luxury resort chains in the world.  One may ask what would be expected of someone who works in one of these beautiful hotels?  I sat down with Katherine Holt, Manager of Ravello, a restaurant at The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World to find out.

Every Thursday and Saturday I travel to the Four Seasons Resort with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy to greet guests at Ravello.  This partnership between Four Seasons and Walt Disney World is how I met Holt.

I approached this interview as a sort of mix between a job interview and an informational interview.  Katherine asked me some questions as if she were looking to hire me to a host position at the restaurant.  She also gave me lots of information about what would be expected of me not only as a member of her team, but as a member of the bigger picture that is Four Seasons.  Then I asked a couple of questions of her based on information I had gathered about the resort itself.

In preparation for this meeting I browsed around the website for the resort, looked at their current job postings, and read some news articles about the luxurious offerings at this year old property.

Katherine and I set a 10:30 meeting time for Monday, July 13, 2015 at the restaurant.  It was great to learn more about the location while immersed in its atmosphere.

A lot of questions that were mentioned in the readings for this week were asked by both Katherine and me.

Top Questions – By Katherine Holt

The very first question she asked me was,

What do you know about the Four Seasons?

I was able to share the knowledge I had obtained about the resort recently celebrating its one year anniversary.  Also I spoke about amenities, such as daily spa offerings, the various restaurants, the areas for children and teens, and many other luxurious activities.

Do you have any food and beverage experience?

Luckily for me I do.  This helped the conversation a lot.  My dad once owned a restaurant, I worked in one in college, and I also worked front desk at a luxury hotel for a short time.

What does “intuitive service” mean to you?

Turns out I knew the answer to this and didn’t know it.  Basically it is anticipating the needs of the guests and then exceeding those expectations.

Top Questions – By Me

What are some things you look at when first sitting down with a potential employee?

Holt’s immediate answer was how someone is dressed.  Particularly when it comes to coming to the Four Seasons.  She said that sometimes even if the interview went well she may have still had a bad first impression.  A sense that they didn’t care enough about it to dress well, knowing the caliber of the Four Seasons.

What did you gain in experience to get to the position you’re in today?

Holt began to glow when I asked about this.  She went to school for fashion but got into the food and beverage business after that.  She began working as a bartender and when she was promoted to management she learned how to multitask even more and be completely aware of everything that was happening in her restaurant.  She really enjoyed talking about her experiences and how she got to the position she was in.  She mentioned how she likes when people ask about this.  She also says it shows promise of longevity with an employee when they also ask about other opportunities they could strive for within the company.  Four Seasons likes to promote from within.  She said sometimes she doesn’t always look at the skill set as much as the person and their desire to develop and sell the Four Seasons’ product.  What is that product?  Holt immediately responds with “service.”

– The Four Seasons Orlando resort is the largest Four Seasons property in the world.

– It took 15 years of planning and partnering with Walt Disney World to get the resort built.

– When applying for a job with this company you go through a series of interviews versus one interview and then hiring or not hiring.  The first interview is more of a personality interview to see if you fit the attitude of service that the Four Seasons expects.  The second interview is more of a skills interview to see what skills you may possess that would benefit you and what you would need to learn.  A third meeting would be with HR on pay, benefits, etc.. which leads to a job offer letter.  They look to make sure that you are a perfect fit.

– If that manager doesn’t see you fit for the specific position you are looking at but thinks you should work with Four Seasons they will refer you to another area where you may be a better fit.  When they find a good person they want to help them to succeed.

What do you know and love about Four Seasons properties?  Share with me in the comments.

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