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Getting to Know You: Nicole Turnhout-Ammerlaan

Getting to Know You: Nicole Turnhout-Ammerlaan

April 28, 2021 | Community, News, Openings, Our Team, Signings


In our latest Getting to Know You feature we speak to Nicole Turnhout-Ammerlaan – Interstate’s recently appointed Vice President Operations – Western Europe.

Nicole joined Interstate in November 2020, bringing with her extensive expertise from within the hospitality industry, including senior positions at IHG where she worked for seven years as both General Manager of a flagship Crowne Plaza Hotel in Amsterdam and an Area General Manager and more than a decade in commercial and operational posts at NH Hotels Group in Europe.

Nicole is also a board member of the Hotel Leaders’ Network advisory board in The Netherlands and an examinator, guest lecturer and board member at the prestigious Stenden Hotel School.

Here, Nicole shares more about her role with us, as well as a little-known fact about herself.

Tell us about your role and what it involves?

I am based at Interstate’s Amsterdam office and oversee 11 hotels in Europe and have three more due to open this year. We are all super excited for the new openings and are looking forward to celebrating this good news after the difficult year we’ve all experienced.

Thankfully, I am part of a marvellous team who work together to look after multiple owners. We work across three countries and this means that my team has to be aware of the different rules and regulations for each country as well as considering cultural differences and working in multiple languages.

I feel very privileged to work in such a dynamic region and there is a real ambition to grow the portfolio. You learn so much every single day.

It is also my role to support our teams to drive performance – not just financial performance but performance across all the areas we deliver in.

I started my traineeship in hospitality in the Caribbean on the beautiful island of Aruba, I learned there the importance of relationships and how well people from different cultures with different religious beliefs and different opinions could work in harmony together. This is something that has served me well throughout my career.

What does a typical day in your role involve?

As you would imagine, there is no typical day and that is what I love about this job and the hospitality industry.

My onboarding in 2020 was mainly done virtually and whilst our business is all about traveling, visiting our teams and hotels in person was only possible in Belgium and The Netherlands due to the current measures. It goes without saying that I look forward to visiting them all as soon as it is possible to do so.

Despite the desire for structure, I try to leave space for emergencies – you need to do that in operations, be it incidents in one of our hotels, changes in regulations or something else unexpected, you have to be ready in operations to handle whatever comes your way!

I attend informative calls during the week and arrange weekly catch ups with my region, the General Managers and regular meetings with our various owners.

Making sure that there is time in the diary for one on ones to see how the General Managers are doing is so important to me. I like to know how we can support them, what is working well, what we can do to support performance and make their lives easier and more efficient.

We spend more time with our work family than we do with our own family, so it is important to build good relationships.

What’s your favourite part of your role?

The people, as you will have gathered from my previous answers.

I see relationships as the key to our success.

I work to encourage all colleagues – no matter the position, role, or level of experience – to work together to the best of their ability as we all play a significant part in delivering an excellent guest experience. This extends to suppliers too. We want anyone visiting any of our hotels for any reason to have a good experience.

Titles don’t matter – people do.

What do you think makes Interstate stand out from the crowd?

As one of two women recently recruited into high level jobs, I’d say they are great at identifying and nurturing talent.

Even though Interstate Hotels & Resorts is one of the largest hotel management companies it still has a warm family like culture, this does not happen by chance. By cherishing and nurturing staff, they create the environment for people to do well and get the best possible performances.

In my short time here, I can see that they really do practice what they preach, they put people first and have the right culture that embraces family life and shows that they genuinely care about their people.

Tell us something about you that not everyone knows

Well, as a lecturer and advisor to the Hotel Leaders’ Network, it is no surprise that I am a firm believer in life-long learning. I have been very privileged to continue learning as I’ve worked and taught.

In 2018 I felt the timing was right to study again to prepare for future strategic roles. Not only did I learn a lot during the studies, but I also met so many inspiring people in both England and The Netherlands where I followed a dual degree. I still meet occasionally with my professors and former fellow students for a catch up.

It goes without saying my family and in particular my children (6 and 8 years old) were incredibly proud of their mother when on stage during the graduation ceremonies. Knowing how much I love to continue learning they asked me: ‘What will be next mom?’.

Since I couldn’t have done this without the support of my family I aimed to find something which would be suitable for all of us…hence after graduation, I bought a piano and now we are having piano lessons at home  – it’s much harder than I imagined and the children are making much faster progression than I am, but it has opened up a whole new world of learning for me.