It was a surprise, however, to discover that by chance a world-class hotel school was just down the road from his house.
“For most of my life, I have lived in the lower Blue Mountains, Australia. I have been very lucky to live with a family who loves one another and always supports one another with whatever dreams and aspirations they have,” Bailey explained.
“So, when I told them that I wanted to study hotel and resort management they were just as excited as I was. It was extremely fortunate that when I started looking into courses, there was an award-winning university literally just up the hill.”
Bailey chose to pursue Bachelor of Business, International Hotel and Resort Management at the Blue Mountains International Hotel School (BMIHMS), part of Torrens University Australia, because he has always been passionate about creating special experiences for other people.
Hospitality turned out to be the perfect way for him to channel this natural talent into a career.
“I love people. Ever since I was little, I loved making people smile and laugh. I've always been a little entertainer, whether it was through planning birthday parties or performing on stage. It always came back to the people aspect, making them have an enjoyable experience.”
“So, when I started thinking about potential future careers I knew it had to involve working with people. That's when the idea of hospitality first emerged and honestly, I am so glad I chose this path. Every day at work I get to make people smile or give them an experience. That's what drew me to a career in hospitality,” Bailey said.
Bailey’s generosity of spirit was recognised by staff and students at BMIHMS late last year, when Bailey received the prestigious Three Pillars Award for Term 4, 2021.
This award acknowledges students and more recently, staff, who display exceptional professional and personal growth, practical skills development, and academic achievement -- all key tenets of the BMIHMS Three Pillar Approach to education.
Nominations are open to students four times through the year and feature a different theme each time. In Bailey’s case, his award was for the category of ‘Creating Shared Value;’ something that he agrees is important to do in any organisation or learning environment.
“Honestly, I was a little surprised to receive the award but am honoured nonetheless. Sharing value is so important in whatever career you have, whether it be hospitality or teaching. Most jobs require teamwork.”
“If you can share your knowledge or experience with someone else, contribute to the development of someone else or ultimately help someone else, then I believe you should," said Bailey.
“You never know when you might be in a position where you wish someone would share their knowledge with you, so why not do the same for others? I truly believe part of the university experience is helping, learning and growing together, to make sure we all get the most out of our course. So, if you have an opportunity to contribute to group learning, I would say, take it.”
Bailey’s Three Pillars Award recognised his positive engagement with the school, helpful attitude within the class environment and his overall contribution to the BMIHMS community: all personal attributes and skills that will go a long way in a hospitality career.
So, what is Bailey’s surprising secret to success?
Bailey said, “Being kind to others and being kind to yourself.”
“Being kind to others is exactly what it sounds like. It means spending time with people and making memories together; treating people the way you would like to be treated. And of course, using any opportunity to show love for other people.”
“Being kind to yourself involves everything that impacts you. This includes fostering both your physical and mental health. Whether it be working out, relaxing, playing some video games, or getting a good night's sleep.”
A career in hospitality means providing exceptional service for customers, while working hard and often putting in long hours. It’s essential to look after yourself so you have the energy to look after guests. Bailey offers some sound advice for those who want to maintain the highest possible standard of customer care.
How does Bailey define success in a hospitality career?
“Success is different for everyone. For me, if I can have a career I enjoy and am good at, working with people that make me happy and can make the people I interact with walk out of the property with a smile on their face; now that, for me, is success. I know it sounds cheesy, but I do believe it's true.”
He went on to say, “Hospitality at its core is being hospitable. So, if you can do that, then you will be outstanding.”
A Bachelor of Business, International Hotel and Resort Management course at BMIHMS teaches a lot of different hard and soft skills, including cultural studies, leadership and management, market analysis and industry knowledge. The education you get is broad and deep at the same time.
Among all of that content, what has Bailey found to be some more of the valuable lessons he has learned since arriving at BMIHMS?
“I think the biggest lesson I've learned is to be confident in my own skill set. Everyone is different. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Part of growing is learning what you are good at, and what you enjoy, and not comparing yourself to others.”
“BMIHMS has really helped me learn this skill career wise. I've become better at backing myself in what I'm good at, while not being upset about the things I may not be. For that, I am thankful for BMIHMS, because this is an important lesson I can apply beyond my professional life.”
Bailey didn’t just choose to go to university to provide other people with positive experiences. He also went there to learn, to grow and to invest in a career for himself.
So, what’s happening for Bailey right now, professionally?
“Ultimately, I chose this degree because I knew hospitality was something I love and was something I could pursue in the long term, and from what I saw, BMIHMS seemed like the perfect place to launch myself into a successful career post-graduation.”
“This is already showcasing itself now three months out from when I graduate. I have been able to gain a position in a hotel that I already love, thanks to the practises and knowledge taught at the school.”
Bailey has found the simulated hotel environment and practical training offered at BMIHMS particularly helpful in preparing him for his new role.
“One of the biggest selling points for me of BMIHMS, over other universities, is the hands-on nature of the course. Not very many other courses offer the ability to learn direct skills and techniques, which you can then directly use in the workforce.”
“The school is run as a simulated hotel. The restaurant where you eat is the same place where you learn food and beverage skills. The beds you sleep in are cleaned and made with the same standards as that of housekeeping. And of course, my favourite, the room you stay in has been checked in with the same software and computers that are used in the hotel industry ,” explained Bailey.
“So, when you start working in a hotel, you already know a lot of the foundational skills. That is the key way that BMIHMS prepares us for the real world.”
With his positive attitude, Bailey is on his way to a promising career in hotels.
So, what’s next for him and where would he like his career to go in the long term?
“My current plans are to continue working for the hotel I’m presently employed at, with the aim of working my way up the ranks,” he said.
“One day, my dream would be to own my own collection of boutique hotels in Australia and New Zealand. These hotels would each have tonnes of personality, and I would aim to make extremely unique and memorable experiences for guests. It's a big and challenging dream, but the thought gets me super excited and I’m feeling ambitious for the future.”