Meeting the team: Alex.
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
We're delighted to introduce Alex Mee, our new General Manager at Bloc Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.
To welcome Alex to the team, we sat down for a coffee to discuss his new role and love for the city.
Welcome to Bloc. You must be excited! What made you want to join the team?
Thanks for the warm welcome. Honestly, I had been looking for something very specific for a while and when I saw the role advertised, I jumped at the chance.
It's fair to say that I’ve fallen in love with independent hotel businesses. Their innate ability to really connect with the city, its rich culture and proud communities – that’s the part I really enjoy and something that attracted me specifically to Bloc.
But wider than that, it’s the lack of red tape that you find in big-chain hotels that means making positive changes for the team and guest experience only takes hours, not weeks. Bloc is also the kind of company that truly values their team. They’re willing to put their trust and confidence in you to make the right call, which helps us make sure every guest checks out with a positive and unforgettable experience.
What are your first impressions of your new role?
I’m joining Bloc at a challenging time for the whole hospitality industry. One that we all love so much.
Recruitment, supply chain issues… the list goes on. But the difference with Bloc is its incredibly strong foundations, giving it the ability to pick up where they left off in 2019 and bounce back a lot quicker than most. Smart Room Control is a great example.
You only need to look at our recent occupancy levels, tied with the positive guest feedback, to see that all that hard work is paying off.
There is also a real family atmosphere amongst the team. Everyone is so close, creating a positive collaborative culture that translates well to guests who are made to feel welcomed and relaxed.
You’ve spent 8 years working in hospitality, 6 of those have been in Birmingham. What made you stick around?
Birmingham is one of the most multicultural cities in the country. Over 120 different nationalities live and work within the city, which makes it such a vibrant and friendly place to call home.
It’s also a hub for independent businesses too. Bloc started its story here in 2011, with many other innovative businesses continuing to follow suit.
The vision set out by the Mayor and council leaders to create a connected, green, forward-thinking region also makes it such an attractive place to live, work and start a family. You can feel the buzz of positivity in the city.
Not to mention the food scene is second to none! I really can’t see myself leaving anytime soon.
You graduated from Staffordshire University with a 1st Class Hon in International Business Management. What made you pick a career in hospitality?
After I left University, I moved onto a Graduate Programme with M&S. It offered a great hands-on experience of operational management within a fast-paced industry, with a great customer service base to learn from.
But after a few years, I started to realise that I wasn’t using my skills to their fullest and thought a change of industry may be the challenge I needed.
So I took a leap of faith, took a huge pay cut, and joined Holiday Inn as a Front Office Supervisor.
Within days, I knew I had made the right choice. Working for a hotel really gives you the opportunity to grow yourself professionally – probably more so than any other industry. The dream, one day, is to go international and manage teams across borders.
Do you have any memorable guest experiences from your previous roles?
Probably last year, when I was working as General Manager for an apartment hotel in the city.
We had 20 different families staying with us on Christmas Day and I remember getting a phone call from the team early in the morning. I knew before I even picked up that it wasn’t going to be good news.
I was right. There was no water in the building. 3 hours later, after driving across the city from petrol station to petrol station, I bought every bottle of water I could find so that our guests could boil their brussels sprouts. It is possibly one of the worst things that can happen to a hotel, let alone on one of the most important days of the year.
If you didn’t work in hospitality, what would be your dream job?
Would it be too obvious to say that I always wanted to be an astronaut?!
In truth, when I finished school, I was at a bit of a crossroads. I can remember sitting down with my Mom and Dad to discuss my next step and in my head, I had two options; join the police or go to university.
Eventually, I decided to further my education.
As it would happen, my little sister started a career in the police 2 years ago. I must admit, I still get a little jealous she gets to drive around with blue flashing lights all day.
Birmingham is open. So are we.
Birmingham, the birthplace of Bloc is coming back to life. After the trying times of Covid, the city is re-opening. And now so are we.
This summer, Britain’s second city is fit to burst with food, music, arts and culture. And to celebrate the return of fun to Brum, we’d like you to come and sample the city with 10% off all stays at Bloc Jewellery Quarter using discount code 'BACK10'.
Because we’re not the destination, we’re just right in the middle of it. And when you stay with us, so are you.