Cameron Griffiths, guest services manager, Park Hyatt Sydney
What does your job entail?
It's about providing the highest level of service to VIPs and guests in general at the Park Hyatt. We have five dedicated suites in the hotel with butler capabilities. We tend to the every whim of well-known celebrities, heads of state and regular guests of these suites. The butler is the singular contact for guests, from their arrival at the hotel to booking restaurants, pressing clothes and polishing shoes. It's about making guests feel comfortable and the role of the butler allows us to exceed their expectations.
Has the job description changed over the years?
Yes, it has evolved a little. You have to be more culturally aware and understanding of religious views. However the role of butler has always been about maintaining the highest standards in hospitality. The eye for detail is second to one. You have to be adaptable, flexible and you've always got to have your finger on the pulse of what's happening in your city.
What is the most challenging thing you have been asked to do?
Nothing is impossible. Just before one well-known general from the US Army was due to arrive, we found out that he had spoken to his children about the movie Finding Nemo and that they might see Nemo when they came to Australia. So we organised a Finding Nemo theme in the children's bedroom in the hotel, which included a massive aquarium with real clown fish like Nemo, and plush toys and Nemo décor in the room. So the first thing the children saw when they walked in was Nemo. We work on a rule of not saying 'no'.
Is the job everything you thought it would be?
And more. I've found a niche area in hospitality in an area that suits my service-oriented personality. You can travel the world with the job and you can work for some of the most influential people in the world.
What advice would you give to aspiring butlers?
Tools and resources:
> Plan and develop your career
> Find a course now
> Find your dream job
You need to be exceeding guests' expectations every day and make your city a better place for them to come to. There's a lot of pressure to provide a high level of service, so you've got to be willing to learn quickly and make every interaction unforgettable. When it comes to your career, set realistic short- and long-term goals and reassess them after a few years so you can develop as an industry professional.