Twelve months ago the former boss of Hotel du Vin, Tony Elvin left the ‘madness’ of hospitality to take charge of Solihull’s Touchwood shopping centre – and wasted no time in making an impact
BEEN THERE DONE THAT
Over the past 25 years I’ve managed health clubs, family entertainment centres and hotels, including three years at the Village Hotel in Solihull which brought me to the region and, most recently, a six-year stint at Hotel du Vin, where most people will know me from. Twelve months ago, I joined Touchwood and it’s been a fantastic first year.
IT’S WHAT I DO
People regularly ask how I’m finding the adjustment from hotel manager to shopping centre manager. As a general manager of any business the common thread and most important element is the interaction with people – employees, guests, clients, tenants, suppliers, members, peers, etc. I identify the key performance indicators to that business as quickly as possible and then work with the people in and around it to drive success by taking an interest in them, driving engagement in what we’re trying to achieve and helping them be the best they can be.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE?
My ambition is to consolidate Touchwood and Solihull as the premier shopping destination for the region by increasing the leisure provision within the centre, making sure everyone feels welcome and by collaborating with all of the local key stakeholders in Solihull – the BID, council, chamber of commerce, community groups and residents. It is crucial that the whole of Solihull prospers, not just Touchwood. We have a symbiotic relationship with the rest of the town and one cannot enjoy success without the other, so this is critical. With the investment and opportunity that HS2 will bring to the borough we are on the brink of something huge and we need to be ready for it.
Highlights have been representing Great Britain at under 21 level at American Football, beating leukaemia at the age of 21 (that helps you appreciate every moment), getting my wine qualifications (more to come there) and getting to spend more time with my family over the past year since leaving the madness of hospitality.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
Pay it forward. Do the right thing in the right way. Give and never expect anything in return. That’s my basic code and it’s served me pretty well.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
I love Birmingham and the West Midlands. I’ve lived in Shirley, Solihull for the past nine years and my family and I are completely settled. I haven’t missed working in the city centre because I still get the chance to visit so often through work, the chamber, the civic society, and to socialise. Shirley and Solihull are improving exponentially as leisure destinations and that is great too.
I love my work, always have done, but for downtime it’s family and friends, wine, West Ham, in that order. (My wife says don’t forget Star Wars… haha!)