Q&A with Micheal Williamson

About MePicture © Michael Cooper

How would you describe yourself in 15 words or less?  Aim to exceed rather than meet client’s expectations, enjoy having fun, getting on a bit.

How did you come to be involved in the travel and hospitality industry?  I am a management accountant by profession and entered the hotel industry in that capacity in 1990 when I was appointed financial controller for the Emerald Hotel Group in Northern Ireland.  My prime remit was looking after the finances of the cash cow in the Group, the famous Europa Hotel in Belfast.  In 1991, the Group found itself in severe cash-flow difficulties and was placed into administration.  Later that year, I took over as General Manager and Financial Controller of the hotel.  Unfortunately, this was a period when the troubles were still very much a part of everyday life in Northern Ireland and the Europa Hotel was bombed twice during my tenure and GM.  As a result of these attacks, it took more than 2 years rather than the expected 2 months to dispose of the hotel. I remained with the new owners and moved to one of their large Victorian resort hotels as General Manager.  In 1999, I moved into a large local accountancy/advisory practice to develop their hotels, tourism and leisure consulting division.  I have enjoyed working with and advising the tourism industry ever since.

Favourite hotel and why excluding any you have worked in? The Rome Cavalieri.  Its elevated position offers stunning views of the old city and the Vatican and it is a very fine hotel in the traditional style.  Expensive, but worth every penny.

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?  3 years closer to retirement.

Quick Fire

What colour is the new black?  This year it looks like white

Winter holiday – snow or sun?  why not both?

Blackberry or I Phone?  Blackberry although as a rule, I do not like the invasion of privacy that the mobile phone is responsible for.

Mac or Windows?  Windows

City or rural life?  When you get to my time of life, it has to be rural.

Curry or steak?  Fish please, if that’s allowed!

Favourite Bond movie?  Thunderball

Hero or villain?  Hero, I hope

Elephant or tiger?   Tiger

Technophobe or nerd?  Probably a technophobe by now – I have had enough of technology.

Dancer or wallflower?  Definitely wallflower – I’m very shy

Jazz or classical?  Jazz – its good for the soul

Early to bed or burn the candles at both end?  I would struggle to burn the candle at one end never mind two.  Early to bed for me.

Ideal breakfast?  A beautiful woman on each arm.

Passive aggressive or aggressive pacifist?  Passive aggressive, but I am not really sure!

Insight

Who or what has been your strongest influence in your life?  My parents for teaching me the value of good manners and fun, giving guidance and, I hope, a strong moral compass.

What is the most important lesson you have learnt?  Treat everyone with respect, no matter what the circumstances.

What is the most embarrassing moment in your work life?  Referring to someone by the wrong name – I am terrible at putting names to faces.

What keeps you awake at night?  Usually the sound of rain on the roof – it rains a lot here!

Where would you travel to and why?  Italy – I love the lifestyle and the manner is which Italian ladies present themselves (well some of them anyway).

What would your super power be?  Northern Ireland – a fine place and fine people with an incredibly rich and influential cultural and industrial heritage for such a small country

Which trait do you deplore most in others?  Arrogance

What is your least appealing habit?  No idea, but I am sure there are a few – that’s probably better answered by someone else

What is your guiltiest pleasure?  Probably my sunny day Mercedes convertible – lord only knows what other think of me!

Private dining for 6 plus yourself, who would you invite?  6 close friends seems like a good place to start.  Dinner should be fun.  I am not a fan of using dinner as a forum for serious debate – that would ruin my appetite.

What should I have asked you?  Something saucy or my phone number