Nicole Maxwell is the Director of Sales at the NOPSI Hotel in New Orleans. She has spent more than 20 years in the hospitality and tourism industry. We reached out to the native New Orleanian about her career and advice she has for those trying to begin or restart their career during this unprecedented time.
You are born and raised New Orleanian, and have been a Westbanker and Eastbanker. What are some of the things you love about New Orleans?
The food, the culture, the locals, the visitors and events are all amazing.
How did you get started in hospitality and tourism?
I was in college and my great friend, Jessica, told me about a couple of Visitor Information Agent positions open with the CVB (New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, now New Orleans & Company). I had no idea what a CVB was at the time. But, I applied for the position and was hired while attending the University of New Orleans for my undergraduate degree.
Tell us a bit more about your career. What are some of the memorable jobs that led you to your current position as Director of Sales at NOPSI?
I began my career in 1999 while in college as a Visitor Information Agent. I was promoted to Contracts Assistant, then Sales Manager and eventually Sales Manager within a few years. I was blessed to work with many wonderful people for seven years. In 2006, I joined the Sales Team at the then Wyndham New Orleans Canal Place, now Westin, and was fortunate to sell the property for just under seven years as Senior Sales Manager. I transferred within the management company in 2012 to Philadelphia and worked at one of the larger properties in center city for just over a year. Then in 2014, I was fortunate to secure a Director of Sales position with the Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter and have since worked at the Hilton New Orleans St. Charles, Troubadour and now NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans.
You have a vast career that has led you to different opportunities as you worked your way up in the industry. What are some of the major lessons that you learned throughout your career that you keep with you today?
Do not remain in a position for comfort. Always keep an open mind. Don’t be afraid to go after the position you know you can do and do well. And, know your value!
For those who would be interested in sales or for those who are curious about working in sales in a hotel. What are some of the responsibilities of your position and department?
Other than confirming guestrooms, I also confirm the hotel’s meeting and public space for meetings and events. Issue contracts to clients. Review my sales managers contracts prior to issuing clients. Participate in all site inspections. Participate in Lobby Duty to greet Hotel guests. Assist in setting, refreshing and breaking down meeting space. Host clients and third party planners at internal events. Attend tradeshows to promote the Hotel. Process purchase orders for Hotel suppliers. Assist with luggage, clearing plates in the restaurants, etc. The list goes on, but in short, I remain flexible.
What do you love about working in hospitality and tourism?
I love the people and the relationships we build as a hospitality and tourism community.
What advice do you have for those looking to begin or restart their career in the hospitality and tourism industry, especially during this difficult time?
Those looking to begin a career in hospitality and tourism should become flexible and know this community is a family. They will build friendships that will last a lifetime. And, for those looking to restart their careers in the industry, have patience and flexibility. 2020 has been a difficult year for most people and the recovery process will take time. Flexibility will allow for growth in positions not previously held. Gaining knowledge in different departments will make you a team player and a strong internal candidate when other positions become available.