Lessons I have Learnt

David Scott, CEO of The Hotel Folk

As a 20-year marketer by trade, I stepped back from a marketing focussed career in 2018, when a change of direction led me to become the CEO of The Hotel Folk.

Published in Suffolk Director Magazine Autumn|Winter 2022

About David Scott

By day, I oversee the management of The Hotel Folk’s six Suffolk hotels and restaurants, a spa and a golf course. By night, I’m often working in one of our restaurants, alongside our Folk who are striving to deliver fantastic hospitality to our guests.


How would you describe yourself at 18?

Always hardworking, I accepted every challenge with a desire to win, not everything, but the things I set my mind to. I always needed to be with other people, as I’m not good on my own. I also had a good dose of overconfidence, often engaging my mouth before my brain, which got me into trouble on more than one occasion.

If you could go back knowing what you know now, what three things would you tell yourself to do before becoming a director?

  1. Think before you act. Make sure you know all the facts before making a decision, and self-check your reaction before you communicate.
  2. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right. Trust your instincts, you’re often not wrong.
  3. Understand everything about it, if you can’t explain it, how can you manage it?

If you could relive one day, what would it be and why?

Good question. Cliché wedding day. Work-wise, winning a global award and sharing my ideas at an international conference in Copenhagen, was overwhelming.

What are the biggest lessons you have learnt about running a business?

Engage your people, as without them you can’t achieve anything. Don’t be afraid of conflict. If something isn’t right, tackle it head on as it rarely fixes itself. Understand the numbers and use as many facts as possible to inform decisions, not to give you the absolute answer. Communicate well. Good communication is never a waste of time.

How did you deal with a big mistake, and what did you learn from the experience?

Massive marketing budget overspend in my early career, which had a huge impact on the P&L at year end. I didn’t understand how it worked, therefore didn’t manage it and I assumed finance were doing it for me; never make assumptions about anything. Another smaller and more personal mistake was accepting a job I didn’t really want. I knew it was wrong, but I did it and it didn’t work out; again trust your instincts.

What does the future have in store for your company?

Lots of headwinds, same as everyone else, especially in hospitality. As a marketer at heart, you must sell your way out of these situations. There’s always a niche of customers who want something you offer, regardless of the circumstances. Find them and deliver to them without exception.

What does the future have in store for you personally?

More knowledge. The advantage of moving into general management, is that it opens opportunities outside of your career niche. I know far more now about finance and banking because I’m exposed to it more, although I’ve still got so much more to learn. I’m also still working on a better work-life balance, I’m sure we all are, aren’t we?

For more information, visit www.thehotelfolk.co.uk


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