GM of the Future – Top Tips From the Judges

Applications for this year’s GM of the Future are in full swing, offering one lucky individual the opportunity to undertake the distinguished Talent Development Programme at Cranfield University, Buckinghamshire – a unique opportunity worth over £11,000.

Overseen by our team of talented judges, each with their own distinguished background in the hotel industry, applicants will be based and assessed on a variety of different criteria, including their ability to demonstrate leadership, innovation and what they themselves believe makes an exceptional hotel general manager.

But what else can applicants look to do to ensure they stand out to our team of judges? We’ve spoken to some of them and asked them to explain in their own words what they’re looking for in this year’s GM of the Future.

Taking ownership and loving what you do

James B Clarke MI, Vice Chairman of the Master Innholders and GM at Hilton London Bankside, explains that showcasing your challenges and how you overcame them, as well as your successes, is key to being a successful GM.

James said: “Any successful GM needs to take responsibility and drive it passionately, which means talking about your challenges just as much as your successes.

“We naturally want to hear about the great things you have achieved for your hotel, but for me personally, I also want to hear about the challenges and difficulties you have faced and how you have taken on the responsibilities required to help overcome them.”

James also explained the importance of not only saying why you love working in hospitality but showcasing your love for it in all aspects of your role.

He continued: “Our industry is built on people, so if you don’t love people, then this isn’t the business for you.

“Think about how you go the extra mile to make guests feel loved during their time at the hotel. What’s that little extra you provide that truly makes the guest experience memorable?”

Dare to be different

Dan Rose Bristow MI, Chairman of the Master Innholders and Owner of The Torridon, says that his main piece of advice is that applicants shouldn’t be afraid to be different and step outside of the box.

Dan said: “I’ve been one of the judges for GM of the Future for many years and I’ve gone through plenty of applications during my time.

“When looking over them, I want to see how you dare to be different and are doing things in a way that most people and hotels haven’t considered. We receive many applications every year, so you need to do all you can to help you stand out from the rest.”

Alongside doing things differently, Dan also stressed how vital it is to ‘be a sponge’ and absorb information and learnings from people across the industry.

Dan explained: “You can learn an awful lot from your peers within your hotel, not just from your leaders. Don’t be afraid to sit down and have a chat with those in the wider team, especially those you don’t directly work with. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn and then apply it to your own role.

“Look outside of your own hotel for inspiration too. Networking is a vital tool for any GM and good contacts lead to doors opening and new opportunities.”

The power of positivity and creativity

Adrian Ellis MI, Hotelier of the Year and GM of The Lowry, says that he wants to see how applicants showcase both their positivity and creativity in the workplace.

Adrian said: “I believe our industry is one of the best in the world, yet that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its share of hardships.

“Remaining positive, even on the difficult days is therefore key. Everyone has a bad day, but don’t let a bad day turn into a bad week. Not only will it stop you from realising your own creativity, but it can have a negative effect on your team, and in turn, your guests.”

On the topic of creativity, Adrian also says being creative with how you create solutions to problems that arise is one way to help you stand out amongst other applicants.

He said: “When faced with a challenge, think about the opportunities available to you and how you could potentially approach it in a different way. The standard way of doing things isn’t always the best way, so being able to showcase your ability to think creatively and do something differently is a great way to help you stand out.”

Apply for GM of the Future 2023!

There’s still time to submit your application for this year’s GM of the Future award! Simply download an application form, answer the questions within alongside an endorsement from a line manager and email it to

Entrants must be 35 or under and can work in any role aside from general manager within the hotel profession. Deadline for applications is June 23 2023.

For more information about GM of the Future, please visit the official page.