At 27, meet one of the youngest General Managers of a 5-star luxury hotel in Australia at Emporium Hotel South Bank. We spoke to Charles Martin about his fascinating journey in the hotel industry.

 

Where did your journey start? Where did you grow up?

Born in Yeronga, I attended Brisbane Grammar School and studied at University of Queensland. I’m as stereotypically Brissy as you can get.

What drew you to hotels?

After high school I was looking for a job just like everyone else and my mother told me I would be good in hotels. I could talk, and so in 2009 I put in an application for the very first Emporium Hotel at Fortitude Valley. I started as a concierge, as a porter on a driveway – that’s where my career all started. I worked there for five years from bags to bars and I even did a year doing a sales and marketing internship, all whilst studying commerce and management.

 

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How did you go from Emporium Concierge to Emporium General Manager?

After my studies, I landed a grad role at Ernst & Young in 2014 on Eagle Street. From there I was offered a job in Sydney with Aussie Home Loans in procurement and property. After two years I got a call form Tony John from Anthony John Group who owns Emporium Hotels. We had always stayed in touch and they had a phenomenal year ahead selling the old Emporium Hotel Fortitude Valley and moving to a new location. I flew up to Brisbane and Tony walked me through what was the construction site of Emporium Hotel South Bank. From the basement to the rooftop, I fell in love with it and was offered the position of owner’s representative.

I was almost like a hybrid chief operations officer/chief of staff, a type of “do anything” role. But my main role was to tie in the efforts of all the general managers: of the hotel, development and retail and residential into a systematic program that assisted with the integration of the hotel. My first year was a whirlwind, and it was really fantastic.

In November last year, the general manager that we had for the old hotel that worked the whole way through finished up with the group and I went into an acting capacity. I was then asked if I’d like to apply for the role of general manager and I did. I was rewarded the role which was very exciting and now here we are.

At 27 you’re one of the youngest general managers of a five-star luxury hotel property in the nation. How does this make you feel?

When it comes to my age, I don’t really think about it. Experience is one thing, but I personally find that having the passion and dedication is just as important to get in there and get the job done no matter what. And I think with the vision of Tony from Anthony John Group and his wife, Fran, who own and developed the entire south point development gave me so much confidence. Being trusted with putting the operations together is so exciting and exhilarating. So, age doesn’t really come into it for me. It’s more so just get in there, get it done and lead by example.

What do you love most about Brisbane?

I’m so happy to back here in my home town – it is such a phenomenal city. There is so much happening now. It’s a very fun, dynamic metropolis with the legs already on the way to become such a remarkable place for the whole country.

Quick fire questions:

Hair Salon? The Emporium Barber, Bowen Hills. Ask for Jack.
Book? The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris.
Next Holiday? Greece and Lebanon.
Fashion Style? Suits.
Dining? Anything Mod Oz.

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