Best for Learning and Development

Calum Wallace from award-winning Motel One talks about how the hotel group invests in learning and development and how that has helped him rise to senior management level at a large hotel in Scotland.


Calum Wallace is the manager of Motel One’s Princes Street hotel in Edinburgh. He has been at the company for eight and a half years after a friend recommended he apply and says he can’t see himself leaving due to Motel One’s outstanding investment in staff development. That investment won it this year’s WM People Top Employer Award for Best for Learning and Development.

Calum joined the company in 2015 as a front office and reservations manager at the Princes Street hotel. Within just two months he was sent to Motel One’s Munich campus to do a course on online reputation management. “It blew me away,” he says. “I had never known so much investment so early on in a job.”

From there he started travelling regularly to Germany for training on everything from personal skills to those tailored specifically to his job. He says the training was flexible enough to allow him to take on additional courses. He cites, for instance, a course on personality types which he says opened his eyes to how he and others behave in certain situations. “You learn that there are different ways to do things and that everyone responds differently. It’s about being flexible both with employees and guests,” he states. “It builds your own self awareness and emotional intelligence.”

In 2017, Calum was put forward for the company’s flagship Future Development Days programme for budding hotel managers. The application process was tough and evaluated his management potential, whether he understood the business and its values and how he managed his team. Calum had to perform in front of a jury to be accepted. There were just eight applicants from English-speaking countries who got through in addition to applicants from German-speaking areas. The intense programme, led by the company’s Head of People and Culture and external trainers, took place at one of Motel One’s beautiful resort hotels in Germany.  Participants were put through their paces and filmed so they could review their performance and learn from it. They fed back on others’ performance and received feedback of their own performance. 


The next year Calum was promoted to deputy hotel manager and he took part in a follow-up, one-day course in Germany where he learned further skills. In 2021 he was promoted to hotel manager. Calum travels to Munich less nowadays as Motel One’s training team travels to the UK to save on their carbon footprint and has many courses available online. However, he is keen to invest in building the skills of his team. He sends everyone to Germany at least once a year and they do at least three training courses a year. 

He adds that the campus atmosphere in Germany, complete with giant interactive tvs and state-of-the-art meeting rooms, and the way its courses are adapted to different nationalities shows the company really cares about building its employees’ skills. Yet he adds that the company retains a family feel.  “It’s a family-run business and through the campus you build relationships with other people in other countries,” says Calum. “When employees from other hotels come here we look after them and the same thing happens to us. We put them in the nicest rooms. That builds a rapport.”

Calum is moving to a Motel One hotel in Glasgow next month. It’s a big promotion as the hotel is three times bigger than his current one. He plans on staying with Motel One for the foreseeable future and says there are many long-serving employees in the business, which is unusual in the hotel industry. He is very proud of Motel One’s commitment to developing its employees. “We are a leader in the industry when it comes to providing value to our employees through learning and development,” he states. 

*Calum features in the WM People Best Practice Report alongside interviews with all the winners of this year’s Top Employer Awards. The report is out in the next few weeks.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your Franchise Selection

Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

Your Franchise Selection

This franchise opportunity has been added to your franchise selection



Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

You may be interested in these similar franchises