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Visit Scotland | Alba

Nicola Downie at Meldrum House

Born and bred in Scotland, Nicola Downie has been working her way up the ranks in hospitality since she joined Meldrum House, a charming 13th century mansion house located in the heart of Aberdeenshire’s tranquil countryside. 

Nicola is an ambitious young woman who is already succeeding in her hospitality career and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. Having always been interested in event management, she studied International Tourism and Hospitality Management at Robert Gordon University to get a broad education across the tourism sector, including events. From the outset, she knew she wanted to work in a busy and fun environment, a desk job was never going to be for her.

After university, Nicola began her career at the Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen where she undertook a six month placement as a trainee manager, learning all aspects of the hotel business before deciding it was time to go and see some more of the world. With her experience and education in her back pocket, she headed off to Vancouver, Canada. Travelling helped to not only expand her professional experience as she worked on a number of events but also gave her the life experience she was looking for. Although she always saw it as a short term thing, it showed her that she wanted to return to Scotland and further confirmed her desire to work in the tourism industry. 

On her return, Nicola secured a job at Meldrum House. Her enthusiasm and commitment paid off quickly - starting as an assistant manager, she quickly moved up to Banqueting Manager and most recently was promoted to Food and Beverage Manager where she now oversees three departments – banqueting, the restaurant and the Cave bar. 

Nicola dressed in her hotel uniform stands in the hotel grounds with a view of the turreted hotel in the background

My favourite thing is the buzz – I thrive in a busy atmosphere. I feel like I always need a project to keep me going so it suits me that there is never a dull moment. There is always something going on to keep me on my toes.

Nicola works as part of a relatively young team and has felt really well supported by the hotel in nurturing and growing her career.

I really love working as part of a cohesive team when everyone is working towards the same goal. It gives me great satisfaction to see my work colleagues grow in confidence and when everything comes together as planned and to the customer’s satisfaction.

In October 2018, Nicola will head off to École Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland having won the prestigious Hospitality Industry Trust Scholarship. Heralded as one of the best hospitality schools in the world, Nicola is excited to have a week of learning from the very best and will no doubt come back to Meldrum House with new ideas and refreshed enthusiasm.

Her determination for success knows no bounds and her focus is on doing all that she can to keep herself and Meldrum House at the forefront of the industry. Nicola wants to continue her work offering visitors the warmest of welcomes to a part of Scotland that is so special to her. She is excited to continue building her career and can’t wait to see what lies around the next corner.

Hear from other young tourism ambassadors featured as part of the Future Focus series.