Jono Kelly from Wigan, who has been manager of Lakitira Beach Resort since time began (or 2007!), talked to us about his work and about life in the Mediterranean.
• Hi Jono, how did you make your way to Kos and to the job of resort manager for Mark Warner? What’s your career background?
My background prior to working for Mark Warner was in the leisure industry, running sports/leisure centres. However I had always wanted to work abroad, and in 2002 the opportunity to join Mark Warner presented itself and I started at the company as a ski host. I managed a number of hotels in both the ski and summer seasons before coming to the Lakitira.
• What originally attracted you to working in the tourism industry?
I have always wanted to travel, and working abroad seemed like an ideal way to do this.
• Is there a typical day in your job, and if so, what is it?
No two days are the same when running a hotel – it’s one of the things that makes the job so interesting. There are certainly long hours, as there is so much to do and the guests are always wanting to see you – but they are normally very upbeat as they are on holiday, so fun to interact with. It’s not a 9–5 job, but you aren’t stuck in an office all day either, so you can’t complain!
• What are the greatest challenges of your role?
My job is to ensure everyone has a fantastic stay and wants to come on holiday again with Mark Warner. When we have 450 guests in resort, this can be tricky, as what one person loves on holiday, another person might not. My greatest challenge is to ensure everyone gets what they want out of their holiday, plus that little bit more that Mark Warner offers as a company that others don’t.
• And what are the greatest pleasures?
I get to join in the activities with the guests, and (occasionally) manage to beat them in some of the sports. I also like to go on one of the mountain-bike tours when time permits. And we have a number of regular guests who have been coming for a number of seasons and it’s great to see them year after year, reinforcing my belief that we offer a wonderful holiday experience.
• What are your favourite things to do in Kos when you’re not working? Do you have any insider tips for guests coming to the island?
Kos has some amazing beaches spread all over the island, which really are worth a visit. The local village of Kardamena has some fantastic restaurants (some of the best on the island) if you know which ones to visit – avoid the touristy ones, and don’t miss the meze and fresh fish.
• Where do you like to do outside the summer season?
I like to have a rest as I am usually shattered! I spend some time in the UK catching up with family and friends, and go on holiday myself. We (me and my better half, who is the Operations Manager at the Lakitira) like to hit the slopes for some skiing (with Mark Warner of course!), and occasionally also do some exploring of other countries. This winter we spent five weeks in Southeast Asia, which was an incredible experience.
• What are your favourite Mark Warner resorts?
I’m a little biased, but I think Lakitira is an unbeatable all-round holiday experience for guests, offering everything to a high standard for a great price. In winter I love Val d’Isère. The skiing is hard to beat. I did my first season for Mark Warner there and I remember it very fondly.
Read more about summer holidays at Lakitira Beach Resort.