THE SUCCESSOR GENERATION: A young aspirant in the hospitality industry

Alistair Duff is a Grade 11 student working in hospitality in Vaughan. His father is IHG vice president of development, Scott Duff.

Alistair Duff is keen on following in his father’s footsteps. The ambitious 16-year-old attended CHIC earlier this year and spoke to us about his plans for the future and his experiences growing up around the hotel industry, and now as an industry member in his own right.

At STAY Magazine, we're speaking with young people and new entrants to the hospitality industry for their perspectives, and to better understand their needs, objectives and ideas for building a better industry for everyone.

Watch for our upcoming regular features from next-generation hospitality professionals.

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Q: Alistair, what is it like growing up with a parent working in the hospitality industry?

A: My dad's been in the industry his whole life since university, so I was born into it and have been around it since I was very little. From being in the car with my dad during his phone calls, you just absorb everything. Sometimes he would introduce me, and I'd say hi.

Today I'm working at one of the Sunray Group’s hotels, the Four Points in Vaughan, thanks to my dad. I still had to go through an interview, but knowing them certainly helped.

Q: What's your role there?

A: At Four Points by Sheraton Vaughan, I'm working as front desk staff and doing online training. I am an intern so I go around to different departments. There's a Boston Pizza in the restaurant and I help servers if they need it. I also assist in laundry when needed.

Q: So you're gaining experience in various departments at the hotel?

A: Yes, I want to gain experience in the hospitality industry because I eventually want to do what my dad does!

Q: Why do you want to follow in your dad’s footsteps? What appeals to you about it?

A: I think it’s the interaction with people and the sense of achievement in closing deals. The hotel I'm working at now is one my dad did a deal on. It’s inspiring.

Q: Why were you interested in attending CHIC this year?

A: Growing up, I knew my dad attended many events, but CHIC stood out. When I started working at the hotel, he suggested it would be good for me to attend and network if I was serious about this career.

Q: What did you take away from the conference?

A: The biggest takeaway was the networking. I met many great people and even talked about potential jobs.

Q: The conference discusses complex topics around real estate and economic forecasts etc. Did it open your mind to future possibilities?

A: Yes, it did. Currently, I'm interested in franchise sales and development and learning from my dad. Owning a hotel someday sounds appealing, but starting out, I’m focused on learning the business side.

Q: Any speakers or topics at CHIC that stood out to you?

A: David Marriott’s talk was memorable. Overall, the networking was the most significant part for me.

Q: What were your conversations like during the networking sessions?

A: My dad introduced me to many people. They asked about my plans and why I wanted to pursue this career. I also asked hotel owners about their journey, funding, and brand expansion.

Q: What are your post-secondary plans?

A: I’ve toured Seneca College for its hospitality program and am considering the University of Guelph School of Hospitality, Food & Tourism Management. I want to focus on corporate-level courses while I’m gaining practical experience from my job.

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