They say that innovation is often born of frustration, and what Vanessa Hegarty is bringing to the hotel industry is certainly an example of that.
When Vanessa became a parent nine years ago, she had established herself as a valued and experienced senior cluster revenue and reservation director within her industry. Understandably, she wished to maintain her career progression, while also being a present parent - she refused to believe she had to give up one for the other - so she sought out a part time role.
After a period of time without finding a single suitable part-time role advertised, she was introduced to the Vice President Operations at Accor, who offered her a role as a Regional Revenue Analyst, working with 25 hotels, 2.5 days a week.
He saw the value she had to offer, and found a way to ensure they retained it. As Vanessa looked around at her industry, she knew that this was not the norm. She could see woman after woman, going on maternity leave only to find that the roles offered on their return were either full-time, or junior roles.
Her frustration at the loss of exceptionally experienced people from the industry, spurred on by encouragement and support of a certain colleague and friend (who has also supported Vanessa by offering her a senior part-time role in the business he was directing) led to her making the very bold move that is now shaking up the hotel industry.
In 2019, nine months before the pandemic brought the industry to a halt, Vanessa launched her brand new company, Revstar Group.
What began as a simple freelance service, very quickly morphed into a vision of something much bigger – a one-stop-shop for hoteliers and moteliers to tap into a wealth of expertise in a way that is affordable, accessible, flexible and reduces overhead costs.
Vanessa attributes her courage to her father’s passing six years ago and her extremely supportive network of colleagues (now Revstar contractors) who aligned with her vision and supported the expansion of the business in their areas of expertise. She says “I just lost all my fear. Life is too short. Why would you worry about what other people think of you? Be you. Live your life and do what’s true to who you are.”
And that’s exactly what she is a shining example of, for ambitious women and men all over Australia.
Within three weeks of launching the business, Revstar Group was working on two brand new hotel builds for one of the biggest hotel chains in the country. Their reputation as superstars in growth strategy, revenue, sales, marketing had them endorsed for these exceptional opportunities, which Vanessa embraced in her signature ‘lets do this’ style.
While those around her knew her idea for Revstar Group had legs… it turns out it had wings.
Revstar Group has since grown to become a respected and sought-after platform, enabling hotels and motels of any size to grow and thrive, without investing in full-time, in-house staff. Their services now include revenue & distribution, reservations, sales and business development, brand and digital marketing, conference and events, human resources and operations.
“I’m proud of being able to support a wide range of extremely talented experts in their field who now have a platform to showcase their skills while balancing their lives. I’ve been able to keep them in senior roles giving a range of hoteliers access to the exceptional expertise they hold.”
Vanessa is determined to pass on the kind of support that was afforded to her. She speaks appreciatively of a previous employer who allowed her to work three days a week while also building her freelance business on the side. “She empowered me as a woman, and I will always be grateful.”
Though her passion for supporting experts in their field is palpable, Vanessa is also deeply passionate about her industry and helping good businesses become even greater.
Growing up in a family business, she learned about revenue management and customer service from age 10. Business strategy is clearly in her veins and it shows in the exceptional, high level, industry-best service she strives to provide.
While Revstar has impressed those who’ve born witness to its growth so far, Vanessa is moving forward with an air of ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet.’ Some of the most respected names in the industry are currently in talks about joining as business partners. Vanessa wants to give back to those who have offered strength, expertise and support to help build the business, through shareholder agreements and ‘sharing the love’. In Vanessa’s words, Revstar Group is building ‘the best team ever’ and it’s certainly taken a village to arrive here.
“There is so much demand for what we do, and so many who want to work with us. Everyone wants flexibility and balance. Times are changing and Revstar is ready to embrace that and gearing up to grow exponentially in years to come.''
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