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At just 24-years-old, the impressive talents of Portuguese native Edibela Prazeres are already being recognised by her employers and colleagues at Hilton Belfast, as well as others in the wider tourism and hospitality industry.
Last year Bella, Hilton Belfast’s Deputy Head of Housekeeping, was recognised as a Rising Star by the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, recognition that is more than deserved, according to the hotel’s General Manager, Mark Walker.
“Bella is a brilliant individual, she is very capable, an excellent planner and is great to have on our team,” he said.
“The hotel is very busy but Bella’s can-do attitude and approach in the little over two years she has worked here has been amazing.
“This fantastic award is very well deserved. There are lots of opportunities for professional growth in the tourism and hospitality industry and it’s clear the future is very bright for Bella. She will go as far as she wants to in this industry.”
For Bella, who did not speak a word of English when she arrived in Belfast nine years ago with her family, being recognised as a Rising Star ranks as one of the proudest moments in her career to date.
She said: “I was put forward for this award by my colleagues – I didn’t know anything about it but to win it was an amazing feeling.
“I attended the awards ceremony along with other young people in the tourism and hospitality industry and, as I was talking to them, I really got an appreciation for the fantastic work that is taking place right across the industry.
This fantastic award is very well deserved. There are lots of opportunities for professional growth in the tourism and hospitality industry and it’s clear the future is very bright for Bella. She will go as far as she wants to in this industry— Mark Walker, General Manager at Hilton Belfast
“To have even made the shortlist for the award and to be invited to the ceremony was an achievement in itself, but to win the award was simply fantastic. It was a great night and looking back, I am filled with such pride.
“Knowing my efforts are so highly valued by the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation and my workplace is a great feeling. It shows they really appreciate my efforts.”
Having worked in the tourism and hospitality industry for the past seven years, Bella speaks fondly of the avenues for career progression within the industry and credits the people she works with every day for making the job as enjoyable as it is.
“I have been working in housekeeping since I was 17, I started while I was at college in Belfast and continued doing it while I was at university in Liverpool studying business management,” said Bella.
“In 2021 I was appointed as a supervisor and in two years I have worked my way up to Deputy Head Housekeeper. It is fantastic to be given such responsibility at my age. The trust that my manager, Head Housekeeper, Jess McKelvie, and our General Manager, Mark Walker, have placed in me is amazing and gives me great motivation to keep going.
“There are so many fantastic opportunities to forge a career in the tourism and hospitality industry and my main goal is to be a General Manager at a hotel one day. It will take a lot of hard work, but your efforts are recognised and rewarded in this industry.
“It is a great industry to be a part of and the people you work with really help make it special. I think you need to have a great relationship with your co-workers and thankfully we all get on so well. It makes coming to work everyday something to look forward to.”
Amongst her roles and responsibilities as Deputy Head Housekeeper, Bella assists her manager in the ordering of linen and stock taking, the training of staff and assigning rooms to each of the team’s 35 housekeepers.
She also contributes to daily management meetings and ensures each room is cleaned and ready to welcome guests in the manner they would expect from a Hilton.
While her career in the industry has taught Bella many important skills, there is one skill she has developed over the years that she believes has served her more than any other in her career – communication.
“Without doubt communication is so important in this industry and it is the skill I have had to develop the most,” says Bella.
“My English wasn’t great when I started so I had to learn on the job as getting your message across clearly and effectively is very important.
Housekeeping is hard work and there is lots to learn. If you are not patient with yourself you will not last, it takes time to learn a skillset but trust me, it will click in time.— Edibela (Bella) Prazeres
“This applies to every aspect of this job. It is one of the things I have had to work the most at, for sure, but like everything in this industry, if you put the effort in you will reap the rewards.”
Having enjoyed such a fulfilling and rewarding career journey so far, Bella is keen to advise those about to embark on their own career, or those considering switching careers, to forge a career in the tourism and hospitality industry.
“Tourism and hospitality is a fantastic industry. If you want to make a success of it, it can be a truly rewarding career,” says Bella.
“The best piece of advice I could give anyone who is thinking of a career in this industry would be to be patient and trust themselves.
“Housekeeping is hard work and there is lots to learn. If you are not patient with yourself you will not last, it takes time to learn a skillset but trust me, it will click in time.
“If you work hard and really want to do it, you will learn a fantastic skillset that will help take you where you want to go professionally.”
If you are starting out, or switching careers, and want to learn more about working in the tourism and hospitality industry visit www.makeyourcareer.co.uk for further information.
To find out more about Hilton Belfast visit www.discovernorthernireland.com