Get to know one of Bob’s crew: Maire. From teaching handcrafts in her Estonian hometown to being kidnapped on a solo trip to Tanzania, Maire is full of stories.
When she’s not making sure Bob’s guests have a five-star stay, she’s looking out for the rest of the team and making everyone smile. Hear a few of Maire’s thoughts on travelling, what it takes to make it in hospitality, and what it’s really like working for Bob.
Thoughts on travel
Hi Maire! Thanks for agreeing to tell us about being an operations specialist for Bob W. Before we get into that though, I hear you’re quite a traveller. I’m dying to know, what are your favourite destinations?
One, of course, has to be Norway! Especially the west coast, for its beautiful fjords and nature. Places like Geiranger, Preikestolen, Trollstigen, Atlantic Ocean Road, Dovrefjell National Park and countless more that take your breath away and are absolutely idyllic.
From the sunny side my top spots are Croatia and Portugal. Because of the sea and ocean, food, wine, weather and kizomba festivals :)
My most exciting destination has probably been Ghana, in West Africa. After finishing studying textile design, I went to work as a handicraft teacher in my home village in Estonia. I quickly realised I didn’t yet want to stay still and settle. I felt there’s too much to see. Together with my friend Sini, we packed our bags for four months and went to look for adventure.
And what’s your #1 bucket list destination?
There are many places I want to visit, but quite recently, Kamchatka has become my #1 bucket list destination. It’s a peninsula in far eastern Russia, mainly known for its volcanoes, nature, salmon and wildlife. But it’s also the place my grandfather was deported and forced to work in a prison camp by the Soviet Union in 1944. I never got to meet him, nor did he make it back home, but I always felt this special connection with him. Even my diploma work, a tapestry I wove, was related to him. So I mostly associate the place with my grandfather and that’s the reason I wish to visit Kamchatka one day.
That’s a very special reason for wanting to go there. Hopefully you’ll be able to make it there soon. On another note, what’s something you never travel without?
Anywhere I travel, I always really love to take photos. So it must be a camera or a phone to take photos with.
What’s something unexpected that happened to you while travelling?
Since you’re asking... I was kidnapped in Tanzania. Yes, over the years it’s become a great story to tell but honestly, it was a pretty scary experience I wouldn’t wish for anybody.
The most ironic part, I had been travelling alone for an entire month. I tried to be careful, sometimes even too much. I often thought, ‘I should loosen up”. I started from Uganda, took a bus through Kenya, and made stops in Tanzania. And on the day of my departure, this happened. Luckily, I made it out OK and even managed to catch my flight home.
Holy smokes. That was quite an ordeal. Based on all your other travel experiences, what’s the best travel advice you’ve heard?
It’s about travelling and everything else: Trust your gut feeling. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
Thoughts on working for Bob W
What do you do at Bob W?
I started as a host in October 2019. My job was all about reservations, guest communication and ensuring a five-star experience.
Today, we have three amazing people in Customer Support, and I work more behind the scenes: my duty is to make sure the apartments are ridiculously clean, prevent and handle maintenance issues, purchase supplies and receive deliveries. I know our Telliskivi apartments down to the details, and if anybody needs to find anything in the apartment, storage room or in the office, you may always ask me :)
And how did you discover Bob W?
I was invited to apply for the host role by a very awesome former colleague. I came to visit the apartments, had an interview, loved the concept and people I met immediately and felt super excited about the possibility of working for Bob W.
In fact, I never even thought I could be part of a startup company like this but I guess my hospitality background, desire to interact with people and provide them with the best experience led me to this work. And I’m beyond grateful!
What had you been doing before this job?
Coming back from Ghana, I found myself in hospitality. I’ve worked in four different hotels in Norway, seasonal and year-round. I worked all the way from housekeeping to in a restaurant, to a front desk receptionist and finally an executive lounge receptionist at Hilton Tallinn Park.
What’s a typical day on the job look like for you?
My days are a little similar, yet always different. I do what needs to be done. But generally, the first half of the day (or more), I’m in the office: getting an overview of the upcoming day, morning meeting, emails, necessary purchases/deliveries, invoicing etc.
It’s in my schedule to go to the building everyday in the afternoon to do apartment checks. I’m responsible for communicating with the cleaning company, the cleanliness of apartments, our storage room, maintenance and supplies.
It’s nice to get to move around a bit. Office work at the desk is balanced with tasks in the building. And it’s super convenient that Bob’s apartments are just a few minutes away.
What would a guest be surprised that you do?
Once, we had an international guest who asked if we could bring groceries to him. I could’ve told him that the shop is just a stone's throw away but I actually took his shopping list and went to Rimi for him. I thought I’d give him some time to settle in and learn what’s where in Telliskivi.
OMG Maire, you are so sweet. But what’s something weird you’ve encountered on the job?
Hmm, can’t think of anything at Bob’s, but once, a guest asked us to vacuum the air when I worked in Norway.
What’s your favourite detail in Bob W’s apartments?
I really like the brand wall. I love to see photos of our guests who’ve stayed in the apartments. There are also postcards, stickers, Bob’s jogging route, extra touches like an Instax instant camera, tote bag, Nintendo console, and chargers. I think it’s very creative :)
What's the best part of working for Bob
I have to say it’s my colleagues. Even now while seeing some of them rarely, I really enjoy our team and feel lucky to be part of it.
What does it take to be a good host at Bob W?
If you have the right attitude and communication skills, you can learn it all. You should love people, have a willingness to learn and the ability to multitask. You should want the guests who come to stay with Bob to have an awesome experience and keep that big picture in mind during your everyday tasks.
Ready to join the Bob W team?
It’s a meritocracy at Bob W, and Maire has definitely proven she’s got what it takes. So, in 2021, she’s starting a new challenge as our office manager in Tallinn (to the delight of our team, who know we’ll be absolutely spoiled).
Are you ready to fill Maire’s shoes and be our next operations specialist? Check out open positions on our careers page and apply to join our ranks!