Nick Collins

Department Manager (Ride)

“My career with the Tussauds Group, now Merlin Entertainments Group, began back in summer 1996, with a seasonal student job at Madame Tussauds. It proved such fantastic fun that I returned the following summer, and then joined permanently after graduating in 1998. Within nine months, I'd been trained as an Operator for the Spirit of London ride and by the end of my first year, I'd been promoted to Operational Supervisor for the Ride and Admissions areas.

“In 2001 I took a break from the industry, but I missed the buzz of the industry and the challenge of never knowing quite how your day will pan out. So in March 2002, I joined the Coca-Cola London Eye as a Team Leader. In 2004 I took a break to travel round the world, and then rejoined again as a Ride Department Manager.

The scale of opportunity attracted me

“Joining the Coca-Cola London Eye originally was an easy decision to make. With 4 million visitors a year and a rapidly developing status as a London icon, it was simply a wonderful opportunity. The Coca-Cola London Eye staff take pride in operating and developing a unique attraction. Everyone has a sense of ownership, because everyone contributes. That's an individual attribute that the company has purposely cultivated.

“My job gives me overall responsibility for managing a smooth and safe operation and ensuring guests enjoy the best possible service and experience, plus specific responsibility for overseeing recruitment and managing the staffing budget. It's a very hands-on role – especially during the busier periods – which involves working outside with the team, as well as a great deal of office-based management.

“But that's actually only half the story. For over half of my shifts, I'm also acting Duty Manager, overseeing the safe and efficient operation of the entire attraction. That can involve responding to the unexpected – anything from a staff issue or customer complaint right up to a technical breakdown or potentially, a full evacuation. Your day is entirely unpredictable and you need to think on your feet.

It's not easy, but it is fun

“I think working at the Coca-Cola London Eye attracts a certain type of person, and that's what creates the atmosphere. There's a togetherness amongst the staff which comes from being part of something special.

“It's a very challenging environment with a high volume of guests and self-imposed high standards of efficiency and service. Thriving on the challenge is what the Coca-Cola London Eye team is all about. I work with a huge variety of personalities from all backgrounds and nationalities, who are all equally committed to achieving the same business goals.

“Whenever I'm working outside, I'm reminded that the difference I can make to someone's day is huge. There's always room to ‘go that extra mile', to look after one of our less mobile guests, help someone with directions, or maybe give a birthday kid the VIP treatment. But generally it's the little things – being approachable, smiling and listening – which can dramatically affect how much people enjoy themselves.

“As a manager, I've a responsibility to lead by example. And although I can't interact with every guest, hopefully by working alongside the team and providing what guidance I can, I can help ensure as many guests as possible of a memorable experience.

Team work – and then some

“There are days when everybody has to care enough about the operation to give 110%, and I'm constantly amazed by how much the team here just pulls together and gets things done. Whenever we have a staff shortage, people will always volunteer to delay their breaks or work overtime, and step up and take their full share of responsibility. Whenever we have a film shoot requiring a late night or early morning, we'll always have volunteers to take part. Having spent four years helping to develop this team, the spirit that we have here is something that makes me really proud.”

 

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