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The Inspirational Women of SW1: Olivia Byrne

Company director of Eccleston Square Hotel

You opened Eccleston Square Hotel in 2011, aged just 23. Did you always know that you wanted to run your own business?I started working in my father's hotels when I was 13 years of age. I was shadowing my father's general manager and I knew from then on that this was absolutely what I wanted to do. Both my parents are entrepreneurs and they always communicated to me the pros and cons of being your own boss. I knew that I had it in me and was very lucky to know at such a young age what I wanted to be.

Tell us about some of the innovative technology used at Eccleston Square. Is being high-tech something you that was important to you from the start?

As a family, we were naturally drawn to technology and we created a tech hotel by coincidence. We wanted to create a luxurious environment and therefore we added the most up-to-date amenities in the room. Luckily in 2011, a lot of new technologies were just being introduced onto the market such as the iPad concierge for hotels. We also fell in love with the Hästens electronically adjustable beds and felt that this was one of the most important focal point in the room.


What's the most important thing you've learned in your career?

I have learned to listen to my gut instincts and act upon them. Sometimes your first impression/feeling about a certain situation is usually the right one. Also, I am learning not to take things to heart too much. I am a bit of a perfectionist sometimes and I should not get too upset when things don't always go the way I planned.

What's been your proudest professional achievement?

Eccleston Square Hotel has won numerous awards (for example we were voted number one London Hotel by Condé Nast Reader Travel Awards 2016) and we have many returning clients. My achievement is when I have guests who rave about the hotel and keep coming back, this makes me extremely happy and our efforts are being rewarded.

If you could give a piece of advice to your 16-year-old self, what would it be?

I was not so confident when I was 16 and my work has definitely given me more confidence in myself. I would say to my 16-year-old self to be more decisive and not worry too much about what other people think of you. 

What women do you look up to or have inspired you?

I am very lucky in the sense that I have a very strong mother who I look up to every day. She also has her own company and has made it into a success by never giving up and working very hard. She has inspired me to be the woman that I am today.


Finally, what do you like about being based in Victoria and how have you seen the area change over the years?

Victoria has changed immensely and I find that extremely exciting. There are new restaurants, shops and offices opening and you can feel the buzz. You can feel the investment in the area and it is now becoming a destination rather than just a place you pass through.