Leader of the Future Pink Yu

By: Amy Watkins

Pink Yu is Director of Operations and Marketing & Media at Robin Hood Inn & Suites in Victoria.

Yu was recently awarded the BC Hotel Association’s Leader of the Future at the industry’s award night. “My passion for the hospitality industry began when I was just six years old, when my parents took me on a trip to Japan,” remembers Pink Yu (28), director of operations and marketing & media at Robin Hood Inn & Suites in Victoria. “My studies have provided me with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the hospitality industry, but it was my early experiences with Japanese hospitality that sparked my passion and continues to drive me in my career today. It brings me incredible joy to know that our guests had a great experience, and I take pride in my role in making that happen.”

“Yu was recently awarded the BC Hotel Association’s Leader of the Future.”

Yu moved to Toronto from Taiwan to study hospitality management, with a focus on hotels and resorts, and she completed her bachelor’s degree in International Hotel Management at Royal Roads University in 2018. Moving to Canada at 18 was a challenging experience. “I faced barriers including language, culture, diversity of people, visa applications, and being away from my family,” Yu says. “Despite these challenges, I made friends quickly, improved my language skills, and within a very short time, I felt that Canada had adopted me.”

She began her career working part-time at the front desk of Days Inn in Victoria during her studies and then completed an internship at Best Western Plus. There she received a Victoria Hospitality Award for her hard work and went on to become an employee.

After joining Robin Hood Inn & Suites in January 2020 in a multi-tasking role that covered everything from laundry to front desk and shuttle driver, Yu quickly moved into a sales and marketing role, while supervising the front desk.

“Yu credits education, work experience, and networking for her fast career progression.”

She is now director of operations and marketing & media at the hotel, and she credits her education and work experience for her fast career progression, with networking also playing a significant role. “Through attending industry events and connecting with colleagues and mentors, I’ve been able to expand my professional network, gain insights into emerging trends, and discover new opportunities for growth and personal development,” she explains.

Yu has blossomed at Robin Hood Inn & Suites with mentor General Manager Sam Kirsch. “Before meeting Sam, I’d almost forgotten who I am and who I want to be, but Sam has shown me the possibilities of what can be achieved with creative and innovative ideas,” she says. “Whenever we have an idea that I believe can take us to the next level, he’s always there to support me and help make it happen.” Together they’ve initiated new innovations including direct booking ads, a mobile texting system, AI revenue management, digital media for guests, marketing the hotel as the Gateway to Victoria Resort Experience, and adding glass shower surrounds to guest bathrooms.

“Empowerment, positive attitude, and empathy are fundamental.”

“Empowerment, positive attitude, and empathy are the fundamental elements of my leadership style,” notes Yu. “Empowerment means trusting my team members and delegating tasks to them while providing them with the necessary tools, resources, and support to make decisions independently. I help them develop their skills, foster confidence and trust, and contribute to their career growth.” She sees her positive energy as being critical in inspiring and motivating team members. “I strive to maintain a positive outlook and be a source of inspiration for my team, especially during challenging times,” she says. “Empathy is a doorway to know my team better. I understand that every team member has unique strengths, weaknesses, and personal circumstances. I strive to be approachable to individual needs and provide support.”

Her advice for other young people entering the industry is to be patient and consistent. “Success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, dedication, consistency in learning new things, open-mindedness to new trends, creative thinking, and hard work,” she says. “When opportunities arise, you will be ready to grow and make the most of them, and the rewards are worth it.”