HOTELSCOTLAND ISSUE 34
FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY INTERVIEW:
CHRIS WAYNE-WILLS CRERAR HOTELS
4 NEWS 9 SUSTAINABLE
could dwell on the negatives, but we all know the state of play at the moment. We are still not out of the woods by a long chalk with recruitment one of our key challenges. But it is very encouraging to see continued investment in the sector. This month we have an interview with Chris Wayne-Wills, CEO of Crerar Hotels. Find out what he has to say on the challenges and opportunities for the industry on page 18. We also take a look at one of the group’s recent refurbishments the Isle of Mull Hotel and Spa on page 23. This issue we also investigate Sustainability - what you can do easily to make your hotel greener. Alastair Roy checks it out from the buying angle while Nicola Young gives you a broader overview. Check out the new look Coast at The Gailes Hotel and The Broadcroft’s new bar and restaurant too. See you next month. Susan Young Editor
16 BOUNCING BACK: WHAT
THE FUTURE HOLDS
COAST: THE GAILES HOTEL
31 APPOINTMENTS 34 CHECK OUT
•THE BROADCROFT HOTEL
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Murrayshall Country House Hotel and Golf Club in Perthshire have put forward a £15 million development plan to planners. The proposal includes building 50 new rooms, creating a new swimming pool and spa, a golf academy, indoor games room, glamping units and lodges as well as upgraded staff accommodation. It also includes a request for residential development. Construction is due to start next month on The Student Hotel complex, part of the Candleriggs Square development in Glasgow. The hotel is the first construction phase of £300m development, a joint venture between Drum Property Group and Stamford Property Investments. Glasgow City Council initially approved plans for the 500-bedroom hotel in May 2020 which will be owned and operated by pioneering hotel brand The Student Hotel (TSH) which specialises in a ‘hybrid’ hospitality model offering hotel accommodation, co-living and co-working spaces, a bar and restaurant, conference rooms and fitness centre TSH already owns and operates 13 hotels across Europe
SCORES HOTEL SOLDfor AFTER New Owners St Andrews hotel 34 YEARS IN THE XXXX
The Best Western Scores Hotel in St Andrews, which opened in the 1930s and has been in the same family for 34 years, has been acquired by property agent Savills on behalf of the property and investment company, Wirefox. The 36-room hotel, next to the Old Course and Royal & Ancient Clubhouse, as well as enjoying spectacular panoramic views of the sea has been sold ahead of St Andrews hosting the 150th Open Golf Championship next year. Steven Fyfe, associate director in the hotel capital markets team at Savills Glasgow, said: “This was an extremely rare opportunity to acquire a special hotel next to the first tee of the Old Course itself. With plenty of opportunity to add value, the new owners plan to invest further capital to extend and enhance the property creating more jobs for the local economy.”
A GREEN ESCAPE AT THE BLYTHSWOOOD The Kimpton Blythswood Hotel in Glasgow has created ‘La Chambre Verte’ a unique, immersive hotel room experience filled with nature combining the theory of biophilic design with CBD rituals, meditation and sound therapy . In a Scottish first, the hotel teamed up with luxury CBD skincare brand, La Rue Verte, leading horticulturalists, Benholm and award-winning DJ, Brian D’Souza to create an exclusive multisensory hotel room journey. Connecting people to nature through biophilic design is a concept 4 • HOTELSCOTLAND
that dates back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. As it became clear in 2020, access to green spaces is vital for maintaining a healthy mind and body. With an estimated 70% of the world’s population living in cities by the year 2050, bringing nature to urban spaces is more and more essential to our well-being. Echoing the practice of forestbathing, an ancient Japanese process of relaxation, La Chambre Verte encourages guests to unwind in the green space of their hotel room, while observing nature’s beauty; to feel stress levels reduced happiness increased, and importantly, have a better night’s sleep.
CRIEFF HYDRO GIVES ITS SUPPORT TO RESPITALITY Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels has pledged its support to Shared Care Scotland’s Respitality initiative – which coincided with Carers Week 2021. Respitality facilitates complimentary short breaks from routine for unpaid carers put forward by carers organisations.These donated breaks have proven to be vital for both unpaid carers physical and mental health and wellbeing too. Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels is supporting the project by donating bed and breakfast stays at all eight hotels in its portfolio, 50 family passes to Glen’s Adventure Park at Crieff Hydro Hotel and a group two-hour Gin School experience at 1881 Distillery in Peebles. Nic Oldham, Head of Customer and Commercial at Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels, said, “Thanks to the geographical spread of our properties, we can reach and support families across Scotland with a variety of breaks. We hope our donation will allow many unpaid carers the opportunity to take time for
themselves and recharge.” Kerry Donaghy, Respitality Scotland Coordinator, added, “Covid-19 has impacted on many, not least unpaid carers, where its estimated that one in five people in Scotland are now providing support for a loved one. With many support services still not operating at full capacity, the pressure on unpaid carers is heavier than ever which is why short breaks are so important. “The tourism industry has also taken a massive hit due to Covid-19, so to be offered such a generous package of breaks from Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels, particularly when they are still in the recovery period, will mean the world to unpaid carers who need these regular and energising breaks to help them continue caring.” Funded by the Scottish Government and supported by local businesses, the project currently operates in 19 local authority areas in Scotland.
VEGA IS REVEALED AT YOTEL GLASGOW VEGA, Glasgow’s newest bar, restaurant and bowling alley, situated on the top floor of the YOTEL Glasgow, will open next month. Designed specifically for the Instagram set, the unique 13,700sq. ft, rooftop setting transports guests into an era inspired by Glasgow’s music scene and British pop culture with a distinctly ‘space-age’ vibe. Neon lighting creates a glamorous glow against the bold interiors throughout the stunning space. Turning the fun up a notch, the venue also boasts a striking four-lane bowling alley, neon-lit and complete with state-of-the-art interactive light shows - perfect for date nights, celebrations and big group outings. The venue can also be hired for exclusive private events with a semi-private VIP area also available. Euan Wilson, Manager at VEGA said: “We’re hugely excited to be leading the way with a totally new and fresh concept for Glasgow, there’s really nothing quite like us. With its bold design, epic food and drink offering and vibrant programming, we’re bringing fun to Glasgow in a uniquely VEGA way.”
PIERHOUSE HOTEL LINKS UP WITH SEA TOUR OPERATOR The Wee Hotel Company’s Pierhouse Hotel and Seafood Restaurant at Port Appin have teamed up with an Oban-based sea tour operator Coastal Connection to provide guided tours of the region’s coastline and Island. The guided tours will depart from the Pierhouse in Appin and from Oban harbour from this month. Private charter full day trips to Tobermory, Mull or Coll will offer families and groups of up to 12 passengers the opportunity to see harbour seals, basking sharks, minke whales, porpoise, otters and dolphins, as well as Glensanda Super Quarry and Duart Castle.Two-hour trips around the island of Lismore are also offered.
Fiona Maclean, General Manager of The Pierhouse Hotel, said, “Wide-open coastal locations and fresh, clean sea air will be top of the list for people in search of a short break as soon as travel restrictions are lifted, so our new partnership with Coastal Connection will offer our guests a fresh view of the breathtaking Argyll coastline, including Lismore, Mull,Tobermory and Coll. “Tour guides are a vital part of the visitor experience in Scotland.Their informed local knowledge and personal connection helps to provide a bespoke experience while understanding the needs of both local people and the wider Scottish environment.” HOTELSCOTLAND • 5
Innovative initiative sees Ten Hill Place give 10% to employees and HIT Edinburgh hotel, Ten Hill Place, which is operated by Surgeons Quarter and owned by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, has come up with an innovative two-night package to attract customers, benefit staff and the Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) too. The £299 Scotcation deal includes a twonight stay for two, a £100 food and drink voucher, as well as Red Bus tickets. Customers would typically expect to spend a third more on the deal. Ten percent of the revenue generated will go directly to employees of the Old Town hotel as a gratuity, while an additional 10% will go to the Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland’s ‘Emerging Talent of The Industry’ scholarship, which encourages the development of anyone working or studying in the heavily-hit sector. Scott Mitchell, Managing Director at Surgeons
Quarter, (pictured above) said,“With the hospitality sector reopening, we are eager to give something back to the industry which, like many, has had an extremely difficult and uncertain year. “Our ‘Scotcation’ package offers guests a two-night stay with a host of additional extras to help them explore the city to its fullest – while also boosting the earnings of our staff, all of whom have suffered financially over the past year. “We felt it was only right our package benefited the sector as a whole and as a result 10% of the cost will be donated to HIT Scotland’s scholarship programme helping to develop emerging talent. “HIT Scotland has done so much for our industry throughout the last year, so we are delighted to be giving back. “Nine of our own team members benefitted
from these scholarships over the past year and as is the case with many charities normal fundraising routes are currently not available therefore we want to support the future of scholarships by assisting in this way. David Cochrane MBE, Chief Executive at HIT Scotland, said: “The support from Surgeons Quarter has been welcomed with open arms and the Trust is extremely grateful for this kind offering. “Hospitality has been hit hard by the pandemic, however we have faith that through innovative offerings like the Scotcation, we will bounce back stronger than ever. “The revenue donated will go directly towards our scholarship programme which is dedicated to developing emerging talent and will help future generations learn the skills required for a career in the industry.”
NEW ERA FOR ABERDEEN’S ARDOE HOUSE AS 7H TAKE OVER MANAGEMENT Ardoe House Hotel & Spa in Aberdeen, which went into administration late last year, has re-opened under the management of Perth-based 7 Hospitality Management (7H) The historic, four-star hotel which has been a favourite wedding and function location since the late 1940s was previously run by hotel group Mercure. Chris Hodgens reprises his role for 7H as Hotel Manager. Commenting on the re-opening he said, “The hotel is the subject of much affection, both locally and much, much further afield and it goes without saying that we are delighted to be re-opening the hotel. With our first tour operator arriving later this month and a major conference taking place within the hotel in August, we look forward to showcasing the hotel in the light its best known for and we also look forward to welcoming locals back to 6 • HOTELSCOTLAND
our bar, outside terrace and restaurant. The hotel has confirmed that all event bookings made prior to closure, and for which deposits had been paid, will be honoured over the coming year. Under 7H, the hotel and its grounds will undergo a two-phase redevelopment. The first, which will include investment in hotel infrastructure, guest rooms and public areas which will be followed by a second, longerterm development plan which will focus on the estate in which the hotel is situated. Rekha Sohun, Chief Commercial Officer of 7H said, “We are excited to be bringing Ardoe House Hotel & Spa back to life. “By reopening Ardoe’s doors to the public, as well as providing almost 70 jobs and additional supplier opportunities to local individuals and companies, we are reflecting the more positive times we find ourselves in and we look forward to developing this Aberdeen institution as we protect its future.”
NEWS APEX HOTELS NAMED IN TOP 20 HOSPITALITY EMPLOYERS
FIVE STAR AA RATING FOR THE GLENCOE INN
he Glencoe Inn has been awarded a 5-star rating by the AA. The accreditation follows a £500,000 investment and refurbishment which includes new-look bedrooms and outdoor areas as well as a refreshed food and drink offering. The exceptional quality of the inn’s breakfast service was noted and it was granted the AA Breakfast Award, in recognition of the use of fresh, high-quality local produce. The Glencoe Inn team’s world-class hospitality, which embodies the true ‘Spirit of Scotland’, also left an impression. Chris Wayne-Wills, CEO of Crerar Hotels, who own the hotel, said, “We’re thrilled that the Glencoe Inn has been given an official AA five-star rating, as well as an AA Breakfast Award. Our intentions behind the significant investment was always to improve and upgrade to offer guests an outstanding experience, so
to receive the rating so soon after the results of our refurbishment were unveiled makes it even more special. “It really is a five-star getaway in a worldclass location, and we’re delighted the AA inspection recognised this – as well as our excellent Scottish hospitality. “It is also a testament to the fantastic team here at Glencoe, led by General Manager Mark Ussher, and the work they put in each day to giving guests a truly first-class experience.” Mark Ussher, General Manager of the Glencoe Inn, said, “Myself and the team are over the moon to receive such fantastic news off the back of our latest AA inspection. To become the only official five-star rated business in the area is quite an achievement, but really reflects the significant investment and work that has gone into creating a superior quality boutique accommodation for guests.”
CAMERON HOUSE COUNTS DOWN TO RE-OPENING Cameron House has unveiled its new meeting, incentive, and conference event offering (MICE) as it prepares to re-open on 1 August following its multi-million restoration project after the devastating fire at the end of 2017. The addition to the hotel will feature a 7,345 sq ft ballroom with capacity for 350 guests and pre-function space with views of Loch Lomond due to open in January 2022. The restoration project has added an extra 68 luxurious new bedrooms with the majority featuring large balconies with loch-facing views. This brings the resort’s total offering to 208 bedrooms, including 30 suites. As well as the new ballroom and pre-function spaces the resort includes private dining rooms along with a team of private chefs and three bars, The Great Scots Bar, The Tavern or The Lobby Bar. Cerelle Gooding, Director of Sales at Cameron House Resort, said, “We are very excited to bring the new MICE offering to Cameron House. As one of the most sought-after event venues in the country, we’ve worked hard to ensure that our newly elevated meeting and event spaces offer a real sense of exclusivity, whilst also providing everything required to host a successful meeting or event..”
Apex Hotels is the country’s 19th best leisure and hospitality employer according to research by Best Companies, the specialists whose recognition programme is the standard for workplace engagement. The independent, family-owned hotel operator also achieved a 2* accreditation off the back of the annual survey, which was completed by more than three quarters of staff – demonstrating improvement on the 1* accreditation achieved in 2020. The group scored strongly across Best Companies’ 8 Factors of Engagement scoring framework, including My Team, Fair Deal, Leadership and Wellbeing. The results highlighted an increase in employee wellbeing – up 6% on last year’s survey – thanks to initiatives such as the company wellness calendar, live executive Q&A sessions and a host of content made available via Apex’s employee app. Danielle Ramsay, Head of Resourcing & Engagement for Apex Hotels, said, “We’re over the moon to not only receive a 2* accreditation from Best Companies, but also to be named nineteenth in the list of leisure and hospitality best companies to work for. The wellbeing of our teams is always a huge priority but has been even more of a focus given circumstances of the past year, so we’re delighted to see an improvement in scores on that front. “The commitment of our staff across the business is clear to see and we couldn’t be prouder of how dedicated and engaged our workforce is.” Jonathan Austin, CEO and Founder of Best Companies, said “Being named as a Best Company is something that organisations the length and breadth of the nation strive for - but only the very best achieve.” Meanwhile Apex has also launched a ‘Help in Hand’ initiative, offering local community groups and businesses in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Bath and London the use of a complimentary space. They can take advantage of unused meetings and venue spaces as well as free Wi-Fi within Apex Hotels’ properties. HOTELSCOTLAND • 7
Pet Bereavement leave included in Crerar Hotel employee benefits as group invests £1 million Crerar Hotels has committed more than £1m towards attracting, retaining, and developing the best talent in order to tackle the ongoing hospitality industry recruitment crisis. This includes revamped employee benefits including contributions towards driving lessons, paid time off the day children start primary school, a compulsory day off on employees’ birthdays, and pet bereavement leave. believed to be a first for a hotel. The company has also launched the Crerar Academy with an ongoing investment of at least £250,000 per year.The Academy aims to support life-long learning and genuine career progression, giving employees the opportunity to receive the best training through university partners, access to industry body scholarships and a dedicated SVQ partnership to help staff gain formal qualifications. Crerar Hotels CEO, Chris Wayne-Wills, said, “We’re coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic in a relatively fortunate position regarding our ability to invest in attracting and retaining talent. We planned meticulously for the impact Brexit was set to have on the industry’s workforce, so we are ahead of the game. “There’s no doubt that the hospitality industry is in crisis when it comes to availability of skills – a crisis we have all met far sooner than expected due to the double impact of the
pandemic and the fall-out of Brexit. “In response, we’ve accelerated our plans that are focused on not only becoming an employer of choice within the Scottish hospitality industry but to become a first-choice employer regardless of sector. “That’s why investment is so important. As a privately-owned company, we are committing more than £1 million to our people development plans at a time like this as we know there is nothing more valuable than our people.” He continued, “The only real criteria we’re looking for in our employees is a commitment – to being authentic and the best possible version of themselves, so they can get exactly what they want from a career with us. Whether they’re testing the hospitality waters, looking to work their way up the industry ranks, or looking to turn their hand to something new in the later stages of life, we will help our teams learn and develop the skills they need to thrive. “Our industry-leading Academy will constantly develop to ensure the needs of our teams are met. As well as supporting long-term career progression, we also want to develop and nurture the next generation of hospitality talent through our apprenticeship programme – which is vital given the current levels of youth unemployment that has granted 16–24-yearolds the title of ‘Generation Covid’.
Black Sheep Hotels expands its offering across the Highlands Black Sheep Hotels has unveiled eight new cabins, a new restaurant in Fort William and the construction of a unique bakery on the road to Skye. The lodges have added an additional 19 bedrooms with six cabins at The Whispering Lodge and two cabins at the Cluanie Inn, which are to be launched shortly. Inspired by the Highlands and built with timber, each cosy cabin has a different theme and come with outdoor patios, spacious living, dining, and open kitchen areas, gas fireplaces and barbeque facilities. Whilst the cabins are self-catering, they are also adjacent to the hotel to make full use of the restaurant facilities. Over the past two years the group has also augmented its restaurant offering. It;s restaurants include Emily’s Byre, Lochside Brasserie and The Cluanie Bar and Kitchen and its popular Asian restaurant Tiger on the Wall in Inverness, which serves Indian and Oriental cuisine, and buoyed by the success of the latter the company is opening a second pop-up restaurant in the High Street in Fort William also called Tiger on the Wall. The restaurant will be open throughout the main tourist season and will close briefly in the autumn for a full refurbishment. In another extension to its food and drink arm the Landour Bake House, opposite The Cluanie Inn, and styled as an old-fashioned bothy, will serve homemade cakes, pastries and sandwiches from recipes dating back to the 1890s. 8 • HOTELSCOTLAND
SUSTAINABLE SUSTAINABILITY ALASTAIR ROY OF ARO PROCUREMENT LOOKS AT THE ROLE PROCUREMENT HAS TO PLAY TO MAKE SUSTAINABLE DECISIONS AFFORDABLE
For more information on how best to approach post pandemic procurement in your business, contact firstname.lastname@example.org www. aroprocurement.com
he subject of sustainability might meet with a few groans, depending on your disposition, and for others it is the holy grail of how the world will thrive in the decades ahead, impacting everyone’s personal and professional lives. It is often perceived as expensive with sometimes intangible results and therefore, it is key to find ways of making sustainability strategies affordable and as a result, sustainable. Despite the tumultuous past 18 months when surviving was and still is the name of the game, the sustainability drive is showing no sign of abating and in some ways it is perhaps the right time to find ways of embedding it at the centre of businesses to assist in the recovery. Most people have had time to think about how they wish to live their lives differently and have seen all too clearly the fragility all around us. A more thoughtful approach to sustainability and environmental matters in hospitality businesses could pay dividends in all sorts of ways. Sustainability is not only concerned with environmental matters, it is about being profitable at the same time as being mindful of taking good care of the environment and communities surrounding your business. Crucially, it is also about being authentic in actions taken – greenwashing or green sheen will very quickly be called out by customers and staff if sustainability values are inconsistent or deployed deceptively. Far better to decide what can be done within your business and do those things really well to build on the successes. Sustainability is an enterprise wide initiative and procurement has a valuable part to play in seeking innovation in supply chains to analyse where cost can be removed which benefits the business, suppliers and ultimately the environment. One example is to look at how items are delivered from your key food suppliers – reusable containers should be a priority to minimise single use plastic packaging or any other packaging which has to be recycled or potentially placed in landfill. By reducing packaging, the waste and recycling costs in your business will reduce and there is an argument to negotiate
a reduction on the cost of goods because the supplier is not incurring additional costs for superfluous packaging. A win win all round. Energy and water consumption are obvious areas to explore ways of finding efficiencies while making cost savings to reduce the carbon footprint. It might involve capital investment for more advanced building management systems, incorporating smart monitoring to control usage more effectively but technologies are constantly advancing, resulting in lower costs to access. Reducing reliance on single use plastic and glass bottles are another obvious source of making your business more sustainable. Think of ways in which you could help redefine customers perceptions of how they can contribute to the sustainability mission. If your hotel stocks products such as Fiji water, typically perceived as a high-end, luxury water product – there is probably an oxymoron in that last description somewhere – think of reframing what luxury could mean and instead offer a reusable glass or ceramic caraffe, filled with local Scottish water from the tap, perhaps using active charcoal as a filter to provide customers with that extra reassurance. Bathroom amenities including the soaps and shampoos can also be targeted to ensure the products are free of parabens, silicone and single use plastics. The shower caps, toothbrushes and shaving kits can also be switched to products made from recycled materials. Look to the supply chain to help you fulfil your sustainability goals for your business. Minimisation of food waste is a huge factor in the hospitality sector and seeking ways to divert waste and convert it into animal feed, fertiliser and fuel all contribute to making sustainabilty more achievable. Consider that every step in the procurement process is an opportunity to integrate an environmental improvement. When all the incremental improvements are combined, real and sustainable change will have occurred and your business and the world will be a better place for it. HOTELSCOTLAND • 9
WHAT’S NEW FOR SUMMER SHETLAND REEL COLLABORATES WITH SHETLAND SPACE CENTRE Shetland Reel has announced the launch of Countdown Gin, a new collaboration with Shetland Space Centre. The launch brings together two dynamic and ambitious enterprises, both of which operate from the island of Unst, Britain’s most northerly inhabited island. The gin marks the official countdown to the UK’s first ever vertical satellite launch, which is set to take place in Unst in 2022. The proposed launch site is just a few miles from Shetland Distillery, so it’s fitting that these two brands have come together to create a celebratory spirit. Countdown Gin is the distillery’s Original Gin packed with more juniper, more spice and more citrus. Commenting on the new gin and the collaboration, Director of Shetland Reel Debbie Strang said, “If you like our Original Gin, you’ll love this.”.
FENTIMANS REVEAL NEW RANGE OF 200ML MIXERS & TONICS Fentimans, the independently owned premium drinks brand, has launched a new range of 200ml mixers and tonics. The new 200ml mixer range, which includes Tonic Water, alongside it’s iconic Ginger Beer and Rose Lemonade, will continue to be made using Fentimans unique 100 year old artisanal technique, botanical brewing: a multi-stage process of infusion, fermentation, resting and blending of finely sourced botanicals over 7 days, to create a mixer with a depth of flavour that when paired with spirits, creates a superior tasting long mixed drink. The range will also include Fentimans versatile range of coloured and flavoured tonics, suitable for pairing with a broad range of spirits. .
DAZZLING SAPPHIRE BLUE BUBBLY
10 • HOTELSCOTLAND
Luc Belaire has announced the newest handcrafted cuvée to join the Belaire family: Belaire Bleu. The limited-edition release is a spectacular sapphire color, inspired by the beautiful blue waters of the Côte d’Azur, in Belaire’s country of birth, France. This blue bubbly makes a compelling statement when enjoyed by the glass and is ideal for dramatic cocktails. Belaire Bleu is the perfect harmony of the old world and the new. It is crafted by 5th and 6th generation father-and-son winemakers at Belaire’s 120-year-old Maison, and combines ancestral winemaking traditions with a bold new look worthy of the brand’s trend-setting consumers and boundary-breaking celebrity fans. .
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BY NICOLA YOUNG
PLANNING FOR SUSTAINABILITY CAN BE PROFITABLE There is a lot of opportunity out there that can reduce cost while also making your hotel more sustainable but the difficult part is knowing which ones will give the best return on investment and which ones to tackle first.
ustainability is a vital area for our economy, our climate, and our businesses and as a result this month we are launching a series of features on sustainability. ALASTAIR ROY has given you his view on what role procurement has to play while I will provide a general overview on how to approach the task and give some examples of where savings might be focused. There is no question that sustainability is top of the agenda for most hotels today and everyone knows that being environmentally friendly is good for marketing and attracting customers with Trip Advisor reporting that a third of travellers are willing to spend up to 20% more to stay in an environmentally friendly hotel while other reports claim that revenues can grow by between 3-5% as a direct result of promoting sustainability. The drive for sustainability awards or environmental ratings is in full swing with Green Tourism, an accreditation organisation founded in Scotland with a partnership between VisitScotland and Green Business UK, now boasting over 2,500 members throughout the UK and internationally. However, as well as an environmental and marketing benefit there has to be a cost benefit to help operators plan their green strategy. If done well, the hotelier will unquestionably see significant cost savings. It is this planning approach, research has shown, that can be the most daunting for owners. In many cases it has been found that green initiatives take too long to get off the ground, are implemented inefficiently and don’t maximise a return on investment.
Yet, there is a lot of opportunity out there that can reduce cost while also making your hotel more sustainable but the difficult part is knowing which ones will give the best return on investment and which ones to tackle first. This is often the main reason that so many projects get delayed. There are so many things to choose from that the risk of making a decision is heightened, and this is where your strategic plan will help. I am going to attempt to simplify what can be done and how to approach it as well as highlight some quick wins that can be made that fall within the sustainability framework but that can also have a significant impact on costs. The following list is something that you will be familiar with across normal operations but it should be applied to a sustainability project too. 1. Engage and involve your staff. Create a Climate Committee where every department is represented (housekeeping, kitchen, groundsmen, reception, operations, IT etc). It won’t work without your staff. 2. Complete an audit of where you are now by department (with each department representative responsible for their own area). Simply measure what you do and what you use (and what you waste). But keep it simple at the start. You want to find out where it might be best to start and you want to have a broad overview of the areas that you can deliver the most cost savings. But remember, you can’t reduce unless you know what you use. 3. Focus on Energy, Water and Waste and provide examples for each department if needed 4. Set achievable savings targets and within a time-frame - this night be the next meeting. HOTELSCOTLAND • 13
Goal setting of any kind is important. 5. Describe these in all staff communications and handbooks 6. Involve your local community Below are a few examples of what can be done using each of Energy, Water and Waste as the areas of focus.
ENERGY SAVINGS There are many things that can be done easily within the arena of ‘energy’. Review your appliances and check their energy ratings and take note of how much they are used to get an idea of their weekly energy cost. You don’t need to be too specific but don’t forget to include all sources of energy use. For example showers, ovens, tumble dryers, washing machines, toasters, heaters and so on. Just do a list and note the power rating and how long and how often they are used. Once you have these it is then fairly straightforward to work out where most energy is used and the order in which you might want to make savings. For example lightbulbs. How many, how long are they on for, and what type. If, for example, you have 100 standard 60W light bulbs and they are used for an average of 8 hours a day and the energy cost is around 18.5p per kWh, then you are paying around £3200 per year (£32 per bulb). An equivalent 11W Energy saving bulb would cost around 80% less, therefore for 100 builds this would cost you £640 per year (around £6.40 per bulb) saving around £2,500. Work outage cost of the bulbs or lighting you want to use to work out your return on investment (and don’t forget to add in the cost of your existing bulbs and purchase frequency - for example, I replace some at least twice a year while I have some energy saving bulbs that are over 3 years old. Other suggestions - if you have hallway lights with dimmer switches then dim the lights by 30% during daylight hours, make sure that heating and air conditioning settings in lobbies, offices, and other peripheral rooms are at minimum settings during hours of low use. You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back a few degrees from its normal setting. This is also true of washing machine temperatures - going from 40 degrees to 30 degrees makes a big difference. Equipment that you might want to look 14 • HOTELSCOTLAND
at include the chillers and hood covers in the kitchen, vending machines (could sensor machines save you more?), occupancy sensors (infrared), Ozone and tunnel washers, and heat recovery systems.
sustainability ethos of your hotel and it may even be useful for guest to see the energy meter ticking along. If you don’t currently use electric showers then there may be some significant savings.
This hopefully demonstrates that an audit of what you have and what you use will really help simplify the planning as well as the costs and potential savings. And the savings will be significant.
Like energy, water is used across the business from kitchens to cleaning and laundry, to guest rooms, to pools, spa’s and gardens. Some 40 percent of water use in hotels is attributable to laundry and kitchen operations. New efficient tunnel washers reduce labour and utility costs and use less water than older units. How often are things done, roughly how much water is used (and wasted and how is it wasted), what equipment is used (energy ratings/wattage and for how long)? Showers are a good example. If you have showers that are not electric then there can be significant savings if you switch to low flow but this might be much less if you already have electric showers. In this crude example, I will assume an electric 9kW shower and also assume that there are two guests per room and that each guest showers for 10 minutes a day i.e. 20 minutes in total or ‘room shower’. For ease of calculation, we will use 100 rooms as an example and the same energy cost of 18.5p per kWh. Each ‘room-shower’ costs around £203 per year and all room-showers cost £20,301. This might seem like an obvious starting point however, electric showers have to heat water from the cold supply up to the shower temperature and this uses a lot of energy. Even at a rating of 7.5-10 kilowatts, this means that electric showers can only handle a relatively low flow of water through them and already have a ‘low flow’ rate. Since most water-efficient showerheads and flow regulators are set to a flow rate of 7.5-8 litres per minute there might not be any savings to be made by fitting these to an electric shower so before you start budgeting savings check the differences between the flow rates. In this case, in order to save energy (and save cost as well as the environment), you might want to encourage guests to take shorter showers. Every minute less saves around £10 per person per year and this could be communicated as part of the
WASTE Some surveys show that each hotel guest, on average, produces one kilo of waste per guest per day and that approximately 30% of the waste a hotel produces can be diverted through reuse and recycling. Reports from businesses around the world show that deploying appropriate management processes reduced solid waste and waste water disposal costs by more than 15%. This is an area that is difficult to generalise too much and it covers a broad range of options and property types but by measuring what you do a the start you will be able to have an idea of where to look first. Food waste can also be converted to fuel and there are already companies in the UK that will collect food waste and convert it into biofuel. Of course, don’t forget local - using local products and produce not only supports the local community around you but saves on carbon miles - and you can measure these too.
Finally, and this has never been more important than it is now, sustainability is good for recruitment and staff retention. A survey by the Governance and Accountability Institute in the US found that 40 percent of millennial respondents chose their employer because of their sustainability performance while 70 percent of millennials are more likely to stay with a company with a strong environmental reputation and policy. Next month we will take a look at available funding as well as a closer look at some of the services available in the market.
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*Source: Comparison July 2020 vs March 2020. Peach Business Tracker. **Sales Aug/Sep 2020
BOUNCING BACK: WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
arclays Corporate Banking recently launched a report which looks at how the hospitality sector plans to return to prosperity following the opening of indoor spaces. The report, Bouncing Back, is filled with insight from CEOs of some of the UK’s most prominent H&L operators and details measures they have put in place to overcome lockdown challenges. The report features interviews with businesses leaders from eight sub-sectors of the leisure industry, including the hotel industry, offering first-hand accounts of the changes they’ve made to their business amidst the pandemic. Mike Saul, Head of Hospitality and Leisure at Barclays Corporate Banking, commented, The majority of businesses in the UK have had to adapt their models over the past year, but none more so than those in the hospitality and leisure sector. Kirit Vaja, Head of Finance at Sarova Hotels, George Brown, MD at Daish’s Holidays, dward Walsh, Group Finance Director at Coaching Inns and Tony Story, CEO at Kingsmlll Hotels, all contributed. Here is what they had to say. Tony Story, CEO at Kingsmill Hotels, explains. “We used the time wisely to tackle environmental work, including solar panel installation, putting in electronic car-charging points, installing anti-Covid measures throughout our premises, and expanding our outdoor areas, because we knew they would be first to open up.” Edward Walsh, Group Finance Director at Coaching Inns, says his business focused on modernising systems to drive efficiency and processes. “One thing we did early on was to go cashless, as well as launching an ‘order and pay’ app. We thought that might be temporary, as we like the full-service model, but the take-up has been really strong” he explains. “We’ve also invested in our central reservations platform to help improve flexibility around room bookings and table bookings. That’s something we’re quite excited about for the summer ahead as it will give us more opportunities to engage with 16 • HOTELSCOTLAND
our guests and showcase the full extent of our offer.” Kirit Sarova has also modernised systems and processes, as well as centralising some job roles – including the creation of its new Central Reservations Office and moving to a group-wide finance function instead of finance roles at every hotel. One common area of concern in the hotel sector has been the wellbeing of staff. Many hotels have had to make employees redundant, while other staff members have been furloughed for up to a year. Kingsmills’ Story says even furloughed staff will have had their incomes reduced by around 40% once the lack of tips is taken into consideration – and long periods of uncertainty for staff have also been a concern. Walsh says mental health and the impact of the return to work will be something his business continue to monitor coming out of lockdown. “For obvious reasons, some staff are going to want to earn as much as possible – and our job is to help protect their wellbeing.” He continues, “If we do what we’ve always done, that is not going to be effective.” Tony Story, Kingsmill Hotels comments, “This time around, we’re really going to monitor fatigue among the teams, because some of our employees haven’t worked since October,” he says. “What we found last summer was that people got tired quickly, because it’s a high energy job, and they were suddenly working 50- hour weeks having not done it for a while. We’re thinking about how we can implement some safeguards around that to make sure they are not burning themselves out. “For obvious reasons, some staff are going to want to earn as much as possible – and our job is to help protect their wellbeing. We think it’s going to be a really good summer, a really busy one.” To take advantage of that busy summer, many hotel businesses are realigning their marketing activity – turning the focus on UK activity amid the vast reduction in international visitors. “We inherently rely on Google ads, usually targeting the US and Middle East markets,” explains Vaja. “That’s all changed and we’re
really targeting the UK markets now. Social media is starting to really pick up. We’re letting people know what we’re doing to keep them safe and that we’re open for business – as well as telling them about things you can do in the area.” Story’s business also traditionally relies on international visitors. “We are having to look carefully at how we channel our sales and marketing efforts,” he says. “If we do what we’ve always done, that is not going to be effective – so we are recalibrating and redirecting our activities.” Coaching Inns’ Walsh adds,“We’ve always held a really good database of loyal followers and they’re who we tend to market to most directly for accommodation offers,” he says. “We’re not a business that discounts heavily, so we tend to just use social media and our email database. But during lockdown we have invested further in our data platform, which has improved our customer-engagement opportunities.” As hotel bookings do ramp up postlockdown, it’s clear it will take some time to reach full capacity – and that means some in the sector would like to see continued government support. “The end of the furlough scheme is likely to coincide with the start of our quieter period,” explains Story. “We know it can’t go on forever, but we would like to see continued support in any form, and help until the economy gets back to some sort of normality, especially for the hardest-hit industries.” In fact, Story advocates the extension of a flexible furlough scheme until March next year. As for the longer-term view, it seems that after an initial period of more domestic activity, business levels may well return to how they once were. “I don’t think the staycation – or holidaying becoming increasingly domestic – will be a long-term shift,” says Vaja. “I think people who want the sun will go to Spain, Italy, France and those places where they can get it, just as they did before and, by 2025, we’ll return to the 2019 business model. Hopefully, though, with more growth.”
SPBA AWARDS 2020/21
ntries are now open for the 2021 Scottish Bar and Pub Awards run by our sister pubiication DRAM. Last year there were quite a few winners from the hotel sector and this year we are on lookout for Hotel Bar of the Year and Restaurant of the Year and no doubt some of you would be great candidatesfor some other categories too. .So if you would like to enter check out www.scottishbarandpubawards.com. Here are a few of our past winners from and guests the hotel sector from years gone by... do you recognise anyone?
HOTELSCOTLAND • 17
KEEPING SIGHT OF THE
BIGGER PICTURE CHRIS WAYNE-WILLS TOOK ON THE ROLE OF CEO OF CRERAR HOTELS THE GROUP BEHIND THE LOCH FYNE HOTEL & SPA, GOLF VIEW IN NAIRN, OBAN BAY HOTEL, THE DEESIDE INN, ISLE OF MULL HOTEL & SPA, THE GLENCOE INN AND THAINSTONE HOUSE IN INVERURIE, JUST AS THE PANDEMIC STRUCK. SUSAN YOUNG FINDS OUT MORE ABOUT THE NEW BOSS AND THE YEAR HE HAS JUST HAD, AS WELL AS THE GROUP’S PLANS FOR THE FUTURE.
18 • HOTELSCOTLAND
hris Wayne-Wills has certainly had a baptism by fire when it comes to his first year at Crerar Hotels. When the owner of the independent hotel group, Paddy Crerar, approached him to take on the position of CEO, to allow him to take on the role of Chairman, the likelihood of a pandemic had probably never crossed his mind. Chris believes the timing was actually fortuitous as the pandemic has meant the two have been able to short circuit a way to build trust and Chris has been able to develop and implement his own strategy for the group. He says, “Before the pandemic hit Crerar Hotels was a debt-free wholly-owned company – with a small board of directors, which meant decisions could be made quickly and there were things I wanted to achieve with this company irrespective of Covid. I thought I can do this, we can do this, so let’s just get on with it. The approach I have taken is to run the business as if it was my own. I believed if I did what I thought was right the chances are I would do the right thing. I do believe when you are faced with adversity you don’t develop business character, you unveil it. But first Chris has to reassure himself that Paddy would let him get on with the job. “I said to Paddy if I am CEO and you’re now the chairman, where do the decision-making
boundaries lie. We worked out that three things were sacrosanct which couldn’t be touched. One was baked beans. They are banned from Paddy’s hotels. Dogs, on the other hand, are very welcome everywhere and red socks are to be worn by the team – but not by the dogs! During his first few weeks in the job, Chris would have usually been able to get to know the group’s hotels and people in a gradual manner. But lockdown on 23rd March meant that he had to talk to people he had never met, about hotels he had never seen, in the process of putting the business into lockdown. That included not charging teams for living in. He says, “We accepted we had to look after our people. I had to manage my way through the process – for once I couldn’t rely on a more senior team to make decisions. I felt the way that our conduct, and that of all companies, would be remembered. So we were very specific about what we would do straight away.” Chris has spent more than 25-year career in hotel management and his experience has certainly stood him in very good stead. He has worked for Ramada Jarvis, Macdonald Hotels Q Hotels and latterly Marriot International. His next career step at Marriott would likely have been an international role. But the call from Paddy changed that. Chris explains,
INTERVIEW “Paddy and I originally met on a Scottish Enterprise Disney Scholarship to Florida to study World Class Customer Service in 2002 and there only 12 of us on the programme. His call came at the right time for me. One of the benefits of working for a company like Marriott is that you can travel the world. I had been discussing multiple roles with Marriott to consider internationally, . But it was not the right time. I have a young son and it wasn’t what I wanted to do. “Paddy was wanting to step away and become Chairman and suggested that I looked at my role as if I had actually bought the hotels and he was the bank. He didn’t want to know the day to day details but did want involved in the overall strategic positioning. The analogy was that it was his train set but I got to play with it and Paddy has been true to his word and has left me to get on with it, which I have really appreciated” Paddy’s vision was to own Scotland’s leading quality focussed independent hotel group with a focus on authenticity. He had already been through the process of right-sizing the company leaving seven hotels which could be reinvested in and repositioned as upper four-star establishments and that has been my primary focus.” Certainly in the last 14 months, Chris and his team have changed completely many aspects of Crerar’s operation from marketing, its digital offering and the outsourcing of its Central Reservations. His plan also included a £12 million spend on refurbishment. The company has have re-invested in all their hotels – with two the Isle of Mull and the Glencoe Inn receiving major refurbishments. Chris interjects, “All our hotels are now four-star plus. We now offer low-key luxury without the formality. I like to think that the spirit of Scotland is brought to life through our authentic hospitality experience – through the quality of the product and the warmth of our welcome.” He continues, “Fortunately many of the GM’s had known the previous places that I had worked, such as The Midland in Manchester, which brought some credibility to my role. They know that I could understand them as GM’s because I still think like one. However when you go from running a single unit to being in charge of multiple properties who have to be able to prioritise. You have to know what big rocks you have to crack before you can do the job properly. But if you get involved with the granular detail you can lose sight of the bigger picture. “I compare my job to that of a conductor of an orchestra – they stand with a baton to get a section to play a bit quicker. As much as you would like to be a soloist if you did that you lose sight of everything else, particularly with refurbishments. It is the same on a ship – the Captain has a 180-degree view, but
they don’t go down to the engine room and shovel coal. You have to know what is going on but remain focused. I am responsible for the direction of the company and I have to direction sense check so that I know if something is contributing to where we are going, and what we want to be. We are quality focussed and our quality measure is based on what our guests tell us.” However, let’s roll back 25 years where did it all begin? It is obvious that Chris lives and breathes hospitality – his passion shines through – it is in his blood. His great grandfather opened the first milk bar in Cardiff in 1936 and he reminds me that it was milk bars that made the Forte family famous. The business developed over the years into a restaurant and subsequently, the family diversified the business developing a contract catering business. Says Chris, “I have memories of being in the kitchen washing dishes with both my grandparents cooking and my uncle doing front of house while my mum also worked for contract catering company Eurest. We looked after the catering contract for Cardiff Castle and the Arms Park (now the Millennium Stadium) and I have memories of washing dishes, and sitting on cans of beans reading a comic, and being told not to get into trouble.” Although nearly opting for an acting career Chris realised that hospitality was actually like “being on stage.” By the age of seventeen, he had enrolled in a catering college and although planning to go to Uni, after getting a job at a 70 bedroomed hotel The Belgrave in Torquay, he decided to carry on up the ladder and by 19 he was an Assistant Manager. He says, “It was a bit crazy, but it showed me that if you had the right attitude and enthusiasm your age didn’t matter.” A stint on a cruise ship followed and then he joined TGI Friday’s. Chris smiles, “I did a couple of new openings. I didn’t wear the braces or the stripes but I can still make a mean Woo Woo. I was kind of moving around a bit on their trainee programme. Then my old GM from The Belgrave contacted me, he had gone to Jarvis hotels and was working in a hotel close to my parents, I subsequently joined them as a sales and spend manager which incorporated proactive sales, reactive sales, marketing and revenue management – it was all about business generation.” In 1995 at the age of 21, Jarvis moved him to Scotland and he joined the Caledonian Hotel in Ayr in a similar role. He didn’t know a soul in Scotland but threw himself into the job and went onto win the accolade Sales and Spend Manager of the Year in 1997 and was then shortlisted for a Thistle Award. Chris reveals “Marco Truffelli beat me.” That same he moved to the Marine Hotel
in Troon. Says Chris, “Up to that point I had only worked in three-star hotels, and they were looking for a Deputy Manager so I sent them my CV and really blagged my way in. As Richard Branson would say “fake it until you make it. That introduced him to major events including the Open Golf Champtionship. A move to the Carlton Edinburgh followed and then Chris rejoined Jarvis Hotels after they offered him his first General Manager role at Ellersly House in Edinburgh where he spent just over a year. a year. He says, “It felt that they put me in charge of what felt like turnaround hotels. He then went to Livingston to what had formerly been the Hilton before being going as GM to the Piccadilly in Manchester still with Jarvis – the biggest hotel in the group – he was just 27. I used to wonder sometimes as I stood there with an earpiece in with a banquet for a 1,000 “How did I get here!” Chris explains, “It was quite a rapid transition.” But it was also a challenging time in the hotel’s investment cycle. By this time Jarvis had done a deal with Ramada and were rebranding as Ramada and had announced a huge refurbishment of the Piccadilly Hotel a £28m project. It was a big 1960’s building so you can imagine the challenges. They started farming out events that had booked and making redundancies. It had been due to close at Christmas 2001, and they decided on the 10th December they decided they couldn’t close the biggest hotel in Manchester right before the Commonwealth Games were coming the following year and investors were asking why we were closing. The problem was it had been so good at the PR telling everyone it was closing it was difficult to get the hotel back up and taking bookings. When the GM there had had enough the group decided they needed someone young and enthusiastic so back down the M6 I went. He says, “I used to joke that half the world thinks we are closed, and the other half say we should be. It was very challenging. I did it for three years. But we were getting nowhere with the refurbishment, we were starved of capital. So when a recruitment company approached me about working for Macdonald Hotels and I went and met them. I had a young daughter and it seemed the right time to come back to Scotland. It was a good move because I stayed for 12 years. His lengthy stint at Macdonald Hotels saw him start at Crutherland House in East Kilbride, then also run Houstoun House just outside Edinburgh, before heading to the Roxburgh in Edinburgh where he oversaw a big refurbishment. A regional job followed, which saw him cover from Edinburgh to Northwest of England and other parts of Scotland too. Says Chris, “I was all over the place.” He continued in a Regional MD role and became CEO of Aviemore. He explains, “ It was a very different type of role in the HOTELSCOTLAND • 19
INTERVIEW group because it had its own board of directors because of its history. But I also looked after two hotels in Aberdeen, and hotels in Inverness, Loch Rannoch as well as Forrest Hills.” He lived at the resort in Aviemore. It was the location for one of his life lessons. He explains, “I believe you learn from what did you not get right and when running Aviemore we planned a Santa Weekend. Unfortunately, when the time came it was very mild and the families had been expecting Lapland and snow. We had bought the snow, but then because it was mild it melted! I found myself driving around the Cairngorms in a truck with a shovel looking for snow. I learned not to promise a white Christmas!” That aside he spent four years there but decided after 18 months overseeing a massive investment in the resort which saw 350 bedrooms revamped, four new restaurants and a cinema created that it was time for a change. He smiles, “I was not quite ready for the Macdonald Hotels Tattoo. I had never seen myself as a one company guy but was getting close to it with Macdonald. It also coincided with a change in my circumstances, so I gave Rhuaridh Macdonald around a year’s notice and started planning my next move” His next chapter saw him joining Q Hotels. Chris reveals, “I got chatting to Vivien Sirotkin and Michael Purtill and they were fortunately keen to get me into their company. I started at Slaley Hall in Northumberland and also had a regional role which saw me looking after Westerwood in Cumbernauld and The Midland in Manchester. However Q by then was owned by Venture Capitalists who he believes had the usual 3 years and a day plan, which meant the business went up for sale, although it was described as refinancing”. Says Chris, “It was obvious it was up for sale. For instance, I had to show prospective refinancers around – and recognising people from companies like Hilton. I remember saying as we walked across the lobby ‘This would be a lovely Waldorf!” As chance would have it Chris received a call from Marriott at this point to head up Scotland. Despite all his experience, this was his first chance to work for an international brand and he was brought in to head up their cluster teams in Scotland and the North of England, which included the brand’s Marriotts, Courtyards and Residence Inns. He was there for three years and received a ‘Special Recognition Award’ for his contribution to the company. It was as he puts it “a very positive career trajectory.” Then his call from Paddy came and it was welcome. Says Chris, “I am tied to Scotland, not just because I love it, but my three daughters still live in Linlithgow, and my fiancée Gemma MacDougall is Marketing Director at Cameron House.” However, he and Paddy couldn’t have known how much was to change over the next 12 months due to the pandemic. But for Chris, it 20 • HOTELSCOTLAND
may have had a silver lining. He says “Paddy says, ‘Never waste a crisis.’ Chris certainly didn’t. There wasn’t a part of the business that didn’t get his attention. He says, “I have gone through the process seeking forgiveness, not permission. We have repositioned Crerar Hotels – everyone talks of a new world, for us it is a new brand world. We have a different food and beverage offering, and we are now going in a different direction. He continues, “When we reopened last year we invested in everything required to make our hotels Covid-safe. We spent over £100K and perhaps, as a result, the hotels traded really well in August, September and October. Our style of hotels suited the locations and we increased our digital marketing efforts, and advertising.” Crerar Hotels also have the Crerar Trust. It has pledged 50% of its dispersible profits in any given year to charities that lie near their hotels. Over the last 10 years, more than £8m has been donated over. From a minibus for Inverary to sponsoring a pipe band in Oban or a local cancer charity, and this year despite the pandemic in October it gave out £220K despite incurring predictable losses. Chris tells me, “We decided very quickly that we wanted to do something for the NHS and key workers. We called it ‘Scottish Hospitality for Heroes’. We asked people to nominate people and over 4,000 nominees received more than 382-weekend breaks – which equates to more than 2,000 rooms. For one weekend last August, everyone got complimentary DB&B, we gave away the whole company for a summer weekend” “The hardest thing was picking people, so we gave a lot more than we originally planned. Over the weekend our hotel in Oban was full and Paddy even took people out on his RIB boat. We also gave gift vouchers for over £25,000 to local pharmacists who had stayed open, to bin men and postmen – people in the community who had gone above and beyond. He adds, “It would have been quite easy to give a weekend in winter – but we gave a weekend in August. We had people staying who had lost multiple members of the family- we had a lot of gratitude. “Our teams got completely behind it and I think they felt good about working for a company that was giving something back.” He believes, as many do in hospitality, that it is more important than ever to position themselves as an employer of choice and with this in mind there are plans afoot to create The Crerar Academy. An overarching umbrella that will embrace SVQ’s , apprenticeships and qualifications for everyone and professional and personal development while they work at Crerar. The company also encouraged employees to take up the online scholarships offered by HIT during the pandemic. Thirty staff, more than 10% of their workforce did that. Says Chris,
“We hope that at Crerar Hotels we offer more than a career. Our team can see that we are a force for good. My non-negotiable rules include be kind, work hard, have humility and put the team first. They have also revised all the companies benefits, in consultation with their teams. Now, staff can, for example, have an extra day holiday on their birthdays, can take the morning off to take their children to their first day at school and get help towards the cost of driving lessons as well as employee discounts.” The company has close ties with HIT, Springboard, Skills Development Scotland, Glasgow Caledonian University with Chris believing that education goes with practical experience. He says, “If you do nothing but study it doesn’t prepare you, and if you do nothing but practical work it too is not enough. “I believe it is not just about working hard, but working hard on your craft whether a bartender or a chef. My craft is leadership – it is about communication and lifelong learning.” They are also trying to appeal to people who may not have considered hospitality as a career. Chris explains, “Right now we are talking to charities about retiring forces personnel, ex-offenders, and over 50’s – who may want part-time work. We can be very flexible. It’s certainly been a busy 14 months for Chris and the team – despite the lockdown they have put the time to good use. Not least when it comes to the repositioning and refurbishment of their premises. Glencoe Inn now offers a boutique highland escape, with a new food and beverage offering, a new hidden garden spa and 15 renovated rooms with luxury bathrooms and refreshed public areas house at the property has also been converted into a five-bedroomed holiday house. While the Isle of Mull Hotel is almost unrecognisable. Says Chris, “It is the realisation of a lot of what we have dreamed of. It now has a balcony coming off the new restaurant, a new sea deck, a wilderness hidden spa concept and 75 new bedrooms and a new boardwalk – we have created a resort on Mull which offers lots of different experiences.” (see our design feature). Certainly, Chris too has had a lot of different experiences but he still has various projects to finish over the next six months. Not least his wedding. He is getting married in the summer at Cameron House but a the moment his focus is on the business. He says, “We have built the foundation now it has to come to the reality. It isn’t just about a strapline on a poster. It has to come to life. “Paddy & Nigel our Group FD have supported me through these challenging times, but I think with energy and positivity we can deliver our shared vision and our strategy.”
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ISLE OF MULL HOTEL & SPA CRAIGNURE, ISLE OF MULL
sle of Mull Hotel & Spa has benefitted from a seven-figure refurbishment which has seen the hotel given an authentic Scottish feel and the reward - a AA four star rating. The initial £3 million committed by owners, Crerar Hotels, to upgrading the property saw a complete refurbishment of all 75 guest bedrooms, as well as the hotel’s dining and public areas. Guests can now sink into comfortable, leather sofas in muted earth tones, and enjoy roaring fires or dine in the recently launched Oran na Mara Bistro, also newly accredited with an AA Rosette. The new restaurant offers guests and locals not only a locally-sourced menu but the very best views of Mull and Craignure Bay, with a brand-new sea deck perfect for al fresco dining. Guest bedrooms have been decorated with the hotel’s coastal island location in mind with calming blue and green tones and each room has been fitted with a brand-new contemporary bathroom. A collection of generously proportioned, individually-designed sea-view suites have views across Craignure Bay, and each of the suites features its very own, unique free-standing bath. Two extraspecial ‘retreat suites’ have also been created, each
22 • HOTELSCOTLAND
boasting their own sunken hot-tub and private decking that opens up onto the hotel grounds, with access to the beach on the bay. Just this year, Crerar Hotels committed a further investment into the coastal hotel to upgrade its spa facilities. It will shortly launch its‘Driftwood Spa’, designed to reflect and complement the beauty of the island’s nature and wildlife. As well as the creation of further treatment rooms – taking the total four – an outdoor spa terrace and hot tub will allow residents to take in the stunning views of Craignure Bay. Driftwood Spa will also include a 17m swimming pool, thermal suite with sauna and steam room, relaxing foot spa; experience showers and Rasul mud chamber. The four treatment rooms include two couple’s rooms, one single and one seaweed bath. The significant investment at hotel allows the introduction of a range of outdoor facilities for guests including an enchanted fairy walk and external ‘Wilderness Spa’ with its own secluded hot tub and sauna which is due to open in July. .
HOTELSCOTLAND • 23
SUPPLIERS OF BESPOKE LIGHTING CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL AT THE BROADCROFT HOTEL AND GOOD LUCK FOR THE FUTURE.
539 Lawmoor Street, Dixon Blazes, Glasgow G5 0TT 24 • HOTELSCOTLAND • 2019
0141 429 3334 • firstname.lastname@example.org
BY SUSAN YOUNG
THE BROADCROFT HOTEL 3 DAVID DONNELLY PLACE, KIRKINTILLOCH
n a previous life the newly opened Broadcroft Hotel was called Smiths. Today, there is not much that remains of the original hotel - it has been completely rebranded and re-designed and what a transformation. The new-look hotel, which is still owned by Smith Hotels Ltd is now a contemporary and stylish venue that would not look out of place in any city. It has been a substantial investment which has seen the hotel completely modernised. This change is immediately apparent from the moment you arrive at the hotel. The exterior been clad in contemporary grey cladding and a substantial extension has been added. The hotel sits like a modern castle on the road leading into Kirkintilloch’s town centre. The entire lower level has been stripped back to the bare walls and the new Cafe, Bar and Grill offers a spacious, airy and stylish dining and drinking area. Bespoke artwork, specially commissioned wine and champagne fridges and statement lighting provided by Wired give this Kirkintilloch Bar and Grill the WOW factor. It has a feel of a continental brasserie with Italian-esque tiling, wooden floors, and solid wood table tops. Burnt orange
HOTELSCOTLAND • 25
upholstery add warmth and its opaque screens, not only offer diners the all important social distancing measures, but also some privacy. There is also an impressive outdoor terrace which looks out to the Campsie Hills. Back of house the transformation is just as impressive from a comprehensive overhaul of the hotel’s kitchens, with a new cold room, and the latest labour saving equipment, to new tills and hand held ordering equipment from Argyll Systems to facilate speed service - no expense has been spared. Upstairs the220-capacity function suite also boasts a new kitchen, a bespoke bar, and an outstanding outdoor terrace, which will be ideal for brides. There is also a private dining room here. The bedrooms have been given a modern look to which fits in with the rest of the hotel’s contemporary styling with brand new bathrooms and furnishings. It’s certainly impressive.
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COAST RESTAURANT AND BAR THE GAILES HOTEL MARINE DRIVE, IRVINE
hings just got a whole lot more appetising with news that the stunning new Coast Restaurant & Bar at The Gailes has opened. Guests can enjoy great food and drinks in stylish and contemporary surroundings. Owners Malcolm and Karen Simpson have been busy overseeing a number of key projects at The Gailes and the sensational transformation at Coast Restaurant & Bar is another excting new chapter. The restaurant was rebranded Coast Restaurant & Bar and has been inspired by the venue’s coastal location and close proximity to the beach. Coast carries this strong nautical theme in its design and layout. The owners along with their team of designers,3 Design Scotland, sourced bespoke pieces for the new restaurant from the UK and European suppliers to bring alive their vision of modern dining and excellent space to simply relax and enjoy great dining options. “We are thrilled with how Coast has turned out,” explained Karen Simpson, who has a real flair for design and attention to detail. 28 • HOTELSCOTLAND
“The period of extended closure during lockdown was the right time for us to change the restaurant. It is something that had been on our minds for a while and we are just delighted it has all come together in time for reopening.” Coast is a wonderful new space with a wide selection of seating and break out areas that also leads onto the private garden, patio and terraced areas. The new ‘Beach Hut Table’ is sure to be a popular spot to dine with family or friends or choose a dedicated booth and let the helpful SimpsInns team take your order. “We’ve been working closely with our SimpsInns Executive Chef Gavin McGill and team to create a delicious new menu for Coast,” added Simpson. “We have a range of light bites and sharing plates to tasty main courses and mouthwatering desserts. We’ve also kept some old favourites because we know how popular they are with our regular customers.” Coast is just one of a number of key developments at The Gailes and it ties in perfectly with work at the £1million Si! Spa - a stylishly seductive’ new Spa and Wellness destination - that is already proving very popular for day spa and leisure breaks.
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Andrew Thomson takes on role as Chair of IoH Scotland
ndrew Thomson MA MIH, Head of Hospitality, Events & Fingal, Edinburgh, has been elected Chairman of the Scotland Branch of the Institute of Hospitality (IoH), the professional body for current and aspiring managers in the hospitality industry. Thomson, who takes over from Gordon Mackintosh MIH, General Manager of the Carnoustie Golf Hotel & Spa, runs the Royal Yacht Britannia’s Hospitality & Events team and its luxury 23-cabin floating boutique hotel, Fingal at Leith.. Ken Alexander – a member of the organising committee for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and a lecturer at both City of Glasgow College and Ayrshire College – was elected to the newly created position of Vice-Chairman of the IoH Scotland Branch. Commenting on his election as Chairman, Andrew Thomson said, “I am delighted and honoured to have been elected Chairman of the Institute of Hospitality Scotland Branch. As Scotland’s hospitality industry recovers from the unprecedented challenges of the COVID pandemic, membership of our worldwide professional body is more impor tant than ever. The Institute’s priority is to nur ture future and existing talent in the industry through promoting lifelong learning and inspiring hospitality professionals to perform at their very best. Its membership grades are an industry recognised acknowledgement of each individual member’s qualifications and professional experience. As such, they are an invaluable benchmark for future employment. “With the job market opening-up again, there has never been
Head Chef Appointments Mathew Sherry has been appointed as Head Chef of Number One At The Balmoral in Edinburgh, the hotel’s fine-dining Michelin-starred restaurant. Edinburgh born Sherry joins Number One from his role as Head Chef of Michelin-starred Northcote in Lancashire, where he worked closely with Executive Chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen. Prior to Northcote, Sherry spent 7 years at Castle Terrace in Edinburgh during the restaurant’s Michelinstarred reign under Chef Patron Dominic Jack. Matt Price, former head chef at Airds Hotel, has joined Douneside House in Tarland as head chef. With over 13 years’ experience in the hospitality sector, Price joins the 3 AA Rosette restaurant from Airds Hotel. Price was previously head chef at The Vineyard in Berkshire and worked at Eleven Madison Park in New York.million-pound refurbishment is creating the perfect destination in which to relax, absorb fresh coastal air and do some exploring – and I cannot wait to open our doors and welcome guests back to stay with us.”
a better time for Scotland’s hospitality managers and aspiring managers to increase their skills and knowledge through the many benefits afforded by membership, at both national and branch level. “These range from conferences, webinars, and educational and social networking events, to online learning courses and awards. “The hospitality industry is a people’s industry and having fun is also a key aspect of IoH branch life. We have just finalised two such events: a one-day golf tournament on Friday, 17 September at the Auchterarder Golf Club, Perthshire; and for food and drink lovers, a Scotland Branch Burns Night Supper, hosted by the luxury 4-star Maryculter House in Aberdeen, on Friday, 21 January 2022. I look forward to meeting new Institute of Hospitality Scotland members at these events and at our other activities over the coming months.”
AMANDA FERGUSON BECOMES NEW HEAD OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AT EDINBURGH FIRST Amanda Ferguson has been appointed by Edinburgh First – the commercial arm of the University of Edinburgh – to spearhead growth in its commercial business. Fergusson will be responsible for the University’s large hotel and venue portfolio after a difficult year for the hospitality sector. Prior to the pandemic, a typical year saw Edinburgh First host more than 1,600 events for more than 130,000 delegates across 70 venues, operate three hotels and turn its student accommodation into Scotland’s biggest hotel from May to September. She was formerly Head of Business Tourism with Marketing Edinburgh and has more than 15 years in the sector. Amanda commented: “I’m really passionate about doing what is right for the University and the City. “The economic fallout from the pandemic has brought the whole hospitality and business tourism sector to a standstill. Our goal and ambitions are to use Edinburgh First’s world class products and services to boost the local economy and mobilise the City again. I’m excited to work with the new business development team and to reignite Edinburgh’s hospitality sector.” Lyndsay Wilkie,Director of Business Development at Edinburgh First, added, “Amanda is an outstanding appointment for Edinburgh First. Creating a new business development team comes at an exciting time at Edinburgh First and we are looking forward to Amanda bringing her range of skills and experience to progress the business. We are delighted that Amanda has chosen to further her career with us, adding her valuable knowledge and expertise to the team.” HOTELSCOTLAND • 31
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The First Minister has announced that no part of Scotland will be moving down a level in the next few weeks and that the current levels look likely to stay in place for another three weeks after 28th June(at least). However there will be minor changes. Here is hoping that these changes mean that weddings for larger groups can take place. She talked of anomalies....certainly the Euro fan zones have been a departure from the rules set out by Government. I am dismayed by them as I am sure you are. Social distancing is also being reviewed. I hope that the Government and its advisors are listening to hospitality. Businesses have to be viable to survive. A recent poll has revealed that over half of Scottish dog owners say that the one constant which has helped them through the tough times has been their furry friends. To help them say thank you, Hilton Hotels has launched a new mouth-watering new dog menu across their pet-friendly hotels in the UK. The new Hilton Bone Appétit menu will be available across 32 of its hotels including Scottish properties the Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh, The Caledonian, Hilton in Glasgow Grosvenor, and the DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh Airport. It’s a great idea for people with well behaved pooches but the thought of taking my two spaniels out for dinner at a Hilton would not be my idea of a relaxing day out.
I visited The Glasgow Hilton recently to get a preview of their new Ballroom. It certainly has the WOW factor as you can see. Digital wallpaper on which you can project everything from a fire to your clients logo’s. It really is jaw dropping. It’s not the Ballroom that has a revamp but the function bar looks amazingly cool too. More next month.
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