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HOTEL For the independent hotelier who means business www.hotelmagazine.co.uk || £4.95 || October 2011

To the manor born Interview with Peter Egli

Should I stay or should I go? .DINING . . . . . . OUT . . . . WITH... ........... This month’s menu is by ‘Up and Coming Chef of the Year’ Paul Foster of Tuddenham Mill

.FRONT . . . . . .OF . . HOUSE ............. The Fox and Hounds owners, Nick and Tara Culverhouse, reveal their West Country retreat

ISSN 2046-7281

The rise in popularity of the staycation


Editor's letter

Hotel Managing Editor

Louise Hoffman

louise@hotelmagazine.co.uk Editor

Sam Guiry

sam@hotelmagazine.co.uk Editorial Assistant

Jon Chapple

jon@hotelmagazine.co.uk Production Assistant

Lewis Bowes

copy@hotelmagazine.co.uk Group Advertisement Manager

Kelly Smith

kelly@hotelmagazine.co.uk Deputy Advertisement Manager

Chris Keightley

chris@hotelmagazine.co.uk Accounts

Maureen Scrivener

maureen@hotelmagazine.co.uk Customer Services

01206 767 797

customers@hotelmagazine.co.uk Contributing writers

Andrea Ashfield, Michael Cockman, Peter Hancock, Janine Holt, Mike Kiely, Philippe Rossiter

Editor’s letter

I

n this increasingly competitive world, hoteliers have to fully exploit their market to maximise their returns but it appears that many are missing out on an untapped source of revenue. It is estimated there are 10 million disabled people in the UK today and many of them want the same access to hotels and holiday destinations as their able-bodied counterparts. Although many businesses have made significant improvements in recent years, there are still many disabled people who are finding it hard to access tourism facilities and services. Janine Holt has experienced this first hand when a spinal injury in 2003 forced her to re-evaluate activities she once took for granted. Realising just how difficult it was to arrange a stay at a hotel, she set up her own access consultancy service to help accommodation providers meet the needs of disabled guests and their families. As she explains: “I know what is needed to ensure a stress-free, comfortable and relaxing experience for a disabled guest, from what information staff should provide when making a booking to the actual facilities required in areas such as reception, bedrooms, bars and restaurants.” It is also an issue that many hoteliers would be wise to address as they are missing out on a sector of the market that has plenty of disposable income. You can read more about this story on page 25. I hope you enjoy this issue.

Cover image

The Fox and Hounds Design

Arthouse Publishing Solutions Ltd

Sam Guiry   sam@hotelmagazine.co.uk

contact@arthousepublishing.co.uk

ISSN 2046-7281

HOTEL is published monthly by:

Mulberry Publications Ltd, Wellington House, Butt Road, Colchester CO3 3DA Tel: 01206 767 797 • Fax: 01206 767 532 www.hotelmagazine.co.uk The editor and publishers do not guarantee the accuracy of statements made by contributors or advertisers, or accept responsibility for any statement that they express in this publication. The opinion of the contributors may not necessarily be the opinion of the publishers. Articles are considered for publication on the basis that they are the author’s original work. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the permission of the publishers.

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This month

Hotel

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October 2011  •  CONTENTS

FEATURES To the manor born 

30

Jon Chapple catches up with Peter Egli, general manager at Whatley Manor, to find out more about the Gatcombe Horse Trials and the day-to-day running of this beautifully-restored Cotswold hotel

Should I stay or should I go? 

44

36

Mike Kiely looks at the growing popularity for staycations in the UK and how hotels are capitalising on this trend

Brief encounters 

38

When it comes to hotel promotional material you need to get straight to the point, advises Peter Hancock

Cleaning up your act 

40

The importance of cleanliness cannot be underestimated, with guests demanding the highest standards of hygiene at their hotel

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40 20

REGULARS Editor’s letter Trade talk  The latest news from the industry

New appointments 

3 4 Checking in  11

Recent career moves in the hospitality sector

Marketplace  A selection of exciting new products and services for hotels, restaurants and bars

Comment  Philippe Rossiter FIH, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality, looks at how winning an industry award can benefit staff and the business

Front of house  Owners of the Fox and Hounds, Nick and Tara Culverhouse, reveal how they swapped the slopes of a ski resort for a West Country coaching inn

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Ahead of the Restaurant Show in October, Andrea Ashfield catches up with event director Rachel Quigley to see what this year has to offer

12 Dining out  15

Marketing matters 

This month Paul Foster, head chef at Tuddenham Mill, chooses his signature menu

Access all areas  Janine Holt urges hoteliers to offer access to all by ensuring their properties are equipped to deal with disabled guests

16 Inspiring ideas 

With a restaurant menu inspired by Albert Roux and views over the Muirfield Golf course, Greywalls has much to offer its guests

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In the second of his two-part review, Michael Cockman tells hoteliers how they can maximise their room revenue from the internet

Better by design  22

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No longer just a place to sleep for the night, hotels have become destinations in their own right and we look at how the décor can be used to attract and retain guests

Check out… catering equipment  25 We look at the latest appliances and

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Hot property  26 The latest hotels on the market Events 

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gadgets that can help towards the smooth running of the commercial kitchen

50

Upcoming shows, forums and meetings in the hospitality sector

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Tradetalk

Great Britain goes 3D with world tour

‘Good Food Guide’ award for Tuddenham Mill’s talented head chef

VisitBritain last month kicked off the second phase of its global ‘You’re Invited’ campaign with 10 pieces of unique three-dimensional art. The tourism agency commissioned 3D street artists Joe and Max to create the interactive artworks, which will – as part of ‘Great Britain 3D’ – allow members of the public to insert themselves virtually into some of Great Britain’s most iconic landmarks. The pieces will be displayed in 10 key locations around the world, and will give those who have their photo taken on one of the canvasses the chance to win a pair of British Airways Club World return flights to the UK. John Penrose MP, Minister for Tourism and Heritage, commented: “The tourism industry is leading the way in growing our economy, but the best is yet to come. VisitBritain’s You’re Invited campaign is a brilliant way of promoting our country to overseas visitors, and I’m really pleased that the Abbey Road zebra crossing – which I recently gave listed status to – is one of the iconic images chosen. The Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will put us centre stage next year, but it’s good to remind visitors of all the other amazing things that Britain has to offer.”

The head chef of a Suffolk boutique hotel has been awarded the Good Food Guide’s ‘Up and Coming Chef of the Year’ accolade. Paul Foster, of Tuddenham Mill, near Newmarket – a previous Acorn Award winner – said he’s “delighted to be recognised once again.” The Good Food Guide was first published in 1955 by social commentator Raymond Postgate, an enthusiastic gourmet appalled by the standard of contemporary catering in post-war Britain. Every year, it presents special ‘Editors’ Awards’ to restaurants and chefs it feels deserve recognition for their efforts. “The Good Food Guide is a guide I have always respected, so to be recognised in the Editors’ Awards with some of the other big names is very exciting,” Foster added.

Britain’s best airport hotels recognised

Professional Images

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The United Kingdom’s best airport hotels were recognised on 15 September at the third annual Holiday Extras Customers’ Awards. The 2011 awards attracted the votes of 66,000 HolidayExtras.com customers, who also voted on the best airport, airline and cabin crew. Gatwick Sofitel (whose director of sales, Diane Game, is pictured with Holiday Extras CEO Matthew Pack) was named as the UK’s best airport hotel, while the Manchester Premier Inn scooped two awards – for the best restaurant and best airport hotel for families. The winners were revealed in an exclusive presentation ceremony at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, hosted by travel writer and broadcaster Simon Calder. Matthew Pack said: “We are honoured and proud to be able to recognise those companies that make great service the focus of their business. Our awards celebrate those companies who make travel as hassle-free and as enjoyable as possible – leaving customers looking forward to their next trip.” For a full list of winners, visit www.holidayextras.co.uk/customers-awards-2011.html

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Tradetalk

The Restaurant Show returns with inspirational menu ideas Hoteliers on the lookout for fine food, expert advice and inspirational menu ideas should look no further than this year’s Restaurant Show (TRS) to be held from 10 to 12 October at Earls Court 2 in London. Building on 2010’s event, this year’s show will be divided into five specialised areas. The Centre Stage will feature celebrated chefs showcasing their talent and expertise and sharing tips and recipes with the audience; the Food and Drink Market will offer samples of high-quality produce and educate visitors about food sourcing; the Competition Theatre will witness some of the country’s most impressive rising talent compete for coveted awards; Business Bootcamp, presented in association with Livebookings, offers visitors the opportunity to engage with industry leaders in the restaurant sector; and Lunch@TRS is the on-site restaurant. Rachel Quigley, TRS show director, commented: “This year we have signed up some of the most highly acclaimed chefs and experts in the hospitality arena. Couple this with our impressive exhibitor list and exciting show features, and the Restaurant Show is the event for those working in the industry to attend.”

TripAdvisor to be investigated by the ASA Travel reviews website TripAdvisor is to be investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following complaints about allegedly misleading and fraudulent reviews hosted on its pages. KwikChex.com, an online reputation management firm, has suggested that between five and 10 million reviews on TripAdvisor could be fake. “KwikChex has challenged whether the claims such as ‘reviews you can trust’ [the website’s former slogan] are misleading and can be substantiated,” said an ASA spokesman. The site has since removed the slogan ‘reviews you can trust’ from its hotel listings, but denied it was related to the investigation. The ASA said it would publish its findings “in due course.”

HBAA recognises the best in the hotel sector The Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA) recognised best practice in the hotel booking sector on 8 September at its Annual Forum dinner. The coveted awards were presented by the association’s chair, Juliet Price, at the Ramada Manchester Piccadilly hotel in an event attended by over 300 booking agents, ancillary suppliers and hotels and venues. A total of seven awards were handed out, including the Training & Development Award, which went to Malmaison and Hotel du Vin and rewards an “agent, hotel or venue’s commitment to the training and development of staff at every level; the Venue of the Year gong, which was scooped by Peckforton Castle; and the Small, Medium and Large Agent of the Year awards, which were won by First Choice Conference and Events, Conference Care and Hotelscene, respectively. “Congratulations to all of those shortlisted, and in particular to the winners,” commented Juliet Price. “These awards really do recognise the dedication and vigour that we have in raising levels of professionalism in the association and wider sector.”

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Top chefs raise £30,000 for Hospitality Action Celebrated chefs from some of Britain’s top hotels joined forces on 11 September to prepare a special lunch in aid of Hospitality Action (HA), the hospitality industry benevolent organisation. Sam Moody, from Bath Priory; Hywel Jones, from Lucknam Park; Michael Croft of Calcot Manor; and Whatley Manor’s Martin Burge took part in HA’s second annual polo day at Beaufort Polo Club in Gloucester – previewed in last month’s Hotel – contributing to the grand total of £30,000 raised by the charity polo match and lunch – a 14 per cent increase on last year’s event. Penny Moore, Hospitality Action’s chief executive, said: “The day has been a fantastic success both on and off the pitch. With the number of grants administered up 14 per cent compared to this time last year, the money raised will go a long way towards assisting those who have worked, or are working, in our industry and who are facing difficult times.”

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Tradetalk

AND BRIEFLY Hoteliers wanted for Channel 4 TV series Studio Lambert, the producer of Channel 4’s popular Four in a Bed programme, is looking for a selection of “enthusiastic and proud” bed and breakfast and small hotel owners to appear in the latest series of the show. Each week, four properties will compete against one another to be crowned that week’s best B&B or small hotel and the judges of the competition will be the owners themselves, as they’ll each visit one another’s properties. Interested hoteliers should email fourinabed@studiolambert.com Deadline for hospitality scholarships Hospitality professionals working in Scotland have until 30 November to apply for a £100,000 programme of scholarships. Emerging Talent Scholarships – organised by the Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) – provide a range of experiences designed to “raise aspirations and develop potential,” including working with Michelin-starred chefs and award-winning sommeliers; revenue training; and courses in Lausanne in Switzerland and the Disney Institute in Florida. To apply, visit www.hitscotland.org Plans to scrap entertainment licences Smaller hotels, pubs and restaurants may no longer have to apply and pay for an entertainment licence under government plans to scrap parts of the Licensing Act 2003. Described recently as “pointless bureaucracy” by tourism minister John Penrose, the act may be partially repealed following a consultation paper published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that asks what consequences there would be if activities like live music, cinema and theatre were no longer regulated. Riots lead to a drop in occupancy rates August’s riots in London sparked the first decline in hotel occupancy in the city since February, PKF Hotel Consultancy Services’ latest hotel occupancy figures have revealed. In August, occupancy in the capital fell by 3.2 per cent compared with the same month last year. A 9.5 per cent increase in room rate meant that room yield still increased by 5.9 per cent compared to August 2010. CESA produces guide to slips and trips The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) has produced a free, downloadable guide to slips and trips, which it says is designed to explain the law – including caterers’ legal responsibilities – and inform operators on how to assess the risk in their establishments. “While it is primarily a health and safety concern, these accidents have a massive impact on business too,” said Mick Shaddock, chair of CESA. “Compensation claims are increasing – slips and trips cause over 10,000 major injuries and cost employers over £500 million each year.” CESA’s Guide to Slips and Trips – can be downloaded from www.cesa.org.uk

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Life-changing tour for Welsh chefs Four chefs from Wales have returned from a life-changing trip to South Africa that saw them join the 2011 Bidvest World Chefs Tour Against Hunger in support of underprivileged children. Gareth Johns, co-owner of the Wynnstay Hotel in Machynlleth; Colin Gray, chef-director in Capital Cuisine, Cardiff; Toby Beevers, head chef at the Hawarden Estate Farm Shop; and Michael Evans, a lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo Cymru in Rhos-on-Sea represented the Welsh Culinary Association’s delegation, joining 240 chefs from around the world for a 10-day trip across the country that raised nearly £750,000. The chefs’ busy schedule included demonstrations, presentations and a Welsh Food Festival at the Sun Square Hotel in Johannesburg. Johns said the Welsh chefs were delighted the sum raised had surpassed the five million rand target set before the event. Toby Beevers added: “It was a totally amazing experience, from the absolutely outstanding hospitality to the smiling faces of the children everywhere we went. The tour has taught me to stop taking things for granted and to focus on food wastage.”

‘Michelin stars’ sustainability scheme Dozens of British hotels are putting their environmental credentials to the test with the SRA Star Rating survey – a new star rating system devised by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) that measures the all-round sustainability of restaurants and hotel eateries. Some 70 businesses – including 21 Relais & Châteaux establishments and 13 restaurants in the Radisson Edwardian portfolio – have already signed up to the scheme, which The Sunday Times has dubbed “the Michelin stars of sustainability.” The Red Carnation hotel group will also be completing its survey over the course of this month. As part of the assessment, restaurants must demonstrate all round sustainability by serving “local, seasonal, high-welfare food” in a restaurant where “resources and waste are managed efficiently; staff are well treated; customers respected and the community valued.” Mark Linehan, SRA managing director, commented: “We are confident that in a short period it will become the norm for restaurants to put their sustainability to the test – just as they do their service. Any restaurant or hotel restaurant serious about sustainability can come to us for advice on how to do more, or for recognition of what they are already doing.”

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New appointments

New appointments Keeping up-to-date with the representatives of your industry Interchange & Consort Hotels Interchange & Consort Hotels, the parent brand of Best Western Great Britain, Beacon Purchasing and Innfutures, has announced the appointment of Richard Lewis as CEO. Richard has over 35 years’ experience in the hospitality and travel industries, including over 13 years in international markets. Previous senior roles include managing director of the Preferred Hotel Group, EMEA; COO WorldRes; and VP Hotel Distribution, and international marketing operations director of Forte and Le Merdien Hotels. Commenting on his appointment, Richard – who will be based at the company’s central office in York – said: “I am delighted to be joining Interchange & Consort Hotels at this time, and look forward to building on the platform established and progress made over the past five years.”

Hotelzon Hotel distribution technology provider Hotelzon has strengthened its management team with two new appointments. Simon Etchells has been appointed VP, EMEA, tasked with global sales and business development, operational management, marketing, strategic development and specific projects allocated by the CEO and board of directors. Simon has held senior sales, marketing and business development roles with global blue chip companies like Nokia and Microsoft prior to joining Hotelzon. Roni Huttunen has been appointed VP, Nordics, and will be responsible for business development and sales in the Nordic region. Prior to working at Hotelzon, Roni was responsible for the SAS Group’s corporate sales in Finland as sales director, corporate at Blue1 Ltd.

Mercure The luxury Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel and Spa has appointed a new member of staff to head up its sales team. Debbie Moir has joined as director of sales, bringing with her more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Debbie’s new position with Ardoe House will see her take responsibility for driving sales, with a particular focus on the meetings and events market. She will be leading a group of seven, and will also look after the reservations department. “I am so excited to be joining the team at Ardoe House,” said Debbie. “A lot of people in the area have nostalgia for Ardoe and I look forward to welcoming leisure and business travellers. I have a wide knowledge of the Aberdeen market – including the energy industry – and I look forward to applying that in this position.” General manager John Shevlin added: “I am thrilled to have Debbie here at Ardoe House. She brings with her a wealth of experience and contacts that will be central to driving new business and positioning us as the key property in Aberdeen.”

COCY Lock UK COCY Lock UK has increased its personal service by adding two new business development managers. Jeff Köhn joins the hotel locking solutions provider to look after the south east of the country, while Terry Oliver will cover the south west. Richard Martin, COCY Lock’s UK director, says the appointments will strengthen the company’s personal service to its client base. The firm is also looking to offer additional personal service to its operations in the northern regions, which are currently looked after by national business development manager Paul Faulkner.

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Marketplace

 The Chefs Table Collection is a range of great value inspirational serving products from Russums. Mix and match individual items to create stunning and exciting dishes for your guests. Miniature pans, colanders, chip baskets and clip jars can be paired together with wooden boards, slates or trivets to help create that memorable wow factor and leave that all-important lasting impression. The Chefs Table Collection is available exclusively at Russums. Information: 0845 094 2030 or www.russums-shop.co.uk

Marketplace pp Summer 2012 – with the Diamond Jubilee, London Olympics and European football championships – will be massive for flags, and Greens of Gloucestershire will, as usual, be supplying a huge range of flags covering some 200 countries, in addition to our own Union Flag. “So when service is finished and your guests are all tucked up for the night, why not take a look at our website where there are thousands of flags just waiting for you,” the company comments. Information: www.greensofgloucestershire.com

 Leading manufacturer and exporter of professional catering utensils and kitchenware, Contacto offers a wide range of utensils and light equipment for just about every task in the commercial kitchen. Whether it’s preparation, service, warming or food handling, the company has more than 4,000 high quality, predominantly stainless steel items including professional pots and pans, mandolins, marinating troughs, mixing bowls and chafing dishes. Convinced of the energy and cost saving benefits of using induction for cooking, Contacto is offering a price reduction on certain key ranges of pots and pans suitable for induction throughout October and November 2011. Information: 0121 605 5522, sales@contacto.co.uk or www.contacto.co.uk

pp Custom Made Red Carpets is now manufacturing carpets in six stunning reds and two whites. Selling at three price points, all its carpets – apart from the new pure wool velvet – are produced from stain-resistant polypropylene and all have over-locked edging in matching colour yarn and are made to any size to the nearest centimetre. Weighted safety end-plates are also affixed to the underside of each end to reduce trip hazards. Nextday delivery is available throughout the UK and delivery to Europe is within seven days. Information: 01726 816 572 or www.custommaderedcarpets.co.uk

oo If you’re looking to refurbish your hotel or B&B on a budget with value-for-money quality furniture backed by excellent customer service, JU Furniture says to contact them now. JU’s mahogany sleigh bed is its most popular hotel bed, or visit the website for Queen Anne four-poster beds and more. JU has been supplying the trade for many years with furniture ranging from mahogany items to oak and leather. It also offers a bespoke, made-to-measure service on all mahogany products and design assistance, if it’s required. Information: 01730 895 500, 01730 895 588 or www.jufurniture.com

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Marketplace

 Lerwick has been established in commercial finance for almost 30 years. It specialises in hotel, guest house and leisure industry finance, re-finance, commercial mortgages and bridging finance. The company says it’s built strong relationships with various banks and lending institutions, so clients can be sure it will give a firstclass service. “We can help across a broad range of circumstances, even if you have credit problems or difficulty proving your income,” Lerwick says. “We offer a fast and friendly service so call us first for an in-principle decision.”

 If you’re fed up with wobbly tables, spilt drinks and unhappy customers and are wasting time every day trying to stop the rock, AMI Furniture says you need its new Flat range of table bases with a multi-award-winning levelling and stabilising system. The bases automatically adjust to the surface below, creating a stable table, no matter how many times they are moved, and come in seven different base designs. Angus Macrae Interiors is also offering a table-top swap service. For more information, or to order a sample base, give the company a call.

Information: 0845 273 3322 or www.lerwick.plc.uk

Information: 0115 985 0515 or sales@angusmacrae.com

pp D A Cooke Wholesale is a family-owned and operated business with over 40 years’ experience of supplying the hotel and restaurant sectors with Christmas crackers, novelties and paperware. D A Cooke believes it has the widest range of crackers and novelties on the market – in addition to its own range – and can obtain stock from five other manufacturers, including Duni and Swantex. It also has the ability to offer bespoke crackers and novelties. Additionally, the company keeps stocks available of most products through November and December for late top-ups when many others have sold out. Information: 01793 831 118 or ian@dacooke.co.uk

oo Lissadell Liddell has launched two new ranges of allergy-free bedding including Provent which zips up tightly to encase the entire mattress, pillow and duvet. Used in conjunction with pre-existing bedding, allergy relief encasings silently and invisibly protect from dust mites and other allergens. The Microshield range is anti-allergy treated to protect from dust mites and is antibacterial and fungal to help prevent skin irritation. Washable at 40˚C these new lines help hotels create allergy-friendly rooms for guests that suffer with asthma, eczema and rhinitis and may also benefit those who are allergy-free. Information: +353 42 936 9900, info@lissadell-liddell.com or www.lissadell-liddell.com

Vita Audio’s limited-edition Ruark Red R1 MkII was launched to celebrate the combined 25th anniversary of Ruark and fifth anniversary of Vita Audio. Designed and engineered from the ground up in the UK, the Ruark Red R1 MkII highlights the company’s hi-fi background. The name relates to revered high-fidelity loudspeaker company Ruark Acoustics, which was founded by Alan O’Rourke and his father Brian in the mid-80s. With the success of their small audio range, Alan and his team are no longer producing loudspeakers; however, their goal is still the same – to bring high fidelity sound to compact audio products with wide ranging appeal.

 It’s time for independent hotels to stop losing online business and paying commission on their own website. Created by a family-run company with more than a decade’s experience in the travel sector, freetobook allows independent hotels to offer online booking quickly and simply. The software is absolutely free, there is no lock-in contract and it’s easy to use, so all members of staff will pick it up quickly. It also offers great functionality – export customer details for marketing campaigns and put booking buttons on emails, newsletters, Facebook, Twitter or directory sites then monitor the return from those sources.

Information: 01702 601 410 or www.vitaaudio.com

Information: 0141 270 2173 or www.freetobook.com

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Comment

And the winner is…. There’s more to industry awards than the glitz and glamour of the ceremonies. Think competitive advantage, strategic benchmarking and long-term career development, says Institute of Hospitality chief executive Philippe Rossiter FIH

T

he entry deadline for the Springboard Awards for Excellence has just passed and as a sponsor of the Education Pipeline Award, and a judge within that category, it’s as inspiring as ever for the Institute of Hospitality to see who has been included on this year’s Springboard honours list. During a period when many businesses have been focusing on survival, it is important to recognise the long-term skill requirements of the industry. Education and training must be rooted in business operations and corporate culture. Hotels and the service trade need experienced managerial and leadership talent to guide businesses to profitability, but it’s no secret that commercial intelligence, charisma and attention to detail are qualities quite unique in a single individual. The Springboard Awards aim to identify these individuals and highlight the urgent need for better training and education. Don’t underestimate the weight assigned to companies who can claim to be ‘awardwinning’. If you’re hard-working and focused enough to be viewed by esteemed judges as a worthy ambassador for innovation and leadership within hospitality, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you turn a blind eye to these opportunities for industry-wide peer recognition. Celebrated industry awards deliver a powerful competitive advantage and for teams and individuals who’ve worked hard to develop their personal talents, winning

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an award can transform career and business prospects. It instantly propels you to public attention and shouts of your commitment to sustained performance in the sector. That’s not to say that once you win an award you can rest on your laurels. Become recognised for outstanding achievement in a certain area, such as diversity in employment or people development, and you are making a bold statement that you are committed to continuing to push that as a priority strategy. Your company becomes a sector benchmark for other competitor companies which then aspire to mimic or evolve your successful approach. Implementing a strategic framework for ongoing growth and improvement of internal business processes is a wise move for any company, not just those eager to scoop an award. Understanding your customer’s journey, such as how your services, facilities and staff influence the customer experience from initial enquiry through booking, hosting, check-out and

Celebrated industry awards

deliver a powerful competitive advantage and for teams and individuals who’ve worked hard to develop their personal talents, winning an award can transform career and business prospects

long-term customer relationship nurturing, is critical to identifying the areas ripe for reworking or polishing. Business success stems from constant evaluation of methods, with clear action determined in follow up. The execution is the responsibility of the team and only through continuing professional development of staff can any operator hope to deliver results. Recognising individuals’ and teams’ achievements is an important step in encouraging development and motivation. Take time to evaluate the various awards and their respective categories, their perceived value and credibility among your industry colleagues. The hospitality industry has a wealth of accreditations that individually identify talent, service excellence and outstanding team formations. Above all, think carefully about whether you want to align yourself with the deep-seated logic behind a particular category’s title. A scatter-gun approach to targeting awards is not wise.

The Institute of Hospitality is the professional body for managers and aspiring managers, providing support to improve and develop their professional skills. In addition to its suite of awards and qualifications, it also offers a wide range of information services designed to help those working in the hospitality sector. Further information is available at www.instituteofhospitality.org

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Front of house

Front of  House Relative newcomers to the hotel trade, Nick and Tara Culverhouse have achieved much in a short space of time. Taking on a former coaching inn, they have created a country retreat that caters for couples, fly fisherman or those wanting to be tucked away in the north Devon countryside

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n their website, Nick and Tara Culverhouse list 10 good reasons why guests should come and stay at their hotel – a former coaching inn that sits midway between Exeter and Barnstaple. Top of their list is that it is “an unpretentious familyrun hotel and you can see everywhere that somebody cares about it.” An ambitious three-year-long restoration programme is certainly evidence that the couple have put their heart and soul into the business they first took over in 2007. All of the bedrooms have been refurbished in recent months and each one has its own unique character and style. Nick adds: “We also converted some washrooms into a treatment room offering massages and beauty treatments,” and the work has also

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Front of house

The Fox and Hounds is one of an elite group of hotels that can boast its own in-house fly fishing school

extended outside with the addition of a wedding venue so couples can get married in the grounds. Since the early part of the century, fishing has played a big part in the hotel’s history with catch records dating back to the 1940s. Countless anglers have passed through the hotel’s doors to cast their fly rods in the Taw, renowned as one of England’s finest game fishing rivers. It remains key to the business today and, as Nick adds, “we have built two fishing lakes within the grounds of the hotel and introduced an on-site fishing school so that guests have access to tuition or just tips at any time.” The Fox and Hounds is in fact one of an elite group of hotels that can boast its own in-house fly fishing school with experienced full time instructors offering expert guidance on

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catching the healthy head of wild brown trout and runs of both sea trout and salmon. Nick says: “Many of our guests have strong countryside affiliations and fishing and shooting are two of our strongest sectors. Lots of people come here to enjoy the peaceful surroundings and to have a relaxing break, and weddings take care of most weekends with about 40 booked each year.” In fact, the hotel has been voted the Best Wedding Venue at the South West Wedding Awards two years running, with previous brides and grooms judging the hotel on the service, value and event management. Nick has continued to invest in the wedding side of the business, adding a gazebo, licensed summer house and lake to the stunning six acre grounds and a new, white, seven-foot four poster bed in the bridal suite. He adds: “We cater for a great range of couples and welcome all equally, irrespective of their budgets.” Both Nick and his wife are relative newcomers to the hotel trade, having both worked abroad as holiday reps at a ski resort. Nick explains: “Upon our return I got a job as a manager with the Jongleurs Comedy Club while Tara got into event management running events like Young Entrepreneur of the Year.” The couple spent two years looking for the right opportunity to come along, wanting to find a venture that utilised their hospitality skills. Nicks says: “We did look at lots of businesses like pubs but really wanted a hotel as the accommodation side really interested us, despite our lack of experience in this sector of the industry.” Nick admits it has been a steep learning curve struggling to cope with the diverse range activities that go with running a hotel, from book keeping and marketing to housekeeping, tending the bar and cooking breakfast. He also gets exasperated with the amount of red tape, which he says “stops you actually dedicating time to your guests and making your business better.” But clearly the couple are finding time for their customers, as the hotel has scooped numerous awards in a relatively short space of time. It was judged the Best Family Friendly Hotel at the Hotel Excellence Awards 2010 where it was said that “having every size welly boot available for guests to borrow swung the vote.” Nick plans to maintain this level of success, and says: “I want to offer longer breaks and more inclusive packages such as drinks, foods and treatments as more people stay in the UK.” He also says there will be a greater need for hotels to focus on offering value for money, with many people in the current climate having far lower levels of disposable income. He also feels that the trend for locallysourced food and drinks is set to continue and recognises the hotel’s restaurant will continue to prove a key source of business. ▶▶▶

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Front of house

The hotel has been voted the Best Wedding Venue at

the South West Wedding Awards for two years running Fresh produce is not only a passion of Nick and Tara’s, but also of head chef Alex Pallat – winner of the Chef of the Year 2010 at the Publican Awards. He offers “simple, good food served with flair” with dishes such as ‘proper’ steak and kidney pie – made with suet, not pastry – and roasted rib eye of Exmoor beef with beer battered onions. Nick adds: “We are fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best British produce in the country and use local suppliers wherever possible, the nearer the better.” This includes month-long matured beef sought after by some of the best chefs in the country and a company that has been making cheese using milk from its own dairy herd for 450 years. The couple’s support of regional suppliers even extends to their own choice of holiday. As Nick explains, “it’s always coastal and usually in Devon, Cornwall or Dorset. We spend most of our time in the countryside, which we love, but the seaside makes a great contrast.” The couple also plan to try and find more time in the future to relax now that the business has taken off. This may prove easier said than done, as when asked what he thinks makes a good hotelier, Nick replies: “Someone incredibly dedicated, hands-on, friendly and with a 100 per cent desire to see guests leave happy.” With this philosophy, perhaps those more frequent trips to the coast may well have to wait.

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Checking in

Checking in

Taking place this October, the Restaurant Show 2011 offers a golden opportunity for hoteliers to broaden their food horizons. Andrea Ashfield asks show director Rachel Quigley why this year’s event is not to be missed

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ith more than 300 suppliers in attendance, the Restaurant Show 2011 promises to be a great place to find new inspiration, meet suppliers and watch some of the industry’s top chefs in action. Taking place over three days in October, the show is expected to attract some 11,000 visitors, and will also showcase the very latest in catering equipment, new technology and business expertise. According to the show’s new event director, Rachel Quigley, the exhibition has something to offer everyone in the restaurant industry, from chefs and kitchen staff to owners and managers.

Organising an event on this scale is undoubtedly a challenge, but Rachel is confident about the success of the 2011 show. Indeed, statistics gathered at the 2010 exhibition indicate that 90 per cent of visitors felt the show was a good place to discover new products and services, while 84 per cent were likely to return this year. “It’s a great place to find leads, ideas and new products, as well as catching up with friends and meeting new people,” explains Rachel. “There is a chance to have face-toface access to people, in a way you don’t get with websites and email.”

We’re providing a platform for chefs, restaurateurs, bar managers, suppliers and industry leaders to come together and share new and innovative ideas”

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Since she was appointed to the role of event director earlier this year, Rachel has been intent on making sure that the 2011 show is bigger and better than ever. A true foodie, she has a wealth of restaurant-based experience, and is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu school in Paris. She has also trained in some of the world’s most prestigious establishments, including the Ledbury in London and Chateaubriand in Paris, making her ideally placed to pinpoint the latest industry trends. “It’s my first year as director, which gives me a great opportunity to look at what’s happening now, as well as finding catalysts for change and growth,” she explains. “The show has been going for 23 years and we are in a really strong position from which to grow. I’m keen to understand the changes that are going on in UK foodservice and want to make sure the show exceeds what people are looking for.”

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Checking in

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“ t’s a great place to find leads, ideas and new products, as well as catching up with friends and meeting new people”

Inspirational chefs There is certainly a lot going on at this year’s event. Some of the world’s best chefs will be on hand to share tips, recipes and new ideas through a series of workshops, competitions and panel debates. Visitors keen to source new ingredients will be able to do so at the show’s food and drink market, where hundreds of producers will be showcasing high quality produce and menu ideas. In addition, a dedicated drinks area will feature seminars and demonstrations to help hoteliers maximise bar profits. Exceptional food will also be available at the show’s on-site restaurant, where a team from Westminster Kingsway College will join up with leading chefs to create a tapas-inspired menu created from the finest ingredients. The highlyacclaimed culinary titles, National Chef of the Year and Young National Chef of the Year will also be decided as the finalists do battle in a thrilling competition. Other new features include a high tea fine dining experience, where visitors can enjoy a selection of patisserie and champagne. “We have been conscious of getting the best of UK talent,” says Rachel. “We also have new ideas, such as high tea. This is one of the themes happening in the UK dining market and it is a good way to raise profile and revenue outside the traditional lunch and dinner offer.”

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One of Rachel’s key objectives this year was to include more focused business content and this has been achieved through the introduction of Business Boot Camp. “This is something new and it will feature a series of workshops with a focus on commercial revenue,” she explains. “We want visitors to come and engage on a range of issues.” A number of high profile industry experts will be on hand to discuss some of the most important issues facing UK restaurants, and will also offer advice on staying ahead of the game. In addition, the British Hospitality Association will be running a series of educational and interactive sessions, while topics covered in Business Boot Camp will include marketing on the move, recruitment, eating out trends and daily deals. “We’re providing a platform for chefs, restaurateurs, bar managers, suppliers and industry leaders to come together and share new and innovative ideas,” adds Rachel. “We’re working in a smart way to understand what businesses need and provide a forum for innovation.”

Best of British The show will reflect the best the British foodservice industry has to offer, and Rachel believes there is much to be proud of. “The show plays an important part in championing the restaurant industry,”

she says. “It is designed to service and excite the sector and there are amazing propositions going on, not just in dining but in service. We are here to mirror and celebrate the industry.” Rachel is passionate about the UK restaurant industry and believes it has enormous potential. “I think the industry is in a really good place,” she adds. “I’ve lived in London for five years and the growth during that time has been phenomenal. The economic situation is hard for every business but there is a real buzz and sense of reinvention going on. There is also a greater understanding of what it means to cook British and a strong entrepreneurial spirit.” Current trends, such as sustainability, provenance and pop-up restaurants are what the modern industry is all about, she considers. As the finishing touches are made to this year’s show, preparations for 2012 are already underway and Rachel hopes to use her experience this year to make the next exhibition even better. “I’m working not just on this year but also 2012 and going forward,” she says. “We want to have an event that’s a part of the industry and we want to stay fresh, exciting and progressive. The UK restaurant sector is bold, colourful and a really exciting place to be.” For more information go to: www.therestaurantshow.co.uk

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Signature menu

Dining out with…

Paul Foster, head chef at Tuddenham Mill

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uddenham Mill is Paul Foster’s first head chef role following a rich and varied career path which included a stint at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. He joined Tuddenham Mill in 2010 from Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham where his skills were honed, and he was instrumental in the restaurant achieving five AA Rosettes and retaining its Michelin star. He was also recently voted ‘Up and Coming Chef of the Year’ by the 2012 Good Food Guide which said: “While there’s a hint of Sat Bains in the cooking, there’s no doubting that Bains’ former sous chef is now his own master with a vigorous streak of culinary daring running through the Tuddenham Mill menus.” He uses modern cooking techniques to enhance fresh seasonal ingredients and the finest British produce, focusing on exciting flavour combinations, textures and temperatures resulting in stimulating yet accomplished food.

Photography by: www.johnarandharablackwell.co.uk

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Signature menu

Slow-cooked cauliflower, candied hazelnuts, chickweed Cauliflower is such a humble vegetable but with a little attention it can be one of the most amazing. It is used in three different ways in this dish to show how versatile it is. There is a floret that is seared and slow-cooked in butter for one hour, a silky smooth purée and some raw shaved slices. For sweetness and texture I use hazelnuts which are ground and candied in butterscotch. The dish is finished with an acidic dressing made with coconut to cut through the rich flavours. The chickweed is picked in our meadows at Tuddenham Mill and adds a very subtle flavour, which is similar to spinach.

Goosnargh duck breast, broccoli, potato and vanilla terrine, sea vegetables Goosnargh duck is among the best is the country – the birds are corn-fed which gives the fat a fantastic flavour. The breasts are really plump and have a good fat to meat ratio. I serve the duck breast with broccoli that comes as a fresh vibrant purée and charred florets which are dressed in a smoked garlic gastrique. The potato terrine adds a great contrast of texture to the soft meat. I use Yukon Gold potatoes from Carrol’s Heritage in Northumberland, which are thinly sliced, layered with vanilla butter, baked slowly and crisped up in a hot pan when serving the dish. The sea vegetables are foraged in the marsh lands in Kent, blanched and served to add a nice saltiness to the dish.

Suffolk strawberries, pineapple weed, baked oats The local strawberries are compressed under vacuum in an elderflower syrup, which gives them an explosion of flavour when you bite into them. The pineapple weed is picked close to Tuddenham Mill and it has a unique flavour that is similar to pineapple but without the acidity – it is also likened to chamomile. We pick the buds from the weed and candy them in sugar, the leaves are infused in milk, cream and sugar, set with gelatine and then broken down into a silky smooth panacotta. The dish is finished with oats which are slow-baked in maple syrup, butter and honey. Some of the fresh leaves of the weed are added to the dish at the last moment for a contrast of flavour.

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Catering for disabled guests

Access all areas Janine Holt says hoteliers are failing to make the most of a highly lucrative market by not catering for disabled guests and their families

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fter a spinal injury in 2003, my life and the way I lived it altered in more ways than one. I am a wife and mother of two. The children were eight years and 18 months old and things had to carry on, no matter what. I decided that although I was in a wheelchair, it would not mean our lives had to stop. However, I soon realised that activities I once took for granted were going to prove difficult to arrange, such as going to a restaurant or away on holiday with my family. There was very little information on websites about the facilities available in the hotels, so my husband and I phoned each individual property to find out what it offered disabled guests. Often, the receptionists did not have the answers because they didn’t understand my access requirements. When we arrived at the hotel some facilities were accessible but others were not, which spoilt the experience and put us off coming back again. After many disappointments it was clear the hotel industry needed to address this issue to secure business from disabled guests. I am truly amazed at how much business potential the hotel industry is missing out on. This is when I decided to start my own business and offer a consultation service to hoteliers to improve access for all and to ensure maximum room occupancy for the hotel. We understand the dilemma hoteliers face when making the hotel more accessible for disabled guests, so I strive to ensure any changes are cost-effective, simple and easily achieved. I know what is needed to ensure a stress-free, comfortable and relaxing experience for a disabled guest,

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from what information staff should provide when making a booking to the actual facilities required in areas such as reception, bedrooms, bars and restaurants. A disabled person is someone with an impairment who often experiences a disabling world. Profits are being lost by not welcoming guests with impairments. A disabled guest will generally never travel alone, so surely this sector of the population is worth investing in to attract even more business, including family, friends and business partners.

A disabled person is someone with an impairment who often experiences a disabling world

We have also have an ageing population and soldiers coming home from conflicts abroad with impairments, who still wish to enjoy life. When the Paralympic Games comes to Britain in 2012, will the athletes and their supporters be welcomed by inaccessible accommodation and facilities? One of the key aspects of the service I offer is to encourage both empathy and expertise, which I believe is a key requirement for great customer service. Strengthening your diversity policies will also encourage customer loyalty and give you a strong brand reputation in this area. I also offer an access audit to help the hotelier identify areas in need of improvement. This doesn’t have to cost a large amount of money and could be something as simple as adjusting the layout of the furniture or providing a pen and paper.

Twenty per cent of people approaching your service could be disabled. Are you confident that your business is fully meeting the needs of your potential disabled customer base? From our experience very few are, and there are many ways in which hotels can begin to improve accessibility. Every small change towards accessible service means we take a step closer towards an inclusive society. Access can mean many things. Access for disabled people is not only about physical access to buildings for wheelchair users. It also includes things like access to written information for people with visual impairments and hearing loops for the deaf community. As a service provider you have a legal duty to think about access for disabled people. Failing to make reasonable adjustments and taking steps to avoid discriminating against disabled people could result in a very poor reputation or a court ordering you to pay compensation. Finally, it is also worth considering that making your hotel accessible and welcoming to disabled people is an important commercial consideration. The estimated annual spending power of disabled people is £50 billion and with over 10 million disabled people in the UK, this could represent a considerable proportion of your target audience. Snapshot of Your Business has a unique service to offer, ensuring you have all the tools and information to improve your hotels’ facilities for your disabled guests. The company is built on the principles of access for all, no matter what the disability, and knows through personal experience what barriers people with disabilities face every day. Go to: www.snapshotofyourbusiness.co.uk, telephone 07734 861 414 or contact janineholt@snapshotofyourbusiness.co.uk

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Inspiring ideas

We aim to provide

guests with an inviting and relaxing atmosphere in a beautiful location”

Inspiring ideas

coloured exterior stone sourced from the local Rattlebags Quarry, and the pantile roof – its crescent-shaped symmetry a trademark of Lutyens’ design. The house was built for the Hon Alfred Lyttelton, a politician and keen golfer who wanted to be within ‘a mashie niblick shot’ of the 18th green at Muirfield. It was also the lure of the legendary Scottish course that brought Duncan Fraser back to his home country to take up his ccording to Sir Laurence Weaver position as general manager of the hotel. in his book Houses and Gardens He says: “The opportunity to move back by EL Luytens, Greywalls is “a small, albeit to Scotland and to one of Scotland’s finest dignified, holiday home.” Today, this once country houses with such history was too humble weekend retreat is better known good an opportunity to pass up. An added as the ‘Hotel of Beauty for 2010’ with bonus is that I am a keen golfer.” its stunning wrap-around formal walled Not surprisingly, golf proves a big gardens, 23 individually-styled bedrooms attraction to the hotel’s modern-day and Albert Roux-inspired restaurant clearly guests, and many golfing greats including winning over the judges at the Scottish Nick Faldo, Gary Player and Tom Watson Hotel Awards. have all enjoyed the hospitality of the Designed by the esteemed British architect hotel during past Open championships. Sir Edwin Lutyens, this elegant Edwardian The hotel frequently caters for golfing hotel has been acclaimed as one of the very parties of up to 40 people and Duncan best country house accommodations in adds: “The hotel clearly appeals to golfers Scotland. The hotel still bears the stamp wishing to get a piece of the magic of of Lutyens’ classical style with the most Muirfield and is surrounded by over outstanding features being the warm, honey- 10 courses in a five mile radius.”

With its stylish Edwardian splendour, awe-inspiring gardens, award-winning restaurant and views of the 9th and 18th holes at Muirfield, Greywalls certainly deserves its title as a ‘hotel of beauty’

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Inspiring ideas

Greywalls is just one of the hotels in the Inverlochy Castle Management International portfolio. This awardwinning hotel management group brings together some of the top names in the hospitality sector to provide a consulting and management service to hotels both in the UK and abroad. As Duncan explains, “being part of the ICMI collection gives Greywalls greater marketing exposure and a larger pool of resources to draw on.” One such resource has been the talents of the legendary chef Albert Roux. In his partnership with ICMI he has brought his own inimitable style to Greywalls offering a unique blend of “French classical cuisine with a flair and lightness, using local products as much as possible.” He has also incorporated some of his own signature dishes from Le Gavroche, such as the Gruyere Cheese Soufflé and Pike Quenelle in Lobster sauce. Described by the Scottish Hotel Guide as “a classic space given a contemporary twist with pretty windows overlooking Muirfield golf course and the sea”, the Chez Roux Restaurant scooped Hotel Restaurant of the Year this year and continues to impress with its full and French afternoon teas; á la carte menu; and bar bites that include the Roux Express, which consists of four smaller courses served together on one plate. The Main Dining Room seats between 20 and 50 people and overlooks the 10th tee at Muirfield, while the Original Dining Room offers a more intimate atmosphere but still sharing the same stunning views. Large events at Greywalls can be accommodated by a marquee and the hotel’s six acres of stunning gardens make the perfect backdrop for any outdoor event. Rumour has it the gardens were the work of Gertrude Jekyll and evidence of her unique landscaping style remains today. She was renowned for the planting of huge herbaceous borders and had an artist’s eye for colour, mixing palettes of hot and cold colours from whites and blues to oranges and reds. The straight and curved walls are cleverly laid out to create rooms and vistas and the soft and voluptuous planting is “reminiscent of the swagged and draped elegance of an Edwardian lady’s dress.” Not surprisingly Greywalls has proved a popular venue with couples and the

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two aptly-named wedding packages – the Lutyens and the Jekyll – include the hire of the hotel for the big event, the wedding ceremony in the house, canapés and reception drinks, the wedding meal and an evening buffet. As well as the hire of the entire hotel, Greywalls also includes self catering accommodation in the stylish shape of the Colonel’s House. Light and spacious, it has a charming drawing room with French windows opening onto a private garden and terrace and a small, cosy study where the housekeeper can set out a drinks tray. It also features four comfortably furnished bedrooms, all with their own bathrooms, and can be used by small family or golfing groups, housing up to 10 people. Whichever style of accommodation a guest chooses the ultimate aim is to make guests feel as welcome as possible. As Duncan Fraser says, “I like to think the service we offer is not stuffy; we want guests to feel relaxed and create a homely atmosphere.” Since Duncan took over the management of the hotel he has overseen an extensive

rennovation programme, with the help of the owners Giles and Ros Weaver. He explains: “We have refurbished over 15 bedrooms at the start of the year and carried out a lot of work in the public areas to freshen it up.” Evidence of the illustrious Edwardian heritage remains in the generous hallways adorned with antiques, panelled library and individually-styled bedrooms complete with architraves, dado and picture rails. This is also now complemented by modern-day amenities to match those of many hotels, with TV, phone and en-suite bathroom for each bedroom. Although opened as a hotel in 1948, Greywalls has always been a family home and still manages to retain this warmth and informality. As Duncan concludes, “we aim to provide guests with an inviting and relaxing atmosphere in a beautiful location.” With the hotel now open all year round, and earning numerous accolades, it seems that both the management team and the owners can expect a busy year ahead, with more demand than ever from those who want to be within ‘a mashie niblick shot’ of the 18th green.

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Comment

Marketing Matters Michael Cockman continues with his assessment of how accommodation providers can maximise their room revenue from the internet

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s you know, everyone is very impatient when they use the internet. While you might want to speak to potential guests, so you can get a feel for who is trying to book with you, this is not what the majority of people actually want. If they find a hotel they like, they want it straight away. Sending an email enquiry and waiting 24 or 48 hours for a reply is just no longer acceptable.

For some hotels at the heart of a community, it can be useful to post all that is going on, so that everyone in your circle knows what’s happening. For others, it can all seem a bit artificial by trying to make something out of nothing.

TripAdvisor

I wrote about this in the April issue, where I urged everyone to put in place a TripAdvisor strategy. You may not like Online bookings this website, and you may not trust it, Everyone can take online bookings. These but it exists. Most prospective guests electronic booking diaries can replace your looking at your entry before they travel, paper diary and ensure you do not make will ignore the top and bottom 10 per mistakes, so long as you have the requisite cent of comments and take an average internal procedures for when you take for themselves and don’t forget that not phone or personal reservations. everyone bothers to look on TripAdvisor! There are plenty of these systems available, If you have not already claimed some are extensions to a PMS that you ownership of your entry just go onto the might already have. Eviivo is a good site at TripAdvisor.com, find if it is there system that charges six per cent override and click the link that allows you to register commission on all reservations through your as the owner and then you will be able to website and also provides its own websites give management responses. that can generate reservations. A new entrant to the market is freetobook.com which is, as its name implies, a free system that only lthough the internet is still charges 10 per cent if it provides reservations from its own soon-to-launch website, text-based, there is no doubt that otherwise all your own reservations through most people appreciate a good visual your website are free of commission. There are plenty of other systems that you should compare before deciding.

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Social media You will no doubt have read that getting involved with social media is the answer to all your prayers! While it is possible to create a Facebook account and link it to your own website, if you do not use your account properly and keep it up-to-date and interesting, then it is worse than not doing it at all.

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Images

Although the internet is still text-based, there is no doubt that most people appreciate a good visual. You need to be able to put great pictures on your own website and on the OTAs, TripAdvisor, Google Places and other social media sites. Since great images can last you up to five years there is no excuse for not investing in professional photography.

Offers and promotions It was possible, in the past, to set your room rates each year and just worry about how much to increase them by year-onyear. Nowadays everyone is after a deal and you need to decide on a strategy that enables you to provide deals that do not undermine your RevPAR. If you already participate in OTAs you will be deciding on a daily basis what rates to charge. However, you need to ensure that when prospective guests call you they can obtain the best deals. For each season you need a broad promotional strategy with tactics that you will employ for each specific low period. For example, you might struggle to fill weekdays in August, so a promotion that included three nights for the price of two and a free dinner might be interesting.

Databases and newsletters If people have stayed with you and liked the experience, it is quite possible that they could be interested in coming back again. All you need to do is collect their email addresses and send them details of any interesting deals. You can measure how successful this marketing initiative has been and decide to change it or repeat it. These email addresses should be kept on an auto responder system, whereby automatic messages are sent to thank people for signing up and you can send broadcast messages without worrying about being accused of spamming. A simple sign-up form on your website allows anyone interested in receiving your messages to do so. Some auto responders are free up to a certain number of subscribers and others charge fairly modest fees. As I said at the beginning, you can add plenty of bells and whistles to your internet activities but if you take care of the top 10 items I have discussed, you will be 85 per cent of the way to a comprehensive internet strategy. Michael Cockman is a hotel marketing mentor and writer who specialises in helping independent hotels maximise their revenue opportunities. You can subscribe to his newsletter at www.hotelprofitsystems.com where you will also find details of his book Putting Heads On Beds. Details of his internet and website outsourcing programme can be found at www.hotelsearchmarketing.co.uk

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Whatley Manor

To the manor born

A restored 18th century manor house hotel and spa Whatley Manor promises guests a “supremely enjoyable and civilised experience” in an idyllic Cotswold location. Jon Chapple finds out more from general manager Peter Egli

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s you’ll no doubt have heard, our poor economy’s still down the pan. The recovery is “fragile”; “growth forecasts” are constantly being cut, but there’s no “plan B” – these are phrases that should stir us into action, and bring out a touch of the old Blitz spirit, but instead now do much the opposite, losing a bit more meaning every time we fiscally-fatigued noneconomists are subjected to them. Despite this, the hotel and hospitality industries are in a better state than most. Unlike, say, the housing market or retail, a number of signs continue to point to optimism for the sector – most obviously the bumper year for tourism that 2012 promises to be and the boom in ‘staycationing’. However, domestic tourism and international athletics aside, another potentially lucrative market that’s remained

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strong throughout 2011 is the events and exhibition sector. One hotelier who knows this better than most is Peter Egli, general manager of the Whatley Manor hotel and spa in Wiltshire. Located in the village of Easton Grey, near Malmesbury, the restored Cotswold property has carved out an enviable reputation as both a successful manor house hotel and leading events hub. “We had the aerobatic display team of the Swiss Air Force at Whatley Manor,” says Egli, who received the group leading up to the Royal Air International Tattoo, which takes place in nearby Fairford. “We also recently hosted an ‘art and dine’ event with the exterior designer of Rolls Royce Cars, Andreas Thurner, and Véronique Sanders, managing director of Château Haut-Baill.” In addition to this, the hotel and its owner Christian Landolt – an accomplished event

rider – moved into events sponsorship last month, lending its name to the Whatley Manor International Horse Trials at Gatcombe Park. It certainly appears to be doing them some good. While Egli doesn’t think the recession is over “just yet,” he says he’s optimistic for the future and with results like Whatley Manor’s it must be hard not to be. “We just closed our eighth financial year,” he confirms, “where we met our revenue target and exceeded previous turnover with a rise of 5.7 per cent.” As interesting as its USP as an events venue is, the hotel wouldn’t be where it is today without having plenty more to offer. Egli believes the most unique thing about Whatley Manor is its “incredible” combination of facilities – the hotel has 26 different gardens, a spa, two different restaurants and bars, a cinema and a

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Whatley Manor

boardroom – but only 23 bedrooms. “I call this unique in the world!” he says, and it’s hard to argue. The manor house that became Whatley Manor was constructed in the 18th century, originally forming part of an estate known as Twatley Manor. It was turned into a hotel in 1987 and acquired by Marco and Alix Landolt in 2000, who painstakingly restored the Grade II-listed property and transformed its 12 acres of land into 26 distinctive gardens; many based on original 1920s plans. Egli describes the hotel’s clientele as “leisure and business guests who like to stay in a special place where relaxation, re-energising and the finest gastronomy are in harmony.” He clearly enjoys providing this environment for visitors (“I like to look after guests and I’m passionate about creating a most enjoyable experience for

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them”) and it seems the feeling is mutual – at least if TripAdvisor is to be believed, where the hotel holds a rating of 88 per cent from a total of 147 reviews. And of TripAdvisor – loved and loathed by hoteliers in equal measure? “It’s become an institution for travellers,” Egli comments. “I think it’s a good medium if used by travellers in an honest way. We have mostly great reviews on it, but sometimes less positive ones – however, a growing guest base who have fallen in love with us post reviews challenging such comments. I call this real customer loyalty.” Running a hotel is nevertheless not without its challenges and even properties with healthy results like Whatley Manor’s can’t escape the rising costs associated with the economic situation. “The steady increase of costs, in particular the utility

bills, are a challenge,” Egli says, but he remains upbeat. “There are many more challenges but they are part of our lives and are a valuable exercise to gain and manifest knowledge.” It seems almost perverse that the general manager of a property as steeped in heritage as Whatley Manor still has to deal with mundane modernisms like utility bills. Egli and his team are continuously looking to the future and never back. “We started eight years ago from scratch and have since achieved five AA red stars, gained two Michelin stars for our restaurant – aptly called the Dining Room – and been awarded Grand Chef status by Relais & Châteaux.” He concludes: “Equally importantly, we have been able to gain a continuously growing clientele. Our aim is not to set a trend, but a new tradition.”

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Better by design

Better by design From carpets and tiles underfoot to wallpaper and furniture, hotel décor can make the property a destination in its own right, giving it its own individual ambience and identity

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ccording to interior designer Philip Watts, of Philip Watts Design, “the role of the hotel has changed considerably over recent years. It’s no longer seen as just a place to lay your head at the end of the day, it has become the destination.” He argues that to keep guests at the hotel and ensure they come back, the décor has to be clever. He says this can be achieved by any hotelier on any budget; it just takes “wit, skill, effort and creativity.” One of the key areas where hoteliers can make a bold design statement is the lobby or reception area. This is the place that sets the scene for the style of property, whether it’s boutique, bohemian, rustic or modern. Creating a stunning design underfoot is a common way to catch guests’ attention and one of the most stylish entrances was created during the refurbishment of the Savoy. Various marbles were used throughout the hotel including front of house, the foyer and lobby with thick black Nero Marquino combined with white Bianco Carrara to create a dramatic

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chequerboard effect. However, you do not need to spend a fortune on Italian marble to make an impact. Carpets still remain a popular design choice with many hoteliers, as they not only offer heat insulation but can make it easier to keep rooms warm, thus saving on electricity bills. Rudding Park country hotel and spa opted for bespoke Axminster carpets in order to “treat guests to sumptuous underfoot comfort in bedrooms and offer a quieter, more pleasant atmosphere throughout the corridors of the 91 bedroom award-winning venue.” Interior designer Claire Horsley said: “The ultimate aim was to create a carpet that blended older parts of the house with new build elements.” The carpet within the corridor uses a traditional damask pattern scaled to oversized proportions with a modern colour palette, while the bedrooms feature a contrasting geometric grid laid over a tonal stripe to create the look of a jute weave. Claire added: “The design team

The Savoy

worked hard to meet our exacting brief and the carpets have met with approval from both the client and residents at the hotel, with some even asking where they could buy the carpet.” After years in the wilderness, many design experts say that wallpaper is back in style, with today’s ranges infinitely more sophisticated and stylish. Trend Wallpaper is made from genuine Italian glass mosaic tiles and has all the visual appeal of classic paper or silk wall coverings, complete with repeat pattern structure. It features hardwearing, hand-cut mosaic tiles and can be laid virtually anywhere from walls and floors to humid surroundings such as bathrooms and swimming pools. The wallpaper is from Trend GB in Tunbridge Wells and the company says the textured surface of the tiles, with their finely chamfered edges, catch the rays of the sun or the gleam of electrical lighting like no other wallpaper, creating a magical shimmering effect. Designer Philip Watts offers lower cost options for brightening up public areas or bedrooms. He says: “Paint the walls – this is as cheap as chips and will transform an interior in an instant, giving it a fresh, clean feel.” He also suggests upcycling – keeping the interior stylish by buying from

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Better by design Trend Wallpaper

Philip Watts Design Axminster

Andy Thornton Limited

flea markets and painting and restoring a mismatch of furniture to give character. He says: “Choose and restore well and you’ll create a talking point as well as an interesting and eclectic mix.” One company that has recognised the potential for unique furnishings and accessories is Altfield Limited, one of the leading dealers in antique Chinese furniture. Specialising in 18th and 19th century Ming-style country furniture including cabinets, tables, coffers, chairs and stools, the company produces customsized and bespoke pieces for hotels and restaurants. It also produces a number of different artwork genres including Japanese screens, Chinoiserie wallpaper panels and China trade art. Philip Watts says that many hotels are taking inspiration from the big art galleries in the UK, including the Tate Modern in central London and its contemporaries in Liverpool and Cornwall. He says: “Be on trend and run your communal spaces as art galleries, but never forget your target market. If you have edgy clientele then show college work from up-and-coming artists. Paintings from local schools appeal to the family market while landscapes and watercolours are the perfect choice for the grey pound and overseas visitors.”

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He also says it is important to “focus on the bar – design it with your guests in mind and create a space where they will want to spend time and money.” The Old Thorns Manor Hotel and Golf Course has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment programme. Specialist interior contractor Andy Thornton Limited was asked to create a sophisticated function area and the hotel commissioned one of the company’s signature bars – the classical ‘Triple Arch’ design evocative of Prohibition-period Chicago. The bar, which creates a stunning centrepiece, comprises an imposing mahogany back bar with three mirrored and arched reveals between ornately carved columns. The curved panelled bar counter, also in solid mahogany, features a granite worktop and solid brass lions head handrail and Pegasus foot rail. Above the bar counter hang two enormous cast brass chandeliers and a number of inverted tiffany-style pendants are positioned above the seating area. The bar area at the Steventon House Hotel in Oxfordshire was also the focus for a major renovation project carried out by Chrysalis Hotel Contracts. The company was asked to refurbish the lounge, restaurant and reception area at the Grade

II listed building situated near Abingdon in Oxfordshire. The aim was to give the tired hotel a boutique face-lift without detracting from the traditional character of the building and without alienating the loyal guests who were clearly wary of change. Having invested in furnishings or decorative accessories, it is important to make sure any changes you have made are shown to their best effect. The colours, textures and shapes can all be brought to life with dramatic lighting, whether from skylights, chandeliers or oversized floor lamps. CIMC is one of the UK’s leading light suppliers, producing design-led ranges with co-ordinated cushions for interior clients such as designers, restaurants and hotels. As a member of the Lighting Association, the company prides itself on the safety of its products and is able to design large volume items to meet individual requirements. Supplier listing

Altfield Limited: www.altfield.com Andy Thornton Ltd: www.andythornton.com Axminster Carpets: www.axminster-carpets.co.uk Chrysalis Contracts: www.chrysaliscontracts.com CIMC Lighting: www.cimchome.com Philip Watts Design: www.philipwattsdesign.com Trend Wallpaper: www.trend-vi.com

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1963 Hypnos Hotel Mag Ad 93x268 aw OL.indd 1

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Staycations

Should I stay or should I go? With the great British holiday becoming more popular and families choosing to stay in the UK, Mike Kiely looks at a newly-opened hotel cashing in on this trend

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£20 million development sandwiched between the M42 and the M6 toll road may not sound like everyone’s idea of heaven, but include 11 Thomas the Tank Engine and Friendsthemed bedrooms and it’s a safe bet every small child in the country will be driving mum and dad mad until they agree to make a reservation. When he’s not making tracks on the island of Sodor, Drayton Manor Theme Park is a home-from-home for everyone’s favourite steam-driven hero. Now, the addition of a 150-room new build property is offering his fans the opportunity to wake up every morning to the beaming smile that appears to be a pre-requisite for working on the Fat Controller’s railway. Of course, Thomas and his friends won’t be the only ones smiling, given that the investment has transformed Drayton Manor from a great day out to a holiday destination tapping into the increasing popular trend among families for ‘staycations’. These are essentially holidays taken within the UK that can not only cost less than a package abroad, but also negate the necessity of negotiating security checks, passport control and spending a fair chunk of cash at airside franchises during the long wait for a delayed flight. In the first quarter of this year, staycations translated into a five per cent increase in the number of domestic overnight trips taken within Great Britain, according to VisitEngland. Not only that, the national tourist board also flagged up a seven per cent

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increase in visits to attractions in England during the same period. No wonder the potential for increased revenue streams is making hospitality hot property. Take Travelodge, for example, which announced a £135 million investment in 37 properties close to the UK’s 15 national parks. Legoland, meanwhile, is keeping the specs of its hotel, due to open next year, close to its chest. However, there is no secret about the fact that competition is fierce following the opening of Drayton Manor’s new build and the existing resort facilities at the likes of Alton Towers and Chessington World of Adventures. Drayton Manor managing director Colin Bryan clarifies the strategy underpinning the hospitality expansion at a leisure destination that last year pulled in 1.2 million punters: “Transforming Drayton Manor Theme Park from an amusement park into a leisure resort is not so much a challenge but a natural evolution. The park has always had a campsite and caravan park, so it’s not unusual for people to stay over and visit on consecutive days. The advantage of the hotel is that it encourages people to

visit from other parts of the UK, as well as internationally.” The Warwick-based architect consultancy headed up by John Pass was handed the original brief in 1998 but after a drawnout planning process that placed a number of conditions on the build related to use of materials and the protection of flora and fauna on an historic estate, it was not until 2005 that the green light was given. The plans were then modified to reflect market conditions, boosting the number of bedrooms from 86 to 150. Despite the delays, Pass believes the wait has been well worth it. “There are two accommodation wings, north and south with a central glazed atrium. The building articulates around the atrium, which has a full height three-storey planar-glazed elevation to the south west. The turrets hold staircases and provide vertical scale, also giving the building an expressive and iconic status that befits its use as a leisure building.” It is strongly in sympathy with its surroundings, “the elevations principally rendered with a buff-facing brick sourced from a local manufacturer, with these two

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Staycations

In the first quarter of this year,

staycations translated into a five per cent increase in the number of domestic overnight trips taken within Great Britain materials closely resembling the original stonework on the adjacent remains of Drayton Manor’s main building and tower.” Green concerns are also high on the list of priorities regarding day-to-day operations within the finished build. “The hotel services were designed to comply with all current standards for energy efficiency and exceed many of the statutory requirements. Air source heat pumps have been utilised for control of temperature in both bedrooms and public areas,” says Pass. “They produce 3.5 units of thermal energy for every unit of electricity used, effectively achieving a 350 per cent efficiency. The pump units are recognised by the government as low, or zero-carbon rating. The hotel is highly insulated and the internal environment is controlled by a software PC application building management system.” Hotel sales and marketing manager Julia Freeman also flags up eco-friendly housekeeping policies that include encouraging suppliers and customers to conduct business in an environmentallyresponsible manner; and reducing, re-using and recycling wherever possible, with

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particular focus on transport, waste and the use of biodegradable chemicals. Short breaks are only part of the equation for the hotel. Drayton Manor is also geared towards the conference, exhibitions and events market. How did Pass ensure the property could handle the juxtaposition of both family and business/ event clientele? “The design challenge was to provide a versatile event venue, suitable for corporate events and private functions, such as wedding celebrations. Taking this into account, the Park View Suite, which complements Drayton Manor Theme Park’s existing hospitality facilities, can accommodate up to 200 people for conferences, exhibitions, product launches, wedding parties and other celebrations. The suite can also be sub-divided into two sections with bi-folding acoustic doors for conferences or hospitality. In addition, there are three smaller executive rooms.” Although the theme park’s regular season runs from March to the end of October, management is confident that off-peak bookings will remain buoyant: “We expect occupancy rates in the hotel will remain high during the winter

because of the festive opening of Thomas Land as part of Drayton’s Magical Christmas, which this year runs (excluding certain dates) from 26 November to 2 January, 2012,” says Freeman. The importance of the Thomas and Friends brand to the success of the hotel was reflected in the consultation process undertaken with the rights owner, HIT Entertainment. “The main considerations from a design point of view included ensuring that correct brand guidelines were followed at all times and that characters were depicted in the proper manner,” says Colin Bryan. “In addition, the design of the rooms had to be as family-friendly as possible, which is why each of the 11 rooms is unique in that each has a hand-painted scene on the wall and ceiling, showing a different character from the Thomas and Friends series.” This attention to detail extends to a neat little trick to ensure no bleary-eyed guests take a wrong turn on the way to bed – there’s train-track patterned carpeting leading to each room.

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Comment

The well-crafted letter or brochure stands out like a beacon, thanks to its rarity

f e i r B s r e t n u o enc

Peter Hancock looks at the means of communication hoteliers need to utilise to promote their business

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hoever decided that Twitter would allow its users to communicate in no more than 140 characters per message must be very clever. It’s just enough to say something but not enough to allow you to ramble on past the point at which your audience has lost interest completely. It focuses the mind on getting one’s message across succinctly, in much the same way as the old telegram service which charged by the word and therefore forced all but the wealthiest to be concise in their messages. Of course, there is a downside. Twitter posts seldom make full use of our rich language and the punctuation suffers terribly, but on the upside we are learning to cut to the chase. Imagine Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet delivered purely in Tweets – it would only take a couple of minutes – perhaps finishing with “Capulets and Montagues now in lurrve. OMG. Bet R & J wish they’d stuck around after all.” I accept this is not great literature, and nobody would pay to hear it, but my point being that a

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lot can be said in very few words if necessary and this habit has benefits in the way we promote our businesses too. When I used to work in guide publishing some years ago we took our inspiration from the hotel brochures we were sent. They were often verbose in the extreme, banging on about fresh local produce and the individually-decorated bedrooms over many textheavy pages. The trend today is to let the pictures do the talking, both in print and on websites, so that people can be instantly impressed and not have to wade through lengthy descriptions. This can be overdone too, it must be said, and I have trouble keeping a straight face when shown a beautiful picture of a girl up to her waist in water surrounded by sepia clouds and a caption underneath that simply reads: “Breathtaking”. Somewhere in between listing the cold facts and using shameless artistic licence is probably the way to go. The language of hotel promotional material itself is also constantly evolving. I have noticed a change of emphasis whereby the guest’s experience now takes precedence over such niceties as the history of the building. A good example would be Milsom Hotels in Essex and Suffolk, which uses the inviting slogan: “EAT DRINK STAY” – which you have to admit says it all, really. Robin Hutson’s latest venture in the New Forest describes itself in equally pithy terms: “The Pig – rooms & kitchen garden food.” A final

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Comment

Gidleigh Park, who achieved early mastery of the art of Tweeting and has good results to show for it. Is there still a place for “normal” communications? Emphatically yes, in my opinion. In fact, with so much of our regular stuff coming at us in the form of short, sharp electronic messages, the well-crafted letter or brochure stands out like a beacon, thanks to its rarity. A hand-written card carries tremendous clout these days, as so few people can be bothered to write them. The trick is, I think, to know when to use these devices and when not to. On arriving in one’s hotel room, a word or two of welcome from management on the posh stationery usually goes down very well, whereas a mobile text message along the lines of “hope you enjoyed your stay” before you’ve even unpacked is less impressive. On websites we all know that keywords play a vital part in getting noticed, while the ‘tone of voice’ will influence customers once they have found us. For this reason it’s not good enough to simply pack the homepage with all the relevant terms – if it were, I suspect by now some hotelier would have re-named his property ‘The Harry Potter Cotswold Castle Heathrow Michelin 4-poster 5-star Country House Boutique Hotel and Spa’ in a futile attempt to fool Google and its legions of users. An elder statesman of hotel marketing, Professor Derek Taylor, once told me that almost everyone looks at a newspaper in the same way. Your eyes go first to the headline, then the picture, then the caption under the picture. If your attention hasn’t been grabbed by those, you won’t bother with the article itself. So perhaps the need for brevity is nothing new after all, we’re just applying it in different media? And for those who have lost the ability to read anything longer than a Tweet, here is an abridged version of my article: keep it short. example, for which I must give credit elsewhere, relates to our own organisation, which used the strapline: “A collection of the finest privately-owned hotels in Britain” for 25 years before opening its mind to the rather snappier: “The mark of quality.” This isn’t about saying less. If anything, the aim is to try to say as much as possible, but with fewer words. Because of Twitter, email and smartphones we’re all learning to expect information in shorter gobbets. Channel Five provides a 90 second round up of the world news – not bad in such politically active times. So how can independent hoteliers take advantage of this shift in behaviour? The obvious first step is to look at one’s own collateral and try to remove the waffle, if there is any, and to embrace the language style of our customers – who span a massive age range just to make things harder. Another is to actively use the new media, learning from the example of successful hoteliers like Sue Williams, of the Bath Priory and

The aim is to try to say as much as possible, but with fewer words

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Peter Hancock FIH FTS is chief executive of Pride of Britain Hotels, a consortium of 42 luxury independent hotels throughout the UK and the official hotel partner to the National Trust (prideofbritainhotels.com). Peter is also a professional after-dinner speaker and event host and belongs to several hospitality industry bodies.

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Hygiene and cleanliness

Cleaning up your act

The importance of cleanliness and good hygiene cannot be underestimated, with surveys showing they are key considerations when a customer chooses a hotel

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ccording to Bob Cotton, “initial perceptions are vital to attracting and retaining business. Those hotels, guest houses and B&Bs that don’t pay attention to their customers’ first impressions may never get a second chance.” The former chief executive of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) made this statement in the wake of a report the BHA undertook, in conjunction with P&G Professional, which showed how hoteliers can ‘profit from freshness.’ In a nationwide sample of over 3,000 respondents, conducted online by OnePoll.com, one overwhelming fact emerged – the importance of cleanliness should not be underestimated. Not only

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have to tackle hygiene issues in a variety of areas within the hotel, from guest rooms and bathrooms, laundry, kitchen and bars to leisure and spa facilities.” Gems Hygiene works with hotel chains and smaller hotels can a fresh and clean establishment “drive to help ensure they can provide a clean and revenue and spur business growth”, it is pleasant environment for guests. also the single most important factor when It has supplied the Mandeville Hotel in it comes to customer bookings. London with deoderisers, drain cleaners P&G, the out-of-home division of and descalers as well as specialised products Procter and Gamble, noted that when such as Gemsan, used in air conditioning trying to achieve these standards of units to combat legionella. Last winter cleanliness using cheap products is a false also saw strong demand for Rapid Ice economy as while they may initially seem Melt, a more effective alternative to grit better value, “long-term it may be wiser to and rock salt to maintain safe walkways invest in products that are known to work.” and outside areas. Sarah adds: “Whether Yorkshire-based family firm Gems aiming to provide a luxurious, relaxing Hygiene has been supplying cleaning and stay or a functional, comfortable night’s maintenance products to the hotel trade for accommodation, every hotel will need to over 25 years. Marketing manager for the ensure high hygiene standards are met.” company Sarah Wade says: “Providing a full Who maintains these standards is a key range of facilities, owners and managers now question for any hotelier – in-house staff or

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Hygiene and cleanliness

Stalbridge Linen Services

a contract cleaning service? Kate Baker of Canvassers4Cleaners says: “In this age of recession, with all the associated cut backs, it may be tempting to look towards existing staff providing the cleaning services.” She says that domestic and commercial cleaning services have moved with the times and there is now a large range of modern equipment to cope with every cleaning requirement. With these advances comes the need for greater knowledge and one of the main reasons that hoteliers turn to contract staff is that often in-house employees may not have the know-how or equipment to undertake all cleaning duties. Numatic International Ltd has addressed this issue by offering training on its full product range that includes the world-famous Henry Hoover to ride-on floor polishers. Courses can be tailored to suit individual needs and cover topics such as the maintenance of marble, terrazzo and granite and stripping and re-applying emulsion polishes to vinyl flooring. A key piece of equipment for any cleaner, whether in-house or contract, is the trolley which can provide a complete work station with everything at hand for everyday cleaning requirements. Ramon Hygiene is

a leading manufacturer of cleaning products to the catering and food service industries supplying mops, buckets, floor pads and the Magic Line Trolley System. Hygiene development manager for the company, John Wilson, feels that today’s modern trolleys are nothing like their kart-like counterparts of old. He says: “Trolleys can now be designed by you for you. They can be strong and durable while maintaining a sleek, modern appearance. They can now give you enclosed storage space and enclosed waste with lockable drawers and doors.” Director of design at Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, Stephanie Briggs, says: “You know in your mind you are staying in a room that thousands of people have stayed in before, but you want to imagine that this room is just for you.” Commercial laundry provider PHS Laundryserv helps hoteliers achieve the ‘not-slept-in look’ by supplying commercial laundry equipment including washers, dryers and ironers. The company says that “fluffy, white towels and crisp, white linen are often used as the mark of a quality establishment, so recreating this finish on every wash is crucial.” The company has recently introduced a new textile and linen range including towels,

Armstrong Commercial Laundry

pillow cases, sheets and tablecloths designed for the commercial environment, with all items manufactured from high quality cotton or polycotton. A report by the Mystery Dining Company has shown that over 40 per cent of guests were influenced by the condition of the bathroom and the towels, while 28 per cent focused on the bedroom and the bedding. Providing freshlylaundered linen can be demanding, as general manager of the Auchrannie Resort, Richard Small, explains: “Our laundry handles everything from table linen to the towels from the spa and our star ratings mean our standards are extremely high. The equipment works 14 hours a day, seven days a week and because of our location, reliability and high quality support matter a great deal to us.” Supplier of industrial and commercial laundry equipment, Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems, installed the new equipment at the Auchrannie Resort including five washer extractors, three tumble dryers and a drying ironer to make life easier for staff at the hotel, and as Richard adds: “We have been very happy with the previous equipment and Gems Hygeine

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Hygiene and cleanliness

support we had from Armstrong and it proved the most competitive.” Not all hoteliers want the additional burden of washing everything in-house and many prefer to use an external linen supplier. David Hill, sales and marketing director of Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services, says: “You may spend a long time choosing the right look for your establishment, but if the tablecloths and napkins are not processed and cleaned properly, not only will they look dirty and give a negative impression, they will also introduce the very real risk of crosscontamination.” He also believes that with a commercial laundry, items can be washed at specific, critical temperatures, adding: “The minute you start to launder bed and table linen or workwear in domestic appliances, you are exposing your business to the risks of washing items at too low a temperature, and risking the potentially serious hazard of cross-contamination.” The spread of germs is something that all hoteliers need to be aware of, says Chris Hope of USP Distribution, the supplier of the Sterizene range of hand sanitisers. He explains: “Hand hygiene can be a difficult thing to control, and if you are not careful it can lead to some very serious problems for both individuals and large groups of people.” He believes that hotels can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and viruses such as the common cold, influenza and E. coli with certain parts of the building more likely to attract germs than others. Bathroom cubicle doors, the bathroom entrance and exit doors all have high concentrations of germs, as do sink handles. Chris says: “If you run a hotel, restaurant or guest house then you can take precautionary measures by ensuring quality hand sanitisers are available in key areas.” The company supplies a private-

Miele

label hand sanitiser range which it says is ideal for independent hotels that would not normally have the scale to purchase its own-branded items. As well as personal hygiene, it is also important to keep cooking equipment and appliances clean. Electrolux Professional has launched a range of three new detergents, including ExtraStrong Clean and ExtraStrong Rinse for ovens and Rapid Grease which can be applied directly on to cooking plates and griddles without having to wait for them to cool. The cleaning solutions have been designed for quick and easy application, saving time and labour costs, and are the result of extensive research by the company to provide excellent, cleaning performance. According to P&G Professional, “when staying away from home, most people are acutely aware of cleanliness standards and naturally expect as good as, or even better, attention to smaller details.” Miele’s range of laundry equipment ensures that both public area and bedrooms look their best and offer hoteliers a versatile, space-saving solution in the shape of the PWT 6089/PT 7189, the latest addition to the range of Octoplus laundry machines. These stylishly designed units offer a full-

sized highly efficient eight kilogram washerdryer stack or dryer-dryer (PTT 7189/ PT 7189) stack in the same space typically reserved for a single washer. The PWT 6089 stands less than two metres tall and has highly adaptable Profitronic L Vario control, which adjusts flexibly to meet a broad range of needs. Large drums on the washer and dryer offer fast wetting, drenching and drying and both feature Miele’s patented honeycomb drum, with a sculptured finish to create a gentle film of water in the washerextractor and tiny air cushions in the tumble dryer to protect laundry. It is clear that standards should not be compromised and accommodation providers must present guests with a fresh and clean environment if they are to guarantee repeat business. As P&G concludes: “It takes years of hard work and determination to build the reputation of a hotel, guest house or B&B, but it takes a second’s lapse in cleanliness and hygiene to bring about the downfall of an establishment.”

A clean sweep P&G offers some top cleaning and hygiene tips for hoteliers: • Don’t assume that everyone knows about basic hygiene principles – remind staff what these are. • Ensure floors in communal areas are kept clean and dry. • Regularly disinfect areas that are in most contact with passing guests such as tables, chairs and doors. • Don’t ignore areas that you can’t see, such as gaps behind and underneath counters, as these can be breeding grounds for bacteria. • Choose cleaning products wisely – cheaper does not necessarily mean cost-effective.

Electrolux

Supplier listing

Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems: www.armstrong-laundry.co.uk Canvassers4Cleaners: www.canvassers4cleaners.co.uk Gems Hygiene: www.gemshygiene.co.uk Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services: www.stalbridge-linen.com Miele: www.miele.co.uk Numatic International Ltd: www.numatic.co.uk PHS Laundryserv: www.phs.co.uk/laundryserv Procter and Gamble: www.pg.com/en Ramon Hygiene: www.ramonhygiene.co.uk Sterizene: www.sterizene.com

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tions

Catering Equipment Solu

catering equipment

Check out...

This month we look at the latest equipment for the commercial kitchen which is designed to save time and help the smooth-running of the cooking process

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hether you run a small bed and breakfast or large hotel, the efficient running of the kitchen can be down to the equipment you choose. Modern technology has given rise to a whole host of new gadgets for the catering sector, from combi ovens and blast chillers to the latest trend for steamers – one of the fastest growth equipment categories in recent years. There has also been greater demand for induction cooktops and sous vide. French for under vacuum, the ‘sous vide’ method has been used by many top chefs such as Heston Blumenthal and Michelinstarred Michael Caines. A long-standing

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customer of Clifton Food Range, Michael says: “The water baths are a key element within my kitchen and offer us a number of advantages from their usage. The impact that they are making in the way that we now work is significant, as is the quality of delivery as a result.” Clifton Food Range has launched a new 14 litre digital duobath, designed for sous vide and low temperature cooking. The duobath has two 14 litre chambers, built specifically to operate at two different temperatures simultaneously and with two different liquids. It also minimises counter top use, as the drain taps are located at the

rear of the bath. The bath includes run-dry protection, low water level warning and the current time and temperature settings will be retained in its memory even after ‘power off’. Also new to the range is a series of chefs’ tweezers which aid the turning of food, keep hands a good distance away from the pan and are also ideal for removing items from the vac-packing bags when cooking sous vide. Speed is often a key factor in food preparation with pressure to meet the demands of hungry guests. FRIMA’s patented VarioBoost heating system boils water three times as fast as conventional equipment. The smallest VarioCooking Center (model 112) can cook 50 portions of pasta in less than 30 minutes – as opposed nearly 90 minutes in similar sized pans. The largest model (the VCC 311) can cook 300 portions in less than

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Clifton Food Range

30 minutes. It also does everything automatically, allowing chefs to get on with other tasks, safe in the knowledge that the pasta will be perfectly cooked every time.  The VarioCooking Center is much more than a simple boiler or pasta cooker – it is also a multi-functional piece of cooking equipment that can be used as a bratt pan, a kettle pan, a deep fat fryer and a pressure cooker. The company says that as the VarioBoost system is so fast and accurate, it also cuts energy consumption by as much as 40 per cent compared to conventional equipment.  The demand for ever-more sophisticated equipment has been met by the new combi oven from Rational, which the company says is a “quantum leap forward” in terms of efficiency, output and cooking quality. The SelfCooking Center whitefficiency HiDensityControl features patented dynamic air mixing technology, which precisely controls the speed of the unit’s fan to channel the heat and humidity to exactly where it is needed, depending on the state of the product being cooked. It also features the Rational new Efficient

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LevelControl technology that not only tells the user which different foods can be cooked together, it also intelligently controls the cooking time. Lee Norton, managing director of Rational UK, says: “The SelfCooking Center whitefficiency sets a new benchmark in combi oven technology. Chefs will know they have complete, precise control of the cooking process and perfect results are guaranteed, every time.”  Improving efficiency in the kitchen is something that Metcalfe Catering Equipment has been addressing since 1928 when the company was first founded. Now a leading manufacturer and supplier of commercial food preparation equipment in the UK it has its own industry-leading range of mixers, slicers, peelers and chippers as well as distributing for world-renowned manufacturers such as Santos mixers. The company has recently introduced its own brand SP200 planetary mixer which combines rugged durability with safety and style and is a match for any mixing tasks in the commercial kitchen. Its threespeed transmission delivers power to fulfil all mixing requirements. It is fully CE

FRIMA

approved with an electrically interlocked bowl guard and bowl lift and is supplied with bowl, beater, whisk and dough hook. Catering Equipment Solutions (CES) says that “behind every successful kitchen is a great team. There’s also a watertight plan that makes sense of your space and the processes that take place behind it.” The company has worked with a range of professional caterers from the finest Michelin-starred restaurants to the smallest boutique cafés and with London Premier as part of a £68,000 refurbishment of the kitchens in seven of its luxury hotels. The hotel chain was using traditional burner ovens and convection ovens, but has now installed combi ovens in all its kitchens. The smaller hotels in this group only provide breakfast and light snacks for lunches, so the equipment and kitchen design were chosen to cater for a less demanding breakfast menu. On a final note, Shad Williams, equipment specialist at Alliance Online says: “Buying the right items of light catering equipment can have a significant ▶▶▶ impact on the efficiency and menu

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Rational

Metcalfe Catering Equipment

development of any catering operation.” It is important to choose the right pieces of kit for your specific requirements and while most pieces of equipment aren’t overly expensive, purchasing just a couple of items which are rarely used can be costly and take up valuable countertop space. He advises investing in a microwave, as it is simple to operate, versatile and efficient, and a stick blender, as not only are these cheap and take up minimal cupboard space, they’re versatile and make light work of processes such as blending soup or whisking cream. He also says that when purchasing either large or light catering equipment it is important to seek advice. He concludes: “Talk to the experts to ensure you use the most suitable equipment and, most importantly of all, don’t compromise on quality and durability for a lower cost – it can be an expensive mistake in the long run!”

Alliance Online: www.allianceonline.co.uk Angel Commercial: www.angelcommercial.co.uk Catering Equipment Solutions (CES):    www.cateringequipmentsolutions.com Clifton Food Range: www.cliftonfoodrange.co.uk Contacto: www.contacto.co.uk FRIMA: www.frima-uk.co.uk Metcalfe Catering Equipment:    www.metcalfecatering.com Rational: www.rational-online.com Russums: www.russums-shop.co.uk

Ikf[h_ehGkWb_još=h[WjLWbk[š;d[h]o;\\Y_[dj Angel Refrigeration offers an exclusive range of quality, stainless steel refrigerators, freezers, ice cube makers, ice flaking machines and blast chillers. All products are manufactured to high technical standards and supported by superior levels of customer service. Designed to meet today’s demanding food storage, chilling and shelf life maximisation needs, these great value products boast a wide range of features: š š š š š š

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Large storage capacity Space and energy saving Easy to install, clean and maintain Simple to operate Next day delivery available 5 year compressor guarantee on stainless steel cabinets 2 years parts and labour warranty on all products



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A great choice for hotels, restaurants, pubs, snack bars, leisure clubs, butchers, small food producers, schools, care homes and hospitals. Please visit our website www.angelrefrigeration.co.uk or call our sales team on 01327 810370 or email sales@angelcommercial.co.uk

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Hotels for sale

Hot Property

Key commercial properties on the market

Historic city centre hotel hits the market

Strutt & Parker to sell Cornwall leisure resort

Hospitality business advisor Christie + Co has been instructed to market for sale the 5-Star Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Manchester located in the heart of the city. To be sold on behalf of Les Ross and Matt Dunham, who are acting as administrative receivers and agents of Free Trade Hall Hotel Limited, it is located on the site of Manchester’s most historic and celebrated building, the Free Trade Hall. The 263-bedroom property was Radisson Edwardian’s first luxury hotel outside of London and provides high standards of accommodation and guest services including one of the city’s largest function rooms. Guest rooms and suites are luxuriously appointed with four luxury penthouse suites overlooking the city and 18 unique ‘al-fresco suites’ each with its own entertaining area and urban garden. There are also dining and entertainment options, two restaurant/bars, beauty and relaxation treatments along with gym equipment and an indoor swimming pool. For further information contact Jeremy Jones, director of corporate hotels at Christie + Co, on 0207 227 0700 or email jeremy.jones@christie.com

Situated in a spectacular position on the cliff tops overlooking the Brisons on the Heritage Coast west of St Just, Cape Cornwall is exceptionally well-placed to capitalise on the area’s popularity as a leading tourist destination. This golf and leisure resort has eight hotel bedrooms, a burgeoning function trade and a charming clubhouse, which has been stylishly updated by the current owner. Add to this an opportunity to redevelop a disused 19th century water tower into an exceptional private house and other holiday accommodation (subject to obtaining the necessary consents) and the property has all the ingredients for future success. Chris Gooch, handling the sale said: “For anyone looking for a new business or a lifestyle change, Cape Cornwall with its inspiring location presents an exciting opportunity. Furthermore, and due to poor health, the vendor wishes to expedite the sale so if you have funds available and can move quickly all serious offers will be considered.” The guide price is £700,000. For further information, contact Chris Gooch on 01722 344 055 or chris.gooch@struttandparker.com

Rare opportunity to purchase Cotswold Inn

Country hotel in six acres of grounds for sale

Due to a change in family circumstances, an opportunity has arisen to purchase a freehold Cotswold inn which is offered for sale by Knight Frank. Dating back to 1480, the Highway Inn is located in the bustling village of Burford, just 30 minutes from Oxford and Cheltenham. This character property, complete with sloping floors and beams, has been extensively restored and has a popular restaurant, bar, garden and private residence. Each of the nine bedrooms is individually furnished and features en-suite bathrooms and LCD TVs with Freeview for a range of television channels. The inn has established an excellent reputation for its food – the Highway is a One AA Rosette pub – and is popular with both locals and visitors to the region. It has proved a profitable business and there is the potential for expansion. It is available for the asking price of £1.495 million. For further details contact Henry Jackson at Knight Frank on 0207 861 1085.

Hinton Grange Hotel, near Bath, is being offered for sale by the Cirencester office of Colliers International on behalf of LPA Receiver Jon Cookson. The charming 21-bedroom country hotel stands in around six acres of grounds that include a small lake and is perfectly located between Bath and the M4. Its setting makes it an ideal venue for weddings. Alastair Murchie, director at Colliers International, commented: “While the business closed its doors in July, this is a great opportunity to acquire a very pretty property that has traded well in the past and will surely do so again. We expect a good level of interest as hotels near Bath do not come to the market often.” The agents are asking for offers over £700,000 for the freehold. For further information, contact Alastair Murchie on 01285 852 852 or email alastair.murchie@colliers.com

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