Trends

Trump Turnberry invests £1.6m in cottage suites restoration


Trump Turnberry has completed the restoration of its cottage suites collection, through a £1.6m investment in the Ayrshire resort in Scotland.

Launching in March 2019, the restoration of the nine two-bedroom accommodations forms part of the hotel’s ongoing multi-million-pound refurbishment. According to the hotel, the latest investment opens up a “new era of contemporary accommodation”, offering a “home away from home” option for guests.

Dating back to 1902, the Cottage Suites are at the forefront of the resort’s accommodation and have each been fully restored with Turnberry’s “stunning surroundings and rich heritage in mind”.

Ralph Porciani, general manager of Trump Turnberry, said: “We’re very proud to unveil the Cottage Suites at Turnberry. It’s a project we’ve put a lot of care and attention into and one which introduces a truly unique element to our renowned accommodation.

“The Cottage Suites offer the unmistakable hospitality and atmosphere of Turnberry, but with the feel of a private haven for guests. They are perfectly suited to families and groups who want to explore everything Ayrshire has to offer including the nearby National Trust sites, Culzean Castle and Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.”

Eric Trump added: “Trump Turnberry is one of the finest golf resorts anywhere in the world and we are proud to announce our next phase of investment into this property. When complete, the Cottage Suites will be absolutely spectacular and will be an exciting new product offering for guests looking for even more space with all of the perks of a traditional hotel suite.”

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How to make your hotel stand out from the crowd


Last year, we saw some big moves from the large international hotel groups with mergers, acquisitions and new brands. I can’t help but wonder how much more the brand landscape can keep growing in this way, as the customer seeks a more personal and original experience?

The big global hotel operators have dozens of logos across their websites, each one pitched at a different audience, in an original way, for a new market: a younger crowd, a mature crowd, the discerning traveller, the upwardly mobile, global domination or local spirit, the business road warrior, fitness and lifestyle junkie, boutique, social, couples, groups, families, millennials and Generation Z. You get the idea. If one brand doesn’t quite fit the latest persona, along comes another new brand to corner the market.

Let’s be clear, the international hotel chains have each built fantastic platforms and infrastructure over many, many years which give each of their brands a voice. They’ve built loyalty initiatives with tens of millions of guests connected to a dynamic CRM tool with points, miles and upgrades making sure they are heard. They have built boxes in every major gateway city and airport. They have technology budgets to make your eyes water, developing proprietary systems for competitive advantage. They have cool, open plan offices with hundreds of people analysing statistics and social listening. It’s a successful formula.

The question for hotel owners and operators is, how much does the scale development of hotel brands with monolithic systems provide the answer of choice for the customer? It clearly works for some, as global examples demonstrate, however you could choose to be discovered differently rather than riding the brand superhighway.

At Roomzzz, we’re not building a global institution, or aiming for global domination, at least not yet. Roomzzz Aparthotels was born 12 years ago without much of a benchmark in the UK. There was a vision of guest experience, great design and service, with intuition for the unfulfilled opportunity. We have a great family history, and we’ve developed our story with real purpose. The brand has evolved from an honest and sincere spirit of adventure. So, what is it going to take to get yourself noticed and stand out from the crowd?

Brands do talk, big or small. A brand is not just a hundred hotels in ten different countries with a standard operating procedure manual five volumes thick. Your independent, stand-alone property can find ways to communicate in words and pictures to truly differentiate from the crowd and carve out an identity which will bring the customer to them.

A brand is likely to be the most complex decision, if not the most expensive consideration you’ll have to make for a new hotel or a re-positioned property. Joining a big brand network comes at quite a cost to access the huge audience the groups maintain. Alternatively, developing your own brand or identity could be a game changer, and there are plenty of examples which stand on their own two feet in the wonderful world of hospitality, with a unique proposition which makes them what they are and able to drive measurable success.

The point here is that you need to find your lane. What is it that you do? What is it that you do that no-one else is doing? More importantly, what do you want your guests to say about you and remember you for? Let that drive your focus on standards and experience. Develop a message and a story that makes sense and then the business needs to find as many ways as it can to tell that story, keep it fresh and build the momentum and the consistency that enforces the brand. You may want to talk about the service that you deliver – what makes it different?

You may want to talk about the facilities you provide and the benefits your customer will experience? And what about the price point, location, package or standards? Who are you trying to reach and what should they discover about you? The best experience is all joined up with the customer centre stage; from their booking to arrival, throughout the stay and beyond. Let your standards, your brand, your team and your marketing bring the whole thing together and you’ll be one step ahead of the rest.

If you want to stand out from the crowd in 2019, you have to make connections with your audience. Have some genuine purpose for what you do and how you communicate. Generate a compelling story that guests will love and feel they can experience. Big brands can make a lot of noise, but it’s not necessarily the volume that everyone hears. Consumers today want to hear a tune they like, a great melody, a fantastic chorus. Your brand has the chance to sing your own tune in today’s digital, connected world and be heard in a very different way to the white noise and the blur of other brands. Be sure your marketing is consistent across the multitude of channels available now: Digital, Print, TV, Radio, Social, PR, B2B Sales.

One last thing. Walk the talk. You think you’ve done your part, built your business, well marketed to the world, with a highly original, genuine and captivating experience! What else will make the difference and get you the attention and success you deserve? In this transparent, agile and data rich world we live in today, customer sentiment provides true distinction. Arguably the most important way you could make a statement about what you do is nurturing your customers to shout about it.

There’s nothing more valuable than guests emphasising your brand and your USP’s on social media and review sites. Reputation is powerful. Work hard for it, celebrate success and take your team on the journey so that it matters as much to them as it should to you. In so doing, you’ll stand out from the crowd and truly find your own space where success is assured.


By Robert Alley, chief operating officer at Roomzzz Aparthotels

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Principal Manchester announced as official hotel partner for MIF19


Principal Manchester has been announced as the official hotel partner for Manchester International Festival 2019 (MIF19).  

The hotel will be the official hotel provider of MIF19, hosting both festival-goers and artists during the 18 day event. Principal Manchester and MIF19’s partnership will also include further collaborations during the festival, including exclusive events being held at the property.

The Principal Manchester is a Grade-II listed building initially built for The Refuge Assurance Company in 1895 and features 270 loft-style bedrooms and suites, The Refuge Dining Room and Public Bar and 17 meeting and event spaces including the largest hotel ballroom in the northwest of England.

Manchester International Festival takes place from 4  – 21 July with internationally-acclaimed artists from over 20 countries – many working in one-off creative collaborations – will present 20 UK and world premieres at the cross-art form biennial festival. The full programme includes work from David Lynch, Yoko Ono, Skepta, Maxine Peake, Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah.

Peter Kienast, general manager at Principal Manchester said: “Manchester International Festival is a huge event here in the city’s calendar, celebrating its cultural achievements, both past and present.

“Manchester right now is at the forefront of creativity and MIF19 helps to further cement that, creating an international stage for incredible UK and international acclaimed artists to perform here. We’re incredibly proud to be chosen as the official hotel partner of the festival this year and look forward to welcoming all visitors.”

Christine Cort, managing director of Manchester International Festival added: “We’re thrilled to welcome back The Principal as our host hotel once again. MIF artists and guests love to stay there for the unique experience it offers in the Manchester hotel landscape.”

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The White Lion Hotel brought to market for £1.1m


The White Lion Hotel, in East Sussex, has been brought to the market for a price of £1.1m.

The family friendly pub and hotel comprises a traditional bar area for up to 30 covers, a separate 20 cover sports bar also boasts seven en suite letting bedrooms located on the first floor, which benefit from separate access.

The White Lion features an external seating area for 40 covers to the rear, a designated smoking shelter to the side and a further seating area to the front for 20 covers. The car park also provides space for 10 vehicles, along with unrestricted off road parking and four garages.

Situated in the coastal town of Seaford, the current owners, John and Eileen Treacy, have owned the business for 14 years and have now decided to sell in order to retire.

James Hughes, senior business agent at Christie and Co’s Maidstone’s office and is handling the sale said: “This is a retirement sale of a lovely coastal hotel and pub that has been built up during the current owners’ 14 year tenure. It would suit a number of buyers looking to take on a thriving business situated in a prime location, with potential for expansion by increasing food sales. The EBITDA is high, showing the business to be very profitable and sustainable.”

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The importance of health and safety in hotels


Today, health and safety remains an extremely important area for every business operating in the United Kingdom and around the world.

Although health and safety at work has steadily improved over the years, HSE statistics report that in the 2015/16 year, over 100 workers were killed at work. Additionally, the statistics state that around 30.4 million working days were lost in total due to work-related ill-health and injury.

Moral importance

One of the most important reasons for meeting and exceeding health and safety responsibilities are the moral considerations. There is a duty of care on individuals and organisations to not put others in danger with their actions, policies and procedures.

On top of this, it is especially important that business owners don’t put their workers’ health and safety at risk by cutting corners to increase profit. As time passes, moral obligations are changing. When an employee goes to work, they should not expect to be injured or potentially worse.

Legal reasons

Of course, all businesses need to operate within the law. Legally, all workers have a right to work in places where health and safety risks are properly controlled. Whilst employers are responsible for health and safety, it is the job of employees to help and embrace this important area.

What employers must do

  • Create a written health and safety policy
  • Conduct risk assessments
  • Effectively communicate with employees and explain how risks will be controlled
  • Pay for the health and safety training employees may need to do their job (e.g. IOSH courses)
  • Provide all of the equipment and protective clothing employees need
  • Report all incidents and accidents

To support with legal compliance, a formal framework known as a health and safety management system provides a structured and logical approach to ensure and maintain effective health and safety provision and legal compliance.

The business case

Not the most important case for health and safety excellence, but a definite positive outcome for businesses and in turn, potentially employees. A business can lose money through poor health and safety management. For example, huge fines for breaking Health and Safety rules and losing time and money due to poor efficiency.

But, there are also potential gains that businesses can make through properly managing health and safety in the workplace. These include:

  • Productivity improvements
  • Efficiency enhancements
  • Improved team spirit and motivation
  • Improved brand image and perceptions
  • Where to begin

It’s clear that preventing accidents should be a priority for everyone in a workplace. From senior executives to workers on the “shop floor”, training is key to ensuring safety and improving safety culture.

Key ways that training helps improve health and safety

Providing health and safety information and training helps you to:

Ensure you or your employees are not injured or made ill by the work they do.
Develop a positive health and safety culture, where safe and healthy working becomes second nature to everyone.
Find out how you could manage health and safety better.
Meet your legal duty to protect the health and safety of your employees.


By Ella Hendrix, freelance writer

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Business investment in UK hospitality sector falls 12%


Business investment in hotels and restaurants has plummeted by more than 10% in a year as worries over Brexit loom large, analysis by specialist tax consultancy Catax has suggested.


Total business investment in the sector fell by 12% to £4.97bn in the first three quarters of 2018, down from £5.67bn for the same period in 2017, the tax firm’s analysis of figures from ONS showed.

Catax said this was indicative of a wider slowdown in the British economy which grew at its “most sluggish rate for six years” in 2018. Overall business investment dropped from £46.9bn to £46.2bn for the fourth consecutive quarter in 2018, the first time that has happened since the economic downturn in 2009.

With an estimated 442,000 EU migrants working in Britain’s hotels and restaurants, there is rising concern about how the industry will cope with the fallout of Brexit after 29 March.

Uncertainty over future border and travel rules could also hit the British hospitality industry as people opt not to book UK visits until they know what the result of the negotiations will be.

Mark Tighe, CEO of Catax, said: “This steady collapse in business investment across the hotel and restaurant sector is a clear sign of crumbling confidence and it’s fairly obvious that Brexit uncertainty is the driving force behind it.

“The hospitality industry will be hugely affected by whatever deal, or no deal, we emerge with at the end of March so it is not surprising that businesses are holding off on investment decisions until they know the outcome.”

He added: “This stagnation is damaging our economy at a time when we need it to be performing better than ever. Tax relief on much business investment is available, but that on its own may not be enough to see a recovery in these numbers. Politicians will need to move fast to restore confidence and give investors the certainty they need to take the bold decisions.”

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New Google Destinations Site: What Hoteliers Need to Know


According to a recent Skift article, Google has changed the game for travelers experiences when it comes to booking hotels. They have secretly released a fully-functional destination site. The new site provides room availability and booking links to your website and OTAs. The good news is this update is expected to help generate bookings through your hotel’s site. Not to mention, it now provides a bigger emphasis on your hotel’s review score across big-name travel sites. That said, it’s time to set goals to receive great reviews and respond professionally to bad reviews.

Google Changes: Before & After

Typically if travelers conducted a hotel search on Google, it would present them with three hotels in the area they searched for. Upon clicking to receive more information or view more hotels, they would have been directed to another related Google Search page. Now, they will be directed to Google’s new destination site which is Google Hotel Search. The new Google Hotel Search now provides greater amounts of information about one’s hotel on one site.

Google Search Before
Google Search After

Your Hotel Summary

Subsequently, Google has been testing hotel-listing search results for months. The new search will redirect you to the new destination site once you select the View Hotels button. Then, the traveler will select the hotel of their choice from the new site. Next, the site will feature prices, reviews, location, an about section, and photos of the property selected. This summary has the potential to help convince travelers that your hotel is the best fit for them. Now, Google offers a clearer call to action that can drive customers to the hotel’s website and the hotel’s phone number.

Google Hotel Overview

Hotel Summary

With that said, your hotel’s reviews are more important than ever. Not only will travelers see reviews from Google, but they can also select to see reviews from individual sites like TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia, and your brand (if applicable) all while on the destination site. This means that a traveler can see all of your hotel reviews and ratings without heading to those OTA sites. Be sure that your reviews are performing well because a decline in positive reviews could now heavily influence booking rates. Your hotel reputation relies on what travelers see online. Get started on painting the best picture or your hotel as soon as possible.

 

 

It’s never too late to make sure your hotel is generating good reviews by looking into our Reputation Management and Respond & Resolve solutions.

The post New Google Destinations Site: What Hoteliers Need to Know appeared first on Travel Media Group.

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Boosting your sales


Q: We are a 60-bedroom hotel based in near a city centre. I employ a sales team to support group enquiries, but they aren’t converting a lot of the opportunities. More training or a new team seems to be the choice. What do you think?

A: On the surface, the business sounds ideal for hosting group stays, and if you have a sales team in place then theoretically, conversions should not be a problem. However, it sounds like they aren’t converting as much as you want and as owners and managers, this can be exceedingly frustrating.

Before you go all out and replace the team with some new dynamic players, it is absolutely essential that you review how and why this low conversion is happening; there are thousands of reasons conversions can be low and it might be that some small changes with your existing team reap huge rewards with your conversions. If this was my business, here’s what I’d be looking at.

What truly does and does not convert?

On the surface, reports might show you that you are failing to convert groups, because you are only converting say 20% of enquiries, when in reality the metric is not the type of enquiry (groups), but the source. It’s essential that you delve more deeply beyond the surface stats and look at how the combining factors are impacting your sales. For example, it might be that of the 20% group bookings you are converting, 100% of those which are converted are from a group directly; people who have done the research themselves and have the buying power.

Instead, it might be that what your team aren’t converting is the third-party agent bookings, which tells you that either, you aren’t providing what the agent needs in the way that they need it or possibly that your business model and commission aren’t suited to agency bookings. Looking at the stats this way provides you with a tangible opportunity for change, to either improve the way that you are converting for a specific audience, or even decide you aren’t going to pursue that type of booking. The true understanding of your business portfolio is essential here.

Consider their KPIs

The next thing to review is how you are targeting (and motivating) your sales team and whether this has any impact. Frequently, I see sales teams targeted by sales value, with commission. This is a double-edged sword as it can motivate good sales and focus initially, but it can also cause your team to sit back once a target has been met.

Putting targets in the context of the wider business, and rewarding them through performance related pay can provide additional motivations where you need it. For example, targeting your team with converting 25% of agency enquiries puts the focus not on overall value, but on consistently delivering against expectations.

How are they prioritising?

One of the key challenges within workforces is to get them prioritising in the right way. For example, direct bookings are important, particularly if they can connect to repeat bookings, but agents can potentially bring several bookings per year. Take a look at where their priorities lie and if needs be, set targets for responding to opportunities. I work for a number of DMOs and regularly take group booking enquiries; I recently took an enquiry for Christmas 2019 and offered the opportunity to 32 local hotels. Of these, 27 responded to the initial enquiry to say that they would get something across, but only three actually delivered a proposal before the deadline.

As an agent, this is a real let-down and those businesses missed out on the opportunity. There’s one other consideration here too; of those businesses who did ultimately respond (pre- and post-deadline), only two actually put together a proposal that sold their hotel to the ultimate booker. The rest provided only a few lines with prices, which doesn’t really inspire bookings.

What are their ideas?

Ask, don’t tell. Once you’ve established what is failing and where, ask them for their ideas on how you can improve. Sometimes, it’s as simple as getting stuck in a rut and doing what has been done before, so having a review and asking for their ideas can really fire things up.

Appoint a mystery shopper

Last but not least, appoint a mystery shopping service like the one provided by Quality in Tourism. Explain the challenges you are facing with conversions and ask them to do an objective study of your business. They will make a seemingly genuine enquiry to your business, and to your competitors’ businesses, and will also provide you with best practice guidelines to improve what you are doing too. This is objective and invaluable and in my mind, a must.

In summary

Before you go replacing your team with a whole new one, consider this. What are you doing within the business to facilitate the issue and how can you change that? I usually find that replacing teams creates a short-term boost, but that ultimately if the priorities within the business are wrong, the majority will slip into the patterns of their predecessors. It’s time for an introspective look I think.

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Bridgewood Manor Hotel and Spa unveils £500,000 refurb


Bridgewood Manor Hotel and Spa has unveiled the results of its recent £500,000 refurbishment.

The hotel, which is operated by the independent hotel management company, RBH – has seen its public areas and guest rooms transformed during the six-figure works. It features 100 guest rooms, an on-site restaurant and function spaces catering for up to 200 guests, an idyllic wedding venue, it also features a spa and health club.

The four-star property’s reception and lobby has been updated, affording the spaces a more contemporary feel featuring all new luxury furnishings, flooring and finishes.

The hotel’s superior and executive plus guest rooms have also been revamped with highlight feature wallpaper, lighting and curtains, as well as en-suite walk-in showers. Additionally its bar has been reimagined with upcycled furniture and new window dressings, flooring and artwork.

Marc Taylor, GM at Bridgewood Manor, said: “This has been a hugely exciting project for everyone involved and the results speak for themselves. What we’ve managed to achieve is a more contemporary feel that stays true to our manor routes.

“Early feedback has been very positive and we’re looking forward to welcoming more visitors to enjoy these fantastic new spaces.”

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Beaver Hotel in Earl’s Court sold to Malaysian investors


The Beaver Hotel, situated in Earl’s Court, has been sold to a Malaysian-based investor with experience in the hospitality sector.

The hotel had been owned and operated by the Lis family for two generations, spanning over 60 years. The sale will enable Mr & Mrs Lis to embark on retirement and ensure the hotel’s legacy is preserved through the future interests of the new owners.

The purchasers, who already have existing hotel assets within the UK, now intend to invest additional capital into the hotel, including a full refurbishment, with the aim to “substantially enhance” its quality and guest experience.

Andrew Evangelou, director and justin Davies, senior broker at Christie and Co, who oversaw the transaction, said: “During the disposal process of the Beaver Hotel, we undertook in excess of 15 individual viewings and received bids from five interested parties. Bids were submitted on a cash and debt funded basis from both domestic and overseas hotel operators.

“The successful sale of the Beaver Hotel reinforces how London remains to be an attractive market for both domestic and foreign investment. Furthermore, the sale demonstrates that when an opportunity to acquire a sizable London freehold hotel presents itself, we receive substantial interest from a range of prospective purchasers.”

Mr Lis added: “As a family, we are thrilled with the result and now look forward to the next chapter of our lives. Both Andrew and Justin at Christie and Co provided our family with the upmost professionalism throughout this process, which we are immensely thankful for.”

Property advisers, Dron and Wright acted on behalf of the purchasers.

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A recent survey from hotel solutions provider HRS has found that the demand for innovative technology in hotels is on the rise

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