‘Culture is Key’
In the last few weeks, the hotel has received praise for a year that has ‘bucked the trend’ of financial performance amongst the UK’s regional hotels. Taking stock of the past 12 months has really made me aware of the impact of changes we’ve made across every area of the business.
We are of course proud of strong financial performance, particularly against the backdrop of a challenging market, and guest satisfaction and review scores that are at an all-time high of over 90%, but the thing that I am most proud of is the development of our staff to the point where these results can be achieved.
Our key objective since new ownership in 2017 has been to establish and maintain New Place as a leading hotel in the South. To do this, we need people who can deliver excellent service, analyse and act quickly on all individual guest requirements and feedback, and contribute to improvements across the whole hotel.
The empowerment of the team to take personal responsibility for job roles and departments has been crucial to our improvement. We have created a culture were the staff actively seek out feedback to ensure every guest has an amazing stay, whatever the reasons for their visit.
We have promoted and endorsed a love of feedback throughout our culture. Criticism and suggestion are not deemed as negative or indication of failure, but a source of learning, encouragement and ideas for improvement that helps us get better at what we do.
Our staff training has been revolutionised in the past year with the introduction of the ‘New Place Hospitality Academy’, which ensures learning opportunities for all. Every employee can now participate in apprenticeship level 1 (customer service) 2 (hospitality skills) 3, 4 or 5 (all supervisory and management skills). From Kitchen Porters to Operations Managers, everyone can embark on meaningful development and further qualification.
I endorse the philosophy that a career in hospitality can begin with ‘will over skill’, regardless of background, experience or education. We recruit team members based on personality and attitude to service, because we know we can support everything else through training and professional development.
Some of my proudest moments are when I see that team members have formed a genuine care and affection for one another as they progress their careers through the ranks.
I believe we have established a team that is dedicated to the work they do themselves and for each other, sincere in their care for our guests and proud in what we achieve on a day-to-day basis, finding ways to exceed expectations.
So, while the stats provide the indicators and evidence, I am delighted that they show what we already knew – that we have developed a fantastic ‘New Place Family’.