1) Can you tell us a little bit about your career history and how you came to be in your current role?
I began my career as a Kitchen porter at the age of 16 at a hotel in my home city of Winchester and progressed through all departments (guest facing) whilst studying. I spent 13 years working for Forte Hotels before Joining Hilton in the early 1990s and was appointed to my GM role in 1994. After Hilton I spent 12 years with Millennium and Copthorne Hotels firstly in the position of GM and the Area GM of the North UK, I then joined PH as a cluster GM before moving to The Hinckley Island in 2012 so have just reached my fifth anniversary.
2) What have been the highlights of your career so far?
I have many highlights from looking after royalty, senior politicians and world class movie stars and even the Dalai Lama. Alongside this and commercial achievements I am very proud of all the individuals I have helped develop through mentoring and direction who now hold senior positions in the industry.
3) How well has the £11 million investments into the refurbishments at Jurys Inn Hinckley Island
Hotel and Conference Venue been received from the meeting and events industry?
There is no doubt that the renovation project here has been very well received on every level, the challenge is to get everyone through the door, so to speak, and the feedback has been phenomenal. I remember our CEO John Brennan saying as he addressed the HBAA forum last year, that we hosted, “many companies have talked about renovating this hotel and we have actually done it!” It really has positioned us very strongly in the M&E wider market and of course in the midlands.
4) What changes have you seen at the hotel since the refurbishment?
We have enjoyed the return of many events that had moved on over the years and also significant new business to the property events across all industry segments. In addition we have expanded both the sales and operational team providing local employment and also the opportunity to work for Jurys Inn with all the opportunities that provides.
5) What do you think is the biggest challenge in the upcoming months for the hotel?
There are two big challenges, the first as previously stated is to get as many clients both Agent and Direct into the property to fully understand and appreciate what we have achieved, I still meet people regularly who have not been to the property since the early 2000s and still have images of statues of Greek gods in the lobby and so on. Secondly it’s the continual education that we are very much a credible proposition in the 4 star M&E market and we are charging rates that are relevant to that commitment to quality and service excellence so we are no longer offering the kind of DDR and 24Hr rates historically associated with the property.
6) How do you plan on tackling these issues?
We host many fam trips and site visits on a weekly and monthly basis but are planning a relaunch extravaganza targeted specifically at MICE market in early February 2018… Watch this space.
7) What do you consider to be the most important aspect of the customer journey?
In my opinion, from an event perspective once the deal is done the most important part of the journey is the day of arrival, the meet and greet, final details check and the establishment of a very clear and honest communication relationship driven by me and my team. In other words the client should never have to work hard to receive what has been agreed, we have to understand that things change and as the venue we must be flexible and supportive at all times (and then of course secure the re-book!)
8) What are your plans for the future?
My plans are to lead the team at the property to new heights of service and financial excellence beating all previous achievements commercially and from a guest feedback perspective and in the process win some industry recognition for the Jurys Inn Hinckley Island Hotel and Conference Venue.
9) Which famous person would you love to meet and why?
Donald Trump! Most if not all of my questions would begin with WHY?
10) What’s the best place you’ve ever visited?
Without doubt London the greatest city in the world, Mayfair and the West End in particular. I am very proud to be British.
11) What is the most important life lesson you’ve learnt?
Honesty, integrity and trust in all that you do. A plan always helps too.
For more information about Jurys Inn please visit https://www.jurysinns.com/