Ricky Kapoor, Managing Director of The Edinburgh Collection www.theedinburghcollection.com
Congratulations on the recent acquisition of Princes Street Suites, can you tell me a bit more about the property?
Thank you, we are extremely excited that Princes Street Suites is now a part of the Edinburgh Collection portfolio. It offers modern serviced apartments in the heart of Edinburgh at the east end of Princes Street. It’s an outstanding location and a prestigious building, just a minute’s walk from Waverley Station. The building was redeveloped back in 2009 from office accommodation and now provides 37 spacious, chic apartments for two to eight guests, in one, two, or three bedroom apartments, and a 1,500 sq. ft. penthouse suite. It also has a stunning roof terrace providing guests with incredible panoramic views across the city.
Do you have any plans for the hotel?
Yes, we do have some ideas lined up for the property. Whilst the luxurious suites were recently refurbished with fully equipped kitchens and spacious living areas, The Edinburgh Collection is looking to substantially improve the walk-in and welcome experience by expanding the reception area with a 24-hour Bar & Coffee Lounge. We also want to upgrade the apartments so that they include smart TV’s, USB charging points and provide our signature Handy Smartphone Companion in each apartment. The Handy smartphones offer free unlimited data and global calls, with content such as destination guides and google maps. These additions are in keeping with The Edinburgh Collection’s ethos to provide user friendly technology as part of our outstanding hospitality. We are also looking to provide improved meeting room accommodation in the property in the future with a view to actively marketing the space for daytime meeting rentals. Bringing the Suites into the Edinburgh Collection also allows the property to take advantage of the wider group’s overall marketing opportunities.
We see the Princes Street Suites providing a home from home experience and that is the core objective of our service across our entire portfolio. Princes Street Suites has a great team and we owe all the positive reviews to them, they work extremely hard to provide a very personal experience. We are extremely passionate about keeping the same high level of personal service and in doing so have retained existing staff and have also brought in-house the previously outsourced housekeeping staff.
Yes each hotel is unique so while we welcome a real variety of guests to our properties, each hotel is appealing to different kinds of traveller. Our portfolio is focused on providing a personal touch and we see a lot of our guests enjoying that service, whether that’s families or solo business travellers. The acquisition of the Princes Street Suites adds a touch of luxury to our eclectic group, adding (rather than competing with) our existing portfolio: the affordable business class Haymarket Hub Hotel; the historic Old Waverley Hotel; and the 4-star Holyrood apartHOTEL just off the city’s Royal Mile. The Edinburgh Collection now owns in excess of 440 bedrooms across Edinburgh, employing over 120 staff across the four properties.
I enjoy the diverse range of areas I am involved in; be it sales, marketing, finance, design, planning, construction, IT and HR. Every day is different and new challenges constantly arise. I also enjoy industry networking and sharing ideas with industry colleagues on how to continually improve.
What are the main changes you have seen within the industry during your career?
There are many challenges within the industry although with change also comes opportunity. Rising costs, in energy, payroll etc., make us tackle the challenges and look at ways how we can become more efficient and cost effective. We try to make best use of technology as an enabler rather than introducing technology for the sake of it.
It is great to see the current growth in the industry and the government’s support in accrediting hospitality as a career path is welcomed as I certainly think it is a rewarding industry to be a part of where you can get involved in many disciplines.
I would recommend those looking to start out in the industry look for areas that they feel reflect their personality yet not to be afraid of hard work and also to try out new things. They should reach out to local businesses to see if they are looking for staff, or will even create a vacancy for the right person. They need to get their foot through the door. I feel very proud when I see our staff develop their careers within our group or elsewhere. Some staff which have developed long term careers include a waitress who became a hotel operations manager, a housekeeper becoming a deputy manager, and a receptionist becoming a group accounts assistant, further developing their experience and qualifications.
There is much work to be done with our recent acquisition of the Princes Street Suites, in ensuring we bring common systems online and integrate the teams to work together as one. We have exciting plans for renovation throughout our portfolio of hotels and are still very keen to expand our accommodation offerings further within the UK.