H&C News meets with suppliers regularly to keep up to date with the latest product and service innovations, aiming to get the inside track on what companies offer to the market and how it is delivered.
This week, we met with Angela Roach, founder and Managing Director of The Hotel Nanny at their offices in Tetbury, Wiltshire to gain a better understanding of the business.
The Hotel Nanny is the only premium nanny service in the UK built and created exclusively for the luxury hotel industry.
The Hotel Nanny has worked very successfully at boldly bringing childcare from the periphery, as a reactive low level service to the very middle of the hotel fabric, using a proactive professional high calibre service working in and alongside the hotel management, as well as with the marketing team to allow the hotels to engage better with family guest needs and to romance the hotel offering a little more actively. A whole array of benefits come from this approach, most importantly hotels are able to leverage and up-sell their family targeted offers as well as tempt more parents to enjoy and experience in-house hotel facilities. It enables family guests to enjoy a bolder more fuller stay. It’s a revolutionary approach in a very simple way.
Why is The Hotel Nanny different?
The Hotel Nanny is an amazingly innovative and ground breaking service challenging the existing protocall of hotel childcare. In the past if a family guest was staying in a luxury five star hotel and asked for childcare help, a very basic service or possibly an option of an in-house staff member were generally the possibilities presented.
For the first time, a childcare business has developed to become synonymous with some of the most influential business leaders in the luxury family travel market. The Hotel Nanny understands how important the hospitality industry is for the UK and how the family and leisure market is a fast growing area. Therefore childcare is pivotal for the hotel industry. Angela, the founder of the company knew how vital it was to change the trend of luxury, high end hotels only offering low level babysitting services. We are now in a time where the luxury traveller today has different expectations and was fast evolving past these current childcare practices. Parents go to five star hotels for very good reasons, they savour and value good service and impeccable focus to detail. The family and leisure market is worth millions to the hotel industry and nothing seemed to be helping within the childcare arena to harness parents’ interest and needs or indeed for the hotels to be better prepared for the discerning parent. It is a very competitive landscape for hotels trying to win the hearts and minds of guests and their children and so a better childcare service seemed an obvious addition for luxury hotels to be able to add value.
We really looked at the needs, the occasions and who the customers are, we really wanted to identify the demographic and profile of families visiting luxury hotels. If you understand the customer group better, you can really deliver against the customers’ needs very simply. Because we have crafted a top end luxury childcare brand – this gave us immediate focus, and therefore it has been straightforward and clear to determine what the customer group valued. People enjoy a luxury hotel experience because it has so much to do with impeccable service. In this case people want to pay for excellent service in all things that resonates with them and what they value – and of course this includes the care of their children. We therefore extended that luxury service portfolio and we created our five star hotel childcare model, already to great acclaim.
However, this is not where the focus ended, Angela knew she had to offer more than a professional nanny care service for the exclusive hotel community in order to build a strong and robust institution – she wanted to offer a marketing opportunity as well as a business opportunity for her hotel partners. The select hotel invitations has created an impressive line-up of luxury hotel partnerships, which has been very important to the impeccable operational standard and what could be explored as a business framework. The more I developed the brand and the company, the more I realised how intrinsically it tied in to the fundamental elements of a hotels marketing and business strategies. By cleverly positioning ourselves, we could clearly see we were actively leveraging the hotels offering as well as influencing parents spending power within the hotel when parents were prompted with the service of our nanny care. We could also see that the careful creation of our hotel partnership ‘community’ – those who our featured on our hotel portfolio page on our website – was actively informing and positively influencing customers making their specific hotel choices and reservations. This proactive approach was key in changing the way people interacted with childcare when deciding where to stay.
The power of the working partnership quickly become recognisable to all parties involved. It is a wonderful position to be in, to have shaken up the existing childcare service model and to have successfully re-created it as something so much more dynamic, involved and resonating with the luxury hotel industry synergy as well as answering the needs of the luxury family traveller.
How did The Hotel Nanny idea begin?
In the past maybe few parents went to top hotels with their children, this is true and so with this a very basic provision was generally ample for the odd request that came through. However, these days we have a very different canvas and demographic of luxury guest and yet the childcare provision had not evolved as a developed service, at least nothing close to being enough to meet the exacting standards of the five star hotel brand values and its customers.
Angela saw the gap in the market from experiencing first hand as a guest when her first child was just 6 months old. She was stunned at the gaping disparity of a the wonderful five star services and facilities that a guest could enjoy within the hotel – until it came to childcare. Once she saw for herself, this glearing inconsistency of service levels this was clearly something she could not walk away from. In so many cases, childcare was the one service that was the most neglected and rudimentary. Furthermore, the experience of childcare varied tremendously from hotel to hotel, from city to city. It seemed such a raffle as to the quality you could receive and what sort of customer service you would come across with each contact you would be given. On occassion, even the discussion on the phone was so poor that I even cancelled my request, feeling less than confident with whatever care would then come knocking at the door. We would then pass up on the fine dinning or spa afternoon that my husband and I were thinking of enjoying. I thought this was a crying shame for the hotels involved to miss out on us being a willing audience to enjoy more of the hotel facilities! I could see there was a huge need for a better childcare service but also that the service needed to be a uniformed professional one on a much larger platform. A UK wide model would then regulate the professionalism, the processes and the experience of a hotel childcare service that customers would feel confident with – regardless of where they were located geographically.
With the idea coming from her past customer experience, Angela has single handedly taken on the luxury hotel industry. She has hence created, crafted and introduced The Hotel Nanny as a luxury must have service. A simple but brilliant business move. Bold some might say, but did anyone listen to you at the beginning? ‘It took time for hotel managers to really look at what we were delivering, too often I was assumed to be another babysitting service but I knew I had to be persistent with our message and to boldly present a stragically and intelligent process that looked fabulous as well as proving we could add huge value to our proposed exclusive hotel community. This is what would make the hotel decision makers take notice. I gave them no other choice but to take notice. I was passionate that I was bringing something very valuable to hoteliers and to the boardroom table.
It was this challenge that Angela knew she had to be successful in turning heads to penetrate such a difficult industry. She says ‘we placed ourselves as correctly meeting current market needs with the growing family leisure sector and we positioned ourselves to give all the necessary support to our hotel partners and train front of house staff and concierge to help increase their room sales, and in-house facility take up – adding value with our innovative and proactive nanny services. We also added website exposure where we list the hotels on our exclusive hotel portfolio page and this together translated strong new childcare values to the hotel properties, staff and their family guests. This undoubtedly gave a compelling package indeed.
This came alongside using their social media to help hotels shout about what they were doing as well as using the ‘THN’ database to keep followers informed of the hotel community and new hotel partners, this has created the centre stage for customer interest and it perfectly platformed the unique partnership and marriage of childcare and hotels never been established before. We have really enjoyed the relationship the marketing opportunity has given everyone, it has embodied our values as actively giving back to the family market in what they want to see of a proactive five star nanny care service, and every newsletter published features combined incentives and exclusive promotions to The Hotel Nanny readership.
How important has it been to build such a strong brand for The Hotel Nanny?
It is absolutely vital and I was clear I needed to have this as a main focus in order to make any kind of stake in the luxury hotel environment. It is a very difficult industry to enter and for obvious reasons. Brand trust, is fostered by communicating and delivering on a defined guest experience, and this was important for my hotel partners to observe as well as this being intrinsic to what keeps family guests coming back to use our service again and again.
I worked very hard to make sure my nannies knew what the brand stands for and that they are true to the brand in everything they do. This was paramount for the service to be delivered and enjoyed in the correct way all of the time. I therefore, introduced The Hotel Nanny brand ambassador pack along with other initiatives. I also had a Guest Experience training program written for us for each nanny to complete when they joined the team. This training all underpins and thrusts forward in a much more unified and defined way what our company values are and how the company is represented.
This is an area where I knew I could and should outshine as a market leader in hotel childcare. The rules were unwritten as I was the first to bring such a business to market, so I was confident that I could follow my initial instincts in where I felt all the touch points were for me as a mother and what would impress me as a consumer of this kind of service. It was really a very privileged position to be in, to find that I was bringing a new business model to the hotel industry, with this I wasn’t being distracted by other similar businesses or feeling dictated to by services that were already regulating the business.
And so I trained all our nannies to embody the brand and what The Hotel Nanny equals. This was going above and beyond anything experienced in the industry before, not only looking at the childcare credentials and qualifications and experience but specifically devising the manner in which nannies should interact with family guests. Unsurprisingly this approach has had incredible feedback from hotels and their customers alike.
It always comes back to trust in childcare and to neglect this would be fatal, as it is what drives consumer behavior. You can see this from my own experience and how it resonated strongly with this aspect. There have been so many uncertainties and variables that has influenced parents’ decisions in the past with hotel childcare that can really the overall impact and whether the guest has a terrible stay, a good stay or an incredible stay. Of course, all hoteliers want their guest to experience the latter!
When customers are thinking about leaving their children to go to the museum, theatre, fine dining restaurant or to relax together and have a spa afternoon, it is more and more focused on looking for who they trust as a provider and this strongly influences whether they go and enjoy these things. Therefore, with every detail and process that has been implemented, this is the very thing The Hotel Nanny brand embodies – trust. We wanted to take out all those uncertainties and variables and produce a consistent, predictable, reliable and impressive framework to guarantee customer trust and translate strongly our impeccable care philosophy. This trust equally gave our hotel partners the conviction to bring childcare in to the middle of their marketing and service engagement with their family guests as we had similarly taken out the uncertainties and variables which led hotels to keep childcare as a periphery service.
Brands that truly stand for something and can consistently deliver a great experience are really hard to come by, but they are essential for the luxury hotel industry to uphold their incredible name and reputation. We feel a great pride to be a part of this industry and we feel honored that The Hotel Nanny is synonymous with excellence, consistently achieving brand superiority and a guest experience focus that hotels feel proud to be aligned with. This message is what I think is at the heart of any successful business.
There are clearly huge opportunities for The Hotel Nanny brand but it seems you are focused on the bigger hospitality picture too
I see my engagement with the hospitality industry as a whole, a stimulating and important one. Hospitality and tourism is an exciting growth industry for the future where ministers and decision makers are really bringing tourism to the forefront of government’s agenda, most notably lobbying for the campaign, cut tourism VAT. Britain needs to be a competitive destination for people to visit, and this will of course have a very positive affect on so many businesses invested in this sector.
I liked Ufi Ibrahim’s comments highlighting that people working in the hospitality area are like the ‘public diplomats of Britain’. As she says, we are the ones giving those lasting, final impressions of the UK, show casing hospitality and the level of service and customer care we are committed to deliver. I very much feel a strong stakeholder in this debate and I feel a personal commitment to Britain’s visitors with the position I hold as owner and founder of The Hotel Nanny.
I hope that my business demonstrates clearly that it is truly driving hospitality and childcare to a new and professional level. This is an imperative. I feel very comfortable with that image as a hotel childcare leader, it’s important for a business to live and thrive in the image of its founder and to boldly take business in to new realms and challenge pre-conditioned limits. I think when there is a strong founder, the core values of a company however large it becomes, rarely deviates from the true values in which the company was originally formed. And as integrity, trust and excellence are the things that resonates so strongly with Angela, it is clear to see these building blocks will go on to redefine the luxury hotel childcare world for many years to come.
H & C News comment
Angela has created a great product for the growing family leisure sector and we hope that many families are able to enjoy the services that The Hotel Nanny has to offer.
For more information on The Hotel Nanny please contact our friendly team.
Address: The Hotel Nanny, The Mews, Tebury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8J
Tel: 01666 504562
Facebook: The Hotel Nanny