Reopening plan Q Hotels – Richard Moore, Group Chief Executive, Q Hotels Group
As the Government continues to avoid giving hospitality businesses in England a date they can reopen, one hotelier isn’t waiting, he’s getting on and carefully planning for reopening 21 hotels on July 4. Richard Moore, Group Chief Executive, Q Hotels Group.
We spoke with Richard to get a fuller picture.
“The key thing to remember is that we are in the hospitality sector, not hospitals. We must remember that although our guests rightly expect to us to provide a clean and safe environment, they don’t wish to be constrained at every step. We must be both responsible and reasonable. On balance, however, we must provide an environment that engages positively with our guests so they choose to return.”
Richard Moore, Group Chief Executive, Q Hotels Group, had been in place just over a month when the Covid-19 pandemic emerged and closed the 21 hotels he manages. “It has been quite a baptism of fire,” he told us. “But in a strange and positive way it has brought the senior team together in short order. Without the crisis it might have taken longer.”
“I’m determined to seek contribution from the whole team and leadership is put to the test under crisis. It has been an unusual situation but I believe we’ll come out of it in a very strong position to move forward and take advantage of the positives.
“For example, I’m sure that for many reasons, not just quarantine, millions more people will take their holidays in the UK this year. Staycation is going to be huge. Over these last months we have carried out research and devised some amazing value, high quality packages under the banner of ’The Great British Breakaway’ to ensure that we are a key player in this expanded market, and the most attractive proposition for anyone wanting to escape and enjoy some leisure time. These special packages will be launched from next week.”
Q Hotels Group consists of 21 of outstanding upscale hotels in the UK, ranging from country houses, city locations, resort properties with amazing leisure, spa and sporting facilities including golf and tennis, to “away from it all” manor houses with expansive grounds on the edge of renowned beauty spots.
“Like everyone else in our industry,” Moore commented, “we had to listen very carefully to understand the direction of travel being suggested by Government. Now it is much clearer. Unless something dramatically changes we plan to open all our hotels to guests in England on Saturday, July 4 and in Scotland, Wednesday July 15.
We didn’t share his opinion and challenged Moore on the practicalities of reopening when the Government had not given a firm date to do so in England.
We stated that we disagreed, saying that the timelines in our view are anything but clear in England. Moore then explained his thinking telling us: “We of course recognise that the Government has not given a full go ahead yet and confirmed hospitality businesses can reopen, but we are working to the date that has been spoken about by numerous Government spokespeople.”
Reopening plan Q Hotels – 4th July
“We have already seen that there is a healthy appetite from consumers to book a hotel stay with us and we are already taking bookings from July 4. We have maintained a team of skeleton staff throughout the Covid-19 crisis to ensure all hotels are fully maintained, and are only asleep as such with one eye open. We can reopen at relatively short notice, and we have recent experience from doing precisely that at our ten golf courses, which are now operating at 75% occupancy.
“Some might say we have a bold view, we know there is demand, we are prepared to meet that demand, and we are confident that we will be able to.
“There are obvious financial consequences not just for us but for all our partners and suppliers.
“We are funding retraining and re-imagining every aspect of our business. Guests will expect a 100% performance from day one and rightly so. For many of our guests this will feel like the first day of freedom and we are committed to ensuring that their experience lives up to the expectation.
“Fortunately our investors have been unwavering in their support for the business and the management team. We are coming back and we are coming back strong.”
We would like to thank Richard for his time and insight, Denis Sheehan, Publisher, H&C News
Reopening: Measure twice cut once