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Earth tones

We've arrived at that time of year of falling leaves and fading colours. In a few weeks time when the perennials are bare, the evergreens will take centre stage again, and rightly so. An evergreen is an unchanging, reliable and ever-beautiful part of the landscape of nature. Perhaps it's for this reason that nature - both the changing and unchanging aspects of nature - will always inspire interior decor. This inspiration is a typical and a good choice for hotel rooms and foyer spaces as it has a universal appeal and doesn't date quickly. If at no other time of year, the festive season is a particular season which sees the outdoors come indoors as we adorn decorative twigs with fairy lights, create wreaths from...

Club 18-30

There's been a fair bit of coverage of a new type of club 18-30 where membership has nothing to do with age and everything to do with size. The 18-30 stone club has been the feature of newspaper articles and even a recently aired ITV programme My 18-30 Stone Holiday (catch it while you can on ITV Hub). The programme features a group of plus size British tourists as they encounter The Resort, the world's first hotel that caters specifically to the needs of plus size guests. Situated on the picturesque Caribbean island of Eleuthera, The Resort lays claim to be the only hotel in the world where the hotel experience has been customised for plus size guests considering everything from the reinforced sun loungers,...

Country seat

Wouldn't we all love to escape to the country?   Some days the frenetic pace of our lives can feel all too much and life somehow feels like it would be so much simpler, healthier even, if we upped sticks and retreated to the countryside.   And it must be a popular fantasy as it's one people tune into daily on Channel 4! Not only does it make for excellent daytime tv viewing, there's something quintessentially English to yearn after a country seat like the sweeping and romantic properties featured in our favourite period dramas.   Back in reality though, what is it we really love about the idea of escaping to the country?   For most it has a lot to do with escaping...

First things first

The old adage that applies to most customer-facing industries is that ‘the customer comes first’.   That's all fine and well in theory but, in business, there are a huge number of factors that fight for first place on a day to day basis.   So what comes first in your hotel?   Is it your customers, the welfare of your staff, keeping investors on board, managing your work-life balance, your own plans and ambitions for growth, keeping ahead of local competition, increasing your occupancy rate? If it is your customers, which ones? Hotel guests, bar users, restaurant guests, are they even the same customers?   Looking albeit very briefly at a few priorities that face many hoteliers, it's clear to see working in management...

Eye of the tiger

So you think you need to travel to Zambia to sleep alongside tigers? Think again.   Tiger Lodge is the newest lodge at the Port Lympne Reserve and offers wildlife lovers - or those in search of a quirky night away - the chance to sleep in a stunningly beautiful and well equipped lodge under the watchful gaze of the big cats just the other side of your window.   Find out more about the stunning Tiger Lodge with its breathtaking views at aspinallfoundation.org   The Port Lympne Reserve isn't about gimmicks, it's an authentic, wow-factor experience that is incorporating hospitality into its pre-existing wildlife reserve; it's a striking concept done well.   The question of how easily a guest would sleep alongside the big...

A friend in need

Most of us know what it feels like to have had a friend in need.   When you have a friend who's living through a crisis it can be very difficult to know how you can help them and what advice to give. But, sometimes, the only help they really need is to be with you, and to have a sense that you're living through what they're living through.   Calling your friend is great, taking them out for a coffee is better still, but for a friend who means everything to you, taking them away from their problems - if only for a night - to make new memories could be the difference that means everything to your friend.   And, with National Friendship...

Damp squib

Ever looked forward to a romantic camping trip under the stars with your special someone, only to have the damp, lumpy sleeping surface and creepy crawlies suck the romance from your trip?   Or maybe you've looked forward to a romantic weekend B&B getaway with your loved one, only to have the damp, lumpy mattress and creepy crawlies suck the romance from your trip.   Two examples of special getaways that turned out to be damp squibs, with strikingly similar characteristics.   An unfortunate camping experience might be unforgettable but, in the context of the great outdoors, it's all forgivable and will no doubt be something to look back on and laugh about.   A sub-standard B&B experience is equally unforgettable, but much less so...

Summer loving

For guests in search of a summer of love, forget jet setting away somewhere, sometimes a romantic B&B is just the ticket.   The most successful B&B’s can often be the ones that market themselves for specific types of getaways. Romantic getaways are natural fodder for the UK short breaks market and, in context with their diverse locations and settings, these stunning B&B’s are at the top of their game:   For beachside romance visit:   Blue Moon St Ives, Cornwall   Offers urban style in a coastal setting with plenty of cosy seaside romance thrown in.   http://www.bluechipholidays.co.uk/cornwall/st-ives/blue-moon     If yours is a groovy kind of love visit:   Studio Farrows Aller, Nr. Langport   A beautifully eclectic, artistic, spacious, memorable and unique...

Ostrich effect – part II

This week at Millbrook Contract Beds, we've been thinking about the hazards of sticking our heads in the sand when it comes to disgruntled guests. In particular, those hazards can be manifested in stinging online reviews, some of which are plain unfair.   And, this is where the ostrich effect once again comes into play as it turns out even the ostrich itself is the victim of unfair press...   Contrary to popular belief, ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand: the myth probably originates from the bird’s defensive behaviour of lying low at the approach of trouble and pressing their long necks to the ground in an attempt to become less visible. Their plumage blends well with sandy soil and, from a...

Ostrich effect, part I

No hotel can afford to keep its head in sand when it comes to disgruntled guests.   Gone are the days when a difficult guest leaves and staff breathe a sigh of relief that they didn't actually unleash hell at reception. Nowadays all that means is that they're about to unleash hell online, in social media or within review sites; the effects of which will be more long lasting and damaging to your business than a few ruffled reception staff.   So much has changed and, yet, so little has changed in terms of the best way to smooth things over with a displeased guest. The key is to train and empower staff to deal with problems BEFORE guests leave. Have a plan in place...
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