HF News  

Midlands hotel director tackles industry workforce crisis as Brexit looms 
Changing the stereotypes associated with the hospitality industry is vital to securing its workforce as Brexit looms, according to Midlands based hotel director, Andrew Sanders. 
As Brexit approaches, the hospitality sector is already feeling the effects where its workforce is concerned. The number of people from overseas applying for new jobs within the industry is falling. Data from the Office of National Statistics estimated that 130,000 EU nationals emigrated in the year to September—the highest level in a decade. According to statistics from UKHospitality, an estimated 700,000 (15 percent) of the 4.5 million people that currently work in the hospitality sector were from the European Union. 
“On average, a quarter of most hotels’ workforce are from the EU. In the case of one of our hotels (Best Western Tillington Hall) 100% of the housekeeping team are EU nationals,” Andrew Sanders, Director at SMB management, part of Hospitality First Ltd, said. “Brexit is almost certainly discouraging EU workers to gain employment in the UK and its becoming a very a serious problem for our industry. Solutions are needed and fast. It’s crucial that both the government and hospitality sector work together to attract more people into the industry. I am on a mission to educate people that a career in the hospitality sector is just that – it’s a career choice for professionals, it’s not just a holiday job for students.” 
Andrew continued, “The hospitality industry is the fourth-largest employer in the UK and we pour in billions of pounds to the UK economy each year. The clock is ticking and it is time to stop talking about change, we need to put our words into action, and the UK government needs to listen.” 
Andrew is amongst a growing number of industry leaders who are also frustrated that the catering and hospitality T-level is not scheduled to be rolled out until 2022 and calls on the government to bring it forward. As well as recruiting and retaining home grown talent, the sector has also put its case forward for the need for a balanced evidence-based immigration system and more education around apprenticeships. 
To boost recruitment locally and educate school leavers about the possibilities of a career in hospitality, Sanders will be visiting schools and colleges throughout the Midlands to talk about what the sector has to offer. 
Andrew concluded, “I started working as a conference porter in the industry some 20 years ago, and I have worked my way up to become a director. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been hard work, but I have loved every minute of my career so far. Hospitality is a dynamic and fun profession, where no two days are the same and anything is possible. I am really excited to talk about my experiences, as well as the practicalities of venturing into a career in hospitality, with local schools and colleges. And I hope that my efforts will encourage a new generation of employees into the industry and go some way to tackle the unwarranted stigma that working in the industry has gained.” 
Crewe Arms Hotel and Tillington Hall Hotel to  
Cut Prices by 7.5% for Tax Equality Day! 
The Best Western Crewe Arms Hotel and Best Western Tillington Hall Hotel have announced that, following in the footsteps of J.D.Weatherspoons, they too will be cutting prices by 7.5% on the 20th September to show their support for Tax equality Day. 
Tax Equality Day is aimed at reducing the level of VAT charged within the hospitality industry. Currently, all food and drink outlets within the UK are subject to 20% VAT, whilst supermarkets still benefit from a zero percent VAT rate. It is believed that by lowering the VAT percentage within the hospitality sector, lower prices can be charged and thousands of jobs will be created. UK Hospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association are also backing the day, and calling upon their members to join them. 
Andrew Sanders, regional general manager at Hospitality First said, “Pubs and bars across the UK are paying a third of their turnover in tax. Supermarkets, who also sell alcohol, are able to keep their prices low because they, in comparison, are only paying around a fifth of their turnover in tax. We believe that the hospitality sector deserves to be treated equally, and that’s why we’re getting involved with Tax Equality Day this year”. 
To show their support, both Hospitality First run hotels will cut their prices by 7.5% on the 20th September on all food and drink purchases, and are urging customers to make the most of the price drop whilst they can. 
Best Western Tillington Hall and Best Western Crewe Arms Hotel are managed by Hospitality First. We also manage Holiday Inn Express Kettering, Holiday Inn Express Castle Bromwich, Holiday Inn Express Preston South, the UK’s first fully branded Sure Hotel by Best Western Birmingham and the newly acquired Northwick Hotel in Evesham. 
Hospitality First take on 
Evesham’s newly sold Northwick Hotel 
The Northwick Hotel in Evesham was sold to private buyers in July 2018, and will now be run by Hospitality First; our leading UK independent hospitality management group. 
We will be adding the Northwick Hotel to our already impressive list of hotel management contracts, including Best Western Tillington Hall, Best Western Crewe Arms Hotel, Holiday Inn Express Kettering, Holiday Inn Express Castle Bromwich, Holiday Inn Express Preston South, and the UK’s first fully branded Sure Hotel by Best Western Birmingham. 
David Reading, Managing Director at Hospitality First said, “We can’t explain how thrilled we are to add the Northwick Hotel in Evesham to our growing list of management contracts. It’s a fantastic venue, in a great location, and we can’t wait to get our teeth stuck into the project. At Hospitality First, we are committed to investing in our properties, whilst maintaining a hotel’s individuality, and demonstrating what it is that makes us unique”. 
The grade II listed hotel is situated in the waterside area of Evesham on the banks of the river Avon. The former 18th century coaching inn was recently refurbished, providing 29 bedrooms, function and meeting rooms, and also a popular restaurant and bar. The recent acquirement of the Northwick Hotel comes as a testament to our thriving hotel management company. 
Clive Nicholls, Chief Executive of Hospitality First concluded, “This was a swiftly-completed transaction, and we are now looking forward to managing the Northwick Hotel, and further building upon its existing reputation in the region”. 
£500,000 refurb for  
Holiday Inn Express Kettering! 
We’re pleased to announce that the £500,000 refurb on our Holiday Inn Express Kettering hotel has started, and will be completed by May 2018. We reeled out the first batch of the ‘new-look’ rooms at the end of January 2018 with huge success. 
On 20th November 2017, we started our refurb programme for all 120 bedrooms at the popular Holiday Inn Express Kettering, followed by the breakfast room, to coincide with the latest Holiday Inn Express Generation 4 specifications. The renovations will be completed on a rolling basis, refurbishing approximately twenty rooms at a time, working from the top to the bottom. 
Marie Nickerson, our General Manager at Holiday Inn Express Kettering said, “Our refurb has been a great motivator for our team – we’ve been really excited about giving the place a new, stylish feel and can’t wait to show our regulars, and new clients, what incredible value for money they can get when staying with us. We pride ourselves on creating a comfortable, accommodating environment, and the refurb really has helped us to stay ahead of our game within the area”. 
The refurbishment works include the hotel’s bedrooms and the corridors, with re-decoration taking place in all areas of the hotel. Some features within the rooms that have benefited from the refurbishment investment include brand new TV systems, a fresh lick of paint, new bedside electric points and ironing boards and irons in every room. 
Our Kettering ‘pet and family friendly’ hotel opened in 2009, and has consistently received positive feedback for our laid back, simplistic approach to running a hotel. With it’s convenient road connection location, and local landmarks including Wicksteed Park, Boughton House, and Kelmarsh Hall, the Holiday Inn Express Kettering boasts a great base for anyone travelling through, or indeed to the Midlands – be sure to pop in and say hello! 
The cost of refurbishing all 120 of the rooms within Holiday Inn Express Kettering is around £400,000, and the breakfast room refurbishment, to be completed within the coming months, is worth around £100,000. With a renewed drive for customer satisfaction, we’re hoping to see many more of you come and stay with us in 2018/19! 
One of our hotel managers signs up for three peaks challenge after two ruptured brain aneurysms 
Our fearless General Manager at Holiday Inn Express Birmingham - Castle Bromwich, Claire Cowlishaw, has signed up for the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds for the charity Headway Coventry and Warwickshire after she suffered a Subarachnoid Haemorrhage in February 2015! 
In February 2015, Claire suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage – a rare, and often fatal type of stoke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain after two aneurysms had ruptured. The charity Headway UK helped Claire with her post-operative cognitive development, and helped her to regain her confidence after suffering memory loss. 
With the help of the charity, Claire was able to return to her much loved full time role with us as General Manager at the local hotel after just 8 months – what a superwoman! She helped to set up a support group within her local area alongside her daughter. Claire also hosted a ‘superhero’ charity ball which raised over £3,000 for Headway Coventry and Warwickshire, and we’re so proud to have her as a part of our ever expanding team. 
Claire said, “I spent six weeks in hospital, but when I came out, I had no idea what had happened to me, and what my future held. After researching my condition, I found the charity Headway UK. I went along to my local support group and felt truly inspired to help raise money for the charity, and people with brain injuries. I visit the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire once a month to offer support, and give out booklets to try and help patients and their families when they leave hospital. I’m really looking forward to the Three Peaks Challenge, and hope that this new adventure will inspire others and show that there is life after a brain injury”. 
The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge involves a 23 mile walk to climb the three highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales, with an elevation gain of over 1,000 metres. Claire is hoping that, with the support of her family, friends, and co-workers at the Holiday Inn Express Birmingham - Castle Bromwich, she will be able to raise a substantial amount of funds for her chosen charity. 
If you’d like to join us in donating to Claire Cowlishaw’s challenge, pop on over to her findraising page at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/clairecowlishaw1. 
Tillington Hall Hotel team up with Stafford 
food bank this Christmas 
One of our fantastic hotels, Best Western Tillington Hall in Stafford, will be teaming up with ‘House of Bread’ Stafford food bank, to help keep up with the drastic increase in people visiting food banks in times of hardship. 
The Stafford charity, ‘House of Bread’ have just launched a winter campaign which aims to make the vulnerable and homeless, more comfortable when they visit their food bank. The charity aim to provide something to everyone in need; from those who don't have a home, those who are socially isolated and struggle with loneliness, to those who have to choose to either eat or heat their home. 
House of Bread’s winter campaign includes the implementation of washing facilities – a shower and a wet room so those who visit House of Bread can wash and clean, washing machines and tumble driers so that they can have clean, dry clothing, and case workers to provide a link between what they can provide, and giving help to those in need. 
Andrew Sanders, Regional General Manager at Hospitality First has said, “We are working in partnership to support this local organisation to supplement people who need extra help. We look forward to working with House of Bread to help the community over the Christmas period. We all know how tight things can get around Christmas time, and want our community to know that we do care, and it feels really nice to have an opportunity to give back”. 
The success the hotel has seen over the years has been largely down to its clients and customers, and of course the local people who hold events, come for dinner and more. Our team want to ‘give back’ at this time of year, which is a financial struggle for many. 
We’ve set up a food donation point in one of our public areas where guests, staff and the local public are urged to make donations of food, clothing and toiletries along with what our Best Western branded hotel will put forward – We hope that many of you will do the same! 
Weston Light Display; 23 year old lights up Christmas in sister’s memory for 5th consecutive year 
Graham Witter, the 23 year old ‘Pride of Crewe – community individual’, has announced that he will be bringing back his magical winter wonderland, Weston Christmas Light Display, for the fifth year running in memory of his late sister. The event, set to bring a little bit of the North Pole to families in the Staffordshire region, will run from the 1st-28th December this year, and we’re really proud to announce that we will be helping to support the event! 
The inspirational light display was originally set up by Graham Witter in 2013 for his late sister, Jessica, who suffered from Cardio-facio Cutaneous Syndrome, severe epilepsy and many complex health needs, but had a fascination for colour, light and sounds. Graham sadly lost his sister in December 2015, but continues to put on the annual event in her memory, raising funds for the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice who provided respite care and endless support for his parents. 
Graham Witter, founder of the Weston Christmas Light Display, said “I’m really looking forward to this year’s event. This is my special way of saying ‘thank you’ to the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice, who provided our family with support in so many ways. It’s really exciting that this has turned into a yearly community event which brings so many families joy. Everyone has always been so generous – entry is by donation only, but last year I raised £22,680. I’m hoping that this year, I will be able to at least match that”. 
Having raised over £40,000 since 2013, the young fundraiser has announced an impressive line-up of activities for this year’s event in the hope of adding even more to his total this year. Along with personal visits from Santa Claus every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening, children and adults alike will be able to step inside Santa’s workshop, have a selfie with the man himself, fill up on festive ice cream from the Mr Whippy van, view the unique light display, enjoy the animated Christmas village, and much more. 
With sponsorship from our Best Western Crewe Arms hotel, the Weston Light Display is set to be the highlight of Cheshire’s Christmas calendar. Starting on the 1st December, and running through until the 28th December between 6:15pm and 9:00pm at Carters Green Farm, Jack Lane, Weston, entry to the light display is by donation, and organisers are urging visitors to invite their whole community along to join in the festivities. 
For more information about the Weston Light Display, visit www.facebook.com/westonlightdisplay. We’ll hopefully see you there! 
We’re charged and ready to go! Electric car charging points are here! 
We’re really pleased to announce that electric car charging points have been installed at some of our most popular hotels, and we are rolling out installation dates for all of our remaining hotels within the coming months. 
The Department for Transport figures have predicted that electric car sales will rise by 172% every five years, and there are calls for areas such as London to increase the amount of electric car charging points available in order to avoid charging point rage, as the amount of UK drivers who own electric cars increases. 
Andrew Sanders, regional general manager here at Hospitality First said, “Here at Hospitality First, we recognise the shift in the way people are buying cars – especially commuters who are frequent users of our hotels. With more electric cars on the road than ever before, we wanted to ensure our facilities meet the needs of an ever-growing number electric car owners. Four of our hotels are already kitted out with electric car charging points, and we’re looking forward to seeing our whole portfolio completed within the coming months”. 
In a bid to increase the ease of use for electric car drivers across the UK, we have, so far, installed the electric car charging points at the: Holiday Inn Express Birmingham- Castle Bromwich, Holiday Inn Express Kettering, Holiday Inn Express Preston South, Best Western Tillington Hall Stafford and Best Western Crewe Arms Hotel  
According to Chargemaster, the suppliers of the charging points for Hospitality First, by 2020 there could be over 250,000 electric vehicle drivers within the UK. We have already received incredible feedback from our clientele about our charging points, and are looking forward to seeing the rest of our hotels reap the same rewards! 
Hospitality First have launched a new  
marketing platform website! 
Today we’ve announced that we’ll be launching a new website offering customers the best rates and packages for hotels. The new venture, HotelFeature.co.uk, will be launching on the 28th September, 2017. 
According to PwC, the regional hotel sector is still experiencing growth, despite the forecast of economic unpredictability for 2017. An increase in so called ‘staycations’ and domestic travel is set to boost the UK hotel industry, and the drop-in value of the pound will see the UK’s tourism industry increase. 
Not wanting to miss out on our slice of the pie, and hoping to stay ahead of the game, we’ve set-up our new website, HotelFeature.co.uk in order to promote all hotels managed by Hospitality First in one place. The website will offer customers the ability to register for special offers, find exclusive deals, and the ability to book packaged deals for the best prices. 
Working in conjunction with our current portfolio of hotels and our social media efforts, the website will also promote reasons why guests should choose to stay in our hotels and locations, highlighting the best sights, sounds and experiences that the UK has to offer. 
Andrew Sanders, Regional General Manager here at Hospitality First said, “We’re really looking forward to the launch of HotelFeature.co.uk. We’re promising to offer discounted rates at all Hospitality First managed hotels, and potential customers will be able to click through from the site to access special offers. We will also be working with local attractions at each location and include links to their websites, as well as offering packages that will include entry to these attractions – the future is looking bright, and 2018 is going to be a great year for us”. 
HotelFeature.co.uk is due to launch on the 28th September 2017, and our team are aiming to develop the site over time to become a complete marketing platform for all hotels under our management. We’re also looking to offer the service out to other independent hotels, many of whom find it hard to keep ahead as marketing budgets struggle to compete with larger hotel chains, and give them the ability to be promoted through the site on a commissionable basis. 
If you know an independent hotel who would benefit from our new website, and it’s services, please get in touch with us! 
Our site uses cookies. For more information, see our cookie policy. Accept cookies and close
Reject cookies Manage settings