Today, a team of people that I put together will open a brand new and shiny 174 bedroom hotel in the centre of Birmingham and it is going to be hugely successful and award winning … and then the newsagent’s daughter from Stockport woke up!
The dream scenario is how I mostly feel about our achievements over the last five years since we started to talk about building and opening our own hotel group. Are we really doing this, is this really happening? I remember talking to Geoff Robotham, our Property Director, just about five years ago and saying: “It won’t be long and we will be sitting in the
bar with a glass of bubbles celebrating our first opening.” Well it was quite long, it was five years but they have been five years full of excitement and adrenaline and, yes, some days I do feel that I’m dreaming and that we have made this happen against what has been quite a bit of adversity!
I think we have been lucky over this time but then they do say you make your own luck. I do believe sometimes it is just about being in the right place at the right time and having the courage to make decisions and follow through. We were lucky to have sold our former business, Hayley Conference Centres, at the right time, especially for me as I managed to go off and have two children while planning our new venture and enjoy a fantastic mix of motherhood and business. We were also lucky that some great people from Hayley, who have a fantastic synergy, were prepared to devote so much time and energy to pull this dream in to reality and lucky that there were 100 or so new recruits who could see our passion and wanted to be part of it.
I think it was hard for people like Geoff and Nigel Masters, our Finance Manager, at times to keep up with us as some of us had all worked together for many years and had built up an unspoken language. I am genuinely sorry if at times it was tough on the “non Hayley” people because this new experience has made us all such stronger people and we have all, I think, got great value from each other’s experiences, but we are all now in the same position… it’s Day One for Hotel La Tour today and there is a great sense of
Team La Tour!
I also think we have been lucky to work with some great suppliers… we were lucky to work with Jason Born of Salix as without him we wouldn’t have such a fantastic kitchen. We were lucky that through Chris Daffy, who had helped us with customer service projects in the past, we were introduced to Dragonfly who have done the fit out of all the fixtures
and fittings for the hotel and taken an unbelievable amount of pressure off the team. This list goes on and on …
Many of the suppliers have offered so much of their own time to help and support us and it is amazing how a much part of our team they have become, we have had people drafting in their partners and friends to help do the final clean and the final countdown has been full of energy and excitement. I feel hugely proud and privileged to have worked with all of these people to open the hotel.
Whilst the building part has been incredibly exciting, it’s not the clever part. The clever part is about making the business a success and giving the 100 or so new employees
a sustainable future.
For me there are three things that will make us successful … How happy the employees are, how happy the customers are and achieving our budgets. So, it’s finally here. The day when we bring all this hard work to the market and when we really start to establish ourselves.
We will achieve our success because we continually listen to our employees and our customers and change and adapt to their needs so that we can achieve our budget.
Onwards and upwards now – today is the day that the Hotel La Tour group
begins … watch this space.