Hospitality Assured Award winners were recognised for their outstanding customer service and business excellence at the Institute of Hospitality’s Annual Lunch this week (9 June 2014).
The winners cover a wide cross-section of the hospitality and tourism industry, including a residential conference and training centre, a five-star hotel, a tour organiser, mental healthcare hotel services and a university caterer.
The five awards comprise a mixture of earned awards (the highest scoring organisation and newcomer) and those selected by the judges: Ufi Ibrahim FIH, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association; Andrew Lockwood FIH, associate dean and Forte professor of hospitality management at Surrey University; and Peter Ducker FIH, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality.
Highest Scoring Organisation - The Møller Centre, Cambridge
The Møller Centre is a purpose-designed residential management and training centre. Assessors found forward thinking and clever market positioning has allowed the Centre to ‘buck the trend’ and exceed its financial targets. Clients are cosseted throughout their Møller experience which allows the centre to have 80% repeat business - a great achievement these days. There is also much evidence of development of emerging markets, thereby spreading the risk of over-dependence on any one region.
The centre’s commitment to consultation with all departments at all stages of change has generated enthusiasm and motivation at all levels and endorses the one-team philosophy. This is the third Hospitality Assured Award for The Møller Centre; it previously picked up the same award in 2009 and 2011.
Highest Scoring Newcomer - The Landmark London
The HA assessors found within The Landmark a strong desire to achieve high levels of excellence in all that the organisation does. This ethos permeates the whole organisation and was clearly stated by all those who were interviewed. Allied to the drive for excellence, and contributing considerably to the success that The Landmark has achieved, is a very
strong team-working and communication culture. Everyone helps others to achieve their goals and a number of staff described The Landmark as “one big family” and “the best place I’ve ever worked.” These fundamental aspects of excellence have been successfully embedded into the culture of the hotel over a number of years and are fully supported by the excellent leadership of the Executive Team and the managers.
Most Innovative use of the standard - Rabbie’s Trail Burners
Rabbie’s Trail Burners was established in 1993 to provide small group tours, which provide the customer with a personal experience that they would not normally expect from a larger, organised tour. Tours are operated out of Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and Dublin.
The emphasis on customer feedback from a number of sources ensures that the company continues to meet its overall goals relating to customer satisfaction. Consistency in the delivery of customer service is helped by the clear and thorough documentation of procedures and standards, high volumes of customer feedback and the internal checking processes. The operating procedures are subject to continuous review and improvement. Flexibility of staffing, increasing levels of multi-skilling and comprehensive training programmes all contribute to the achievement of high standards and tremendous customer feedback. A ‘community’ of Rabbie’s enthusiasts is currently being developed.
Champion of the Year - Ernest Grainger Oxford Brookes University
Ernest Grainger is Quality Manager for Hospitality Services at Oxford Brookes University. Amongst a range of duties, he is responsible for ensuring customer feedback is at the centre of decision making. His nominators said that Ernest is passionate about how the customer promise is promoted and ensuring that customers know what the organisation is committed to providing and staff know what is expected of them.
“It is down to Ernest’s constant review of how we collate, report and respond to the challenges of our business and that we are able to evidence where we have made improvements and the effect these have had.”
His nominators concluded: “Ernest is a true champion for the HA accreditation and we are endeavouring to extend this accreditation to other areas of the business. He is also a pleasure to work with.”
Team of the Year - St Andrew’s Restaurant and Catering Team, Northampton
St Andrew’s is a charity providing mental health care for around 1,000 patients at a number of UK sites. The catering team based in Northampton believes in involving patients in menu design, and has worked to develop eight separate menus that are tailored to specific patient groups. The quarterly patient meal satisfaction survey subsequently leaped from scores of 55% to scores over 80%. The team has improved its score with Hospitality Assured, using the standard as a development aid. New initiatives have included:
A new in-house qualification for Hotel Services Assistants called “Proud to Serve” that consists of a 95 question test that covers basic areas of catering through to health and safety. The test is completed within the first three months of employment at St Andrew’s and enables staff to achieve a standard level of knowledge in all areas of their roles.
In-house food safety training used across the charity for catering and clinical staff saving £12,000 in the first year.
Joining a food purchasing consortium at the beginning of 2013 with the intention of saving £120,000; this has been exceeded with savings of £145,000.
Hospitality Assured is the only standard within the hospitality industry that focuses on the customer experience. It is championed by the Institute of Hospitality and supported by the British Hospitality Association (BHA).
The standard is fully endorsed by both the British Quality Foundation and the Quality Scotland Foundation as meeting the criteria in the EFQM Excellence Model, which is owned by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM).
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