Rockliffe rides on Olympic and awards’ success

Rockliffe Hall in Hurworth, County Durham has seen occupancy levels rise considerably in the last year, following the Olympic Games and its success at national awards, leading to further job creation.

As official figures* show that a year on from the Olympic Games Britain’s tourism industry is booming, with many areas enjoying their best year since 2008, Rockliffe Hall has reported an increase in demand especially in the business tourism sector.

New figures revealed by the 5* resort show that, in 2012, average occupancy levels were 68% with this number increasing to 75% for 2013 and weekends now regularly 100% occupied. In turn, this has led to the creation of 30 new jobs with the resort now employing 320- mainly local- staff.

The biggest increase in demand midweek has been from the corporate sector, boosted by publicity surrounding Team GB’s footballers’ stay at the resort prior to the Olympic Games and also winning the silver award for business tourism at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence earlier this year, beaten only by joint gold winners, London’s ExCel and Manchester Central. Increasingly the resort is reaching the attention of major international firms choosing to bring their conferences to the region.

Guests- both business and leisure- are now visiting Rockliffe Hall from a wider range of areas including London and the South East and across Europe, as well as the UAE.

In addition to Team GB, other notable visitors to the resort in the last year have included the US Ladies football team- prior to their Olympic campaign, Samsung, EE, Sabic and the prestigious Acorn Awards, which recognise the rising stars in the hospitality sector. This was the first time in their 27 year history that the awards were held in the North East with previous locations including exclusive venues such as Bovey Castle in Devon, the Malmaison in Oxford, Pennyhill Park Hotel in Surrey and Coworth Park in Berkshire.

In addition, next month Rockliffe Hall will be the host venue for one of the UK’s most prestigious, televised amateur tournaments, the William Hunt Trilby Tour Grand Final.

Managing director of Rockliffe Hall, Nick Holmes, said: “There have been so many post-Olympic surveys and reports many of which claim only London and the South East have benefited from the games. However, we have seen a very real increase in occupancy levels. Business tourism to the North East is definitely on the increase, post-recession, as people realise what outstanding venues, locations and facilities we have to offer.

“But also, more people appear to be taking ‘staycations’ and booking last minute breaks which is contributing to our continued growth. In addition, since re-launching The Orangery, our flagship restaurant, earlier this year we’ve seen a growing interest in lunches, afternoon teas and our more relaxed evening menus. It’s certainly a very exciting time for tourism at Rockliffe Hall and across the region as a whole.”

*Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS)

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