As Pride of Britain Hotels celebrates its 40th anniversary, we continue in our series of spotlights with some of the collection’s longest-standing members.
Next up, we speak to Sue Williams, General Manager of Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa in the Cotswolds. Sue is also the current Chair of Pride of Britain Hotels
What are your reflections on Pride of Britain Hotels’ 40th anniversary?
“It is remarkable what can be achieved by the drive and passion of a few good and true hoteliers! I think the principles are much the same as when POB Hotels was first established: quality, friendship, support and shared values.
“When the membership was first established it was the brainchild of Gerald Milsom, who identified that by harnessing the energy and momentum of a collection of independent hotels, the message could be carried far and wide, and that developing a quality brand would benefit a whole collection of fine, quality independents.
“As we reach our 40th year, the organisation has never been stronger or more progressive in its marketing techniques, establishing it as one of the most effective marketing tools for independent hotels in the UK today.”
How has Pride of Britain Hotels changed over the last 40 years and adapted to the current climate of the luxury hotels sector?
“We have seen a tremendous shift towards fully harnessing the best of the digital tools in the market today. It is a whole new era with new challenges – a key issue being staff shortages. As a marketing membership, we cannot make this problem go away, but we hold regular forums for our members, where we gather quality speakers and provide a medium via which members can network and share knowledge about success stories. For example, this year we have arranged Sustainability Marketing, HR and Finance Forums for members.”
And how has the world of luxury hotels changed over the last 40 years?
“Our world has changed in as much as hotels are now looking after guests with even higher expectations, guests looking for memorable experiences with elements included that truly enrich their lives.
“We are also finding that more and more guests are taking an active interest in the sustainability of our properties, and this is another new challenge for members to learn about and introduce into all that they do.
“We are also seeing guests booking longer stays.”
What are your forward views on the Pride of Britain Hotels brand in the years ahead, and how do you think it will continue to serve its members and guests?
“It is good to see an increase in the number of approaches from future prospective member hotels, as they too can see the value in the brand association. We remain fully focused on quality so we can – and will always will – ensure that our members represent the very best in the UK today. We will continue to serve members by ensuring that our marketing skills are cutting edge; many members will not have the necessary resource in house so we can almost become an extended member of their team, helping to ensure that their properties are found and booked easily by future guests.”