Mantras for Success
The most preferred way to succeed is to choose a ZigZag path, and that means learning from various roles. One should get into a position, squeeze out the most from that, and then move to another one to learn something new. Doing this will eventually lead to the identification of the most appropriate role. Persistence is key to success. Showing tenacity and endurance helps us in the market place by preparing well for the future. Timing is everything. One must have the patience to wait for the right timing to make things happen.
Encounters with Hard Times
COVID-19 is not the first hard time that Bespoke has witnessed. The first encounter of Bespoke with a hard time was when it was first set up 20 years ago with the Mad Cow Disease. Travel had stopped. It resulted in a business loss for three months. Post this, Bespoke Hotels have also gone through times of SARS, Avian Flu, and Recessions.
Talking about UK business, Bespoke had a mixed ride. They have closed down all of their hotels, sent 5,000 employees on leave, borrowed money from the government, and worked very hard to pick up other pieces of business. Bespoke recently signed off a deal to help some of their other hotels that would have otherwise gone busted for COVID reasons. They plan to restart these hotels in the coming winter. The first three will open in August, and then the opening of the remaining 40 hotels will eventually follow. Bespoke is calibrating every hotel and is taking a measured approach for reopening hotels.
Bespoke has several deluxe properties, and they are amongst the first to reopen. They do not find pricing an issue for these properties. In mid-markets, hotels are price-sensitive, and Bespoke is changing the rates and functions daily. Considering the North and South corners, Bespoke has got five coastal hotels. It is looking at top-end hotels enjoying occupancy that is even higher than the last year same time with room rates being the same. Bespoke has a different dynamic for the mid-market hotels as these hotels are dependent on event-lead activities. As events are not happening currently and hence, these hotels are struggling.
Health and Safety Protocols
Bespoke has prepared a comprehensive manual that they possibly could, and have been doing numerous online and practical training for its employees. There are documents in place that enlists the principles and guidelines for health and safety measures. In all of their hotels, it has displayed the security measures along with dos and don’ts.
There is no correlation between price and health & hygiene facilities. The customers are checking the availability at a destination, and they are taking it as a given that health & hygiene facilities will be of the best quality. This expectation cascades down from a luxury hotel to an ordinary one.
Bespoke acknowledges the business that OTAs bring. However, they will hold out direct bookings from the hotspots for the upcoming few months. They will allocate certain bed counts to OTAs and will manage the rest via direct bookings.
Corporate and Digital Strategy
Bespoke operates on a central hub corporate strategy where they spike out things from the center. While it runs on a hub and spoke model, it also emphasizes creating local heroes. In such cases, they let the local facilities operate while providing necessary support from the center. When it comes to digital, Bespoke is doing quite a bit of activity on Google Ads and other digital platforms. They have become reasonably professional when it comes to operating on social platforms like Facebook. They have not utilized the power of Instagram yet but are working towards it.
Technological Changes Post COVID-19
Bespoke is working on giving more power to their website and trying to make it mobile-friendly. In terms of Artificial Intelligence, they are working on a couple of pilot themes with much more AI influenced booking mechanics. For internal communications, they have an app that ensures that all the internal departments are connected seamlessly. They are using walkie-talkies but interested in switching to mobile devices.
Bespoke is opening a new 88 bedroom hotel called “The Telegraph” this October, with the soft opening taking place on 23rd-24th October in Coventry, England.
About the Author
Harmeet Singh is the Chief Executive Officer at RateGain. He is a highly motivated, passionate, and gritty global executive who has a demonstrated track record of delivering financial and operational results. He has extensive experience in mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and integrations that includes working in over 10+ countries throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia.