Beales Hotels (www.bealeshotels.co.uk) is an independent, family- run hotel company that can date its origins back to 1769.

Andrew Beale is the 8th generation of Beale to run the business which runs the two highest rated four star hotels in North London and Hertfordshire West Lodge Park in Hadley Wood and Beales Hotel in Hatfield. The business has 170 staff and a turnover of just over £5million.

Andrew shared some insights about what has made his familys business so successful in retaining customers, building a great team and driving repeat business and growth.

One of the key strengths of the business, he believes, is the long service of many of the team, some of which have been with the company for over 20 years. The longest serving member of the team has been with the business for over 37 years!

One of Andrews proudest moments was when Beales Hotels won the National Sustainable City Award at Mansion House in London in 2007, which he believes rewarded and recognised the whole team at Beales Hotels and their approach and commitment to sustainability in business.

Andrew also shared some of his insights with us:

1. Longevity of ownership and staff service are two main keys to building customer retention and loyalty. This is evidenced by the fact that many of their guests have been customers for decades.

2. Treating the staff with the respect they deserve for the hard work they do.

3. Concentrate on what you do best and dont try to be all things to all people.

4. Build a very close knit company with a lot of contact between directors, management and staff.

5. Show commitment to staff. Despite the recent recession, Beales did not make a single person redundant although sales shrunk in the recession. Guests like the authenticity that comes from dealing with real people who are long serving and know what they are talking about. The result was that sales were not as badly hit as many other hotel chains.

6. Always promote from within. Beales believe it is essential to give opportunity to your existing staff and is a vital way of maintaining the company values and culture whilst also providing continuity of service to their guests.

This is a fantastic example of a long-established and thriving business that focuses on its customers and their team.

Can you learn anything from their approach?

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