What is the status of your venues right now?
All of our 12 Brand Homes are currently closed, and we expect they will continue to be for another few weeks, depending on how the situation evolves. All of the distilleries are still running and producing alcohol as normal, and many are now producing hand sanitiser as you can see here.
How are you staying in touch with your employees?
Each site has a daily online meeting, and we connect globally once a week. Numerous meetings are taking place every day, and we are finding that we can get more work done without the travel/commuting. We are also learning a lot more about each other as we beam our calls from our home and meet extended families and pets which is great!
How do you motivate your sales team right now?
This crisis has actually enabled us to put down our daily workloads, look up, and strategically review how we do business. We are making great roads on several strategic projects which are often side-lined for more pressing work. For many of us work has actually increased, and we are doing 10+ conference calls a day with the time, but we take this time as a gift, and are excited about making changes to improve our Brand Homes and guest experiences when we reopen. We are also taking this time to work closely with Hotel Republic to make sure they are familiar with every Brand Home, by doing in detail product refreshers with our event leaders and making sure they are ready to sell the best type of events for us when the market comes back.
How do you see the future for the rest of the year once the crisis passes?
That’s nearly impossible to answer as we all know! The first lesson is to be more prepared should another global event like this occur, as the speed of change seems to have taken the whole world by surprise. We expect a slow bounce back, and a significant reduction in footfall/events in the Brand Homes for our peak summer period. We aimed to shift our booked events for April & May to later in the year where possible. We expect the effects of this will be felt through the entire financial year but hope to recover as best as possible. We look forward to coming back hungrier and stronger than ever before!
What are the unique selling points of your venues?
We have several USP’s!!! We offer highly unique venues to the MICE market – which are unlike anything else. Our venues tend to be more rural, but all feature heavily in local provenance, unlike many MICE venues which tend to be more generic. Walking through our vineyard in Cognac at the exclusive Le Logis Grey Goose or enjoying a Laverstoke cocktail by the chalk stream of the river Test in Hampshire are unforgettable experiences. We prize each region we are in, celebrate local delicacies and heritages, to ensure our guests know exactly where they are in the world. We are also backed by some globally recognised brands like Martini, Patron, and Dewar’s to name a few, which offer clients strong partnerships from names they can depend on for their events.
What message do you have to MICE bookers in the UK who will read the interview?
Stay strong and connected! This is an unprecedented time, but we are all in the same boat globally, and we will bounce back better than before! Use this time to think different about how to do business and come back improved.
We are also using this time to reintroduce our business to the market and go deeper into our destinations and experiences with our clients – so will be hosting ‘virtual tours’ of our properties in the coming days, so look out for announcements from Hotel Republic and online – please join us if you can!