Brian van Oosten first got a taste for the hotel industry at the age of 14, working in a local bakery in his home town of Ommen in Holland. This experience encouraged him to enrol at Hotelschool, in Hague and after completing his final year placement at St Ermin’s Hotel in London, van Oosten remained in the UK and now has more than 25 years in the industry working as general manager.
Wynyard Hall is a small boutique hotel, with just 19 bedrooms and five cottages.
When van Oosten joined the hotel in 2014, occupancy rates and revenue were driven entirely by weddings and as competition increased, this proved to be a risky strategy. The hotel’s owners also planned to open up The Gardens to the public in 2015, and at the same time ‘The Grand Marquee’, a 650 capacity venue, opened in the grounds. This meant a complete change in strategy to reduce the number of weddings, whilst retaining the same revenue, and stimulating the leisure and corporate markets. Despite this change in tack, this year the venue is on target to deliver £1.2m revenue from a total of 90 weddings, as opposed to 150 weddings generating the same revenue in 2014. The reduced number of weddings has opened up the estate to a new audience. In 2017 Wynyard Hall welcomed more than 100,000 visitors. More than 20,000 people visited The Gardens; 20,000+ people attended private and corporate events and 45,000+ people attended in-house events. The occupancy level of the hotel was 84% in 2017, almost doubling from the 50% it was in 2014 prior to van Oosten’s appointment.