The discretion debate: the secrets of staff policies towards high-profile guests


Discretion is a key requirement for high-profile guests, and staff must abide by strict guidelines to ensure this isn’t comprised during their stay. So what is your policy towards those who break your rules of conduct and do you allow staff to post on social media or publicise who they have served during their working day?


Matthew Long, general manager, Luton Hoo Hotel (Pride of Britain Hotels)

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All guests, whether famous or otherwise, may stay at Luton Hoo without concern that their privacy will be compromised by our staff. All employees are asked to respect the privacy of our guests at all times. Our staff are discreet and allow celebrities to enjoy anonymity in our beautiful surroundings. Naturally, many guests will post photographs and talk about their experience at Luton Hoo on social media, which we will welcome and indeed encourage.


Eva Mount, general manager, The Arch London (Pride of Britain Hotels)

We are very clear that we want to respect our guests’ privacy so our team know not to ask for photographs, pictures or autographs. On occasion our guests have given gifts or keepsakes to those they wish to reward personally which is always a huge delight to the team. Social media is a wonderful medium however as we value our guests privacy this is not appropriate for our team. We have a clear policy that discretion is expected and I’m happy to say is respected fully.


Ross Grieve, managing director, Seaham Hall (Pride of Britain Hotels)

We don’t believe it is acceptable for employees to ask for photographs or pictures, and this is a breach of their rules of engagement as it breaches the privacy of the guest. We can’t however, stop the guests posting on social media that they are staying Seaham Hall and this can sometimes can cause disruption. For example, a well-known band stayed with us recently, and despite the fact that their stay had been kept top secret, a band member posted a comment, with an image, about enjoying a latte in our lounge, which resulted in a flock of fans arriving outside the hotel shortly afterwards. At the time of booking famous people into the hotel, sometimes the management team make the reservation under a fictitious name so that even our staff don’t know who the individual/group is.


Emily Watkins, chef proprietor, Kingham Plough

Our moto is every guest is a VIP. There is to be absolutely no picture taking of any persons; guests come to us for a meal not to be harassed. Likewise, no member of staff is allowed to talk to the press other than to politely decline to comment and any staff caught doing so will have a disciplinary.


Chris Ward, commercial director, Farncombe Estate, Dormy House Hotel & Foxhill Manor

Discretion and security are the key watchwords for us with any public profile visitors who use our properties. We always uphold their privacy, without exception. We have a company policy across our properties whereby we will not disclose information on our guests across any form of communication. We take this very seriously as a business and enforce this rule. If a guest themselves chooses to publicly communicate about their experience and mention where they are staying off their own back, that is up to them, but we will not try and facilitate this in any way.


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