The team at Holiday Inn – Wembley
When lockdown was announced, the hospitality industry, along with many other sectors, had to close down to the public. With such a loss in bookings, and with close restrictions on opening for any consumer use, the Holiday Inn London – Wembley’s senior management team decided to pivot, offering accommodation to those heroic frontline staff who were required across the country and away from home, facilitating them to conduct their jobs while knowing they had a comfortable and safe place to stay.
By working with the government contractors, the 336-bedroom hotel welcomed over 10,000 guests working in London during lockdown, including doctors, nurses, paramedics and other departments of the NHS, alongside other key workers from industries such as rail, construction, and pharmaceuticals.
Additional benefits were provided to further assist key workers in such trying times, including free car parking for all, which normally costs from £15 per day, 20% discount on food and beverage and 50% discount on laundry, allowing for the hotel to continue to pay staff and cover costs while looking after national heroes.
Room service tray charges were removed, for those who were too tired to eat in the restaurant, or wanted to reduce mingling due to their high-risk and high-contact jobs, and overall B&B prices were supplied at the lowest possible rate, to cover basic room costs for the hotel’s budgeting. Reception remained open 24/7 to ensure guests always felt safe when returning home regardless of shift patterns, and the team made extra efforts to get to know each guest so they were always met by friendly faces. When possible, guests were given their preferred rooms, or moved to be near friends, and dining times were changed to accommodate out of hours shift patterns. On Fridays, an extra thank you was given, through sweet treats and cakes.
This diligent creativity, paired with excellent customer service and attention to detail enabled the hotel to create alternative revenue streams that generated significant funds without profiteering. In total, over £1m net revenue was made during this period, despite heavy discounting on all services and offerings, which allowed the hotel to remain open and keep staff employed during lockdown.
In addition, a whole new customer base of over 10,000 people were reached, with many sharing their words of gratitude through personal cards and notes after staying at the hotel.