Case Study – The Gonville Hotel, Cambridge, United Kingdom
In the past couple of weeks The Gonville Hotel received recognition by achieving number one status for hotel accommodation on Trip Advisor for Cambridge. This blog is the story of our contribution to the Gonville Hotel’s success.
We have been working with The Gonville Hotel since October 2013. We were originally approached to deliver recruitment skills training. Not only did we complete the training, we advised on processes and procedures to help attract and recruit the best talent for their teams.
In January 2014 we began our support to help The Gonville with their business transformation. The first workshop we held focused on the development needs of the senior management team. We delivered a workshop based on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Strengths and weakness were accurately assessed and development actions were put in place.
The next sessions focused on developing the vision, values and behaviours for The Gonville going forward. These were determined and then built into the refreshed employee appraisal system that was especially designed. Approaches to employee feedback were revisited and then trained throughout the management team. This work laid the foundations for their customer service training programme – The Gonville Academy.
The Academy was a leadership programme of half-day modules designed around the Gonville Hotel’s needs. Customer excellence was at the heart of all training. Everything was designed to deliver The Gonville’s vision of becoming the hotel of choice in Cambridge. The training also focused on the values and behaviours, everything centred on delivering an exceptional customer experience for guests and included:
- Creating an employee engagement strategy
- Leadership behaviours
- Training and coaching skills
- Group problem solving and decision making
- Project management skills
- Change management
In addition to the Academy, employees also received training and coaching in our unique CORE approach to delivering customer excellence. Leadership and employee training and coaching continues today.
The Gonville’s determination to succeed continued. Running alongside a major refurbishment programme at the hotel we were commissioned to undertake a mystery shop exercise. This prompted feedback to develop customer journey mapping skills. Workshops with managers and key employees were undertaken and processes were reviewed as a result.
We know that Trip Advisor provides the opportunity to listen to customers. However, The Gonville decided that listening to its guests was not enough – they decided to listen to their employees too. Last autumn The Gonville Voice employee survey was launched to invite all employees to give their views on how things can be improved. This has ignited opportunities for employees to suggest improvements and provide feedback.
When guests make their judgements and choose to provide feedback on Trip Advisor they comment on many aspects of their experience as a guest. Rooms, car parking, food and drink are just a few to mention. However, it’s the people that really matter. Highly engaged and motivated employees can only deliver customer excellence. Employees will not be motivated and engaged unless they are well led and managed.
Our training and coaching at Beyond Theory has helped develop the manager and employee capability and thinking that has enabled The Gonville Hotel to fulfil its vision. But we recognise that the hospitality industry is an extremely competitive business. We know that there are no guarantees about remaining at the top. The only guarantee is that competitors will be looking to overtake. We’re proud to continue to help The Gonville remain as the hotel of choice in Cambridge by helping their people remain their sustainable competitive edge.
Paul Beesley, senior consultant, Beyond Theory
6 June 2016