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IIP Business Champions Case Study: Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel


Investors in People has selected 16 UK organisations as its business champions - beacons of good practice for the way they have improved their businesses through the development of their staff. This is the first in a series of case studies looking at how the business champions achieved results. If you have any questions or comments for IIP or Bodelwyddan Castle, post your message by clicking on add comments at the end of the article.

Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel is owned by Bourne Leisure, part of the Warner Holidays group of 13 hotels and UK resorts. As the name suggests, it’s a Grade II listed building with ivy-clad turrets and walled gardens in a beautiful setting in North Wales countryside. The hotel has 352 beds and a staff of 154 who provide 24 hours a day service for 365 days a year. It’s an adults-only establishment providing three, four and seven night theme breaks offering everything from tranquility to cabaret and dancing.

The Challenge
Hotels rely on a mix of transient resident workers and live-out staff from their locality. Providing high levels of service every day of the year with a full complement of staff is always a challenge. In its rural location, Bodelwyddan Castle was experiencing difficulties in both attracting and retaining staff in most of the range of job roles within the hotel.

The Solution
Management at the hotel had heard about Investors in People but were sceptical about its effects. Another local hotelier who had used and benefited from the Standard sang its praises, and Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel made a commitment to achieve the Standard on his recommendation.

Practices and processes started to change. The business plan was formalised and approaches to development of all staff within it were a key feature. Committees of staff were set up to work on aspects of achieving the Standard. Heads of departments took ownership of the work in their sections. Staff suggestion and reward schemes were set up.

The hotel’s mission was also updated to reflect its wish to be the leading location in the Warner estate - a profitable and cost-effective operation, popular with its customers, whilst maintaining exceptional standards in guest satisfaction and commitment to employee development. It achieved recognition as an Investor in People in 2000.

The Results
The hotel has gone from strength to strength. Investors in People has helped to recognise the potential within the hotel. Staff are developed to be multi-skilled and flexible, and several have been supported to progress to supervisory and management positions.

The hotel has an enviable 93% occupancy rate across the year, profit targets grew by 8% in 2003, staff retention has increased and applicants for vacancies outnumber the posts available. Potential staff now apply on the recommendation of their friends and families.

All staff have a keen eye for controlling costs and, for example, energy bills have been significantly reduced. Successes are celebrated, morale is excellent and Investors in People is now “part of the great culture at the hotel”. It has won the Group’s “Best All-Inclusive Destination” Award and three national tourism awards. Its rate of complaints is continuously falling – it’s the lowest in the group – and the number of compliments from delighted customers continues to rise.

Champion Status
Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel feels it has achieved a great deal and is delighted to have been recognised as an Investors in People Champion. It aims to build on its success and is now actively looking at work-life balance issues for its staff working on round the clock operations in a 365-day year. The hotel has already been sharing its experiences within the hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors and continues to do so.

Networking, comparing experience and learning are firmly in its culture. It has particular experience of communication, motivation, culture/style change, learning and development planning and delivering Investors in People in sectors with a transient workforce. The team will consider mentoring, particularly in the sector and North Wales region.


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