An advantage of being an honorary "St Julian Scholar" is the ability to go to the organisation's seasonal conferences. The latest took place at Lucknam Park Hotel, about 10 minutes from my home in Wiltshire and one of the most luxurious country house hotels in England. Attending were about 40 General Managers from leading hotels, all alumni of the top hotel management schools in the UK, Europe and USA. My simple task was to do a few introductions and keep us to the timetable.
We received inspiring presentations from Springboard, The Edge hotel training school & Cranfield school of management and fascinating insight from the company that compiles the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to work for. But it was a presentation by Karen Plumb from Tripadvisor that generated by far the most questions. Tripadvisor has quickly become the hottest potato in the hotel industry: loved, loathed and feared in equal measure because of its tremendous power to influence customers and the many opportunities it offers to those with a motive for posting false reviews. Despite the strength of opinions in the room I am pleased to say the scholars retained their legendary courtesy and Ms Plumb batted the many questions with a practised ease. The message was pretty clear, look after your guests brilliantly and the good reviews will follow.
Best of all...there was not a single mention of the Olympics!