The last few months has and continues to impact us all in a deeply personal way. While we know for many of you, travel might not be at the forefront of your mind right now, we wanted to work with our hotel partners to reassure you that when you’re ready again, they’ll be there to welcome you back safely. We’ve reached out to some of our bestselling UK hotels to find out how the impact of COVID has affected them and their businesses, and to ask them how they will be preparing to open their doors once again. Here we chat to Mark Bevan, General Manager of Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa in Warminster.
What’s your current job role and what does that look like/involve?
General Manager – this involves every aspect of the business, as the title suggests. Currently, my role is very different from the normal role of a GM. I am making sure that the hotel is safe and secure along with redecorating as much as we can to be pristine and ready to welcome our guests back.
Tell us about the last few months, how has your job changed?
The last few months have seen such a huge change. The first few weeks were almost disbelief of the new reality and how everything had changed so drastically in just a week. Then it was a mindset change to view this as an opportunity to get work done and change things that we had wanted to for a while. We have bought a brand new oven for example and completed some very disruptive works such as repainting the whole of the spa and all the lounges. The restaurant has a fresh new look also. Now we are very much focused on getting things ready for our re-opening.
What is your hotel doing to prepare for the new normal?
We are taking all reasonable steps. From new risk assessments and training for the team to moving furniture and making sure we have an offering that will lend itself to be enjoyed anywhere on the 27-acre estate to individual guest bedrooms. I think we have worked very hard on embracing the new normal and the positives that will come out of what has been, for everyone, a very challenging time.
Can you describe how your hotel has changed any of its processes to ensure customer safety?
We have changed all of our guest journeys from check-in to check-out. They are all as contactless as possible with a focus on still delivering the hospitality that we are known for. The focus is not on what we can’t do, but rather on what and how we can. We have always taught our team that ‘no’ is not an option, we need to find a new way to achieve the experience we offer rather than stop offering it.
What things has the COVID crisis taught you about how people think about travel?
I think it has changed the way people think about travel. I think this will be a lasting change certainly for the next 12 to 18 months. I think that the traveller is now split into three equal sections. Those who just want to go and enjoy travel and get back out on holiday. Those that will travel if they are satisfied that the correct precautions have been taken and it represents value, and the third group who will not travel for the next year or so. For us, it’s all about instilling a feeling of confidence. Confidence not only in our procedures but in an experience that will be enjoyed.
We love to inspire the world to escape, can you share with us a secret travel tip to get people dreaming about their next stay?
My top tip is to make contact and get friendly with the Hotel. They will know the area and the hotel and are better placed to tailor your stay/experience accordingly. I love making that personal connection and actively encourage our guests to do the same here.
When you get the chance what’s the first holiday you will go on?
I really miss the sea so I would love to get away somewhere with a beach and a view of the sea. I find it very calming and relaxing…
Who will you go with?
You can now book a fully refundable stay at Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa