Welcome to the QHotels blog!

Last year I tasked my marketing team to investigate the benefits of resourcing and concentrating on social media as a new revenue channel.  I’m sure many other hotel companies have experienced, as we did last year, a growth in commission payments to online third party booking agents and raising our direct awareness and presence over as many direct online channels as possible has become a key part of our business strategy.  They came back with some really interesting findings and insights from various industry experts, which led us to ask is social media simply a tool for engagement or can it be used to drive direct revenue?   And does our typical leisure customer actually use social media channels to influence their decision and how?

Then they shared with me an insightful presentation that was given at last year’s FIA annual conference at Cheltenham Racecourse which was given by Sue Antiss from Promote  and highlighted that 2 out of 3 people use social media of some kind, whether it be on Facebook, asking a question on a forum or reviewing a product online and out of this came the suggestion that we create a regular blog with thoughts, views and news from across the group and I thought I’d kick this off.

Ironically, when the marketing team try to show me what we are doing on Twitter and Facebook amongst other social media initiatives, the IT firewall has blocked me getting into any of those sites from my office.  Now they are trying to encourage me to download a mobile app for my Blackberry so that I can check on here instead.  One step at a time please….

But this has led us to really look at how we engage with all of our virtual guests, especially through websites such as TripAdvisor which influences so many trip choices.  I was delighted to see that many of our own general managers respond directly to reviews, both bad and good and it creates a foundation on which we can improve our service and interaction with future guests.   Can we drive direct revenue from social media yet?  That’s still for us to see and test but I’ll certainly keep you posted.

That’s all for now folks.

Michael Purtill
Managing Director

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4 Responses to Welcome to the QHotels blog!

  1. Nick Goring says:

    Hi Michael,

    A very open first post – good on you!

    Will you directly drive revenue from posting/tweeting about your services, offers and promotions? Maybe. However if you are open, honest, engaging and provide relevant information in your updates you’ll find that you will create a loyal ‘fan’ base. More a service provision than a selling tool.

    Give your digital followers the same service as you would in your hotels and they’ll become your advocates who, in turn, will encourage others to check in with you. As such perhaps the best way for you to think about your social media activity is as an extension of your front of house team.

    I look forward to hearing how you’re getting on.

  2. Mary says:

    I’m sorry to say that my comments on your blog are not very favourable. They are given in the hope that future guests will not be treated in the way that myself and my two daughters were treated on our spa weekend last Saturday 26th February at the Hampshire Court Hotel, Basingstoke. We arrived at the hotel mid morning. Had a reasonable check in experience at which time we were told that there was a function at the hotel that evening and at the time they did not know where our evening meal was to be but they would let us know. Our rooms were very nice and we were very pleased up to this point. We went into the Costa Coffee shop and had coffee, had a buffet lunch in the restaurant which was adequate but not that exciting. It appeared that there was a company there possibly having a team building event and we were sharing their lunch which was a bit strange. We then went on to have a swim before our spa treatments. The pool area was a little tired compared to the rest of the hotel and the jacuzzi shown in the photos on the website did not exist (apparently it has been gone for 2 years !). The spa treatments were excellent and we have no complaints about that at all. Our visit actually went downhill in a big way after we had dressed for dinner and after enquiring at reception where we would be having our meal (they did not come back to us as promised) we were told it was in the “Brasserie” which, to our dismay, turned out to be the Costa Coffee shop ! They had put two cloth runners down the wooden coffee shop tables and we were offered the coffee shop menu to choose from for our dinner. Having told the waiter that this was totally unacceptable he finally gave in after talking to chef and offered us the room service menu, this was after much persuasion by myself saying that if we had decided to eat in our rooms the very least they would offer us would be the room service menu. By this time it appeared that there were 9 of us ladies all enjoying a spa weekend but due to the private party in the restaurant we had all been put in the coffee shop for our evening meal and all very unhappy as we had been promised and expected a lovely three course meal in the restaurant. My daughters ordered Nachos to share which arrived topped with lemon cream rather than sour cream ! They then had to send back 2 main meals which were poorly cooked and inedible. I myself ended up with fish and chips ! We spoke to the duty manager who did nothing to resolve the situation at all. He told us that they took a “business decision” to seat us in the coffee shop which just added fuel to the fire as it was the most inappropriate comment to make -we all felt like the poor relations and the hotel valued the custom from the private party of 160 rather more than us. My daughters and I were so disappointed and unhappy, any effects from the relaxation of the spa treatments were long gone and we were more stressed that when we arrived that morning.

    The biggest point I want to make here is that the whole situation could have been avoided. The hotel knew they had a private party of 160 people and they knew they had 9 ladies on a spa weekend. They should have contacted us and told us the situation, giving us the option to re-book another day or accept our seating arrangement for that evening. At the very least they could have seated us in one of the many meeting rooms and made it look cosy, inviting and like a dining room.

    We were all treated very poorly by the hotel, and my daughters and I have vowed to never go there or any other Q Hotel again.

  3. Dan Kelly says:

    Hi Mary

    I am so sorry that we made such a mess of your dinner last Saturday night while you were with us, here at Hampshire Court Hotel. I have spoken to your daughter Katie at length and also apologised to her. We had planned suitable arrangements for dinner for those guests who were not part the large party in the restaurant. Clearly though we did not carry this out and then to compound matters, handled the resulting situation badly as well. I can assure you that as well as compensating Katie financially the hotel will certainly learn from this experience and ensure that we take all the steps necessary to avoid this fiasco happening again. As I said to Katie I completely understand your reticence about returning to the hotel but if you do decide to return please let me know and I will happily arrange it for you myself.

    Dan Kelly
    General Manager
    Hampshire Court Hotel

  4. joanne egan says:

    Please do let us know if ever you want a guest blogger from the conference and venue booking agency side to contribute to your (very good) blog. We believe in the rise of blogs and social media for the conference, meetings and events industry and consider ourselves proactive in this area.

    Please do visit and link to http://www.hoteldesk/blog for our discussions and live business enquiries in this area. I look forward to your blog thoughts!

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