Britannia, one of the UK’s most prominent hotel chains has been slammed after pre tax profits of £20million. This comes amid poor suffering guests enduring broken toilets, stained bed linen, poor service that has been likened to Fawlty Towers and in some cases, rooms that come with either a light and no window, or a window and no light.
I’ve worked in the hospitality industry, and if there is one golden rule that never can be broken, it is that standards must not slip if you want repeat customers. This does eat into your overheads, obviously, but it’s more of a loss leader, as you will end up with a more loyal customer base. This in turn also leads to recommendations by others when they are looking for somewhere to stay.
Word of Mouth is the most powerful marketing tool, and because it’s so powerful, you need to offer something that others will want to talk about for all the right reasons.
For every person that 1 person tells, that person will tell 3 that they’ve heard good things about your business. It’s a simple approach, but it works.
Having stayed in Britannia Hotels in and around Manchester City Centre, I can honestly tell you that they are cheap, but there is cheap, and there is a hovel that you wouldn’t let your dog sleep in for fear of them catching fleas.
The rooms were small, dated, and as mentioned, in one, the rooms had been split up with partitioning walls, meaning the rooms either had a light and no window, or a window and no light.
The service is generally quite poor, and staff morale very low. When I spoke to one young man in the bar one night during a 3 day trip over new year, and he said he was leaving, I asked him why, and his response was ‘because they f*****g treat us all like S**t.’.
That in any other establishment would get you sacked on the spot, but not Britannia Hotels, in fact, they have such a high turnover of staff they most likely don’t care what the staff think, do or say as long as they’re making them money by working them to the bone.
The food is also very touch and go at the chain. Chefs run different ships, and as such every kitchen has a different technique, and different ways of doing things. In one the breakfast was brilliant, a self service hot buffet and a continental buffet with tea, coffee, fruit juices and iced water available.
In another, it was like I’d sat down in a dingy greasy spoon cafe and they literally just threw the food onto the plate.
There is then the question of bed linen and towels. It is not that expensive to boil and bleach them the keep them a pristine white. At £40 a night, I don’t expect a full turn down service, however, not having to sleep on a sheet and mattress that are so heavily stained they look like they haven’t seen a dry cleaner in the last decade.