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 Judi Blakeburn, Brand Director for Another Place in the Lake District and Watergate Bay Hotel in Newquay.
What’s your current job role and what does that look like/involve?
I am the brand director at Watergate Bay Hotel and Another Place delivering the brand strategy, marketing, sales and guest experience.
Tell us about the last few months, how has your job changed?
We furloughed the majority of our teams at the start of lockdown so I have been a team of one and have had a very hands-on approach to managing our marketing communications. As a director, I have also been part of the senior team ensuring a positive outcome for our businesses including working to develop a reopening plan.
What is your hotel doing to prepare for the new normal?
We have been working since the beginning of lockdown to review our business, department by department, to understand the changes needed for a successful reopening which addresses the issues of hygiene and social distancing while ensuring our guests still have an excellent holiday experience. We have started by publishing an outline 10-point plan on our website and we will build on this as we get closer to reopening. https://www.watergatebay.co.uk/coronavirus/
Have you changed any of your processes or set-ups?
Yes, a good number. There are changes in every department but all are to achieve the balance of hygiene with having a proper holiday.
What things have the COVID crisis taught you about how people think about travel?
That holidays are fundamental to our health and happiness and that if we can adapt in innovative ways to the new issues of keeping our guests and teams well and safe, then our guests will be happy to stay with us.
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?
We are truly fortunate to have hotels in beautiful, wide-open locations, there is so much space to explore and escape into. The north end at Watergate Bay and the shoreline at Another Place on Ullswater are hidden gems just waiting for guests to discover
When you get the chance what’s the first holiday you will go on?
Like many of us, I have been looking to new opportunities in the UK and was recently introduced to Fforest in Wales – the idea of being outdoors for most of the day really appeals and this looks wonderful. But at the top of my list is Cabu by the Sea at St Mary’s Bay – cabin life, a gorgeous pool and the Kent coast = heaven.
Who will you go with?
My family – husband and two teenage daughters.