Yet another eventful and busy week. Once again our feet do not seem to have touched the ground. First, we said goodbye to a member of staff who has completed his year's placement from college with us. It was a delight to chair the heads of department meeting at which we discussed his progress and achievements over the past 12 months. He joined us from college with no hotel experience and great enthusiasm at the opportunity to live away from home, and high expectations of full-time employment with full pay. After a couple of weeks the reality set in and he became bored with work, for which he had held such high hopes, and with living 400 miles from home.
However, to his credit, he took observations on board and, with the help of his head of department, buckled down and began to gain a great deal out of his placement. With the support of his colleagues he settled in to his new life and began to see the positive side of life here at Eriska. By Christmas he was an integral part of our dining room team, so that by the time I came to ponder his halfway report we had not only areas of improvement to congratulate him on, but also areas of development we could work on over his remaining session.
In February the hotel reopened after a five-week break. Some staff returned from the previous year and these have been supplemented over the past couple of months with new colleagues and peers with new ideas and backgrounds.
The changes have been drastic: from the boy who arrived 12 months ago with no experience, little self-confidence and limited enthusiasm, to a young man with a year's practice, the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently, and the knowledge that he can be a key member of a busy team.
This is not only satisfying for me, as an employer, and those who have spent time in training and guiding him during his year, but it also provided us with evidence that our investment in staff in terms of training and communication can pay off and provide real returns. We will be sad to see him go, and wish him well in the future in the hope that our paths may cross again.
I also attended our quarterly meeting, which allocates marketing resources and evaluates our previous investments. To my amazement, having opened our site on the Internet only two months ago, we have been able to track five firm bookings, representing a total of at least 20 bednights, and this before we begin to market the site. Having been a Doubting Thomas with regard to the superhighway, I have to acknowledge my ignorance and be pleased just to drive on. If all marketing produced such quick results we would be able to spend our budget more purposefully and possibly even more cost-effectively.
Next diary from Beppo Buchanan-Smith: 6 August