Sponsored by Castello del Nero Residences
Under deputy general manager Ben Seager, the Milestone Hotel’s front of house team has gone to great lengths to keep the hotel at the top of the rankings and maintaining its market share. Having spent much of 2016 rated the number three hotel in London on TripAdvisor, the Red Carnation-owned Milestone made it to number two for most of 2017 and has held the number one slot for a several weeks, too.
That’s no mean feat in a competitive set of 1,076 other hotels, many of them world-class. Recognised for its high standard of personalised, attentive service, the front of house team is key to this performance and it has helped the Milestone increase its Leading Quality Audit score to 90%, having seen a 10% increase in its ratings with Forbes.
To encourage repeat business, the team focuses on what are referred to as TNTs (tiny noticeable touches). Staff ask guests openended questions to ascertain their interests and pass that information down through the team to create personalised gestures that have real meaning. This often results in guests posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, generating PR for the hotel.
There are incentives to encourage new and innovative ideas. For example, as well as meeting the needs of guests, butlers at the Milestone are trained to also look after any pets in residence, from preparing their beds to taking them out for walks, or supplying engraved dog tags and bowls. A pet preference form is sent to owners prior to their arrival, so that the butlers can ensure every single preference is ready and waiting.
Staff retention levels at the hotel are good, and in the past year four team members have been promoted. And the front of house team have even found time to get involved in a number of fundraising and support activities for industry charities, such as the Tour de Cuisine for Hospitality Action and the HACCP Football Challenge, as well as volunteer days in Holland Park and with the local Kensington & Chelsea Foundation, to host a group of 15 students to rejuvenate a local community centre.
What the judges said
“The Milestone was a well-deserved winner in a very strong category. The way the staff look after their guests is impressive and you instantly feel special when you walk into this hotel – it’s all about exceptional service. The staff always know how to surprise and delight their guests.”
“The Milestone offers the best welcome ever. It’s like going home.”
“Ben and his team continue to develop the guest ethos at this outstanding townhouse-style hotel. The Red Carnation team’s training and development ensures that the hotel continues with guest-centric management, proving its worthy TripAdvisor ranking.”
The Grove Chandler’s Cross, Hertfordshire
The Headland Newquay, Cornwall
The Lowry Salford, Manchester
The Milestone Hotel London
Park Plaza London Riverbank
2016 Gleneagles hotel Auchterarder, Perthshire
2015 Macdonald Randolph hotel Oxford
2014 Macdonald Windsor hotel Windsor
2013 Radisson Blu Edinburgh
2012 Flemings Mayfair London
2011 The Cavendish London
2010 Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons Oxfordshire
2009 Malmaison Leeds
2008 Jurys Inn Manchester
2007 Rudding Park Harrogate