Andrew Mosley is general manager of the 201-bedroom Grand Brighton hotel. He tells Katherine Price about overseeing the 154-year-old property’s recent multimillion-pound refurbishment and its growth as an independent hotel after being bought by Wittington Investments from De Vere four years ago
How did you ensure the recent refurbishment works didn’t disturb guests?
We aimed to be as transparent as possible, clearly labelling any potential impact as ‘scaffoldaffected’ on our website. The room prices for what are normally our premium rooms on the front of the hotel were adapted and, interestingly, in many cases they sold out the quickest. Beyond this, we made sure that customers
knew as far in advance as possible about the progress of the works.
What were the biggest challenges?
Delays to the project, as it was never ideal to have to advise customers that their stay or event was going to be affected after all. That said, we have our guests to
thank for their understanding.
What were the aims of the refurbishment?
The facade badly needed refurbishing after years of exposure to sea air and general wear and tear. Rather than repositioning the hotel, the new facade ‘announces’ to the market that the Grand is both refreshed and back to her
former glory, both inside and out.
Did the project stay on track?
We underestimated the timings initially. This is due to the level of care that was required to complete a restoration of such significance, but we also decided to add in works as we identified them.
How involved were the owners in the refurbishment and strategy?
They remain close and inclusive in our business and are very supportive. They knew the work needed doing and were very keen it was meticulous in order to
restore the building and ensure that the hotel continues to look amazing for years to come.
Has the hotel’s ethos or aims changed since becoming independent in 2014?
Yes – our independence has enabled us to behave differently as a team, as we are no longer constrained by company rules and set ways of doing things. Consequently, we’ve seen some superb results, with sales up 13.9% since 2014), team engagement at nearly 90% (the highest it has ever been), and record
highs of team retention and customer satisfaction up 20%.
Is the Brighton hotel market busy year-round?
Like any market there are peaks and troughs, but generally it is buoyant all year. The town continues to rely on attracting conferences midweek and then on the
leisure sector at weekends and holidays. Annual events such as the Grand Brighton Half Marathon and Brighton Pride attract visitors from all over the country.
What are your plans for 2019?
We’ve got our first full trading year without work disruption since 2015, as in 2016 we also installed air conditioning to all bedrooms, which overlapped into
2017. The plan therefore is to spread the message that we are fully open for business again.