Cateys 2020: Hotel of the Year – Group: Hilton London Bankside

22 November 2020
Cateys 2020: Hotel of the Year – Group: Hilton London Bankside

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The 292-bedroom Hilton London Bankside was praised by our judges for showing that creativity and innovation can sit alongside global brand standards.

Opened in October 2015, the design-led venue has already received several awards for its first-class facilities and high customer service.

The hotel's ethos focuses on its team members, customers and community, a strategy implemented by general manager James Clarke, which centres on rewarding and nurturing team members. Last year 87.4% of staff said they were extremely satisfied, with a 17.8% increase in staff retention, and the property's customer satisfaction tracker consistently demonstrates high ratings of 75% annually, surpassing the Hilton brand standard. The hotel's last two annual quality assurance audits both achieved a result above 97% and it has twice won the Hilton Award for Excellence.

The property has partnered with the Retail Trust to offer an Employee Assistance Programme, and it also recognises staff regularly. For instance, every Friday a ‘sunshine moment' individual who has gone the extra mile that week is highlighted to the business.

By working with local charities, residents and businesses, the hotel has secured its place as a cornerstone of the community. Last year three members of staff volunteered with mental health charity the Dragon Café, while the hotel assisted with new equipment and meeting space for its annual board meeting. The hotel also hosted ‘Love Thy Neighbour' evenings, with local businesses and residents invited to enjoy drinks and networking, and taster days with local schools to encourage young people to consider a career in hospitality.

The hotel's strategy to drive client enquires has included taking organisers on a Pedibus tour of Bankside and transforming the ballroom into two full-size tennis courts. At Christmas, the hotel sales managers have visited local businesses dressed as Father Christmas, and instead of a PowerPoint presentation, new clients are introduced to the hotel through a life-size ‘boardgame', which involves going from room to room.

Despite increasing competition, Hilton Bankside has not only retained its high market share but has managed to increase it, with an average occupancy level of 94% in 2019 and revenue per available room growth of 12.8% last year.

Innovations from 2019 included the Agora meeting room, which features a ‘press for creativity' button, interactive walls, a tea station with drinks such as a ‘fatigue fighter cocktail', mood lighting and a digital kaleidoscope art piece. The room was designed to bring innovation, inspiration and an element of fun to meetings, and within its first year achieved 50% occupancy.

In January 2019, the hotel launched its vegan suite, spotting a gap in the market. Using the Vegan Society as consultants, all touch points were considered, and in its first 12 months the suite exceeded its occupancy target and with an average customer satisfaction rate of 94%.

Hilton London Bankside stands out as a beacon of excellence in London's hotel market and in the hospitality industry in general, making it a worthy winner of Hotel of the Year – Group.

What the judges said

"This shows you don't have to be a grande dame or sexy and new to win this award. You just have to be outstanding in your chosen market, innovative and run by an amazing team of hospitality professionals." – Danny Pecorelli

The shortlist

  • Artist Residence Oxfordshire
  • Hilton London Bankside
  • The Langham, London

The judges

  • Gareth Banner, managing director, the Ned
  • Michael Bonsor, managing director, Rosewood London
  • Gordon Campbell Gray, founder, Campbell Gray Hotels
  • Harry Murray, chairman, Lucknam Park
  • Danny Pecorelli, managing director, Exclusive Collection
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