This industry isn't known for patting itself on the back - but if a hospitality business came up with an idea that cut staff turnover by half, improved sales year-on-year or boosted levels of customer satisfaction to a record high, it's fairly certain everyone would want to hear about it.
It's this ethos of sharing innovation and ideas that lies beneath the new Business Excellence Awards, which aim to recognise outstanding business achievement in the tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors.
Launched by the Best Practice Forum earlier this year, the 2004 Awards showcase working examples of best practice in service and management. In particular, they reward those businesses that have done the most to sharpen their competitiveness and increase productivity.
Three winners and two highly commended entries were honoured for their ideas at a presentation lunch held at Claridge's, London, on 22 November. Each of the winning initiatives met the judges' criteria for clear evidence of measurable, year-on-year business improvements resulting from the entrants' ideas.
The award-winning entries included a new management system giving greater empowerment to hotel managers, a staff feedback survey to improve performance and service levels, a recruitment initiative dedicated to reducing staff turnover, a computerised learning resource for front-office staff and new customer-needs driven caravan storage area. Each entry to the awards was given a free benchmark report comparing their performance with the forum's benchmark index (for a free benchmark report on your business, see opposite).
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, British Hospitality Association chief executive Bob Cotton, commented: "If we are to build a British tourism industry worth £100b by 2010, we need to ensure visitors have a first-class experience. Investing in tourism is essential to achieving this."
Julia Sibley, chief executive of the Savoy Educational Trust, agreed, pointing out that a positive message was vital to help crack skills shortages. "We need to get across that the hospitality industry is a great place to work, that it offers a serious career with amazing opportunities and that it is hugely rewarding," she said. "Through the Best Practice Forum, industry can learn how to adopt best practice, increase productivity, produce consistent profits and be good employers."
The first prize was a £3,000 scholarship, donated by Savoy Educational Trust, to attend a business school programme at Ecole H"teliŠre de Lausanne, Switzerland, as well as an inscribed crystal trophy. Two further scholarships of £1,000 and £750 were awarded as second and third prizes.
The Business Excellence Awards are organised in conjunction with the Savoy Educational Trust, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Caterer Group.
Best Practice Forum
The Best Practice Forum was launched by the British Hospitality Association in 2001 to bring together key industry partners and businesses in the hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors. Its aim is to encourage best practice - the adoption of new ideas and techniques to improve business - so that productivity and profitability are raised to world-class levels, particularly among small businesses, which make up 85% of the 300,000 establishments in the industry.
Members include the British Holiday and Home Parks Association; the British Association of Leisure Parks Piers and Attractions; the British Beer and Pub Association; the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions; the British Hospitality Association; Business in Sport and Leisure; the Meetings Industry Association and the Restaurant Association.
Supporters include the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; the Department of Trade & Industry; Caterer & Hotelkeeper; the British Institute of Innkeeping; the HCIMA; the Savoy Educational Trust, and the Hospitality Training Foundation
For more information, visit www.bestpracticeforum.org or telephone 020 8977 4419.
- Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge
- Mary Chapman (Chartered Management Institute)
- Forbes Mutch (Caterer Group)
- David Parsons (Institute of Customer Service)
- Miles Quest (Wordsmith & Co)
- Ruud Reuland (Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne)
- Julia Sibley (The Savoy Educational Trust)
- Simon Turi (People 1st)
Overall Winner: Hand Picked Hotels