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Hotel Cateys 2016: Extra Mile Award

30 November 2016 by
Hotel Cateys 2016: Extra Mile Award

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Crowne Plaza Leeds team

More often than not the Extra Mile Award is presented to an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty, but this year an entire team has been recognised for doing exactly that. The 135-bedroom Crowne Plaza Leeds hotel on Wellington Street fell victim to the devastating Boxing Day floods in 2015 and was one of the worst-hit businesses in the city. The hotel's basement, which housed its IT systems, boilers and electrics, along with its car park, were completely submerged after the deluge turned Kirkstall Road and parts of the city centre into a river.

Guests and staff were faced with spending the night in darkness as it was deemed too unsafe to leave the property. Some team members were in the hotel looking after guests for more than 24 hours, despite no power and methods of communication other than mobile phones. The hotel was 70% full when the flooding struck.

The next day, the team rallied round to provide a basic breakfast for the hundreds of guests staying at the hotel over the Christmas period, before moving them to the nearby Novotel. The Crowne Plaza team accompanied them to the property and stayed there while they settled in. A plan was then put in place by the crisis management team, and several staff members were called in from their Christmas break to help.

The hotel remained closed for two months, and after tens of thousands of man hours and £1.2m in repairs, it reopened in early March. Staff not only pulled out the stops in the immediate aftermath of the flood, but throughout the closure. They willingly participated in several projects, while other members were based at the Holiday Inn Express Royal Armouries on the other side of the city, manning a temporary office. The maintenance team remained on site at the Crowne Plaza and the operations team were used in clean-ups, security shifts and sales projects.

Meanwhile, the conference and reservations team set about dealing with hundreds of bookings that needed to be cancelled. Schedules were disrupted and normal working hours went out the window as everyone worked tirelessly to ensure the hotel reopened for the 1 March deadline.

The hotel's directors and owners were impressed with the sheer hard work and determination displayed by the whole team. During the hotel's closure it lost around £1.5m in revenue through the cancellation of more than 3,000 bookings, but it was back to business on the very first night when it was fully booked.

Marco Frik, general manager at Crowne Plaza Leeds, says the costly refurbishment focused on moving much of the hotel's infrastructure upstairs, adding that a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into getting the hotel back up and running.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, officially reopened the hotel at a special reception.

Shortlisted

Crowne Plaza Leeds team

Owen Manod-Williams Cliveden House hotel, Taplow, Berkshire

Jose Silva Dukes London

Clare Wright Lancaster London

Hotel Cateys 2016: Extra Mile Award
Hotel Cateys 2016: Extra Mile Award

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