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Laura Godman, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
Laura Godman is the front of house manager at the five-AA-red-star Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, the flagship UK hotel of the Belmond Collection, featuring the two- Michelin-starred restaurant under chef-patron Raymond Blanc.
Godman's team collects data from guests and records this information into their profiles for future stays. She has taken this profiling to the next level by putting in place a system to proactively research arriving guests in order to anticipate their needs.
She has also created La Semaine Du Manoir, a weekly newsletter for the hotel's long-stay guests, designed to subtly upsell add-ons such as tours of cellars and gardens, cookery school days or experiences within the grounds, through which she aims to generate £12,000 revenue per year.
Each department is rated a percentage on their service and standards and, in October 2015, the front office overall score was 81.4%. Godman's first step in improving was to host a meeting where team members were encouraged to talk about where they thought performance was weakest, uniting them with a common goal of achieving at least 6% more in the next inspection. Godman created an action plan, focusing on a different area of inspection each month. The next inspection in May 2016 rated the front office 89.1%, the highest overall score for her department since August 2013.
Godman also consults on the hotel management consultancy project for the Bournemouth University and is an active member of the International Association for Deputy Managers and Front Office Managers (AICR). She has assisted in arranging alumni meetings for the Master Innholders Aspiring Leaders, as well as suggesting and working on a mentoring system within the diploma cohorts to support new applicants into the programme. She plays an active part in the Institute of Hospitality Mentor Me programme, having been both a mentee and now a mentor for the coming year.
She mentors and coaches her team by preparing personal development plans with each member, assisting them in finding new roles in other properties, practising interview techniques and helping to write CVs. The plans include career goals and learning objectives.
In January, Godman took her team to visit the studios of Le Manoir's house sculptor Juginder Lamba, teaching them about his work and his relationship with Raymond Blanc. She arranged activities such as stone chipping and wood carving in the studio, followed by lunch with the artist in his home. This has bonded the team with Lamba, and taught them about an important part of the hotel.
Godman has been a companion, a carer and a confidante to many guests, and is dedicated to creating memorable experiences for them, showing her commitment to the spirit of hospitality.
What the judges said
"The calibre of professionalism, attention to detail and guest-centric standards clearly allowed Laura to stand out among other contenders."
Alistair Sandall, AA Hotel Services
"Laura is passionate about service delivery and motivates the team to innovate and create memorable moments for all guests."
Colin Houston, VisitScotland
"Brilliantly guest-focused. Seems an outstanding leader, delivering bespoke experiences. Passion, energy and drive does come through."
Roland Fasel, the Dorchester
Hayley Adcock Aviator, a hotel by TAG, Farnborough, Hampshire
Laura Godman Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Great Milton, Oxfordshire
Arek Nowak Dukes London
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