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Hotels must boost service levels to survive slowdown, says Thistle COO

20 May 2008 by

Thistle Hotels chief operating officer Chris Gillett has urged mid market hotels to "pull their socks up" if they want to survive the credit crunch.

Speaking to Caterersearch, Gillett said the mid market sector had been "dumbed down" in recent years and needed to address service standards urgently to avoid going under as the economy slows.

Gillett said: "Twenty years ago high levels of service were prevalent, but this was dumbed down following a drive for short-term profit.

Hotels began looking for a maximum return for shareholders. Now business are realising that markets go up and down and that they must focus on the long-term market."

Gillett warned that any mid-sector operators offering "mediocre" service to customers would lose out and the only way to protect themselves was to "establish a strong brand with great service".

He also admitted that the Thistle chain had become a "tired product" in need of an overhaul in order to win back customers.

Thistle has just started an 18-month £100m refurbishment programme across its 32 properties. It has ambitions to expand to 50 properties within the next five years, also.

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By Gemma Sharkey

E-mail your comments to Gemma Sharkey here.

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