‘Put focus back on hospitality', says Malmasion boss

03 March 2006
‘Put focus back on hospitality', says Malmasion boss

Sale-and-leaseback of hotels is just a passing trend in hotel finance circles, according to a leading hotel group boss.

Malmaison and Hotel du Vin chief executive Robert Cook dismissed sale-and-leaseback as "flavour of the month stuff" and said the industry needed to put the focus back on hospitality.

Speaking at the North West Annual Hotel Conference at the Lowry in Manchester recently, Cook said the industry suffered from too much attention to the bottom line and not giving enough value to the customer.

Cook said: "Sale-and-leaseback is bullshit. If you've separated bricks from brains and enter a recession you're going to look a lot worse when you come out of it, because there will have been no investment in the buildings."

Cook called for greater focus on developing skilled staff with pride. "The next big thing is the return of hospitality. It's difficult to get the right people and it's made worse by the fact that every time a recession comes along the first to go are those from the service floor."

He criticised hotel schools for having the same curriculum as 20 years ago.

"Nobody's told them there's no silver service any more. We need to talk to colleges so we get the right type of skills into the business," said Cook.

By James Garner

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