Viewpoint: Taking a leap of courage

15 September 2015
Viewpoint: Taking a leap of courage

The entrepreneurial hotel manager is a fearless beast, and one who should be admired, says Peter Hancock, Pride of Britain chief executive

A new booked landed on my desk this week, entitled How to Buy and Manage Your Own Hotel by Miles Quest and Peter Nannestad. It gives wonderfully practical advice for aspiring hoteliers.

Deciding to become a hotel owner seems to come naturally to some, as though it was the easiest thing in the world, and any pressure they may feel is brilliantly disguised. Entrepreneurs are not afraid of risk; they can sleep at night while owing millions and are impatient to see their ideas come to fruition. It is upon entrepreneurs that the nation depends for all its employment and wealth, bearing in mind that everyone in the private sector either supplies or works for one, and that governments only know how to spend what the private sector creates.

So the one thing we can safely say that all hotel owners have in common is that they are fearless, at least to the extent that they trust their own instincts enough to go it alone. I have a deep admiration for such people and enjoy meeting them from time to time. In fact, I may even get a chance to honour one or two in my capacity as master of ceremonies for the awards at the Independent Hotel Show, taking place in October. As you might guess, we have lots of them in our consortium, though an increasing number have chosen to delegate their businesses entirely to able general managers, who often possess similar characteristics in their approach to life.

In the weeks following Chancellor Osborne's budget, much has been said about the effects a higher minimum wage may have on our industry. I do not feel qualified to argue for or against the concept, but it is worth remembering that while owners can earn fortunes during good times, they can also go for months or years with no income at all and are at risk of losing both their jobs and their homes if things turn nasty. There is no living wage for employers.

Much of this was probably in the late Gerald Milsom's mind when he set up Pride of Britain 33 years ago, deriving the name from the collective term for a group of lions - surely the most fearless of creatures.

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