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The 133-bedroom Hotel Football opened in 2015. It sits opposite Old Trafford football stadium in Manchester and was the brainchild of class of ‘92 footballers Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt.
The winning front of house team has been in place since December 2017 and has set its sights on improving the guest experience with personalised touches that go above and beyond expectations.
In reaching this, team members are encouraged to express their personalities within the workplace rather than sticking to rigid procedures, a change that has been credited with increasing guest loyalty across both Hotel Football and sister brand Café Football.
This approach has been singled out by many visitors, with reviews including: "The staff were amazing, particularly Heather on reception"; "the staff were amazing with my son, they made a big fuss of him on his birthday and the receptionists even had a little kick-about with him on the morning", and "staff were very friendly and helpful, especially Chanel on the front desk".
Team members regularly go above and beyond their job descriptions, taking on challenges such as tracking down an iPad left on a flight to Manchester and locating a little girl's teddy bear that had been misplaced in an Old Trafford restaurant.
The team has also focused on the pre-arrival guest experience with an email or questionnaire sent to every guest before their stay to enquire about additional needs or special touches the team can arrange - particularly if the visit is coinciding with a celebration.
The team looks to enhance celebrations, ensuring a birthday is marked with a favourite drink, treats are left to aid Christmas festivities or decorations to mark 4 July for American visitors.
The front of house team is also looking to introduce stretch and tone classes for guests, along with a 'goals on Sunday' event that will allow visitors to score on the rooftop pitch overlooking the Manchester United ground.
Team development has also been a focus and has seen internal progression, including the promotion of the assistant front of house manager to front of house manager and the development of a receptionist to reception supervisor.
The team's work has come together to help the hotel win the People's Choice award for Best Hotel at the Manchester Hoteliers' Association Awards.
What the judges said
"A strong application showing the strength of going the extra mile, exploring ways to improve delivery and make the guest experience interesting."
Debrah Dhugga, managing director, Dukes Collection hotels
"This was a difficult choice, but Hotel Football has won the award through great innovation in what is a notoriously difficult market. For an independent hotel to show such growth and innovation into a corporate environment, the front of house team has shown character, care and concern for guests and staff alike."
Alistair Sandall, head of professional development, Institute of Hospitality
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2016 Gleneagles Auchterarder, Perthshire
2015 Charlotte Street hotel London
2014 Macdonald Windsor Hotel Berkshire
2013 Radisson Blu Edinburgh
2012 Flemings Mayfair London
2011 The Cavendish London
2010 Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons Great Milton, Oxfordshire
2009 Malmaison Leeds
2008 Jurys Inn Manchester
2007 Rudding Park Harrogate, North Yorkshire
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