Sally Beck, general manager of the Royal Lancaster London for the past six years, has been named 2019 Hotelier of the Year.
She was presented with her award at a celebratory lunch today at the Kimpton Blythswood Square hotel in Glasgow by Nick Appell of Casna Group, the award's sponsor, and Janet Harmer, associate editor of The Caterer.
Speaking at the event this afternoon Beck said: "I am humbled to be counted among the past winners of the Hotelier of the Year and still somewhat in shock of having been recognised by the judges.
"The millennials and generation Z are watching us and making their minds up about us as a hotel, a company and an industry... there is no right answer, but a reputation as an industry that cares properly about our teams, that pays fairly, gives proper breaks, is transparent about difficult subjects, is one that we need to build.
"During my tenure as Hotelier of the Year, I promise to do my very best to further advance our reputation as an industry of choice and merit for future generations."
Born and brought up within a family of pub and hotel operators, Beck studied hospitality at Grimbsy Institute before starting her first full-time position as a trainee manager with De Vere Hotels in Bournemouth.
Much of her early career was focused on hotel sales and marketing before joining the 411-bedrom Royal Lancaster as hotel manager in 2012. Within a few months she was promoted to general manager.
Beck’s appointment was inspired, with her solid sales and marketing background ensuring the hotel remained operational during a challenging £85m refurbishment and enabling it to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2017 in style.
Most impressive of all is the way she has transformed the culture of the hotel by energising her 465-strong team through the creation of an inclusive environment with the staff being brought into the decision-making process.
Not only is the much improved property now enjoying a boost in revenue, room rate and occupancy, but it is also successfully well on the way to becoming what Beck intends to be “the happiest hotel in London”.
Jonathan Raggett , managing director of Red Carnation Hotels and 2009 Hotelier of the Year, summed up the view of his fellow judges: “In the challenging years ahead of attracting more British talent to join hospitality, I can think of no better person to make this happen than this year’s new Hotelier of the Year."
Seventeen of the past winners of the 37-year-old Hotelier of the Year award, including Ken McCulloch, Peter Lederer and Gordon Campbell Gray attended today's lunch hosted by last year's winner David Taylor, vice-president for UK operations at InterContinental Hotels. Richard Edwards, the first winner of the award in 1983 when he headed the Chester Grosvenor, was also a guest.
To read more about how Beck is inspiring her team to run the capital's happiest hotel see this week's edition of The Caterer.