Provide a description of your Tourism offering.
Located at the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, the legendary Harland & Wolff Headquarters and Drawing Offices is now the world’s most authentic Titanic hotel, offering an unforgettable experience for anyone visiting Northern Ireland on business or for a Belfast city break holiday.
Describe how the Summer 2021 season has been for your business?
The summer season has been incredibly busy since we reopened on 24 May. The mix of guests has changed in 2021 over pre-pandemic years, with a noticeable increase in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Great British visitors and a significant reduction in international visitors to Belfast. It has been wonderful to be at the forefront of the staycation experience for visitors and to enliven guests with what we have to offer as a hospitality provider for those who may have always travelled abroad for a summer holiday.
List five things that were different for you in the high season post covid pandemic.
1) All food and beverage experiences were pre-booked to enable us to maintain good social distancing measures across the hotel.
2) Extra cleaning measures in both guestroom and public spaces were in place to ensure we were protecting both guests and colleagues.
3) Weddings were under strict regulations in the earlier part of the summer. Average attendance was lower than previous years, and with no live entertainment allowed we witnessed some great creativity from the wedding parties as they endeavored to keep their guests entertained. Bingo, comedians and much more!
4) Food and Beverage demand from residents was much higher than in previous years. Having our market mix move to more domestic visitors, our guests were dining in the hotel more than an international traveler may. If you are flying in to visit Belfast and Northern Ireland it is more likely you would want to visit as many experiences as possible. The domestic guest is more content to arrive at the hotel, cosy up and remain with us for dinner and breakfast, and of course try few of our wonderful cocktails. It was also a great benefit to have won Best Hotel Restaurant in Ireland for 2020 and 2021, our guests certainly took advantage of trying our cuisine.
5) Staffing shortages would be a big concern for all hospitality providers in the new post covid pandemic world. Many of our valued hospitality sector employees found new careers as our sector was closed for 300 out of 365 days. This has placed immense pressure on service providers to maintain the service levels we as an industry are proud to offer. Known as the ‘Great Resignation’ it has made business be very mindful of satisfying work-life balance to employees while having the proper resources in place for guests.
Based on these experiences, what have you learned to do differently?
Hoteliers always have to think on their feet and strategize quickly to overcome every challenge as no two days are alike. Reacting quickly is fundamental. Balancing guest safety from a virus and providing a luxury guest experience while not looking like a hospital environment is important.
What are your hopes for 2022?
Continuing to provide a luxury experience for our guests, recruiting and training the next generation of hospitality colleagues and ensuring our business levels provide a positive return for our owners that they can continue to invest in us.