“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” is a quote attributed to the late management consultant, Peter Drucker. Whether he actually said this or not is still up for debate, but it is a maxim by which many in hospitality management work.
However, consider this: What if it were only half true? What if, in launching a new enterprise, you were to create a culture from scratch? This is exactly what Bespoke Hotels did in the creation of Hotel Gotham, winning them the Launch Campaign award at the 2016 Caterer.com People Awards. From the very beginning, this was an ambitious and expansive project.
“The idea came from the 1920s/30s design of the building,” explained Charlotte Summers, Head of People and Development at Hotel Gotham. “With this previously being a bank, this fed the minds of our team to create characters with stories behind them which we feature on our website.”
Bespoke Hotels opened Hotel Gotham on King Street, Manchester in April 2015 and in doing so, fashioned a unique world, a world in which Preston Sturges meets Bruce Wayne, a world in which guests could immerse themselves completely. However, their creation also served another purpose. In order to bring this idea to luxurious life, Bespoke Hotels required not only the skills, but the mind-set of the finest hospitality staff in the Greater Manchester area. They set about creating a series of online videos that teased the upcoming hotel, they hinted at flavour and mood and featured fictional, stock characters who set the scene of what was to come. The thinking behind this was thorough; Bespoke Hotels needed staff who knew the local area and who understood and bought into the world that was being built. Equally, they needed candidates who could be discreet and play their role in ensuring that when the hotel finally opened its doors, it was as dramatic an event as possible. It was essential that they recruited in line with their brand personality, attracting a team who boasted quality local experience, alongside the flair and passion needed to bring Hotel Gotham’s unique character to life. The teaser videos were a huge success in paving the way for the first recruitment advertisements. Within 24 hours, Bespoke Hotels received 836 applications.
Charlotte Summers said, “The hiring criteria was all about personality, confidence, cheekiness with hospitality experience. The interview was about auditioning and testing the team on these areas within our behavioural framework. This was broken down into four specific areas – ‘Dazzle’ at first sight, this being all about the first impression – ‘Capture’ your audience and cast warmly, this being all about relationships – ‘One Cast’ mentality, focusing on teamwork and ‘Curtain call’ always striving to achieve an encore, which is all about the guest, their uniqueness and anticipating their needs before they need them.”
Hotel Gotham’s on-boarding too fed into the theatrical scope of the whole enterprise, with ‘cast members’ being given a Gotham “script”. It was a fun way for the hotel to be able to present their rigorous service requirements and standards in an engaging, original and entertaining manner, without the process becoming draconian or excessively dry.
All key team members recruited during this time are still in place, including Hotel Gotham’s Sales Manager, Head Chef, Front of House Manager, Head Housekeeper, Maintenance Manager, F&B Manager, and Reservations Manager. Charlotte feels that such a high level of personnel retention is testament not only to the passion and dedication the team has for their business vision, but also the precision of the recruitment process itself, which ensured candidates were able to demonstrate their commitment to the Gotham brand.
Bespoke Hotels are overjoyed at their win at the 2016 Caterer.com People Awards. Charlotte Summers said, “It means everything to be recognised for our achievements in this fairly small boutique hotel. We thought it was special, however finding out that our peers feel the same as we do means the world.”
We congratulate Bespoke Hotels on their well deserved win in the Launch Campaign category at the 2016 Caterer.com People Awards and wish them and Hotel Gotham continued success.