The View from The Salthouse | Experience Counts

It is widely assumed that expertise comes from experience.  In the service industry and especially in hospitality, customers generally expect a high level of both; but just how important is it that a consumer can tap in to experience.  Here our editor discusses with Salthouse General Manager (GM) Diogo Abreu, how experience can’t be manufactured: 

Robert Gough, Salthouse Hotel, Ipswich, Waterfront

“It all starts with Robert” explains Diogo.  Robert Gough’s parents purchased their first hotel – The Angel in Bury St Edmunds – 50 years ago, when Robert was a year old.  “Visionary & passionate” - Diogo uses bold terms to describe Gough Hotel’s current MD, but is adamant that it is his boss’ desire to continue to spread the family’s ethos & passion throughout his current-day workforce, that results in a team that excels in customer care.  Experienced directors; Jackie (Finance), Alex (Marketing) and Lynn (Operations) bring a combined experience of 35 years to the senior management team and help Robert stay “2 years ahead of everyone else”.  Making regular visits to all 3 of Gough’s Suffolk venues, the Salthouse doesn’t get the chance to rest on its laurels, as Robert and indeed mum Mary, will consistently check in on goings on.

Diogo, along with fellow GM’s Charlie (Angel) and Peter (Pier @ Southwold) has the duty to “apply operationally, the company’s policies” that result from monthly board meetings.  As with any successful business, the GM’s are encouraged to be verbal at meetings and continually feedback to the directors; and the teamwork that Diogo excitedly talks about is easy to imagine.

Management continually strives for excellence from its front of house team and monthly food tasting sessions of proposed new menu items, undertaken by the board & the GM’s, are an integral part of passing experience & knowledge on to the team and ultimately the guests.  With upwards of 20 new wines due on the list shortly, wine tasting receives similar emphasis.

Last month’s ‘View From The Salthouse’ introduced the role of the Duty Manager (DM) to readers and we finish our chat discussing the DM’s line management of the rest of the hotel’s team “it takes a great deal of time to get to the right level of guest offer” says Diogo and he openly attributes this to that word ‘experience’ throughout the Gough team.