Pearls of Wisdom Profile Blog – Joanne Barratt

Joanne Barratt

QHotels Group Operations Manager, Joanne Barratt, talks about how important a strong team culture is in maintaining excellent standards and achieving great results within the Conference & Events sector.

Be passionate.  I've always loved hospitality, specifically the conference and events sector. From taking the initial enquiry through to the buzz of setting up on the day and seeing satisfied faces walking out of the door, I still enjoy the whole process. It's what drives me each day and it's an enthusiasm that lives through the company too. For our efforts to then be rewarded with industry recognition such as the VenueVerdict Gold Standard Group and No.1 Large Group awards earlier this year, it's the icing on the cake.

Your people are the key to your success. A team approach is so important in this job and at QHotels we work to lead and motivate our people - ensuring they're happy and committed is what has enabled us to get where we are today. I've been involved in the recruitment process from the outset and how individuals fit with our culture is an integral part of that, whatever the level. We invest heavily in training and development, and in turn, we reward those who continually go that extra mile for us too.

Keep your mind, eyes and ears open. We're constantly driving innovation within the sector but the only way we're able to do that is to look around, monitor trends, competitors and also look outside the industry to see what technology is next. It's something I do rely on our people on the ground for, recognising the emerging customer needs but also what tools and offerings will help make us stand out. I remember the day we installed our first conference projector, it was revolutionary at the time! Now we're introducing a free dedicated event broadband package, allowing hosts exclusive internet use to live stream conferences - it's brilliant.

Exceeding expectations should be at the heart of the business. We work with each hotel on a standards review every six months to see how we can develop our product to meet the needs of each event booker - every hotel's piece of feedback is key to this. There isn't a standard package that works for all and that's where we stand out against competitors, we tailor our offering to each individual, from food to décor and technology. Our brilliant C&E teams then build events that not only fit the brief but surpass expectations too.

Listen to your customers! Feedback frames every change we make within our business, whether it's the survey feedback we get from guests at the end of their stay or the quarterly results from BDRC Continental's VenueVerdict, we're continually putting feedback into action to make the QHotels experience better for everyone who visits.

My advice to anyone entering the sector…You must have tenacity and energy for the job - it's catching and deeply influences the teams you work with and the results you produce. Our Which? No.1 UK Hotel chain rating speaks volumes for our dedication to great service across the board and it's down to the engagement of our teams who deliver it and are willing to go above and beyond. It's the satisfaction of knowing you've done a good job which is embedded in our culture and still motivates me every day!





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