Paul Hollywood, director of sales & marketing at Radisson Blu Manchester Airport, talks to JLife’s Kirsty Plowman about being a newcomer to the city and the exciting £10 million refurbishment of the hotel.
What brings you to Manchester?
My husband Alistair also works in the hotel industry and relocated to Manchester to take up a new role with Radisson as general manager of the Park Inn by Radisson Manchester City Centre. We had always said we would move to another city when the time was right, so here we are. I joined Radisson at the end of June so I’m still a new boy in many ways. I was born and raised in Glasgow where I have spent most of my career.
What does your role involve?
In my current role as director of sales & marketing, I manage all aspects of the sales and marketing function in order to maximise overall revenue for the hotel in accordance with the business plan. Of course it’s a team effort and I am very lucky to have a brilliant team in place, namely: Emma, Faith, Claudia and Sharon.
What is your professional background?
My career is starting to show a trend of a migration to the UK’s airports. I studied at Glasgow Caledonian University before taking up my first airport role as sales & service manager for World Duty Free Europe at Glasgow Airport. I spent many happy years there and always said that it was one of the best environments I have ever worked in. It’s a cliche to say but no day was ever the same. There was such a variety of passengers from all over the world.
After a few years I moved on to join Hilton Hotels, where I jumped ship and headed down the M8 motorway to be based at another airport but this time at Hilton Edinburgh Airport. As conference & events sales manager, I had responsibility for the 22 meeting and events spaces at this busy hotel. I spent three happy years in this role before transferring to the five-star Hilton Glasgow hotel. Subsequent roles took me to Hampden – Scotland’s National Stadium -as director of sales and then onto GLH Hotels, who operate the Thistle, Guoman and Amba hotel brands.
How has the hotel developed from its recent £10 million refurbishment?
Wow. Where do I start? This is an extremely exciting time for us. In November we completed an extensive £10 million refurbishment. The hotel has been transformed into a contemporary and design focused place to stay or host an event. Our Business Class bedrooms and lounge on the top floor offer a touch of luxury and are very popular. The feedback from guests has been incredibly positive and they like the changes. In addition to the update to the building, we have been working hard at enhancing our service offering and experience to our guests. Our aim is very simple, we want to exceed the expectations of our guests and deliver a world class service that they will enjoy time and time again. We are well on our way but there is still some work to do.
As a popular venue for Jewish events, what are the current kosher facilities?
Our approach has changed over the years. A few years ago we invested a considerable amount of money in kosher facilities. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, the demand was not there to justify the expense. Nowadays, we don’t offer a full kosher food service. We prefer to do what we do best, provide a great space with great service and let the caterers or event planners do the rest. If a client wants us to provide non-kosher food then we are more than happy to do this but we are also happy to work with reputable kosher caterers.
I have a dedicated team member who looks after the Jewish market. Claudia is working hard to forge relationships with local event planners to spread the word about our newly refreshed hotel.
What private hire options can the hotel offer?
We offer tailored packages that are designed around a client’s requirements. Every event is unique so we tend not to have a one size fits all mentality. Our packages start with a room hire price for the event space and are built up from there.
As we welcome in the New Year, what are the hotel’s future plans?
Our investment will continue in 2015. We have exciting plans to enhance our event spaces further. We will add two Business Class meeting rooms on the ninth floor which offer a stylish and sophisticated space to host board meetings and other high end events. In addition we will be enhancing some of our other event spaces. We also hope to modernise the WC facilities in public areas.
By offering great service we have significantly improved customer feedback and we plan to work even harder to climb to the top. We are already one of the top conference hotels in the UK due to our location and facilities and are seen as the premier hotel at Manchester Airport. Our aim is to be a hotel of choice in the North West too for anyone looking to hold a conference, event or seeking a stylish and contemporary hotel to spend the night before a business trip or holiday flight.