We spoke eviivo’s Star Amongst Star 2017 award winners Abbots Grange about taking the crown as the ultimate Hidden Gem!
Did you enjoy the awards night?
Yes! This was a spectacular event and a real privilege to attend.
Congratulations on winning the star amongst stars, how does it feel to win?
Hugely proud and very, very happy.
Do you think winning awards like this help your business?
Yes. Because the Eviivo awards are highly prestigious with an expert judging panel. That confirmation of our service standards is very reassuring and has inspired us to reach for the next level. It is a great accolade for our staff and will assist in their future careers. It is also a quality mark for our suppliers without whom we could not operate. Finally, its a fantastic marketing opportunity which we can capitalise on in the future.
Would you advice other B&B’s to enter themselves for awards?
Yes. It has all sorts of benefits internal and external.
Tell us more about your property?
Abbots Grange is a 13th century manor house set in 8 acres of land within the Cotswold village of Broadway. It is recorded on Pevsners ‘The buildings of England’ as being one of the best preserved monastic, domestic properties in England with a rich and colourful history. It was built in c1320 for the Abbot of Pershore as his summer residence and would have been occupied by a small contingent of monks. The village of Broadway grew around the manor house and continues to this day as a vibrant, and beautiful Cotswold village with numerous restaurants, hotels and boutique shops. The land immediately around the house is ancient with a very large Roman settlement found in recent years and evidence of nomadic communities from the mesolithic period. The house itself is constructed from Cotswold stone under a stone roof the central portion of which comprises the Great Hall. later additions include Elizabethan and Tudor parts with later 18th and 19th Century wings. The House was owned in the late 18th Century by American artist Francis Millet who together with fellow artists including John Singer Sargent, Claud Monet, Austin Abbey, William Morris and others started what is now known as the ‘Arts and Crafts’ movement. Many well known works of art were produced in the studios and gardens at Abbots Grange including Sargent’s ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose’ – regarded as the finest impressionist painting outside of France.
How did you get into the B&B business?
Once our children had left home back in 2010 we decided to develop the guest house business which occupies 6 bedrooms and suites in the 11 bedroom property. Coming from an entrepreneurial background in the restaurant business the step into accommodation was not so great.
What do you do to make sure you stand out?
We pay high regard to our website and to ensuring that our presence on all of the OTA sites is as good as it can be. We always seek to go the extra mile with guests as ‘word of mouth’ is the most powerful marketing tool over time. We ensure that all of our marketing materials are well designed with good use of very high quality photography. We work hard to give guests an ‘experience’ rather than just bed and breakfast however – getting the ‘bed and breakfast’ part right is key.
What’s the most important thing about running your own accommodation?
Being all over it 24/7 from a management standpoint. Attention to detail is key as is a welcoming and really warm host and staff team. Politeness and courteousness is key. Knowing when to engage in conversation and when to leave guests to themselves or with others is important. This is a skill that develops over time. Ensuring you have a good grasp of your business’s finances is vital and tracking performance over time. B&B’s can win hands down over 4 and 5 star hotels at the top end of the market because its a very efficient business model. B&B’s can offer a level of personal service that outstrips even the finest hotels. If B&B owners are able and prepared to approach their business’s professionally they can provide all of the luxuries found in 5 star hotels but with the addition of very personalised levels of service that hotels really struggle to offer.
What’s the best part about being in the B&B industry?
Being acknowledged for the very hard work and effort that is involved. This materialises through conversations with guests, reviews and awards. Not having to commute to work!
Do you have any memorable guest stories?
We get many celebrities staying with us at Abbots Grange. Recently Lenny Henry checked in and stayed in the Abbots Chambers which is a wonderful room with ancient oak beamed, vaulted ceiling and heavily carved four poster bed. We welcomed him in to Broadway’s “premier inn” – which he found very amusing! We were thinking of dressing the room in purple but thought this was probably a step too far!
Read more guest stories here.