The eviivo team were absolutely thrilled to hear the news that one of our customers, Edgar House, had been crowned the ‘Best Small Hotel in the World’ in TripAdvisor’s recent Travellers Choice awards. So we spoke to Tim who co-runs the business about what this big win means for their business.
Congratulations on winning TripAdvisors Best Small Hotel in the world, what does winning this award mean to you?
Enormous amounts! We started the business in 2013, but the property needed a lot of love and care for three years before opening. We put our heart, soul and money into it, and we just knew that we wanted to do this. We spent all of our time making sure that guests were happy and making them feel special and spoiled. That’s our focus every day, so we don’t think about things like the TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice awards really. So it just astonished us when we heard the news. There are no words to explain it, so thrilled and humbled, it’s just incredible!
How important are review sites like TripAdvisor to your business?
Oh enormously, it’s the go-to place and first port of call for a traveller when they find your website and want to find what other people are saying about you. It’s so powerful, and there is no denying it, it has had some great press and bad press; but when you don’t have a marketing budget because you’ve spent it all on your house, what people say about you is incredibly important. It has been a real vital part of how we do business. It has done such a great job on gauging how happy people are. Luckily they’ve been lovely about us on review websites like TripAdvisor.
You have an amazing 432 excellent reviews, so how do you encourage such great reviews?
We don’t encourage reviews at all, we just mention on the bottom of their statement that if they would like to leave a review, we’d very much welcome the feedback. It’s entirely up to the guest and we don’t really talk about it, we don’t push it.
Do you reply to all reviews?
The intention since we opened is to reply to all, because people have taken the time out of their busy lives to say something to us; and whatever that thing is, it deserves acknowledgment. We are grateful for any feedback, so it’s important that we take the time to say thank you.
How do you keep guests coming back?
A lot of the feedback we get is about the attention to detail. We always make note of what guests like and don’t like, so we bring that into their following stay. It doesn’t matter if it’s a particular type of pillow, or different toiletries or if we know someone likes Jack Daniels, we make sure we have it in. If it’s a birthday or an anniversary, we write them a card and get them chocolates and we do it because it’s something we would love. We check if they need anything and if we don’t have it, we go get it for them, we also make sure they have our telephone numbers so even if they are out walking, and they want to know the name of a nice café for example, they can ring us and we will guide them there. We will book zoo tickets or theatre tickets, like a mini concierge service, whatever they need, we want the answer to be a yes, and if we physically cannot do it, we will come up with an alternative for them.
What makes a stay at your property different?
Well we are very lucky as we are overlooking the river, which means that we are quiet but we are very central. We’ve got a lovely garden overlooking the river and the balconies are a big draw especially on a sunny day. We’ve got a wonderful new restaurant that we opened in November and we have a mini cinema that people love. Our honesty bar is well received as people have said it’s so nice to be trusted, they just write down what they’ve had and we pop it on the bill for them. One thing that’s really important to us is room size, we do have different room ranges, but they are not different standards, all of our rooms are roughly the same size, all have king-size beds, luxury robes, and floor heating in the bathroom. The only real differences are whether or not you have a balcony or a free standing bath as well as the rain shower. Otherwise the standards of quality and comfort are the same.
What advice would you give someone who has just entered the small hotel industry?
Think about what’s important to you when you go stay somewhere. That can be anything from having enough plug sockets in the right places to leaving treats or things you weren’t expecting to make you feel special. That’s where we started, noting the places we liked and what we found frustrating, and taking that on board.
What’s your story behind how you both got into the industry?
My first jobs were in the hotel industry, my mum worked in a hotel and I got a job there too. Then my mum and dad bought their own place in Derbyshire, so I worked there for a few years learning about the different departments. After they retired I looked for something else in a different field, but I missed it and wanted to get back into the hotel industry. Mike worked in the IT for the hospitality world, but was not front of house, so he really wanted to try that and he also desperately wanted to do some renovation work, he wanted a property challenge. So we looked for something that we could put our stamp on and was a renovation challenge at the same time. So it turned out that Edgar house fitted the bill perfectly for us.
Edgar House has been an eviivo customer since opening in 2013, and we could not be prouder to have played even a small part in all their success.
See their website here.