Top hotel chain enhances performance

Hastings Hotels Group has improved its sales capability and further increased service levels to boost customer satisfaction, through a £1.4 million staff training programme, supported by Invest Northern Ireland.

Hastings Hotels Group is the largest independent hotel group in Northern Ireland. It includes the Culloden Estate and Spa in Holywood, County Down, the Stormont and Europa Hotels in Belfast, the Everglades Hotel in the City of Derry, the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa in Newcastle, County Down, and the Ballygally Castle on the Antrim Coast.

Invest NI offered over £300,000 towards the total cost of the staff training initiative, including part finance from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The project aimed to further develop the skills of employees across the hotel group, with a focus on increasing room occupancy levels by customers from outside Northern Ireland. In addition, overall service was enhanced in all departments, leading to a significant rise in positive customer satisfaction levels.

Commenting on the success of the programme, Invest NI’s Director of Business Improvement Services, Niall Casey, said: “Hastings Hotels Group is a key player in our tourism sector. By implementing this staff training initiative, it has significantly increased the skills of its employees throughout the group, building their customer service skills.

“As well as providing a better experience for existing customers to encourage them to return to its hotels, Hastings has also raised the skills levels of its sales staff which is helping to increase room occupancy and attract new visitors from throughout Europe and beyond. Overall, the project has improved client satisfaction throughout the group and helped to strengthen the reputation of Northern Ireland as a world-class tourist destination.”

Howard Hastings, Managing Director of the Hastings Hotels Group, said: “This Invest NI and EU backed project has helped us improve our business performance and maintain our reputation as Northern Ireland’s premier hotel chain.

“The training initiative has enabled us to ensure that our customer satisfaction levels are consistently high and services in specific areas such as catering and housekeeping are delivered to the highest possible standard.”

“In addition to the main performance benefits of this programme, employee morale and job satisfaction have improved and this is demonstrated by increased staff retention across all of our hotels,” added Mr Hastings.