Business Connect are no stranger to the hospitality sector and have been aware of the good work that the Manchester Hoteliers Association has been undertaking for some time now. We met with Adrian Ellis, Chair of the association, and also General Manager of the Lowry Hotel in Salford, to find out more about his own hotel and also the work of the Manchester Hoteliers Association:
Tell us about your career in hospitality?
“My career started with my grandparents who owned a number of restaurants in Suffolk. I started helping out and listened to their stories over the course of a few years. From there I went to University in Norwich studying Hotel Management, and then straight into private hotels around the area, eventually ending up in London for several years before ending up running a private hotel back in Norwich. That was the 90’s, which was followed by working abroad in various countries until my return to the UK in 2015 where I’ve been at the Lowry ever since.”
What would you say is the difference between the Lowry and other hotels?
“The 165 room Lowry has been around for the last 20 years and many of the staff have been with us for a lot of that time. This creates a personalised touch that means our staff can anticipate the needs of our guests as they know this hotel and the surrounding area really well. I think we also have a ‘Boutique’ feeling but can also cater for the corporate marketplace really well. We also have a lot of physical space around the site of the hotel. Our rooms are some of the biggest in the City, and although we’re very close to the City centre we are in a very quiet spot. Along with the roomy feel of the site of the hotel we have ample secure car parking, a restaurant awarded two AA rosettes, a spa with 8 treatment rooms and a gym. However, the one differentiator for us is the quality of experience for our guests and the personalised service that we have established our reputation on.”
What facilities do you offer to the business community?
“We offer 8 meeting rooms and a ballroom which takes up to 200, used extensively for conferences, luncheons and exhibitions. We also cater extensively for corporate clients, particularly with areas like Spinningfields and the City Centre just a short walk away. Corporate dining is important, and we can accommodate up to 250 diners in the ballroom, with our restaurant catering for 80.”
You are the Chair of the Manchester Hoteliers Association. Can you tell us more about the organisation?
“The Association has been active for about 10 years now and we currently have just over 50 members, who are very active with meetings every 4 to 6 weeks. We have an annual ball that is next coming up in January where we give awards for ‘the best of the best’ for many positions held within the sector – these typically attract over 600 attendees and the event raises money for charity too. We run a football competition and also several charity and educational programmes during the year.
“We work on 4 key subjects. Firstly business – driving more business to the City in terms of tourism, international business, conferences and events. Secondly sustainability – how we can work to cut our carbon footprint, how to cut down on food waste for example. Next is recruitment – we are working very closely with Manchester Metropolitan University in the form of a mentorship programme. We also work with colleges and this year have started working directly with schools. The aim is to bring young people into the industry, encourage them to think of this as an industry of choice and offer different programmes to help students appreciate the opportunities in the sector. Finally charity – this year we are supporting Mustard Tree who help the homeless in Manchester. We also support Wood Street Mission helping children in poverty in Manchester and Salford, and Hospitality Action which is our industry charity.
“As a group we are very close and there is a lot of camaraderie, and we also work closely with a lot of institutions in the City – Marketing Manchester, the Council, for example.”
Do you have to be a hotel to join the association?
“You do have to be a hotel to be a fully-fledged member, but we do have partners that are affiliated members, organisations like the MMU, Marketing Manchester, CityCo, for example. When we have meetings our affiliates attend as well and we all work together securing the future growth of the sector in Manchester.”
To find out more about the Manchester Hoteliers Association visit www.manchester-hotels.org.uk