I have to say the run up to our awards are exciting, exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. Exciting because we never know what we are going to see, exhausting because there are a lot of pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels to check out, and exhilarating because when you get to a venue and it exceeds your expectations – it makes you proud to be part of this enterprising trade. And that was certainly the case this year. So well done everyone.
The feedback from the awards ceremony itself has been very good. But what struck me was the number of people who said there was a lovely warm feeling in the room. This brings me back to our mystery shoppers because this year they kept talking about ‘the whole experience’. It wasn’t just about the service, or the food, cocktails or welcome – it was all about how they felt when the entered compared to to how they felt when they left. I hope that everyone that came to the awards had a great experience, because our mystery shoppers certainly did.
Sometimes my social life collides with my business life – such was the case on a recent holiday to Mallorca. I was over for a friend’s 50th, who had flown in from Dubai… and James Mortimer and Lord Haughey were also guests as was Lisa Wishart from Lisini. So we all had an entertaining evening, great chat and good cocktails and James decided to take us a tour of the area the next day, which I’m happy to report we survived! We popped into Nikki Beach for a wee noisy, but we nearly choked at the €1,100 Euro’s price tag on a 5l bottle of Rose! Maguluf really is a resort of two halves – the very cheap and very cheerful, and the very expensive and the ‘look at me’ brigade. Great to experience at least once in a lifetime!
As many of you will know I firmly believe in reporting on positive initiatives in the trade – whether that be new places opening, investment in venues, or pro-active people. I won’t and don’t carry stories that are quite clearly a dig at another company or that present the trade in a poor light. That’s not my job, and if we can’t say positive things about the trade…who will? I think the job of the DRAM is to promote the industry and support it. That does not mean to say that I wouldn’t campaign and do editorial on real issues …such as rates. But I am too long in the tooth to get caught up in company politics.
I popped into The Citizen, Mario Gizzi and Tony Conetta’s new place in Glasgow, just ahead of its opening. It pays homage to a newspaper that my father worked on back in 1959! I can’t wait to take him for a bite of lunch there when he is back from America. As you can imagine it looks great. Meanwhile they have got their Aparthotel on the go, a new development in St Andrews Square, Edinburgh, and there are another couple of other initiatives happening too. I don’t know where they get the energy!
Glenfiddich are hosting a special Festival at their Distillery the weekend on the 10th and 11th September. They are transforming the “valley of the deer” into their very own festival with Twin Atlantic headlining on Sunday 10th and the Fratellis on Monday 11thSeptember. They are doing it to say a big thanks to the Scottish hospitality industry for the continued support of Glenfiddich and William Grant & Sons. So if you are one of the lucky ones to get an invite… enjoy! More next month.
Talking of Wm Grant & Sons… they have just announced that UK Director of Prestige and Great-Great Granddaughter of William Grant, Kirsten Grant Meikle, has just relocated to the USA to take on the role of US Commercial Strategy Director. She will play a critical role in continuing to build the US’s Commercial Excellence platform, beginning with a focus in the Prestige arena. For the last few years she has been instrument in implementing transformational change within the UK business, leading several initiatives, including the development of its on-trade sales team, the implementation of a Customer Relationship Management system, and most recently, the creation of our UK Prestige Team. I wish Kirsten all the very best. I at least I now have someone, other than my brother to have a drink with when I’m in New York!
My last word is on the awards (of course) just to say I hope everyone likes their new trophies. We had them specially crafted from acrylic… which I am hoping will solve the issue of them getting damaged!