How did you get into the hospitality industry?
I had a burning desire to be around hotels. I just thought they offer so much, from mystique and surprise to great food and service. Plus, it is a people business and I couldn't imagine not working with a team of people and getting an immediate (happy, hopefully) response from your guests.
Tell us about Prescott & Conran. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company?
We started out just wanting to create a very personal small hotel with a great bar and restaurant. Ideas flourished and we now have 6 locations in London. Ultimately, we want to create and run places that we would feel happy going to.
What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have attributed to Prescott & Conran's success?
Too many to list. We always like to work with like minded organisations. We like to evolve and update on a regular basis while also being loyal to our key partners. We try to focus on the people and organisations in the neighbourhood but also see the appeal of international links. Essentially, we need to create something that is complementary to our own efforts while also bring a new layer of interest.
What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?
In the restaurant area, I think excellent acoustic are going to be the next big thing. In the hotel environment, I think the word "genuine" is so important. If you have genuine staff, design, facilities, etc etc you will impress your customers.
Hard work doesn’t go unnoticed and always yields results. And, be confident and happy. People go to restaurants and hotels to have fun, they don’t want to be around negative people.
Your greatest success as Co-Founder of Prescott & Conran? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?
Greatest success has got to be the opening of Boundary after three years developing the property. Certainly, during the development period we endured many different difficult moments. Mostly, they were overcome by sitting down, talking and being pragmatic. Email battles often made things worse. I think a face to face civilised and professional meeting generally helps most situations.
Your advice to an aspiring hotelier?
Get ready for some very hard work and some long hours. You need to live and love the business.
Describe the ideal experience at a Prescott & Conran venue.
This can be anything from a coffee in one of our cafes to an overnight stay in a suite. Whatever the experience, we hope that our guests will feel comfortable and confident that they have been well served and have received a distinctive experience and received great value of money.
How do you motivate your employees?
This really depends on so many factors, from the actual person to the role and position. However, we always try to listen to what our employees say and adopt their ideas if possible. We also want them to express themselves and feel comfortable in their workplace. We don’t really go in for behaviour training or getting people to adapt to our way of doing things. Instead, we look for people to bring diversity and personalities, but we do think it is important that everybody is happy and shows it. Hopefully, they believe in what we are doing and want to help us make things better.
What's next for Prescott & Conran?
We are currently developing a large site in Clerkenwell that we will launch in the spring. It will include four dining areas, three bars, a bakery, grocery and wine shop. After that, I'd hope to secure another hotel project, somehow.