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When was the last time you enjoyed time away in a hotel, a resort etc on a holiday or break and could say when you left that “yes, I really enjoyed that, I would love to visit here again” ?

To me, a positive hospitality experience involves value for money, simple but superior customer service, feeling welcome at your destination, enjoying fine food and wine in a nice ambience, which, allows you to completely switch off, relax in comfort and ultimately feeling rested and pleased that your took the time to visit

Our leisure time is invaluable and allows us all to de-stress and switch off. As someone who works for themselves and as a busy parent, I really value this time and the money that is spent to secure this experience. Time and money are two precious commodities to us all.

As a rule, I personally think it is only right that we acknowledge an excellent customer experience in any environment or area. On this occasion, I am breaking my own rule, I would like to speak about an absolutely beautiful hospitality experience my husband and I enjoyed over the New Year period. In all honesty I felt compelled to put pen to paper.

Anyone who has trained or worked in the hotel & tourism sector and whom is passionate about the sector will identify with me when I say that our expectations can be somewhat great and unrealistic.

If you are passionate and appreciative about the small details and about the delivery of professional hospitality, you will find it difficult to switch that part of your thinking off…well then, we have something in common.

Let me firstly paint a picture for you. My husband and I both work hard and like the majority of the population, the money we have is spent on the important everyday stuff, bills, bills and more bills.

We don’t spoil ourselves but when we do plan to visit a hotel or to make a purchase of some description, we set money aside (like many others!) and wait to enjoy quality as opposed to quantity.

So, with all that in mind…we planned our stay at the Dunraven Arms in Adare back in June/July 2014 and booked for Jan 2nd and 3rd 2015. We were excited at the prospect of visiting the hotel again and taking a well-deserved break.

We got married in the hotel so it is an extra special place for us. Those last few lines should deliver in a more tangible way our excitement!!

So, with small child deposited happily with her granny, off we went with high anticipation to enjoy the Dunraven Arms Hotel in Adare this New Year. This would mark our fourth visit to the hotel.

How would I describe it? Well, one or many words can be used, sublime is one. Let me try to deliver the experience as a tangible picture for you…………..

On our arrival, the hotel was in the midst of yet another wedding. The atmosphere is what I like to refer to as “homely high end”. And it is a very genuine comfortable “high-end”.

Business all around, we checked in and went to settle ourselves in our room. When we entered the bedroom, I was again reminded of what I like to call the “3Bs”; bed, bathroom and breakfast.

Each of the three elements says something important about a hotel, positive or negative. They each give you another indication about the quality and standards at/of the property.

The rooms at the Dunraven Arms are simply but tastefully decorated with comfort being at the core. The rooms are dressed with quality, well-cared for furnishings. You can quite literally feel the comfort under your feet once you enter your room.

We prepared for dinner, which was booked in the Maigue Restaurant in the hotel for later that evening. Both my husband and I were experiencing child like excitement in anticipation of the fine dining experience. We had eaten in the Maigue previously and our taste buds still remember it with glee. The hotel is reknowned for its’ fine food…and our thoughts were “yummy, bring it on!”

When we strolled down the corridors, I noticed how clean and pristine every nook and cranny appeared, not a speck of dust or floor dirt in site. Presentation is obviously important to this property.

There are three really enticing sitting rooms with beautiful warm fires lit dotted throughout the corridors. As we walked to the restaurant, I reminded myself and my husband that I would enjoy one of those for an hour or two before we departed. As I said this, I’m sure I could hear him whisper, “Yes Margaret, but no laptop”.

In the restaurant, we were seated at a table for two by John, who remembered us and we exchanged pleasantries. The restaurant is busy but it appears to run like a well-oiled machine.

We were served by a really lovely waitress, Veronique. We ordered starters of Pate and Salmon, mains of Beef and Hake and finally desert of crème brulee and Christmas pudding accompanied by a lovely bottle of Italian red and quality coffee.

The food at the restaurant really needs to be tasted to be believed. Standards of service and presentation are simple but high and truly flawless. The meal itself was a melt in your mouth food delight. Mid meal we were already planning to eat there again on the second evening!

After our sumptuous meal, we retired to the bar and noted (with a smile) that John seemed to be everywhere. I believe that leadership comes from on high and that you lead from the front. The leadership here is working customer service magic. The management team at this fine establishment and indeed the ladies and gents who work with and support them are testament to what getting the simple things right again and again can do for any business.

In the morning, we were eager to enjoy the by now infamous breakfast experience. We arrived for breakfast and once again the food offering really outdid itself. Beautifully prepared fresh sausages, rashers, pudding, choice of cheese from the cheeseboard and freshly cooked and cut ham on the butchers block with comforting tea or coffee available to ease us into the day ahead. Lets’ not forget the cereals and fruit, there is something for everyone at breakfast time.

One really big selling point to myself as someone who works with Irish businesses is that all the meat is locally sourced. On that note, kudos to the proprietors and management team.

On a service level, we have been guests to the Dunraven on four or five different occasions and the following little things really have impressed me both as a guest and as a professional; the attention to detail, the physical presentation of management and staff, the genuine warm welcome, the consistency of service and offering in terms of general customer service but also in terms of the food and accommodation provision. It is a fair statement to say that customer satisfaction and comfort is at the heart of this hotel.

The hotel appears to work through each day delivering all service elements with a professional polish, enthusiasm and zest for the customer. The really impressing piece is that they rise daily and go to work to repeat an equally seamless provision of fine food, drink and hospitality as they did on the previous day.

Ladies and gents, those of you who know me either professionally or personally know that I will not and do not embellish the truth when it comes to hospitality and dining experiences. I like to call it as I see it. I cannot deliver in enough of a tangible manner the comfort and delight you feel throughout your visitor and guest experience.

Throughout the Celtic Tiger, a great deal of the simple stuff in terms of customer service and hospitality was lost along the way by many in the sector. It is comforting and positive to see that this was not the case in some independent hotels and that is why (I believe) these hotels are sustaining their business, exceeding revenue and booking expectations.

I am not in the habit of endorsing any particular property or destination. This is not a commissioned piece. As I stated earlier, I felt compelled to pay some credit and acknowledge the very warm and positive experience we had.

The Dunraven Arms is a family run hotel and an example of how focusing on getting the simple things better than right and providing all to the customer with a smile can benefit a business. It also illustrates the one thing that I continue to preach, “keep it simple” with a simple business model.

If you get the simple things right, they contribute to a bigger picture, cogs in the wheel so to speak. They all need to work well and in sync together to produce a success.

And if you are wondering…yes, I did get my few hours in that comfy sitting room with blazing fire and yes, I left the laptop closed and enjoyed a newspaper and managed to switch off. And yes, we are already planning our next visit.

In a word, it was a thoroughly flawless experience, which, warmed us inside and out.  As Arnie says “I’ll be back!”.

To find out how you can review your customer service element , build your tourism product/service to make more money and increase opportunities, contact Bofin Marketing at info@bofinmarketing.ie

Wishing you a positive working week.

Mags Boland & The Bofin Marketing Team.

#positivehotelhospitalityexpereince, #welovethishotel, #bofinmarketing