Sandymount Hotel, family run since its foundation in 1955, has 168 bedrooms and employs 71 staff. This award winning hotel offers a full range of services to its guests and is the closest hotel to the Aviva Stadium. The owner, John Loughran, a son of the founders, is a qualified accountant and an experienced business man. John promoted and worked in a number of businesses other than the hotel, prior to assuming full ownership of the business in 1999. Like many hotels, the economic downturn from 2008 had a significant impact on the business The impact of NAMA owned hotels remains a significant competitive issue.
Why participate in the programme
The business had been through a difficult trading period in 2008-2012. The staff had been very supportive of efforts to adjust the cost base of the hotel in response to an effective halving of the average room rate per night. John Loughran was disappointed in the approach adopted by the hotel’s bankers who insisted on significant adjustments to payment terms which substantially increased business costs. Both John and his son Gerard agreed to participate on the ActionCoach programme to consider how the business might be improved. Despite his business experience, John was open to the potential to learn.
Experience of the programme to date
John found the experience of meeting with other business owners on a regular basis to be very useful. While it could be argued that John was one of the more experienced participants, running one of the largest businesses on the programme, he felt that the engagement with other owners allowed him to re-visit some business fundamentals. John found the mentoring sessions to be very useful as they provided an opportunity to discuss specific issues as well as providing an impetuous for action. Knowing that a mentor call/visit was due encouraged John to progress specific projects to ensure he maximised the value from the mentor.
Impact on their business
One of the most important aspects of the programme for John has been the opportunity for him to take time to reflect on his business in a structured way. Like most business people, the pressures of day to day activities tend to make taking time to work on the business difficult. John found the regular pattern of monthly workshops, supported by mentoring in between, to have been very useful in thinking through different elements of the hotel’s business. In particular, John found the programme had a significant impact in developing plans for the business development function of the hotel.