The Vineyard Group - Hotel Management Services - Hotel Management Company
The Vineyard Group - Hotel Management Services - Hotel Management Company

About Us

Managing Director, Andrew McKenzie provides an insight into how The Vineyard Group operates as a hotel management company:

  1. What is the current size and spread of The Vineyard Group?
    We own and operate two hotels in Newbury and manage hotels from the north east to Hertfordshire, from five star to three star and from 20 to 120 rooms.
  2. How have challenging economic times helped the company?
    No-one welcomes a trading environment such as the one we are in but it has meant for us that some owners can see the benefit of hiring in expertise with scale and breadth to help then get through this difficult time.
  3. Are all projects you take on looking for the same outcome?
    Whether it be a private owner, a property company or a bank our job is to understand the aspirations of each owner as they are all different. We tailor our approach to meet that aspiration. It is always to make a profit obviously but different ownership situations have very different views of how that should be achieved, what represents a fair return and how quickly they want that return.
  4. What is your priority when taking over the management of a hotel and how do you go about making improvements?
    Generally we have worked out the owners’ ambitions pre-takeover. We look at the financials and transpose them with our uniformed accounting system approach. This tells a lot about performance, particularly when benchmarked against the other businesses we are exposed to. We also do a quick analysis of CAPEX requirements and produce a short term and long term plan.
  5. How do you go about making staff changes?
    Most importantly we spend time with the people – management first then individual staff. Usually these are committed people who really need a little direction and support. Occasionally they are square pegs in round holes, but nearly always, people respond positively.
  6. How quickly can you see improvements taking place within a hotel?
    In some cases it is like a football team getting a new manager. The change creates a spike in performance but in reality it is usually the hotels focus and energy that has been slightly off beam and a quick correction on direction can make a huge difference. It is nearly always a sales driven change that is required – distribution approach, targeting the correct market and getting pricing right, either up or down. A change can be noticed in weeks, but a sustainable difference needs to be measured over a year in my opinion.
  7. Do you ever take on hotels that you are not able to help?
    No. But there are degrees of help. We have had to ‘babysit’ some properties and with little or no resources and a short term contract so stopping them from falling further behind is a form of success.
  8. What is The Vineyard Group’s greatest strength as a hotel management company?
    Because we own our own hotels we can afford the infrastructure needed to give the underlying support that is required. We have a standalone head office with over 30 staff and a senior team with high levels of specialist experience in HR, finance, sales and marketing, distribution, IT and operations. It is easy to set up a management company with a car and laptop – and many do.
  9. Personal touches are important in properties run by Licensed Ventures hotels. What do you try to do?
    Whilst we operate in a number of sectors – our DNA is in the luxury market where a handcrafted approach pays dividends and guests pay extra for it. We try and spread some of that approach through all of our properties. Reminding the General Managers that they are first and foremost hosts and ensuring they see the benefit of spending time with their staff and guests and being highly visible. We have enough people in our head office to do the dull stuff – their job is to captain their ship and drive their business through excellence in quality and service regardless of the star rating.