Nick oversees the well-known, and well-respected, Imperial Hotel, in Great Yarmouth. In February 2020, the business won the title of ‘Customer at the heart of everything’ at the Norfolk & Suffolk Tourist Attractions awards. No sooner had they got the award on the mantle-piece, COVID-19 hit and Nick reflects on the headless chicken feeling they experienced. As a hotel that could remain open, they found themselves constantly moving goalposts and pivoting at every turn. They were offering rooms to the East Anglia 1 wind farm offshore teams but, whilst servicing key workers, they still needed to follow guidelines, and protect their staff. Nick talks in detail about their experiences in the early stages of lockdown, and what they have learned and implemented.
Chris also chats to Nick about the pitfalls, and necessity of TripAdvisor; how investment is key for seaside towns and businesses; and the importance of a USP – in their case, Nick’s knowledge as a wine sommelier and the experience they offer connoisseurs in the region. They also talk all things ‘supply and demand’ in the world of COVID-19 delays and Brexit inflation; not being afraid to price things at what they are worth; the importance of first impressions; whether Eat Out to Help Out really worked; and what councils need to do to help support seafront businesses in particular.
Nick also treats us to a history lesson, as he looks back on the early days of hospitality in Great Yarmouth, as well as the foresight his father had and investments they have made. Also, Nick advocates for businesses to become members of UK Hospitality Association, who were a support to their team during lockdown.
You can find out more about the Imperial Hotel here, and can contact Nick on LinkedIn
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We are taking a break for a week, as we head towards 'Freedom Day' - but Chris will be back with a chat with Desmond McCarthy from BBC's Normal for Norfolk, and owner of Wiverton Hall Farm, as he looks to the future, and we will be speaking to other businesses who will reflect on the new opening parameters. Subscribe so you don't miss out!