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A double-decker bus full of business insights

The Hospitality Hacks bus parked up in Falmouth

Over four days business leaders from hospitality firms all over Cornwall came together to learn from experts on subjects ranging from Instagram to marketing, as well as sharing their efforts to improve overall competitiveness.

The Hospitality Hacks Awards Cornwall road show double-decker rolled into town at the end of January, with a series of thematic workshops helping local businesses get ahead and improve operations.

It visited town centres in St Ives, Falmouth, Newquay and Padstow and encouraged decision makers from restaurants, pubs, hotels, guesthouses and others in the hospitality space to begin dialogues aimed at sharing some of the innovative ways certain companies are implementing small, but incrementally powerful changes.

Visitors to the bus were encouraged to share a “hack”, a change, large or small, that has been made in the business to improve efficiency, competitiveness or productivity. It could be something as simple as taking orders from queuing customers before the kitchen opens.

Some of the “hacks” that were shared

It was all part of an ongoing awards programme which will culminate on 26 February at an event hosted at Nancarrow Farm. There, the best hacks across categories such as customer service, digitisation and operations will be celebrated after being judged by industry professionals. Dukes Collection MD Deborah Dhugga, Longleat Safari Park & Cheddar Gorge head of operations Simon Townsend and Western Morning News editor-at-large Martin Hesp will be selecting the winners.

Here are some of the best that were shared on the bus:

“Reply to email enquiries as fast as possible – ideally within one hour – even if it’s just to acknowledge the email and say you’ll reply later. If someone has sent out a load of email enquiries your quick reply could be the difference between them booking with you or not.”

“Most of our staff are trained to work both front of house and in the kitchen. This means we can always offer them shifts and are also provide training for future opportunities.”

“We provide doggy bags for all customers that bring dogs. These include biodegradable poop bags, a toy, treats, directions to local, dog-friendly beaches and information about vets.”

To find out what other hacks have been submitted, visit our awards page.

Road show bus video highlights

To get local businesses inspired the road show hosted a series of intimate workshops on the top deck of the bus. Click through to find out what insights each of our experts had to share.

Workshop topics:

Build an authentic Instagram for your business – led by Max Maharajh
How to get your business noticed by the press – led by Sally Shalam
• Creative relevant, remarkable and rewarding experiences for customers – led by Al Alaway
2019 search trends for hospitality – led by Rob Edlin
What the UK’s top hospitality businesses are getting out of tech – led by Amanda Price

One of the business leaders to attend the workshop was Patrick Langmaid from Mother Ivey’s Holiday Park. “We are very lucky here in Cornwall that Be the Business has chosen us as one of the areas in which it is focusing,” he said. “They are looking at the little things you can do to make a big difference to your business.”

Touching on the kind of thinking he’s taking back into his business, he added: “My top tip is collaboration – you are far stronger together. Yes, we are all competing, but we’re far stronger together.”

The four-day road show also attracted the attention of BBC Spotlight which visited the bus when parked up outside the Headland Hotel in Newquay.

Described as “no ordinary double-decker tour in Cornwall” by BBC Spotlight host Johnny Rutherford, the evening news feature saw Rutherford join a workshop led by Al Alaway. He asked Rupert Cooper from Philleigh Cookery School why he was getting involved. “I think it is a fantastic opportunity for any small Cornish business to get some pearls of wisdom,” Cooper explained.

“As a business we need to be more accessible to media sources, which always looking for content. Having something on your website that is accessible to them so they can contract you is important.”

BBC Spotlight segment

The awards

On 26 February Be the Business and the Hospitality Hacks Cornwall Awards 2019 programme will be welcoming more than 150 guests to Nancarrow Farm for an afternoon and evening of further business insights and prize giving. Awards judges will be part of a panel session looking at “What makes the best different to the rest”, the industry experts will focus on how to reach, delight and listen to customers – providing practical tips and tricks to improve operations ahead of the high season in Cornwall.

Tickets are available for non-shortlisted businesses on a first come, first serve basis through our booking page. Don’t miss out!

Businesses interested in hearing about future Be the Business activity in Cornwall should sign up to the Cornwall Hospitality Leaders Network mailing list.

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