Hotel articles

Malone Buys Dublin Hilton

US businessman John Malone has bought the Hilton Hotel at Charlemont Place in Dublin, less than a year after buying the Trinity Capital Hotel on Pearse Street.

Mr Malone, reputed to be the largest land owner in the US, purchased the hotel in partnership with the Lalco Hotel Group for an undisclosed price - thought to be close to €30 million.

Mr Malone, who is the chairman of US media giant Liberty, also owns Humewood Castle in Co Wicklow.

Located beside the Grand Canal, the 193-bedroom, four-star Hilton made a profit of €2 million for 2012.

The Hilton was upgraded at a cost of €5 million in 2008 by owners Jerry O’Reilly and Bernard McNamara, whose loans were transferred to Nama.

The Lalco Hotel Group also operates the Hilton Kilmainham, the Harbour Hotel and the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway, the Limerick Strand Hotel, and two Barnacles Hostels in Temple Bar and Galway.

“This is an exciting development for the Lalco Hotel Group and its partnership with John Malone,” said John Lally, director of Lalco Hotel Group.

“We look forward to continuing this mutually beneficial relationship and focusing on enhancing the experience of guests in all of our properties, through strategic improvements and considered investment.”

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Yawning Gap in Industry Training

This article appears in the current issue of 'Hotel and Restaurant Times'

Like Motherhood and Apple Pie, everybody in the  Irish Tourism Industry supports the notion of  training.

It has always been thus. As far back as the 1950s, industry leaders were bemoaning the lack of training facilities for hotel workers. The late, great

Brendan O’Regan, who was probably the most creative innovator ever to have graced Irish tourism, was typically pro-active when he cajoled Clare VEC and a fledgling Bord Failte  to support the training of waitresses, junior cooks and housemaids back in 1954. Courses were held in Shannon, Bundoran, Cobh and at Kelly’s Hotel in Rosslare and within a year 330 girls qualified. Athenry Catering School opened in 1958 to train young men as chefs and waiters and the Holy Ghost Fathers opened their Catering Training School at Rockwell in the same year.

These early projects gave an impetus to the establishment of a national training body for the tourism industry, which emerged as CERT Ltd in 1963 with funding of £14,849 provided by Bord Failte. The push for its creation came largely from the trade union movement with the late Michael Mullen to the fore.  An ITGWU official, he was prominent also in the establishment of the Panel of Chefs of Ireland which was very active in promoting theprofessional image of chefs and what is now called ‘the culinary arts’.

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Huggards Celebrate Centenary

This article by Frank Corr appears in the current issue of 'Hotel and Restaurant Times'maryhwaltdhuggardbros

As international brands and ‘designer names’ appear over the doors of more Irish hotels, the importance of the family business to the  sector has declined. Many families who were pioneers of the hotel industry have bowed out of  business, but a core group remain and none more significant than  the Huggard family from Kerry which this year celebrates its centenary as hoteliers.

Pictured are Mary Huggard with Walt Disney and Niall, Joseph, Tony and Colm Huggard pictured at the Lake Hotel Killarney

The story began in 1912, when local farmer, Martin Huggard, purchased the 28-bedroom Bay View Hotel, overlooking the seashore in Waterville, Co Kerry.  Later that year he married Mary Doyle from Aughrim, Co Wicklow, who had trained in hotel management with the Great Southern Hotel Company. As ‘Mary Huggard’ she was to make an enormous contribution to tourism and hotel-keeping in Ireland.

Her daughter Cicely Gallagher is the last surviving member of the second generation of  Huggards and maintains an active interest in tourism and the family business. She was born into the Butler Arms hotel in Waterville and grew up there with her siblings Noel, Maud, Hilda, Brendan, Billy and Pat. She recalls working in the hotel from an early age, helping out with small jobs like shelling peas and watching the arrival and departure of guests.

‘It was a popular holiday spot for clergy, including the occasional Archbishop’, she recalls. ‘We had Mass in the sitting room regularly.’

‘The great and the good’ were regulars at the Butler Arms during the War Years including the German Ambassador to Ireland Eduard Hempel. Cicely remembers being once admonished by an English Colonel who spotted her decorating tables for dinner. ‘Why are you putting the best roses on the Hun’s table ?’ he asked.

The late Noel Huggard told me before he passed away that he also helped out in the kitchen of  ‘The Butler Arms’.

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Apps can help Independent Hotels

By Isabella Glendinning, VP of sales & marketing at

The hotel industry is saturated. You only have to look at a price comparison site and you’ll find a plethora of hotels offering various deals on rooms and meals. It can be a real struggle for hoteliers to cut through the competition and really appeal to the new breed of consumer; reliant on technology and with very little time to read reams of corporate messaging.

There is plenty of choice for the consumer, but very little room for manoeuvre if you’re an independent hotel in a populardestination. It also doesn’t help that as well as the intense competition between independent hotels, there is an almost ‘predatory’ presence from the global chains, ever-ready to mop up indecisive customers using their expensive digital marketing tools.

The growing divide between independent hotels and global chains has presented the hospitality industry with a ‘David vs. Goliath’ scenario, with the independents feeling pressured to invest in expensive technology to compete with the global chains, who pour money into the latest, cutting-edge initiatives to price out their smaller counterparts.

The small independents are in need of that slingshot.

It’s not about the money


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Hotels Need More Than Services

By David Konopinski,
Business Development Manager, Interalia Communications Ltd.
 Whether it’s a business person staying for one night, a three day training symposium or a family weekend the most common criticism heard about a hotel, whatever the profile, is that guests do not feel genuinely welcome. They do not feel that they are special.
There is no shortage of the will and intention to solve this problem. The time and effort spent by hospitality management and staff in the area of interpersonal skills training bears ample witness to that. Members of staff who are confident and skilled when working directly with guests, will do more to generate repeat bookings or increase the use of in-house bars, restaurants and so on, than any other single factor.
But how can you demonstrate these skills to a telephone caller, when there is no one immediately available to take the call?

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