Macdonald invests in digital and agency fams

The UK’s largest independently owned hotel group Macdonald Hotels & Resorts is investing over £2m in digital technological innovations across its 40 UK hotels.
A five-year partnership with IT services business SCC will involve developing the hotel group’s back end systems and infrastructure, including installing a faster fibre optic network for greater Wi-Fi speed. A new internal data centre is set to  improve communication efficiency and enhance the hotel group’s green credentials.
The long-term goal, management claims, is to enhance the guest experience through the introduction of location-based technology.
Macdonald Hotels & Resorts IT Director Stuart Garrick said: “We want to ensure that the guest experience is of the highest possible quality that technology can provide and we have partnered with SCC to drive the long-term goal of achieving efficiency, value and a premier customer experience.
“The most important thing to Macdonald Hotels & Resorts is our guests and that’s why we’ve invested heavily in using the most innovative technology to enhance the customer journey.”
The investment follows a reported improvement in the group’s trading performance. Group turnover at Macdonald was up five per cent to £145.5m for the year ended 27 March 2014.
A revamp of the hotel group’s fam trip scheme has seen 18 booking agents take part in one of the first new-look events.
The new Macdonald Hotels’ Agent Passport scheme is a series of nine weekend events, designed to reinvigorate the traditional fam trip model by injecting a sense of fun and education.
The new model is designed to allow agents a chance to discover the hotel’s location, access and surrounding area. Macdonald reports a steady increase in the number of under 25’s managing corporate enquiries, and says educating agents on the accessibility and location of a hotel has become “of paramount importance”.
Agents can earn passport stamps by attending the fam trips. These allow an opportunity to win a trip to a Macdonald resort in the UK or abroad.
The most recent January agents’ fam trip included dining at the two AA rosette Riverside Restaurant at Macdonald Compleat Angler and brunch at Macdonald Windsor Hotel. This was followed by a driving adventure at Mercedes Benz World, and dinner at Macdonald Berystede Hotel & Spa.
Kim Taylor, director at Hotelsmart, attended and reported the properties “were all of an extremely high standard”.
Gill Jackson, Sales Director at Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, said: “Following feedback from key industry agents, who wanted to make familiarisation trips more educational, we decided to revolutionise the traditional fam trip format.
“The new format not only focuses on what Macdonald Hotels & Resorts has to offer but it gives agents a genuine feel for each hotel, where it’s located and its accessibility to suit their customer’s needs.
“We have also introduced multiple trips, organised by area, as we understand that agents are extremely busy.”

Macdonald is rolling out a series of fam trips for agents once a month until June.

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Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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