Great training all part of the service at Torridon Hotel
Luxury hotel The Torridon in Wester Ross promises its guests “grand gestures and little details”. For Rohaise Rose-Bristow, co-owner of the 18-room property with husband Dan, that starts with having a highly trained and motivated staff.
Tickety Boo came recommended to Rohaise by her sister Caroline, who runs The Lovat Loch Ness. As second generation hoteliers, the sisters know their stuff when it comes to hospitality. That was a key reason Rohaise started using Tickety-Boo in 2013 and hasn’t stopped. Tickety Boo’s director, Annie Lindsay, used to work in the hotel industry herself. “She knows the industry, she gets it. She knows how hotels work,” says Rohaise of Annie.
Rohaise admits she’s one of those people who is somewhat addicted to training – both for herself and her staff. But as she and Annie point out, when you run a hotel, training is an ongoing process.
There are up to 50 staff at the Torridon depending on the season, and the staff turnover rate of 30% – although lower than average for the industry – is a challenge. “We’ve got lots of people coming and going, but consistency of the product is key,” says Rohaise. “If a gin and tonic is poured a certain way, it has to always be poured that way.”
Tickety Boo worked with the Torridon’s management team to develop practical on-the-job training skills with staff using training cards, each with a specific task on them. The benefits of these are two-fold. They promote standardised training, with each person receiving the same information. And they’re portable – a big plus in a busy hotel environment. “Rather than carrying a big training folder, staff can pick, for example, a Make A Bed card,” says Rohaise.
The Torridon’s remote location may be a lure for guests, but it has its drawbacks when it comes to training and development. “It can be very expensive to continually bring in outside trainers and consultants,” says Annie.
That’s why Rohaise is on a Group Training Technique course which is helping her deliver training techniques in-house to her own staff. Through the GTT course, Rohaise becomes the trainer. She attends courses at Tickety Boo’s Dunblane office and takes that knowledge back to her teams.
Delivering her own training also means Rohaise can be modular in her approach – picking and choosing what pieces of the courses to share with her staff, and when. With many different shifts and rotas to deal with, that’s a big advantage.
The beauty of hospitality is that you see the results of great training straight away. It boosts the confidence and productivity of staff, says Rohaise. “And when they’re motivated they’re pleasing our customers.”