Prices might be modest but customer service standards are high at Travel Inn: 88% of staff say there are strong principles for treating their guests well, one of the firm’s best scores in our survey.
The hotel chain aims to be caring, simple and right first time. The rooms are unfussy with the same features and almost identical layouts around the country — and the formula works. The first Travel Inn opened in Basildon in 1987 and the company now has 302 hotels.
Sales increased from £177m in 2002 to £204m last year. Although 93% of staff earn less than £15,000 a year, they can share in the profits with 20% off stock in a savings scheme available after six months’ service.
There are plenty of other incentives. The regional manager of the year can win an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas, and good work at every level is rewarded with champagne or gift vouchers. Last year 50 team members were nominated by their peers for titles such as receptionist of the year, winning £300 each in leisure vouchers.
The top 10 Travel Inns in each quarter receive £1,000 towards a staff event. Almost three-quarters of staff feel a strong sense of family in their teams.
Employees feel well managed: two-thirds feel their managers use all of their talents and 78% say their managers talk with them openly and honestly — both scores in the top 25 in our survey. Seven out of 10 feel their boss cares how satisfied they are at work.
The company has some excellent training schemes with clear manuals on housekeeping, hygiene and how to deal with difficult situations. Every new recruit has a 90-day on-the-job induction programme. Staff appraisals are made at least once a year and the company invests £5,000 towards training graduates in their first year.
A “back to the floor” programme ensures that everyone stays in touch with the basics. Mike Tye, the managing director, posed for the staff magazine on his own “housekeeping day” last year, beaming above a gleaming toilet seat.
The job can be hard, and a high 22% of staff feel they have to invent illness if they need time off. However, at the end of a hard shift, all workers can enjoy a free meal in the restaurant.
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