Ask anyone in the world of retail what irks them most, and they will talk – for hours – about ‘out of stock’. This is the moment where a customer walks into their preferred supermarket or convenience store with the express intention of buying a product, only to find it ‘out of stock’.
If this is mildly irritating for the customer, just imagine how the product sales director feels? Someone wanted to buy their product and they weren’t able to give it to them! Back in their factory / warehouse they have millions of said product, ready to be taken, but for some reason, they haven’t made it to the shelf in time to keep a customer loyal. There is a chance now that that same customer will choose a different brand, maybe never to return again.
The same is true for our business, we’ve worked incredibly hard to build-up relationships with our customers so that we have become their first port-of-call for meeting, conference and training space. These efforts have led to some industry busting occupancy levels across our properties, but also the fear that we’ll get an enquiry one day that we’ll have to turn-down because we haven’t the space – our own nightmarish empty shelf scenario.
This is the primary driving force behind our creation of The Engine Room - essentially a capital expenditure budget which commits us to building more space, redeveloping existing space, and continuing to keep the high standards of presentation we’ve become known for across the group.
Most importantly, this is a customer facing initiative, presented by us as a promise to our clients. For us, The Engine Room isn’t just about investment, it’s as much of a client commitment as the way we fit out our rooms, experiment with food, and provide award-winning service. Our customers have given us their loyalty, and we’re going to give it back; and we’re going to put our money where our mouth is.
In 2018, this is a strategy that only a few in the industry have the luxury of adopting. Let’s face it, only in quiet honest corners are we really admitting to ourselves that the market right now is incredibly tough. Spending on meetings and events has slowed, the industry is fighting for its business and only the fittest are rising to the top. Many need to batten down the hatches, rather than agree costly investments.
We’re fortunate however to be able to take a different approach, and this has all been built on the loyalty we’ve created through our existing customers. We’re in the enviable position to push our business, and our product forward, and we owe it to our customers to show that in exchange for their loyalty, we’ll invest in the venues and facilities they have grown to call their own.
That’s why we called it The Engine Room; it’s about creating a fund that fuels and drives our business forward. Our fear isn’t just that we don’t want to ever give our clients the need to go elsewhere, it comes from a more positive place; if they really want to come to our business because they want the standards we have set, why should they be made to go somewhere else?
So, keep an eye out for The Engine Room, we’ve some exciting plans coming up and will continue to share the results of our investments across our venues. It’s important to us, and it’s important to our clients, so – quite literally – watch this space.