The Hotel People continues tonight, Tuesday, 23rd August on BBC Two
The Hotel People is a warm and invitational six-part observational series following the team at Northern Ireland’s largest family-owned luxury hotel chain as they try to bounce back from some of the toughest times the hospitality industry has ever faced.
After nearly 18 months of closures and uncertainty, the Hastings Hotel Group reopened their doors in May 2021. Having suffered over £16.5 million losses during the pandemic, the team had to find inventive ways to bring back business, fast. But the challenges they face are great.
As they prepare to welcome back guests and events, the managers are faced with staff shortages. And with few overseas guests, finding ways to stand out in the local market has never been more vital for them.
This series, which began on BBC One Northern Ireland on Monday, 22nd August at 10.40pm, follows the staff at all levels in four of the group’s hotels, as they pull together to navigate this new post-Covid version of hospitality.
From the housekeepers trying to keep hundreds of rooms spotless while tackling bogus bedbug claims, to bar staff hoping to win the insta crowd with killer cocktails and chefs delivering high-end banquets for hundreds while mending wobbly wedding cakes to keep a big day special.
The series continues tonight on BBC Two Northern Ireland at 8pm. The series is also available on BBC iPlayer.
Although a hotel chain, each of the four hotels is unique:
In Belfast city centre, is the group’s newest hotel – The Grand Central, which, after a build cost of £53 million, opened in 2017 as the most expensive hotel ever to be built in Northern Ireland. For General Manager Stephen Meldrum, the pressure is on for the hotel to earn its keep and he has his goal set on achieving 5-Star status.
The Europa Hotel (one of the most bombed hotels in the world) in Belfast city centre is celebrating 50 years of business. Running this hotel is General Manager and Director of Hotels James McGinn, he is also celebrating his own personal milestone of 25 years at the hotel group.
On the outskirts of Belfast, the 5-Star Culloden Estate and Spa, attracts A-list celebrities, premiership footballers and grand events. Weddings account for 35% of its revenue, and with a backlog of postponed and rescheduled weddings and events in the diary, the team is geared up for a bumper year.
And down the coast, in the seaside town of Newcastle, the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa has long been a favourite of holidaymakers who come for the scenery of the beautiful Mourne Mountains, to tee off at the adjacent golf course, and for the olde worlde Victorian charm of the hotel.
At the heart of all these hotels is the staff. As they deal with the fallout of the pandemic, it is their resilience and humour that comes to the fore, as the teams bond like a family determined to face each problem head-on, in a fight for survival.
The Hotel People is a Waddell Media production for BBC Northern Ireland and BBC Two, with support from Northern Ireland Screen. The series was made through the partnership between BBC Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen and BBC TWO to develop and commission a network factual series from the Northern Ireland creative sector.
Watch on BBC Two tonight or catch up on BBC iPlayer
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