Future Inn Plymouth up for a Special Award
After a rigorous judging process, Future Inn Plymouth Devon has been named a finalist at the Plymouth Live Business Awards 2021. The hospitality business could be the winner of the Business In The Face Of Adversity Special Award.
There’s no big secret that the hospitality industry has found the last 18 months extremely difficult. Enforced closures of restaurants, limited essential travel, postponed weddings, and no conferences or events – even Christmas was cancelled. The lives of customers and employees literally changed overnight.
Understandably, there has been some time since Future Inns has been recognised for an award. Earlier in the year, Booking.com acknowledged the hotel for giving exceptional customer service during the pandemic in their Traveller’s Choice Awards. Locally, the last award nomination was at the South West Wedding Awards in 2019.
Like so many Plymouth businesses, we had to pivot our general operations and special offers. Our company has always wanted to help and make a positive difference to our community and support various charities throughout the year. In March 2020, as the country went into lockdown, the hotel remained open for key workers. Our close proximity to Derriford Hospital – 1.3 miles away - meant we could support those who needed to be close to their loved ones. Often saying goodbye to their nearest and dearest or going through unimaginable times.
The safety of staff and guests were always a priority. It meant a skeleton team of 12 worked during this time, often entirely out of their comfort zones completing tasks or taking on roles they had never done before. They were keeping the hotel open 24 hours a day. Booking hotel rooms and reservations and helping visitors check in. Then bedrooms needed to be refreshed, including bedding and towels, guests needed clean clothes, and they needed to eat. Even the General Manager, Mr Graham Hole, was cooking breakfast for guests in Fishbone Restaurant to be delivered via room service by our Sales Manager, Andy Byles.
A review by Lois on TripAdvisor summed up what it was like to be living in the hotel during this time.
I first came to this hotel back in April 2020 when the pandemic reached critical, and the country went into total lockdown. I was redeployed by my company to work at the hospital in Plymouth, nursing COVID 19 patients, which was very daunting. Finding somewhere safe to stay while this task was needed was also very worrying. I left my family home in Bristol and was booked into this hotel for the duration of this upsetting period.
I was met by a young man called Ricky, who reassured me that I would be safe and looked after for 6 months. The same young man has made me feel like I matter and I am secure in this hotel. I have seen many changes over the months, with limited staff members and specific residents all working to keep our country safe.
It began with paper cups and breakfast as a grab bag to take to work with me. As time has moved on and restrictions lifting, I have got to see guests on holiday, the restaurant reopen, and more staff to help run the hotel to its now total capacity.
Tonight, I was able to say goodbye to Ricky and thank him for keeping me safe and comfortable in my new home from home. I will be leaving here on Thursday and am returning to my original job in Bristol. But, I am very grateful for the care and consideration your staff have shown me. Keeping me safe to be able to work to help keep the country safe. It means so much.
Thank you, Lois x x
The Plymouth COVID testing centre was opened on a vacant plot of land adjacent to the hotel. With no immediate infrastructure on the site, such as buildings, power etc, the hotel offered our large conference and event facilities free of charge. Their team were able to get the site up and running quicker than they anticipated because of this.
At the beginning of 2021, Plymouth Future Inns was able to take pressure off Derriford Hospital. They urgently needed to create space on the wards. 50% of the hotel was provided to Plymouth City Council and the NHS with patients, nurses and carers living on site. The rooms were used for non-urgent patients. Again, it meant the way the limited staff members that were working needed to adapt. Doing something they had never done before. With lots of planning, this transition was seamless.
Another way Future Inn Plymouth has supported Derriford Hospital is by helping them relocated their Phlebotomy Department to the hotel. The conference and event facilities were used as a blood testing ward and waiting room. Free parking has also been offered to the patients. Moving the unit has helped to reduce footfall at the hospital. In fact, they are still using our facilities at the moment.
Since the country opened up in the summer, there has been some return to normality. A short drive from the city centre, our family friendly hotel has welcomed new and returning guests keen to explore Plymouth’s premier attractions and upcoming events.
The spacious rooms have been a top choice for those on staycation, with rooms that sleep up to four, individual air conditioning and heat control, a private bathroom, and a soft seating area. Plus, free parking, free WiFi and other perks you can expect from a 4* equivalent hotel. You can see the hotels facilities for yourself. Find us on William Prance Road or call 01752 701000.
The other finalists up for the award are Go South West, Moo Music Plymouth, R Perks Finance & Accountancy and The Oasis Care Home. The Plymouth Business Awards 2021 award ceremony will be held at the Plymouth Pavilions on Wednesday 3rd November 2021 to celebrate the finalists and winners.
Everyone in this category has had a challenging year, often under significant pressure. There have been tears, we have been exhausted physically and mentally, and we’ve had to leave our families at times. But, looking back, every team member at Future Inn Plymouth is proud to say, “we did our bit”.