Q&A with Chris Whyte, owner and manager at Beechfield House

We talk to long term Avon Data user Chris Whyte from one of Wiltshires best loved hotels, Beechfield House.

 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The variation. There is something different to deal with every single minute of the day.

What is the key to running a successful hotel business?

You need to set really high standards and ensure you communicate these to your team so they get on board and work to these standards. Ideally you end up in a position where your team set these high standards for themselves and self-regulate. We won’t settle for average but will always try and do the very best we can.

What sets Beechfield House apart from other hotels?

The high standards I have just mentioned. It makes a difference that it is an owner-managed hotel – you can tell from the moment you walk in how well it is run and this filters down from the person at the top. Owner managers are totally invested in their business

What was your first job in the hotel industry?

This one – owning and running Beechfield House for ten years. I worked in banking before this, a complete career change although it had lots of transferable skills.

What is the biggest challenge in running a hotel?

Staff. Finding good quality staff is incredibly difficult.

What is the best hotel you have stayed in as a guest?

I really like the Cavalieri Hotel in Rome, which is part of the Waldorf Astoria group. It is a fabulous location and a really luxurious place. The Hilton in Malta is another favourite because my parents used to live there so we have been there a lot and they know us and always look after us really well. It has become a bit of a home from home.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

I don’t think I have one. Anywhere where the sun shines with good food and drink!

What do you like to do on your days off?

I do a lot of gardening. And I love food and drink.

What is your favourite restaurant?

I don’t have a favourite restaurant but my favourite food is Indian. My parents lived abroad for most of their lives and I grew up in the far east so was eating curry long before there were curry houses in every town in Britain!

If you had one piece of advice for someone thinking of setting up a hotel, what would it be?

Don’t try and do everything yourself. Delegate. My background as an area manager for a bank with lots of branches meant I learnt to put the right people in the right positions.

Why have you chosen to use Avon Data’s software?

We’ve worked with Avon Data for a long time and have a good relationship with them. Their hotel software works well, does everything we need and is easy to use with a good user interface. They are responsive and provide good support when needed. And it is not a big faceless organisation so you know who you are talking to.

If you want to find out more about Beechfield House go to www.beechfieldhouse.co.uk.