Archive for the ‘Hospitality’ Category

I’m not telling you where it is..

February 5, 2017

Fireside

You can feel everything heating up again..

We spend at least half our working week doing business in Dublin and our home has been a particular hotel, which was located close to the office.

It became a home from home of sorts for years with most of the staff recognising us as we trooped in with our bags week after week. They looked after us really well and we left them lots of business. We had our corporate rate and our bonus nights and they had a regular customer, often at times of the year when Dublin was quiet.

The first sign of things changing was an email last year notifying us that our corporate rate wouldn’t apply on peak weeks. Okay, but wasn’t that the whole point of a corporate rate – a good average rate in exchange for lots of regular business?

The second big sign, which came along a few months later was an email informing us that the corporate rates in 2017 were increasing by 40%. Thank you… it seems that the whole loyalty thing doesn’t quite cut the mustard when things get busier!

So we went shopping for an alternative.

We did find a place, a little further out that gave us a good corporate rate and they assured us that they had a complimentary shuttle service to alleviate the slightly inconvenient location.

On the first day using the new hotel I enquired about the shuttle service – unfortunately the driver was on leave this week so there would be no shuttle service. Okay – Mr Shuttle driver could not be relied on!

I headed on foot to the office and just as I was nearly there I passed a gorgeous little place, an old Georgian house with a sign outside declaring it to be a “hotel”.

I marched up the steps of this beautiful property and pushed the door open to be greeted by a really nice, friendly guy. I asked about rates and asked to see a typical room.

I was so impressed with the package he offered me and the gorgeous rooms and homely atmosphere that I immediately booked us in for a number of weeks ahead. The guy I was dealing with was the owner – the place had been in his family for decades and somehow you knew it had.

Our first stay didn’t disappoint – “Would you like a tea or a coffee?” was just one part of the warm welcome, the room was homely and impeccable and our breakfast was delicious and made to order.

I’m guessing the friendly woman, Agnes who served us was part of the family that owned this special place.

We walked to work, just a few minutes away and there was an extra skip in my step because in all the years that we have been staying overnight in Dublin I have never felt so at home.

So, unfortunately I’m not going to tell you where it is!!

I’ll resist tweeting about it because selfishly I want to keep this place a secret so that there is always a room there for us.

Dublin is booming ..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

“Staff wanted” and huge little details

August 26, 2015

Liberty Grill Cork

I was having a birthday breakfast with my fantastic daughter, Ellen in one of our favourite spots in Cork, Liberty Grill. This extremely busy spot is run by Denis O’Mullane who is an experienced and terrific operator.

As always the place was busy and as we finished our ‘treat‘  breakfast I noticed a sign they had behind the counter advertising for a ‘Super Barista‘ to join their team.

This sign wasn’t a hand written sign sellotaped to the wall, it wasn’t a typed up A4 page and nor was it a self designed A4 laminated page with some clip art.

The sign was a simple, well designed, attractive poster, which was in keeping with the look and feel of the place. It was professional and for me it made a huge statement about Liberty Grill.

Liberty Grill recruitment

This recruitment poster screamed professionalism and it sent a big message to anyone considering applying for the job and to all customers who frequent the place:

Liberty Grill wants the very best staff to serve the very best food and beverages

This sign was an inconvenient choice – It would have taken time to organise with their graphic designer and it cost more to produce than a standard poster but someone at Liberty Grill felt that this extra effort and cost was more than worth it.

A simple recruitment sign can speak volumes about your place.

The small details are always huge details…coffee anyone?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

We are all connected 

May 17, 2015

PSA World Tour

As part of our normal Dublin routine we arrived early at the Mespil Hotel, our home in Dublin for the last few years. I parked up and quickly popped into the loo … Much needed after the spin from Cork!

As I walked past the reception desk a guy who was chatting with the receptionist caught my attention. He had an unusual shaped bag hanging off his shoulder. On closer examination it was a carrier bag for lots of, what looked liked tennis rackets.

Was he the manager of a team or playing in some tournament I wondered?

As always we had a busy day in the office, Dee was off at some networking event and I made my way back to the hotel and went about checking in. I was exhausted and was looking forward to chilling out for the evening.

We know the team at the Mespil Hotel well at this stage and I was greeted with the usual big smile as they looked for our room reservation. They seemed to have trouble finding the booking and slipped into the office to double check the paperwork.

Mespil Hotel

As I waited a couple came to the desk on spec hoping to book a room. Unfortunately for them there was no room at the inn!

The guy I was dealing with still had not appeared so I was starting to worry about our bed for the night. Eventually he appeared and apologised that they had no record of our booking.

Dee normally books the hotel in block a few weeks in advance and does this with faultless efficiency but this time the booking fell through the cracks.

There wasn’t a room to be had in the hotel so the really helpful team at the Mespil started ringing other places for us in earnest. It quickly became clear that due to some big conference that day, hotel after hotel were full and Dublin was totally choc- a-bloc.

I started my own search and discovered that even all the bed and breakfasts were full.

An hour later and still nothing … I popped outside for some fresh air and contemplated a drive to some hotel outside Dublin somewhere.

The receptionist came out to me beaming. “I have great news” she said “We have had a last minute cancellation. A guest of the hotel was in a squash competition but lost his match so he is heading home early!

I presume it was the guy I saw in the morning.

We are all connected …

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

When harsh criticism can be the best thing ever!

October 27, 2014

Boring conference

I was recently at a large, high profile business conference and unfortunately the first segment of it was dominated and ruined by shockingly poor presentations.

I couldn’t believe how these senior business individuals broke nearly every presentation rule – they used boring powerpoint slides with way too much text laid out in bullet point after bullet point.

What’s worse is they insisted on reading each long sentence, word for word letting these shockingly awful slides hijack the knowledge they undoubtedly possess and in the process making them look very foolish in front of a large audience.

The slides should help guide you not hijack you!

To make matters even worse one of the guys drove on, slide after slide, ignoring the ‘warning‘ bell and selfishly ate into the next presenters time – as a result the whole schedule was forced back, which meant many people had to leave that day before everyone had finished.

Despite this when they finished their presentations they each received a polite round of applause leaving them quite oblivious to the fact that they were truly awful.

At the coffee break the predictable chit chat started ..”weren’t those presentations shocking?” ..”the worst I have seen” …”that’s a real pity because he’s a good guy and his presentation let him down” …”surely someone will say something to him

Just as we were chatting one of the ‘car crash‘ presenters passed by and one of our guys who knew him said “well done” ..”oh ..thanks a lot

Why do we do that?

I have no doubt that these guys would have left the conference feeling satisfied that they had stood up, done their presentations and based on the feedback they did quite well. Next time they are asked to present they will probably do exactly the same again ..it worked last time, didn’t it?

Thankfully the day improved and there were some really superb presentations later, which did a huge job for the profile and the credibility of these speakers – they grabbed the opportunity to shine!

killarney lakes

In 2000 Bridgestone Guide author John McKenna, caused a storm of controversy when he slated the fantastic and nationally treasured tourism gem Killarney. In a review this travel writer and food critic stated that “the best way to see Killarney in County Kerry is through the rearview mirror of a car. He added that discerning tourists will avoid the town as it was an Irish travesty surrounded by beautiful lakeland“.

This review sparked an outrage, which made Mr McKenna a hated figure in the town – how could he say such a thing about our beautiful and perfect place?

Despite despising those words and the cruel messenger the savvy locals started to process this truth – maybe our product has deteriorated, maybe our food offering is poor, maybe the town is dirty and shabby, maybe our service levels aren’t quite what they should be and maybe, just maybe this critic might be telling the truth.

Killarney dug in and got to work on their offering and 11 years later they proudly invited back the much maligned John McKenna as a guest speaker to ‘eat his words’ following the town winning the Irish Tidy Town award. He conceded that “the Kerry holiday hotspot has improved enormously and is the undisputed capital of Irish tourism“.

While hearing the truth might hurt deeply (lets face it we all hate being criticised) it could turn out to be the very best thing for you.

Whatever we do we should always look for the person who will tell us the truth instead of applauding and saying “well done”

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

At Fuzion we help our clients with their Presentation Skills and Speech Delivery from our offices in Dublin and Cork

For the people who colour outside the lines

August 9, 2014

Moriartys, Gap of Dunloe

I had a fascinating chat with Phil Cullen, the Mountain Man himself who is the really nice guy who started the Mountain Man Brewery in a place that I had never heard of before, Renanirree in Cork. Apparently it is somewhere in the Gaeltacht area with Macroom being the nearest town.

I met Phil at the official launch of the spectacular Heather Restaurant at Moriarty’s at the foothills of the Gap of Dunloe. We were privileged to be looking after the PR for the Moriarty’s new venture and Phil was one of the many artisan local producers that feature in the restaurant who were showcasing their wares as part of the event. If you get a chance at all take a spin to this fantastic restaurant in a breathtaking location and enjoy some incredible food. The team of Denis Pio, Ailish and Jennifer have created a real gem in the KIngdom of Kerry.

Phil, a civil engineer by profession has followed his passion like so many other craft brewers that seem to be exploding onto the market in Ireland. The collapse of the building trade made it easy for this enthusiastic home brewer to make the move and start the business in the Derrynasaggart Mountains in 2012.

Phil Cullen, Mountain Man BrewingPhil who had been home brewing for 11 years, saw an explosion of micro-breweries in Canada where he lived for a few years and the return to Celtic Tiger Ireland in 2005 just before the ‘wheels fell off‘ turned out to be perfect timing for him and his new venture.

Take one peep at the website for Mountain Man Brewing and it captures both his unique spirit and the spirit of revolution that is starting to take hold in Ireland.

We are fed up of the same, we crave things that are not only different but that are genuinely authentic.

We want this in our food, we want this in our drink. we want it in our music, we want it where we visit, we want it where we stay, where we eat, where we drink and we want it in our entertainment.

I believe there is a huge movement back to things that are real and authentic, which for me is all about appreciating craft and produce that is made with passion but it is also a rejection of all things ‘plastic‘ that poisoned us during the reckless, commercial, greedy and very shallow Celtic Tiger era.

We are getting back to so many things that are really important and in many ways rejecting some of the awfulness that was allowed to creep into our Ireland.

We can even see this in the latest trends with Irishmen. Phil’s beard might be something you would expect in the hills of Derrynasaggart but now we are seeing this ‘back to nature‘ look on our city streets everywhere!

I was telling Phil how a Guinness Sales Director said to me about 20 years ago when I was working there that he was surprised that more was not being made about the ‘Craft of Irish beer‘ at the time. This new director, just in from the UK could not understand how more was not being made of the craft and heritage and was surprised that the Guinness company wasn’t grabbing this more …he was right!

While Guinness always explored new products the priority was always the big prize with big volumes of big brands and in some ways less choice may have been an easier option.

Phil mentioned that he toured one of the big breweries and he asked the brewmaster some question about alternative brews. He was surprised when the brewmaster replied that brewing this one product was all that he knew.

Can you imagine turning up everyday and producing exactly the same thing over and over with no variation to an exact formula, which is the case with most of what we consume. The opposite sounds like heaven where you can experiment with ingredients, try different blends always bringing out something new.

Food from Heather Restaurant, Moriartys, Gap of DunloePhil quickly reminded me that the skills of that brewmaster are also essential as you do need the guys who understand how to produce quality consistently, which is just as important with craft beers.

While we love difference we need it to be reliable!

The tagline on Phil’s website perfectly sums up the spirit of Mountain Man, the Moriarty’s, the artisans, and anyone trying something new “Beer for people who colour outside the lines“.

Are you colouring outside the lines?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Sicily and the Manager of first impressions

May 27, 2014

Sicily

Dee is the absolute best at holiday arrangements – she looks after everything and every year we have the best time when we go away.

I can’t stand picking through brochures and websites but she loves it and locks down every detail including great places to visit, excellent accommodation and this time she even managed discounted advance parking at Dublin airport!

Months in advance she managed to get a great deal on a cabriolet car rental and she double checked this with the car hire company, Atlas Choice a few days before we were about to fly out. Car hire can be a little hit and miss in particular when you can get the car you booked “or similar”, which is a term that is quite open to interpretation.

Dee had booked a Renault Megane cabriolet and the plan was we were to collect it at Catania airport after our evening flight and then drive to our hotel, which was an hour away. All going well we would be sipping on a cocktail before 10pm looking out at the Mediterranean and up the next day spinning around the coast with the top down and the wind in our hair!!

I am sorry, there is a problem with your car and we will have to give you something else” our lady from OS Car Rental said (these were the local agent for Atlas Choice car rental).

But we confirmed this with you just two days ago?” we said…what was the point?

There is nothing I can do except give you a bigger car, a Kia Sportage” was her solution and hopefully they would deliver the replacement car to our hotel in a few days.

Hmm..You just couldn’t trust this crew judging by the girls attitude – at this stage she was really annoyed that we would not just accept what she was giving us and move on and out of her way.

She asked us to sign a contract for the Kia Sportage for the duration of the hire. We weren’t very happy being presented with a ‘contract’ that would technically lock us to this car. “We will sign it if you note on it that you will change the car as promised in a few days“.

At this stage she totally lost it “I sign nothing” complete with hands waving and extravagant gesturing ….”If you want a car tonight you sign the contract and take the Kia“. At one point she tore the contract out of Dee’s hand as she saw that we were going to write a note on it.

I was so amused at this point that I managed to get her to repeat her “I sign nothing” performance but this time I recorded her – if anyone from her company gives a toss about customer survive they will enjoy this!

Hotels booked and paid for and getting nowhere fast with our Sicilian friend and determined that she wasn’t going to muck up the start of our holiday we relented ….20 minutes later we rolled out of the car park in something we wouldn’t have booked in a 1,000 years with 114,000 miles on the clock.

Our first thoughts were that Sicily was a big con job and we were on high alert – what were we to expect next?

Thankfully we got the friendliest welcome from the hotel, which was much better than we could have expected and we had our cocktails a little later than planned! We were too late for dinner but the kitchen managed a club sandwich for us.

My daughter Ellen and her boyfriend arrived to Sicily the following evening and got stung paying a €96 euros charge for ‘outside normal hours‘ collection of their car and were thinking ‘what next‘. They had a frustrating hour trying to argue that people coming off a regular evening flight to collect a pre-booked car was quite normal and should not incur a penalty. Con job?

My son Brendan and his girlfriend arrived to Sicily a few days later and got caught with a €25 taxi bill for a 2 minute ride to their hotel. When they questioned the amount he grabbed their suitcase and threw it in the boot of his car until they coughed up. Rachel’s first thought was ‘I just want to go back home‘.

First Impressions All three of us had a lousy first impression of Sicily, which thankfully was replaced quickly by some fantastic ones.

Should every country, every place and every business have a ‘Manager of first impressions‘ to make sure that your first impression is great because that first impression lasts?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

How’s it going?

May 14, 2014

“How’s it going?” a bright face looked up at me.

I had a busy day yesterday…

Up early for a meeting to help mediate a problem between two parties that I know well that were about to go through a silly court process, gave a social media course to a group of business owners, drove to Dublin for a big pitch to a potential prospect – I feel it went well, fingers crossed!

We headed for an early bird to Chez Max on Baggot Street with our crew and were joined after by friends for a few drinks and some fun.

We ended up in 37, Dawson Street for more fun and then Burger king of course.

There was a beautiful full moon hanging over Dublin on this gorgeous night as we strolled back to our hotel. Our usual haunt was booked out so we ended up trading up to the very fancy, Merrion Hotel. Hotels in Dublin are clearly getting busier, which is a great sign for our economy.

As we made our way back to the hotel I noticed the bodies nestled in their sleeping bags alongside doorways just off Stephen’s Green. At least tonight it was dry and not too cold, which is a small blessing for those unfortunate enough not to have a roof over their heads for the night.

I glanced into one doorway where i noticed there were two people sleeping alongside each other.

To my surprise a bright face was staring up at me. For a brief moment we connected “How’s it going?” he said in a soft friendly voice. “Not bad at all, thanks”

We made our way back to our hotel and put our heads down for the night.

Today it’s off to Dublin Airport as we are taking a flight to Sicily for a well earned rest and some sunshine – it should be great, we’ve never been.

I wonder what my bright faced friend is doing today.

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion, Marketing & PR with offices in Cork and Dublin

Ambassador, The Restaurant that became a friend

May 11, 2014

Jimmy and William Wong, Ambassador Restaurant, Cork

We never ask a customer to leave” William told me.

I was absolutely astounded by this. How could you run a business in this way? What about staff costs?

We were doing some work with the Ambassador Chinese restaurant in Cork a number of years back and William Wong the manager and one of the family owners explained some of the business ethos to me.

He told me a story about how a professor who was visiting UCC had arrived late, had his meal and in the early hours of the morning he was still there, enjoying a few cigars (when this was still allowed) and after dinner drinks. He was the only one left in the restaurant but they waited until he was finished before they started tidying up.

Maybe in a family run business you can do this but this incredible work and customer service ethic explains why this restaurant has done so well since William’s parents opened it in 1987.

For as long as I can remember this luxurious Chinese restaurant has maintained incredibly high standards of food and always excellent, friendly service.

In this time I have eaten there so many times, on family occasions, on dates, on special occasions, entertaining clients and for special treats with our own team and I can’t remember ever being disappointed with the experience. Every time you went there you enjoyed the food, the ambiance but also the special welcome and friendliness.

During our short time working with them we got to know the family and in particular William quite well. Without a shadow of doubt he has been one of the very best clients to deal with, always appreciating what was done for him and an absolute pleasure to deal with.

On one occasion William returned from a trip away and brought us back a scroll with ‘Fuzion‘ written on it and a special oriental teapot, which must have been a pain in the backside for him to be carrying around! We treasure both of these gifts and on the odd occasion that you might come across someone that is really unpleasant these remind us that there are special people out there.

I have my own special, if slightly unusual personal connection with William – I was in the middle of a meeting with him one afternoon when the call came through that my granny had passed away. Other than family and close friends I couldn’t think of a better person to be with when that awful news came through.

Sadly the Ambassador restaurant closed its doors last night for the last time (May 10th, 2014) as the building has been bought by Penneys.

Cork will truly miss not only a great restaurant but one that had become a fantastic friend to so many of us.

After 27 hard working years you might wonder what legacy has been left behind by the Wong family?

It’s huge….

The very best of luck to Linda, Norman, Jimmy, the other members of the Wong family and in particular our special friend William.

Thank you for all of those special moments – We’ll miss you.

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 

 

 

Good Friday and the Scarcity Principle

April 18, 2014

Good Friday - The Scarcity Principle

I’d do anything for a drink in the pub right now..

It’s always the same on Good Friday – once you know all the pubs and off-licences are closed you want nothing more. We can have wine or beer at home, like we do frequently on a Friday evening but on this day you would just want to go to the pub!

As usual in the lead up to Good Friday we heard the publican and the restaurant lobby groups giving out quite rightly about the antiquated law, which has no sale of alcohol permitted in Ireland unless it is in a club or unless you are a guest in a hotel.

The Scarcity Principle

Robert Cialdini, one of the foremost experts on influence, found that people value and desire something more when it is rare or difficult to obtain. He called this the Scarcity Principle. Across numerous experiments, Cialdini and others have found that making something rare (“only 5 left”), time limited (“one day sale”), or unique (“just for you”), increases its perceived attractiveness and value.

He explains that this Scarcity Principle works on the idea of Reactance.

Essentially, it happens because none of us like to be told no, limited in any way, or have our freedom constrained. So, when we think we might miss out, not be chosen, or be denied what we want, we “react”. That reactance makes us try all the harder and want what is denied us all the more.

In some strange way maybe this is a great marketing trick for pubs and restaurants as all of sudden we ‘desire’ a visit!

Maybe pubs and restaurants should embrace the day and take the opportunity to do some minor renovations, repairs, spring cleaning or take some precious time off and get ready for that rush..

What are you doing to create some scarcity in your business?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Avoiding Temptation

March 6, 2014

I spotted her out of the corner of my eye.

She looked back at me inviting me to come over. She was elegant, dressed in black with an air of sophistication.

Come over to me and I will tell you intimate secrets about yourself …. Get closer, put your feet and the whole weight of your body on top of me.

This could be embarrassing and overwhelming …. should I?

I battled desperately with it, she kept staring, tempting me to make my way over to her.

I dug deep and decided it would be best that I resisted…after all, I was away with Dee on her birthday weekend in a very fancy hotel with fabulous food and wine at every turn.

I weighed it up and decided not to weigh in – tempting as she was, she could ruin my whole weekend.

I never quite understood why a hotel would put weighing scales in their bathrooms …..!!

In your business be careful not to put up any barriers to your customers buying what you are selling.

Weighing Scales

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin