engage magazine issue 006/\'08 - Page 58

58 CASE STUDY Business Link Support Case Study Starting from scratch with Business Link London Two of the main challenges Samantha faced were her age and inexperience. “I was 24 when I started as general manager, so I had a complete lack of business or management experience,” she recalls. This had challenges, not least because Samantha didn’t think people took her seriously at the start. “Because I was young I generally recruited people younger than me as well, who probably weren’t always the best or most experienced people for the job,” she recalls. To make matters worse, the hotel was struggling when Samantha took over, so she turned to Business Link London for help. “Business Link London has been like a guardian angel for me,” she says. “They helped me put the building blocks in place for the business,” she explains. “I was learning as I went along but gradually everything started to fall into place as I began to make use of the contacts they have and the funding available for training.“ “Business Link London has been like a guardian angel for me,” she says. “They helped me put the building blocks in place for the business,” engage | uk ISSUE SIX 2008 How we implemented staff training and HR management processes When Samantha Trinder’s parents opened the Bingham in Richmond in 1984, chic boutique hotels of the type seen in Conde Nast Traveller or Mr and Mrs Smith were unheard of. But fast-forward 23 years and London can’t house enough of them. It was a romantic dream to turn her parents’ 15-bed B&B into an exclusive London boutique hotel that persuaded Samantha to take on the management of the Bingham in 2001 when her mother raised the possibility of selling the business. At first, her role was confined to running the restaurant but in 2003 Samantha became general manager and began the tough job of transforming the business from an unprofitable, old-fashioned B&B into a much sought after and profitable boutique hotel. Tackling staffing issues In the hospitality sector, recruitment and retention of staff is notoriously difficult. The Bingham has one of the better rates of staff turnover in the industry at 50 per cent, although this is still considerably higher than that found in other sectors. “Some people have worked here for several years now,” she says. “But in terms of waiters and receptionists, generally they will leave after six to 12 months.” Believing in the importance of good staff to deliver the superior experience customers expect from a boutique hotel, Samantha has worked with Business