Hotel Hub: Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry
Now in its third year of trading, Bishop’s Gate Hotel is well established in the market and reaping the rewards of hard work through its continued growth and success.
“The last 12 months have been very encouraging,” says Ciaran O’Neill, managing director. “In September, Bishop’s Gate scooped one of the main accolades in the UK hospitality sector, having been named as AA Hotel of the Year (Northern Ireland) 2018-19.
“It was a fantastic achievement for such a young business, and recognition from the AA reaffirmed that our business plan is on the right path.”
And the AA accolade represents the latest in a steady stream of awards this year, with the hotel picking up the team category of NIHF Hotel Reception of the Year and featuring in TripAdvisor’s annual UK Travellers’ Choice awards for the second year in a row.
“The ratings are an indication of the continued appeal of Bishop’s Gate and demonstrate the consistently high standard of customer service that is delivered to all visitors,” says O’Neill.
What’s next for the business? “The property is still new so there are little capital plans for a few years, but we have added a new family room,” he says. “It was needed, and it has been well received by our customers.
“In terms of new markets, we are seeing a real uplift from golf operators on the back of the Irish Open in Ballyliffin and The Open at Royal Portrush in 2019. We are still finding our feet in relation to which markets to target in the long term.
“These are good times to be a hotelier with the surge in tourism and occupancy, but we need to be cautious as many businesses are seeing rising costs. This will have a significant impact on decisions we make in the coming months.
“This worries me more than Brexit. We will cope with whatever Brexit brings but we need government to address the big questions around VAT, rates, skills and the Living Wage, and for decision makers to realise the challenges we are facing as operators.”