Ruaridh Macdonald tells ITCM of the success of the Macdonald group’s iconic propertiesThe recession is amazingly patchy. Generally the reports in the MICE sector are of a lower level of business, with slightly fewer events but many fewer delegates. However, ITCM found many bright spots during a series of interviews at International Confex 2012. Malta and Turkey were destinations that had enjoyed a successful 2011. Nexus reported increased sales worldwide of conference bags. Scotland had benefited from a higher level of investment.
Ruaridh Macdonald, Sales and Marketing Director of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, had several success stories to report from his own group of 48 hotels. ‘The Compleat Angler’, he told Sydney Paulden, ‘is having its best ever year in 2011/12.’ It appears that people who are used to enjoying the best quality in facilities and service sill have the money to spend on it. The Compleat Angler, an iconic property on the Thames at Marlow, historic and with a romantic setting alongside a fast-flowing weir and with four AA red stars and two rosettes, has been busy with upmarket incentives and meetings.
‘The same has been true of the Macdonald Randolph Hotel, our iconic 5-star property in Oxford’, he adds. ‘That is a city centre hotel and I am delighted to say it has had a bumper year. They are both very different hotels, but I think it is their top quality status that has maintained a high level of business. The Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel is of the same breed of properties that is always in demand at the top of the market’.
Macdonald as a group is currently expanding through management contracts. They have recently taken on the Haycock Hotel in Peterborough and The Donnington Grove in Newbury, which they headline as Macdonald Associate Hotels.
The Haycock is a 3-star property, but possibly the finest in the town. It is a 16thC coaching inn on the banks of the River Nene, boasting an award-winning restaurant. The Donnington Grove is an 18thC, 32-guestroom country club.
Smaller properties are finding the going more difficult in the current economic climate and gain strength from nestling under the wing of a larger group.