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Solihull hotel aiming for AA red-stars

AA Senior Inspector Andrew Ford talks to staff at Hogarths Hotel & Restaurant
Staff at a leading hotel in Solihull have taken their first steps towards being officially recognised as the best of the best.
AA Senior Inspector Andrew Ford led a workshop at Hogarths Hotel & Restaurant in Four Ashes Road, Dorridge, with the co-owners Helena and Andy Hogarth, the senior management team and heads of department towards achieving red-star ratings.

Currently, there are around 150 red-star rated hotels among 4,000 AA-rated hotels in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Andrew said it would take staff at Hogarths, which has four AA stars, between 18 months and two years to achieve the accolade. “The AA’s red-stars are given to elite hotels and Hogarths has the ambition to achieve four red-stars,” he said.

“I gave a presentation to around 30 staff to take them through the process of rating a hotel, how the inspector will look at each department and shared best practice.

“We broke into groups to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each department through workshops because the AA inspector will cover everything from making a reservation to checking-out.

“There are forms for the staff to now fill-in with different action points and I will turn-up periodically to attend heads of department meetings to find out where they are with the action points.

“An anonymous AA inspector will stay overnight to feedback where the shortfalls are so the Hogarths staff know where they have to improve.

“Once the hotel has had three positive inspections and their merit score is at 85 per cent or above in each area then they go forward to the hospitality panel which is made-up of high-profile industry professionals outside the AA.

“If it is approved, it will be announced at our annual awards ceremony which over 1,000 people attend.”

Andrew, who has been a hotel and restaurant inspector for 25 years, said it was heartening to see co-owners Helena and Andy Hogarth investing in staff training to take the hotel to the next level.

He said: “Competition among hotels is tough but it is heart-warming to see that owners still want to achieve the best not only for their hotel but for their staff. “Achieving red-star status would be fantastic for the careers of their staff as well so there is a great incentive to achieve the rating.”

Steven Quick, general manager of Hogarths Hotel & Restaurant, said AA red-stars were renowned throughout the industry as a benchmark of quality.

He said: “Providing top-class service and facilities to each customer who is coming along to Hogarths whether it is for a conference, to attend a wedding or enjoy a meal at our Bar8 Brasserie is our number one priority.

“We already receive plenty of favourable comments from guests but we want to take it to the next level.

“Achieving red-star status is not going to be easy but that is why such a low number of hotels can prove they provide such outstanding levels of service and facilities and we want to stand out as being among the very best hotels in the UK.”

Pictured: AA Senior Inspector Andrew Ford talks to staff at Hogarths Hotel & Restaurant

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