Innovation isn’t just new technology

By Tarnia Robertson, Ufford Park Woodbridge
Today, the opportunities for innovation are everywhere. The growing competition within the hotel industry is one of the main challenges in hospitality, and over the past few years, inventions in the sector have developed at a fast-moving pace.

Published in Suffolk Director Magazine Autumn/Winter 2020
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The world we live in has become increasingly digital-based; however, at Ufford Park, our belief in innovation isn’t solely defined by the implementation of new technology.

Constantly evolving

Ufford Park may not be the most modern and tech-savvy hotel, golf and spa resort out there, yet, we are constantly evolving the systems we have in place to ensure our guests have an enjoyable and hassle-free visit. Over the years, guests’ expectations have completely changed, and 
although business travellers will be looking for something different to those looking for a family getaway, they all have reason to believe their expectations will be met, or even better, exceeded.

We firmly believe that how a guest is treated by staff is most important; after all that’s what the hospitality industry is all about. Of course, this can differ from person to person and for different age groups, but a guest will be more satisfied by the personal attention they receive, rather than the high-tech gadgets they have in their bedroom.

Nowadays, consumer loyalty is strongly derived from shared values of a business, especially when it comes to a company’s eco-friendly approach.

Over the years we have carried out a variety of changes and our hotel policy is to aim to reduce our energy consumption by five percent per year. We have had solar panels fitted. All halogen lights have now been replaced with LED and where possible, we use local suppliers and produce to minimise our carbon footprint.

Out on the golf course, there is minimal use of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides, and in 2018, we reduced our use of nitrogen from 100kg per year to just 25kg. This achievement in turn also helps to protect the abundance of wildlife we have living out on our 120 acres.

Recognised as a green business

These are just a handful of changes we have consciously made and being named as Suffolk’s Greenest Business at the 2019 Creating the Greenest County Awards, was definitely one of our highlights.

Following COVID-19 and the closure of Ufford Park, just like many businesses, the way our systems were carried out, once again had to be changed. And, although one of our main priorities is always the safety of our staff and guests, once we were allowed to reopen in July, we had to bring 
back our management team to quickly rethink ways we do almost everything.

Being in the hospitality industry, it has been an extremely difficult few months for us. Of course, new technology and the ‘mobile experience’ is something that cannot be ignored and although we welcome using more technology over the next few years in order to help streamline operations, we believe the true key to success is to be able to offer the best customer service in the area.

My team around me aren’t afraid of change and that is really key in any business. In fact, we find it rather exciting!

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Tarnia Robertson is Managing Director at Ufford Park Woodbridge Hotel Golf and Spa, an independently owned family business with a Quality in Tourism 3-star Silver accreditation.

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