Lochside Garage

Brexit is good news for this landmark hotel

Lough Erne Resort welcomes Brexit

William Kirby from the Lough Erne Resort

THE Lough Erne Resort is hoping to reap the rewards of Brexit as the luxury hotel seeks to grow its brand globally on its tenth anniversary.
William Kirby (46) took on the role of general manager of the Lough Erne resort last May and since then has put a firm focus on growing its customer base and improving its brand.
The Yorkshire man will be at the helm as the five star hotel prepares to mark a decade in business in 2017. With that in mind, he’s investing in a new banqueting suite to open in March, revamped conference facilities and a longer-term goal of revamping the hotel rooms next year.
Given his arrival just ahead of the busy summer season last year, Mr Kirby had to work quickly by initially recruiting a sales and marketing team to launch a new website and booking facility.
He said: “The busy season was approaching and there hadn’t been a general manager in place for several months so the team needed to be invigorated. I set about trying to steady the ship and motivate the managers to push on and develop the business after coming out of administration.
“It was a tough period for the staff who had been chewed up and spat out really. It was about giving them the confidence that change was happening for the better. We are in a new era now and moving forward because we have a fantastic product here so let’s get on with it.
“All things are pointing north and if you have momentum and positivity in the team, that is a good thing.”
While Lough Erne is now focused on attracting guests from mainland Europe and North America over the coming months and years, Mr Kirby says he doesn’t fear the looming implications of Brexit.
“I have to see Brexit as a good thing,” he says. “With the devaluing of the pound, there has never been better value for people from the Republic counties to come North. That’s a positive thing. The US dollar rate versus the pound is good and also there is value for those from across mainland Europe.
“Six months ago the idea of staying for two nights at a five-star hotel wasn’t as attractive as it is now. We have seen growth year-on-year. I’m not saying last year was particularly successful, but up on previous years. Visitor numbers are up and confidence is good as people are spending again.”
While there was disappointment that the G8 venue missed out on hosting this year’s Irish Open, Mr Kirby says he “absolutely” optimistic about the event coming to Fermanagh in the near future.

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