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Lochside Garage
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Business Focus: David Morrison

Name: David Morrison

Business Name: Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel & Lodges

Business Location: Located 1 km from Enniskillen, on the shores of scenic Lough Erne.

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How long have you been in business? I was appointed as General Manager in June 1996 and have implemented many key developments during the last 20 years. Recent highlights include hosting the Media Centre for the G8 Summit in 2013, ‘40 Years in Business’ Celebrations in 2016 and leading the £1.4 million refurbishment project which included the launch of our Lakeside Lodges in 2017.

 How many staff do you employ? In normal circumstances, we would employ in excess of 200 staff.

What would you say are your strengths? I am a loyal, hard working individual. I am a self motivated and determined person, who always likes to succeed in whatever the goal may be. I would also have a trait of striving for perfection.  As a boss, I would describe myself as firm but fair.

What would you say are your weaknesses? I am not blessed with patience, and would always want tasks to be given an urgency. This may not always be the case when dealing with daily routines in work.

How had Covid-19 affected your business? (Negatively & positively)Lockdown and being closed for almost 4 months was an extremely surreal time. The impact of this on the business, was immense, but we proactively used the temporary closure as an opportunity to enhance the guest experience on reopening. We carried out some essential maintenance within the building. Since re-opening, our ‘Kommitted to your Care Policy’ includes collecting guest contact details and temperature checking on arrival, which is a great way to personally meet and greet all of our guests and is the ‘new normal’ in welcoming them to the hotel.

What makes your business unique? Our business is unique for numerous reasons. Our lakeside location is second to none, with the amazing scenic backdrop of Lough Erne and the surrounding natural beauty. The location is ideal for a relaxing break and its proximity to Enniskillen town centre is an added bonus. Being a family owned and run hotel for over 40 years, the charm of personal hospitality is a key element of the guest experience and the customer is central to the vision of the business.

Who has been the greatest influence on your life? (Aside from friends & family). The late Mrs Kennedy, Principal of Sallaghy Primary School. There were two core principles which I learned from this lady. “ If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing right “ and “ There is no such thing as can’t do”. Over the years, I have found that both of these philosophies have been key drivers to my success.

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What are your plans for the future? Do not have any specific plans for the future, at the moment, but would like to retire at whatever stage I felt appropriate and enjoy the freedom of no work pressures. I would plan to spend as much time as possible in the sun, which would involve a lot of holidays. Whilst at home, I would be able to enjoy a more leisurely lifestyle on the farm.

What would your advice be for anyone starting out in your industry? The world of hospitality is vibrant, lively and always interesting. Your business is all about people. In addition, it offers numerous opportunities to demonstrate your creativity and flair. You are creating a product – be that food, drink or an experience, and there is always endless scope to dream up new ways of making it more enjoyable for your guests.

Peaks and troughs in the business require flexibility and the stamina to work long hours as and when required. Possessing a sense of humour is an essential part of the business – it certainly lightens the path. Hospitality provides a great deal of variety in the daily tasks required, and is an extremely rewarding and satisfying career.

How do you like to relax? I am extremely fortunate to own a farm, and this provides a perfect contrast to my working day. I enjoy spending time in the open air, tending the animals, and making improvements to make the farm more efficient and easier to run.

Reading is a favourite pastime, but unfortunately only tend to relax and unwind in books, whilst on holiday. Television is a perfect way to chill out at the end of a challenging day.

What would you do if you won the lottery? If I won the lottery, I would continue to work, as work keeps your mind sharp and focused. However, it would probably speed up my retirement, and the purchase of a villa in Portugal would provide a perfect base for me, my wife and family.

We might be limited in our travel at the moment but where is your favourite holiday destination? My favourite holiday destination is Tavira, on Portugal’s Algarve coast. It is a perfect haven to enjoy sunshine, culture and alfresco dining. It is the most beautiful location that we have ever visited on holiday.

What do you miss most about Fermanagh when you are away? Probably just the buzz of a normal working week. Work and farm tend to occupy a lot of my time, and being away can take a little time to adjust to.

If you could swap lives with someone who would you choose and why? Julian Norton, Yorkshire Vet. From a child, I have always had a love of veterinary practice, and I am envious of his lifestyle and the countryside in which he lives and works, providing a stunning, ever changing backdrop.

And finally take the chance to give a shout out to another local business who you think is doing great things (expand on why you’ve chosen them): LE Graphics – David & Edith Donaldson and their team.

LE Graphics manufacture and install a wide range of signage, shopfronts, banners and vehicle graphics as well as POS and exhibition graphics, as part of their main portfolio. During lockdown, the team volunteered their time to assist in the midst of the pandemic. This was organised and led by David, and his selfless efforts provided endless support to many local care establishments during the peak of the crisis.

In turn, this has resulted in a modification of product range to meet the current demands of safe working practices. Having dealt with David and his team in the lead up to reopening, I was extremely impressed with the attention to detail and speed of service. Excellent, top quality job. Well done and thank you to LE Graphics !

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David Morrison from the Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel said it was with “some regret, but yet relief” the water sports...

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