This week on Saturday Spotlight I’m chatting to the lovely Laura Harvey from The Lucky Onion, a family collection of boutique hotels, restaurants and country pubs in the Cotswolds and a company with a passion for delivering outstanding customer experiences.
The Lucky Onion currently consists of 5 Cotswolds properties; The Tavern, The Wild Duck, The Wheatsheaf Northleach, No.131 Cheltenham and No.38 The Park Cheltenham now hosting the recently relocated Indian fine dining restaurant, Prithvi. But the exciting news is that this number is set to increase even further this year through the acquisition of The George, Cheltenham and The Crown Minchinhampton. This coupled with the expansion of No.131 and the re-launch of the Crazy 8s cocktail bar at the start of March will undoubtedly render The Lucky Onion collection even more fabulous than ever and put Cheltenham firmly on the map as the place to be in the Cotswolds.
And if this wasn’t enough excitement, the newly renovated Clarence House will be open for race week offering a VIP environment for which guests will be able to buy tickets to exclusively enjoy the beautiful new space in the good company of Jade & Julian and an impressive VIP guest list. Am on my way!
Laura is the Guest and Media Relations Manger for The Lucky Onion and as I sank into one of No.131’s comfortable armchairs with a cup of its very own roasted coffee, she told me more about what this entailed. On a day-to-day basis, Laura works closely with reservations teams and General Managers across the sites. Laura believes that feedback is always important although much prefers it when people inform staff at the time if there is an issue. “There’s always something that can be done,’ says Laura who ‘Never wants guests to leave unhappy.’ TripAdvisor reviews are dealt with by the General Mangers of each site which Laura says ‘Is great as it helps them see what is being mentioned and can help direct them to any repeating issues or feedback, but to also see if any staff are getting particular lovely mentions.’
Laura started work as the Guest and Media Relations Manager just over a year ago and in this role, she oversees the guest journey ‘from beginning to end’. She says ‘It’s all about communication and being honest about what we are and what we do.’ I can’t help but agree as transparency about the product you offer is really important in order to be able to deliver what is expected successfully. When we chatted more about the importance of delivering excellent Customer Service, Laura said ‘It’s all about going above and beyond’ guest expectations and providing those ‘Little extra touches’ whenever possible.
Laura’s background Customer Service background began when she was headhunted to work for Topshop to set up their personal styling experiences after studying Fashion Design at University and completing an internship with Julienne McDonald. Laura loved her job as she got to ‘Work with a great team’, something she continues to enjoy at The Lucky Onion. When I asked about the worst job she’d ever had, Laura said that there wasn’t one but did comment that she has never wanted to work in an office. She loves the variety her jobs have provided, as she’s a ‘Real people person’ and ‘Every day has been different.’
Laura and the owner of The Lucky Onion, Julian Dunkerton, have a shared love for Cheltenham and what it has to offer and are passionate about putting it firmly on the map through the growth of The Lucky Onion collection. Laura explained that at the heart of the family’s offering is ‘Good quality, locally sourced products’ and the feeling of a ‘Real home from home’ experience in all the Lucky Onion properties.
So what’s next for The Lucky Onion? Well for that you’ll need to watch this space but with the collection’s most recent acquisitions and the expansion of No.131 breathtakingly close to completion these are undoubtedly exciting times and I for one, cannot wait!
Many thanks to Laura for chatting to me today for Saturday Spotlight in one of the fabulous armchairs at No.131 as opposed to my usual sofa!
Until next week everyone!
Lady Janey x