Tuesday 20 September 2011

Girls just wanna have fun....

It is important to us as a hotel that we support a charity every year, and so this year we are supporting Marie Curie Cancer Care.

The charity started back in 1948, the same year the NHS was launched.  Not long before the Hempstead based Marie Curie Hospital was transferred to the NHS, a group of committee members from the hospital decided to preserve the name of Marie Curie in the charitable medical field.  This was the beginning of the Marie Curie Memorial Foundation, a charity dedicated to alleviating suffering from Cancer, today known as Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Following the donation of an engagement ring to help raise funds, the first appeal was launched and brought in £4000.  By 1950 the ongoing appeal had raised a staggering £30,000 and two years later the Marie Curie Memorial Foundation officially became a charity – number 207994

The charity dedicates itself to providing more and better care for its patients and their families through the Marie Curie Nurses and its nine hospices.  It is committed to carrying out the research and innovation required to find out what the best care is and the best way to provide it.  They ensure measures are taken to give people the choice of place for their end of life care through the Marie Curie Delivering Choice Programme.  The Charity is also determined that the needs of the dying remain on the political agenda and will continue to campaign for patients to be able to die in their own home in all four countries of the UK.

A lot has changed since 1948 but their core values have remained constant, putting patients and families first.  You might be lucky and never need their services, but you might know someone who did or will.

We decided we wanted to put on an event to help raise some awareness of what they do and to hopefully raise some money for this great cause.  So....I would like to introduce the Burlington Girls Night.  A fun packed evening with Cosmopolitan cocktails, nibbles, prizes to win and lots to buy including clothes, jewellery, make-up, skin care, handbags, shoes and much more!  All in aid of Marie Curie.

We want you to have fun! Men aren't all fans of clothes shopping with the wives, girlfriends and daughters, so we thought we would arrange the perfect evening for you to enjoy shopping and leave the men at home!

We have met through various channels all those having a stand on the evening. They are people you won't find on the high street. They are independent, one off suppliers and stockists. They take pride in what they offer, and the experiences they want you to have. We all love a bargain, we all love to feel like we have our own personal shopper and this is certainly one place where you will get to have it all!

If you want to get out the house for a couple of hours, shop with your friends and have yourself styled then this is going to be right up your street.  The added bonus is you get to have loads of fun and help Marie Curie Cancer Care at the same time! IT'S FABULOUS!

When? Thursday 29th September 2011
Where? The Burlington Hotel, Earls Avenue, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 2HR
What Time? 7.30pm – 9.30pm

We hope you can make it!

Friday 2 September 2011

TripAdvisor....Tastes better when taken with a pinch of salt....

There are so many articles, new reports and bad press surrounding TripAdvisor these days. Yet up until 6 months ago a lot of people wouldn’t ever have considered staying at a hotel before reading reviews left on the infamous site. You might find 30 or even 500 reviews left over a period of a couple of years and more. All a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. Still I can quite confidently say that those hotels would have seen many more guests passing through their doors, sleeping in their beds and enjoying their breakfasts and dinners who did not leave a review and had a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

A few months ago hoteliers finally found their voice and have brought and continue to bring to the public and presses attention that actually Trip Advisor has no way of verifying that those people leaving reviews have ever stayed in the hotel they are commenting on at all. In fact the chances are that a good handful have had a disappointing stay, the other handful are competitors who want to do damage to their rivals or just simply vindictive people posting a negative comment purely for their own satisfaction (a disgruntled member of staff perhaps). Needless to say some of the positive reviews may well have been posted by staff members, family members or friends, however the majority will probably be good honest reviews.

The point is people are finally starting to see it for what it is and what hoteliers have always known it to be but have muddled through because nobody seemed to be able to shout loudly enough about it...until recently.

Companies such as Booking.com and Laterooms.com have however got it right. They can and do have the ability to post reviews, as you can only do so if you have stayed in that hotel and booked your stay via the aforementioned websites, this is the proof the stay actually took place and means the reviews are from true customers.

More recently it has just been announced that the ASA has launched a formal investigation into TripAdvisor after receiving a complaint from a company called KwickChex.com. A Bournemouth based company that helps others manage their online reputations. They have been pursuing TripAdvisor since last year over what it claims are numerous misleading, fake and defamatory reviews posted about restaurants, hotels and bed & breakfasts. With the likes of Dragons Den entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne backing the campaign, this is certainly one investigation to keep your eye on!

I think the point I want to make is this. TripAdvisor, love it or hate it has been part of the holiday makers booking process for many years, and yet should never be taken too seriously. We as a nation much prefer to grumble and moan after the occurrence than speak up at the time, this bad feeling then festers and those who don't perhaps want a resolution will complain to Trip Advisor and such like. Those who are serious will contact the hotel and voice their concerns at the time or write a letter once back at home, giving the hotel a serious chance to rectify any fault or make amends, hopefully to the customers satisfaction.

A warning to those who read reviews, remember if the site can not guarantee these reviews are genuine, don't let it effect your own judgement too much.
I hope TripAdvisor can find away of verifying that past and new reviews are genuine. I also hope that since reading this and hearing about it in the press, those of you who have shunned hotels in the past due to a bad Trip Advisor review might reconsider visiting them. We don't bite. We are open to the public. We are here to serve you. Pop in and and see us, ask for a look around, and make up your own mind.