Harry Murray, AA Lifetime Achievement winner, advises ‘be the best at what you do'
"Be the very best at what you do whether it be running a B&B a brasserie or a hotel, and give value for money," Murray, chairman of Lucknam Park, near Bath, told an audience of more than 900 leading members of the industry, after being presented with the ultimate accolade at the AA Hospitality Awards 2013 on Monday night at the London Hilton on Park Lane.
"When mentoring young people I do strongly advise that success is based on balance of life, family, health and work," he said. "The important message here is to recognise when it does steer out of balance."
Murray received the award following a career spanning more than 50 years. Following his first general manager appointment at the North Stafford hotel in Stoke-on-Trent in 1967, he went on to run the Majestic hotel in Harrogate before heading to South Africa to run the President and then the Landdrost hotels in Johannesburg.
He returned to the UK as general manager of the Imperial Hotel in Torquay before returning for a second stint in South Africa, when he opened the InterContinental in Cape Town.
Most recently, Murray, who was named Hotelier of the Year in 1986 and was appointed an MBE for services to the hospitality industry in 2006, has headed Lucknam Park. Since joining the hotel in 1997, he has overseen a £20m refurbishment ,including a new spa and restaurant, to create one of the UK's leading country house hotels.
Murray's contribution to the wider industry has included his involvement with the Master Innholders, St Julian Scholars mentoring scheme, the Institute of Hospitality, Academy of Culinary Arts, Hospitality Action, Springboard and the Edge Hotel School.
In choosing to work in the hospitality industry, Murray said that he had selected the best industry in the world. "I chose something I loved from day one, I enjoyed the work, volunteered for everything, and it just got better and better as my career progressed."
•Harry Murray will be speaking at the all-star Cateys Conference, being held on 8 November at Jumeirah Carlton Tower. He will explain how to ensure your business stands the test of time, stays relevant and is able to attract new generations of guests. For more information visit www.cateysconference.com