Hotel Cateys 2017: Hotelier of the Year winner, Sue Williams, Whatley Manor

01 December 2017 by
Hotel Cateys 2017: Hotelier of the Year winner, Sue Williams, Whatley Manor

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The wonderful warmth and professionalism Sue Williams exuded during Hospitality Action's annual cycle challenge in the Cotswolds earlier this year during ‘monsoon' conditions pretty much sums up the way she has approached her 36-year career. Typically, she rolled up her sleeves and provided a hearty welcome and generous hospitality under the most adverse conditions, and calmly dealt with one injured cyclist with the utmost care.

In her current role at Whatley Manor, Williams is overseeing considerable change, specifically by transforming the food and beverage outlets. Niall Keating, who was appointed executive chef at the end of last year, won a Michelin star for the hotel in October for the Dining Room, and earlier this month the new Grey's Brasserie was launched.

Room occupancy and rates are being lifted by creating awareness of the hotel's membership of Pride of Britain and Relais & Chateux, as well as the development of a new website and the introduction of a serious revenue management policy. As a result, Whatley Manor achieved an occupancy of 78% in July, the highest rate since the owners relaunched the hotel in 2003. Average occupancy across 2017 is expected to be 64%, up from 55% last year.

Craig Bancroft, last year's Hotelier of the Year who nominated Williams for this year's award, says: "I cannot think of anybody more deserving of this award than Sue. She has demonstrated total commitment and dedication to the hospitality industry throughout her many years of being at of the forefront of cutting-edge hotels. She is a consummate and outstanding hotelier, who leads by example and is a top female executive within the industry, who would be very proud of the award and do it complete justice." He adds that she is "a shining star" in her passionate support and encouragement towards her staff.

What the judges said

"Sue could not be described as a showy 'peacock', but as a peaceful 'dove', who is people-orientated, loyal, friendly, hard-working, a great team player and very well respected." Jonathan Raggett

"Sue Williams is the most respected hands-on hotelier, a terrific ambassador for the hotel industry and a highly regarded operator." Stuart Bowery

"Sue is one of the most professional hoteliers. She puts so much back into our industry in a quiet, selfless and unassuming way. Previously an unsung hero, it's quite rightly her turn to shine." Danny Pecorelli

"Sue embodies a winning combination of warmth and professionalism, but what really marks her out is her unstinting enthusiasm for, and commitment to, the hotels she has worked in, to the industry as a whole, and to the young people starting out in it. She is a great hotelier, a great human being and a great role model." Fiona Duncan

Past winners
Craig Bancroft

2015 Nick Jones

2014 Danny Pecorelli

2013 Stuart Bowery

2012 Stuart Johnson

2011 Stephen Carter

2010 Andrew Stembridge

2009 Jonathan Raggett

2008 Andrew McKenzie

2007 Michael Gray

2006 Richard Ball

2005 John Stauss

2004 Patrick Elsmie

2003 Robin Hutson

2002 Gordon Campbell Gray

2001 Karen Earp

2000 Peter Crome

1999 Nick Ryan

1998 Nicholas Rettie

1997 Peter Lederer

1996 Chris Rouse

1995 Ricci Obertelli

1994 David Levin

1993 Ken McCulloch

1992 Dagmar Woodward

1991 Martin Skan

1990 George Goring

1989 Grete Hobbs

1988 Ronald Jones

1987 Eion Dillon

1986 Harry Murray

1985 Terry Holmes

1984 RamÁ³n Pajares

1983 Richard Edwards

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