New Continental Hotel, Millbay Road, Plymouth, PL1 3LD

Tel: 01752 276798

Train Like A Strongman…

 

Adam is our Club Continental Manager; but in addition to this he is also a competing athlete in his own right.

This year Adam has taken part in three competitions around the UK; and his fourth one will be this Sunday 18th November in Caerphilly, Wales.

We talk to him about what it takes to compete and more..!

This is going to be a very basic question to start the ball rolling! What is a Strongman Competition?

“Strongman competitions normally range from 5 and 6 events over the course of the day. They are designed to test static strength, explosiveness and muscular endurance. This means that training has to be adapted to accommodate all these qualities. Strongman competitions differ from other strength sports. It’s not like weightlifting or power-lifting, these only have two and three disciplines respectively. In power-lifting and weight-lifting the athletes have to be very strong in specific movements where as strongman demands a much more general level of strength and fitness”

Why do you compete?

“It’s a question I get asked all the time! There are so many reasons. Most of the exercises in strongman force you to use most of your muscle groups at once. It gives me a focus for my training and goals to strive for. I really enjoy the periodic tests that I put myself under to see how I’m progressing and improving and I thrive on the challenge. The journey that I go on in the training is amazing, it can be several weeks or months in advance, and I can feel my body and mind getting ready.”

So it’s not just because you like to flip tyres, pull trucks and throw balls?

“Perhaps a little (he laughs!) The ‘balls’ you mention are Atlas Stones!”

Most of us grew up watching the World’s Strongest Man on TV, with giants from all around the world moving insanely heavy and awkward objects! How many people will be competing on Sunday and is there a lot of rivalry between you all?

“This one is a Strongest Man Novice competition and there will be 20 people competing.  Like any sport, you all go in wanting to do your best. It’s what we train for and it’s a passion. The thing that makes strongman so accessible is that anyone can train for it, which is always exciting to be part of.”

What will the lead up to Sunday look like?

“My family and friends are hugely supportive. They understand that I love a challenge and the chance to push myself to my limits. It can be quite stressful; even though I love it!  Although I know that me pushing myself to my limits – can at times push those closest to me to theirs too!

Being in pursuit of excellence and perfection means early mornings and lots of training and ‘fuel’ planning. On Saturday I will eat well all day, really carb up and have a big meal in the evening followed by about 6-8 hours sleep and then a light breakfast in the morning.”

Good luck Adam! Thank you for sharing and happy training!

Bringing A Brighter Start To 2019…

The New Continental Hotel lights the way thanks to Nev, his ladders and a ‘lorra’ LEDs..!

We are now entering into that time of year where it always feels pretty dark outside! Many of us are doing our morning commutes before the sun has risen. Then finishing the day under the dark night sky!

With over 4,200 light bulbs in our Grand Old Lady, that means a very big switch on during this time of year..!

Nev’s BIG BULB-BINANZER…

Over the past 6 months, our Maintenance Manager Nev, has been VERY busy indeed! He has been working towards completing the big plan for the hotel LED changeover!

Now over half way through the BIG BULB-BINANZER, Nev has over 2,600 LED bulbs replacing the older halogen ones.

This lighting upgrade has taken a huge amount of work, not to mention a fairly hefty price tag, but we know it’s worth it; Nev explains:

man standing with his arms crossed in front of a christmas tree

“On average, just over 30 per cent of our organisation’s electricity costs come from our lighting, but a switch to lower-consuming LEDs will reduce this amount, in some cases we are told it could be reduced by as much as 80%.

Not only will it ultimately save the New Continental Hotel financially, but less energy use reduces the demand from power plants and decreases greenhouse gas emissions so is better for the environment too. So beyond cost savings, there are a numerous additional benefits that we can look forward to.”

Taking care of the environment is a responsibility that everyone should feel accountable for. Given that we have so many light bulbs, changing them is an effective way for us to make change happen for the better.

Some interesting facts that Nev has learnt during his LED mission for a brighter future…

Nev’s News..!

LED Lights Reduce Light Pollution:

LED lights have inherent directional nature which means that their light is highly focused. Due to this characteristic, LED lights contribute significantly towards reducing what is called as’ light pollution’, by reducing the unwanted scattered light in the environment.

LED Lights Emit Negligible Heat:

One of the most environmental friendly aspects of LED lighting is that these lights have very high electricity to light conversion efficiency, as high as 90% in most cases. This high conversion efficiency implies that there is minimal heat loss in the environment (or the bedrooms!).

LED Lights Have Long Life:

LED lights have a rated life of 30,000 to 50,000 hours which is many folds greater than the conventional counterparts. This longer life span reduces the need of bulb replacement after every few weeks, thereby reducing the need to dispose-off the old ones into the landfills.

LED Lights Are Safer:

LED lights are a product of advanced solid state technology which has imparted amazing durability to these light bulbs. These are completely sealed and are highly resistant to vibrations, impact and harsh weather conditions. Moreover, there are no glass parts and hence no risk of serious injury in case a bulb breaks.

LED Lights Do Not Add Noise To The Environment:

Unlike other lighting technologies, LED lights are designed in such a way that they do not generate any vibration or humming noise. So by replacing conventional light bulbs with an LED light bulb, we can help reduce noise pollution from the environment too.

LED Lights Have Smaller Carbon Footprint:

Greenhouse gas emissions associated with the LED lights are relatively far less than the conventional incandescent or Compact fluorescent lights. According to carful calculations, one LED bulbs, providing the same luminosity as one incandescent bulb emits 80% less greenhouse gases. The same calculation for CFLs suggests a reduction of 50% GHGs by switching to LED lights.

Matchmakers – Not The Mint Chocolate Kind!

Fizz, Fun, Meet and Mingle!

Being single doesn’t mean being unhappy; especially when there is some free fizz and fun here at the New Continental Hotel!

There are many stages to newly found single life.  At first, perhaps grief of the loss of a loved one.  Then perhaps despondency, as you watch friends in their couples!

Then you start to embrace the single life and have fun with it. You see, it’s really only then that you can start to be open to finding someone else.

If you are at that stage of your single life; and you’re looking for that certain someone – then perhaps you should look no further than the 8th November!

You could spend the evening with some like-minded single people, you may not find love but you will definitely have fun trying!

With a glass of bubbles on arrival, you can meet and mingle with singles in Plymouth!

Find a friend, a lover or just a happy place for the evening with the Pi Society; a professional Matchmaking Agency based in Devon. With tonnes of experience there will be no awkward ‘what do we do now’ moments, you will be in the best company.

Although there will be no sophisticated coding or analytics to match you with the perfect someone, there will be time and space for you to feel when something is right, when you feel connected (and not just connected to the internet – but to a person stood next to you!)

For more information or to book your place visit Eventbrite and perhaps this could be an exciting new chapter – and if not – it will most certainly be an exciting night!

Who does the best food..?

The question “Who does the best food?” is an easy one to answer…

Restaurants who care about their customers experiences and who have menus that are written with passion. 

As restaurateurs, we are told by certain ‘marketing people’ not to use ‘classic’, ‘simple’, ‘homely’ ‘varied’ and ‘traditional’ as words to describe our menu. They say that these words are no longer ‘the in-words’ to be using!

But food is like fashion, it will always be dependent on trends and new craze’s.

Therefore when we describe our menu, we do use words like ‘classic and varied ’ because to us at  Steve’s Brasserie. that doesn’t equate to boring, it simply introduces a menu packed with our good old favourites and some ‘Continental Classics’!

So, whether you are looking for old school comfort food in the form of Creamy Seafood pasta with parsley and parmesan; traditional local dishes like Beer battered fish and chips with our seaside treats; family favourites like pie, pizza and burgers or sensational seasonal salads…we have all the options and more!

We believe, with our hotel menus, that the art of a great menu is all about the ingredients; the talent but just as importantly the listening!  Not for a snap crackle or pop, but to our valued guests. For many, this is a home from home when they are travelling for business; a family holiday or perhaps a romantic retreat.

We always listen to feedback and ensure our menus have everything that our discerning guests want to find, from the food being sourced locally, to plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, through to children’s menus and fine dining – we have it all and we will keep listening!

Contact Us

Our Events Team …

Why have one events planner when you can have two?!

Here at the New Continental Hotel, we love it when there is a new addition to the ‘Conti’ family. Not only new members of staff; but when staff have new members of their own families!

Katie returned recently after her 10 months maternity leave. Not only has her family grown but the events team too!

We ask Katie all about her new role as Mum and Events Planning at the New Continental Hotel.

” I have enjoyed every moment of motherhood so far and spending time with my beautiful little boy, but my goodness it feels good to be back at The New Continental Hotel doing the job I feel so passionate and proud of! What’s also amazing is I’m no longer alone! My colleague Claire and I are now a wedding and events team!”

Katie & Claire…

“Many of you will have already met Claire as she has been running events solo in my absence on top of already being a well established member of the New Continental Hotel team for many years. Now we are a combined force! Our primary goal is to enable each guest to relax and enjoy their special event; ensuring all aspects of their occasion is executed with smooth timing and flawless detail.

We understand that each guest wants their event to showcase their individuality, making attention to detail so important. Being devoted to working together as a team is really important whilst helping customise each event down to the last detail. For both of us, the most important thing is making sure it’s the perfect day, no matter what the event.”

Wedding & Events Coordinators…

“We feel very privileged to be Wedding & Events coordinators at the New Continental Hotel. The best part of our job is the relationships we build with our clients, as some events, like weddings are planned years in advance, so you get to build great relationships.

Weddings…

“It is an absolute honour to be part of one of the most special days in a couple’s life. We look forward to every wedding we do at the New Continental Hotel and are proud to be part of the outstanding service all our team provides for our guests.  We know that the “perfect wedding” is different for everyone. This is especially true as both Claire and I have each had a very different wedding experience of our own. Very different – but equally magical.  Therefore we completely understand how important the planning process is on the build up to your special day. We want to develop a relationship with each couple and their families, discussing their vision whilst keeping a budget in mind.

No matter what the wedding size, we will work together to make each couple’s dreams come true.

Events…

In addition to weddings, we also help plan the social gatherings and events at the New Continental Hotel. No matter what type of event we are coordinating, we thoroughly enjoy being part of each stage of the process and we are especially pleased to see clients and guests enjoying a successful event. By having two of us working closely together – our guests receive twice the understanding, knowledge and guidance to support them in creating their unique event and making your vision a reality.”

Get in touch…

“We are both very excited to be working together and look forward to hearing from you, so please do not hesitate to contact us on 01752 276783 to let us help you plan your next event.”

Club Continental

REFER A FRIEND AND YOU COULD WIN A 1 ONE YEAR’S MEMBERSHIP!

We are so excited about this great offer!

When any of our member ‘Refers a Friend’ they will not only feel like the best friend ever; but in addition they will also be entered into a prize draw!

The prize you ask? Their next year’s Fully Inclusive Membership…totally FREE!!

Here at Club Continental, we know that it can sometimes be hard to find the motivation. But even harder to find the right gym!

With our ‘Refer a Friend’ offer, members of Club Continental can offer their friends a free insight into our city centre gym community – for FREE!

What’s more,  you will automatically get entered into a prize draw to win yourself a free 1 Year Fully Inclusive Membership.

Here are our TOP TIPS ‘Refer a Friend’ for your chance to win:

  • Shout about Club Continental – share a picture, check in to the Club or leave a review and tell all your friends!
  • For every friend that signs up, your name gets entered in our prize draw
  • Every 6 months a winner will be announced (first prize draw will take place December 2018)

Don’t forget – the more friends that sign up the more your name is entered in our prize draw! You’ve got to be in it to win it!!!

T&C’s: For every referral each member makes, the members name will be entered into the prize draw. In the first 6 month period Club Continental requires a minimum of 20 new members to be referred in order for the prize draw to take place. However, you don’t need to worry – if this number is not reached your name will just automatically roll over in to the next prize draw.

 

 

Being Dependably Independent…

We ask an important question to hopefully discover the truth behind the differences in an independent Vs a chain hotel…

“In a world full of choices and when everything feels possible; what is it that we really want and why..?”

There is one thing for certain; Plymouth is a city destination like no other. Thousands of holiday makers, business travellers and guests visit our ocean city each year. Each choosing (for varying reasons) the best place for them to lay their sleepy heads.

According to figures from STR almost 40% of the hotel rooms in the UK are independent.  Whereas more than 60% of hotel properties are chain hotels.

What has Plymouth got..?

Plymouth has a good number of hotels and accommodation providers to choose from, both chains and independents. If with all this choice you are still struggling to decide where will be your home whilst visiting our spectacular city, let us perhaps help. Here is our little insight into why we love being Plymouth’s largest, independent hotel.

We know that in and around the city there are some fantastic chain hotels. For some travellers this is exactly what they are looking for. Knowing that having stayed and enjoyed their time in one hotel in say Manchester, they can expect the exact same experience here in Plymouth. As independent hotels, we have the autonomy and creative freedom to offer our guests originality over uniformity, which for some is an important difference.

Is it about cost..?

When it comes to cost, hotels are governed more by seasonality and city events rather than simply independent Vs chain. Rates per night in most cities vary only mildly. This is in some cases due to the increase in the supply chain, with a huge investment being made in new developments. Competition dictates your rates. Both independent and chains alike are feeling the current struggle to strengthen their direct bookings, and what really helps independent hotels is that they can give more value and incentives to their guests. This is due to there being no rules imposed from the top, no strict framework included in any agreements. So by booking direct with many independent hotels, you are getting much more but for less.

What about management..?

A big topic of conversation for many of our Managers is the differences managing within an independent hotel verses that of a chain. You would imagine it could be easier to manage within a chain hotel. It feels as if everything you have to do is following strict patterns. You would also think that you would have access to stronger commercial tools and assets. Yet what we love more than anything here at the New Continental Hotel is the autonomy we have, This autonomy ensures we can take each guests experience as an individual, making it personal, bespoke and all with a warm family welcome.

The strategy and management plan within a chain hotel is very often the same, regardless of their location. Independent hotels are different; which means managing such a hotel can requires much more discipline, creativity and lots of innovative thinking! We truly believe that our guests appreciate the effort invested in creating an original strategy, with the small touches making a big difference.

Is loyalty about a card..?

With corporate and business travellers, many are attracted to the larger hotel chains with the loyalty schemes and national corporate partnerships. It’s much harder for an independent hotel, yet what we are so proud of  is the amount of loyal guests, guests that have been staying with us for 20 years in some cases!

We stand tall and proud as an independent hotel…

Supporting our staff, community and guests to have the very best experiences in Plymouth. We have worked hard to create a brand that is professional, friendly and unique. When all of these elements are together in harmony, a coherent image of the hotel is born, be that for a chain or an independent hotel.

The independent hotel market in Europe has a massive impact in terms of employment, tourism and contribution to local economies. It can be easy to feel like a lesser hotel when compared to the big chains, but for us, what’s truly important is that no matter which hotel a guests chooses, they have a warm welcome, to a fabulous city and make memories that last a lifetime.

Who knows what the ongoing deadlock on Brexit negotiations will unfold, but one thing we do know, we will carry on regardless!

 

Wedding Wise | Meet The DJ…

Should I have a DJ at my wedding?

We meet with our resident DJ to see what he thinks..!

Having a DJ at your wedding is more than someone helping you choose great songs. A great DJ requires technical know-how, high-quality equipment and be someone who can read a crowd so as to sustain the party atmosphere.

Depending on the type of wedding you are having, a DJ can be a great option for your entertainment requirements. It can provide a cost effective solution compared to live entertainment. Not only is hiring a DJ considerably cheaper, they can normally cater to a wider variety of music styles, tastes and genres than a band or other musicians.

If you do choose to go with a DJ you will find that hiring a professional and reliable DJ for your wedding can prove to be a very difficult task. With quite a large number of companies to choose from and a majority of those agencies being online, it can be very tricky to discover which DJ entertainment companies are legitimate, professional and trustworthy.

Here at the New Continental Hotel we have our very own Resident DJ, Steve Calvert from A Plus Entertainments. Steve kindly met up with Katie, one of our wedding coordinators  to discuss what it means to him to be the New Continental Hotels Resident DJ.

Here’s what he had to say:

How long have you been a DJ and how long have you been running A Plus Entertainments?

I’ve been a DJ for 32 years and running A Plus Entertainments since 2008 (I ran SC Leisure before that but re-branded myself)

What made you decide to become a DJ?

I’ve always had a fascination with music. I would go through my mother’s record collection as a young boy and was always making mix tapes. When I was 14, I started working with a friend that was a DJ at a campsite and began learning the ropes from there.

How Much Wedding experience do you have?

Well over 20 years working specifically at weddings in various locations- pubs, hotels and other venues up and down the country.

How long have you been Resident DJ at the New Continental Hotel?

I’ve been Resident DJ at the New Continental Hotel for about 5 years now. I had worked at the hotel doing odd functions here and there but was approached by Simon Hawke (Hotel Deputy Manager) as he was familiar with my work and felt I stood out from other DJ sets as being of a high standard and was clearly passionate as well as reliable. He’d received much praise from those that had hired me for their events and offered me the residency post.

What does it mean to be a resident DJ and how does it benefit the couple getting married?

Exclusively working with one person who knows the New Continental Hotel extremely well, including the staff and function rooms, so it’s an easy and quick set up and I offer exclusively cheaper rates to the New Continental Hotel’s clients.

Are you PAT certified and why is this important?

Yes, plus I have public liability insurance, which covers myself and guests for everyone’s piece of mind. All venues should have their own; but a DJ should also have it in their own right. PAT testing stands for Portable Appliance Testing and it means all electrical equipment has been checked in the last year and a DJ should have a certificate to prove that too. A DJ should be able to email you and your venue a copy on request, and I highly recommend that no matter who you use, you do ask.

Do you offer a written contract?

Yes, this is for peace of mind for all parties concerned so that if anything unexpected should happen, everyone knows where they stand and what they are agreeing to. If nothing else – it offers clients reassurance which is really important in my mind.

Can couples meet you to discuss their wedding?

Of course they can.  Normally everything can be sorted via emails. This can be less hassle for some couples who have different shift patterns and schedules.   I’m also always more than happy to meet up with couples to ease any anxiety they may have or talk though any wishes or concerns. It’s really important you like the DJ you are booking. They will be a big part of your day and everyone’s memories, and people can sometimes be very different when you meet them face to face.

What equipment do you carry and do you have back up?

I always have back up equipment, so if there was to be any technical hitches it doesn’t let you down. A good quality sound system is essential! To name but a few main pieces of equipment I tend to use-

LED lighting and effects, Modern/clean sounding speakers, Digital controllers, laptop And I have other lighting effects etc available to suite the function

You are really reasonably priced in comparison to many other DJ’s, should people be price-led when choosing a DJ?

There are many factors that can dramatically vary the cost of a  DJs can vary hugely. But it’s worth remember that its not always based on the quality of equipment or the level of experience a DJ has; take me as an example, I have good quality equipment and years and years of experience,l  however I choose to keep my prices as low as possible. It’s a passion as much as a job for me – so I want to be accessible to everyone. Plus, as a DJ you are in a really privileged position, you are part of a wedding or celebration and have a unique view of the event, and you form parts of many peoples happy memories – sounds corny but to a good DJ, that really means something.

When do you arrive to set up?

In the morning (if that’s possible) which takes just over an hour or so to set up smoothly – this is another benefit to knowing the layout of all the function rooms at the New Continental Hotel, as  I know where everything is and the layouts, cable length requirements and the acoustics in all the rooms, so, if for any reason I can’t get into the room in the morning, the process of setting up is very quick with minimal disruption.

Can you explain the process once a couple has booked with you for their wedding?

I  send out a contract for the couple to check, sign and return. I  then contact them closer to the event for final details, specific song choices or  if any other entertainment such as bands have been booked. If other entertainment has been booked, I then make contact with them so that we can collaborate over timings, equipment and performance space required.

Where payment is concerned, I can take it on the day, just to make things easier – especially when so much else requires payment on booking with weddings!

You’re playing to a mixed crowd. What music do you have?

Everything! That way there is always something for everyone to keep all guests happy. I hold one of the largest mobile music collections in the South West!

To round things up, if you were to simply summarise what couples should look for when hiring a DJ for their wedding, what would it be?

Certification and experience! Very often, once they have checked availability with a DJ, the very next question is  “how much are you?” I understand this is really important, but so too is the experience that the couple and their guests will have, think about asking for their certification and also look for recommendations. Most venues will have either a resident DJ or recommended providers, that’s always a good starting point.

Out of interest, what are the most frequently asked questions from wedding couples?

What kind of music do you play? This one gets asked a lot and I can play any music to suit the event and the atmosphere on the night. I never carry around only one genre of music for any one type of event.

Do you have speakers? This one always makes me chuckle, although there are also a lot of people claiming to be DJ’s who don’t have any of the correct equipment – just their laptop. I always think that if it really was that simple,  to be a professional DJ, then everyone would want to and would be doing it!  With great DJs its not just the equipment though, t’s about gauging your guests, the type of function and atmosphere on the day as well as having the necessary equipment of course! I always want to create the cleanest sounds and lighting to help create the perfect environment for that event.

If you could offer one piece of advice to a couple regarding music for their wedding day, what would it be?

It’s the couple’s big day so as long as they are happy and getting what they want I’ve then done my job correctly. I’m there to guide them, but it has to be what they want, it’s their day ultimately.  A good DJ will be able to read the guests and blend different musical styles and genres together, so it is always a good idea to discuss what music you want to hear.

Many couples now send out song requests with their invites for each of their guests- how does this affect your job?

It gives me a great guideline of a playlist for the night, and gives me an idea of the type of music in general that people want to hear to tailor my set accordingly. I will always do my best to play requests as long as they are within the realms of what the couple is happy with. If they have specifically requested certain songs not to be played I am mindful of this– it is their day and they are the most important decision makers.

What do you enjoy most about your job and being part of the New Continental Hotel’s Weddings?

I love music, so selfishly, being able to turn my passion into a profession is unbelievable, but combine this with getting the opportunity to meet lots of different people on a regular basis and being part of such personal events is just amazing.  After a good event I leave buzzing with a great feeling and sense of pride that “I did that” when I know people have had a great time and enjoyed what I do. I guess that why I’ve been doing it for such a long time!

WEDDINGS

Even working in the world of weddings as I do, I found that really interesting and I really hope you did too. I guess its not until you have been a guest at a wedding reception and heard the chorus of Bruno Mars’ ‘Marry Me’  on repeat for 20 minutes that you can really begin to appreciate the unique skill that a bona fide wedding DJs brings to a party!

If you want to talk further about anything ‘wedding’ – please do get in touch – we would love to hear from you.

 

Habits In Hospitality | Secrets Revealed…

When IS the best time to book a hotel?

In this blog, we pull back the covers and reveal ALL the secrets that could save you POUNDS!

We may all be aware of the four seasons; even if the good old British weather doesn’t always comply!  But what about the three hospitality ones!?

Perhaps not all of us are so aware of the cost saving travel we could unearth if we got to know a little more about the habits of hospitality!

There’s a lot to be said for UK travel; we live in the most amazing country. We may not get all the vitamin D we need from sun exposure, but even on grey days, the UK is still pretty amazing.

Here at the New Continental Hotel, we may be biased; but we think that Devon (in particular Plymouth!) is truly breathtaking. To ensure as many people regardless of their budget get to experience a little sea, city and moor in their life; we are sharing our Industry Secrets!

Seasons in hospitality are depicted in three main terms; 

Peak, Shoulder and Off

Peak Season (or High Season) is basically when the destination that you have chosen is at its most popular – it boils down to simple supply and demand! However, this can sometimes change! You see Peak Season can be set by many factors; weather, events, activities and more. More often than not it’s also set by the school term-times too. As an independent hotel we NEVER set our prices by school holidays; by graduation, Firework Championships and Ocean City Sounds yes, but school holidays, no!

Here in Plymouth, the New Continental Hotels Peak Season is predominantly May – September.

TOP TIP #1 |

If you are choosing Plymouth as your holiday destination, a really great place to start your planning is on the Visit Plymouth website. Look at the events that are scheduled; they do advance scheduling so all the way to a big year for Plymouth which is 2020. Make sure you also like destination pages on social media. You then get instant updates and news without sharing your data and receiving too many unwanted emails!

 

Shoulder Season (or Mid Season) is the time between the Peak and Low Seasons. Prices here are literally an average between Peak and Low. Normally this season is when you can negotiate great rates. It’s always best to contact the hotel directly.

Here in Plymouth, the New Continental Hotels Shoulder months are predominantly March (depending on Easter), April and October.

TOP TIP #2 |

By booking directly, a hotel will not pay any commission, so you will often find a direct booking the cheapest place to book a hotel room. Hotels may not be able to discount the rate given, but they can add value. Hotel currency is a great place to start, most hotels like to give you this as it means that your spend will stay in their hotel. Hotel currency is often a voucher to spend in their restaurant or bar or on treatments if they have a spa.

Upgrades in the Shoulder months are also more tangible as occupancy is lower, so they have more flexibility with their availability. Perhaps an upgrade to a Superior Room from a standard or Parking included in your rate. Bare in mind that hotels tend to only do this for longer stays, over three nights, but well worth a conversation!

 

Off Season (or Low Season) is when the prices are the very lowest you will find. It’s when hotels are predominantly running at a low occupancy, so have less staff working which is reflected in the pricing structure. This is when you can really grab yourself a bargain!

Here in Plymouth, the New Continental Hotels Off Season is predominantly November – February.

Top Tip #3 |

Besides paying less, visitors who come to a tourist spot like Plymouth during the off-season will enjoy less crowding, and a more laid-back atmosphere. But there are things you need to keep in mind and plan around. Whilst off-season travel is great for the purse-strings, it’s really important to remember that this could mean a change in opening hours, menus and transport links such as ferry’s. If there is a certain attraction or museum that you want to visit, call them first before booking your accommodation and check when (or if) they are open.

Also be mindful that heavily populated tourist areas, like Plymouth, use the off-season months for renovations, so could be closed or planning to change their opening hours to accommodate any facelifts or nip and tucks!

NOTE | 

During the off-seasons, you will find the most amazing bargains; three nights for two, free breakfasts and overall just crazy low prices. But hotels that are in holiday destinations will be running on fewer staff. With this in mind,  it’s important to remember you may have to wait a little for a Porter or waiting staff. Hotels sometimes will only offer their non-refundable rates during this time too, these can save you around £10-£15 per night, but it does mean that there is no chance of a refund should you not be able to make your booking.

So, a quick recap…

Off Season discounts on beds, food and more WILL save you pounds!

No matter what the season, booking your accommodation directly will give you the best rate.

Destinations in the UK are not really governed by the weather. What that means is most UK destinations will have plenty to do and see even if the heavens open! Planning is essential though, so you don’t get disappointed during your stay with a change in opening times.

Travelling in the shoulder and off seasons means that you do not have to have everything booked in advance. There are always hotel rooms available almost anywhere in the country. So if you just fell in love with a place or meet awesome like-minded travellers, you can go with the flow and your plans can be flexible. Or if you simply choose to stay an extra night – all that’s stopping you is you!

Travelling in the off season months gives you a real chance of getting tickets or reservations that might otherwise prove impossible during peak season without pre-booking months in advance.

Plymouth celebrates its winter seasons with a bunch of pretty awesome small festivals and events and community markets – and there is a lot going on in spring and autumn as well. So if the “lack of major Plymouth events” was a bother to you, be reassured, you won’t get bored in the shoulder and off season months in Plymouth!

If you are looking at staying in Britain’s Ocean City at any time, call us, we would love to welcome you to our beautiful city.

New Continental Hotel | Millbay Road | Plymouth | PL1 3LD

Tel | 01752 276798 Email | reservations@newcontinental.co.uk Web | www.newcontinental.co.uk

Why Apprenticeships Matter In Hospitality …

Why do an apprenticeship..?

Can you have a hotel without passion..? What is a holiday without exceptional service..? We must engage, empower and enable young people..!

Paul Doidge, Executive Chef for the New Continental Group explains why he is an ambassador and advocate for anything that gives young people a springboard that connects them to a future in hospitality…

The government initiative to fund three million apprentice places by 2020 has had a mixed response. So, after the first year we take a look at the benefits attached to apprenticeships. For both the New Continental Hotel, Plymouth and our sector.

As a family business we feel it is our duty to ensure guests have the very best experiences. Yet we also feel it’s our duty to do the same for our staff too. We aim to ensure our staff feel appreciated, empowered and enabled – as well as knowing their value and unlocking their potential.

Paul Doidge shares the facts…

“Apprenticeships are excellent for up skilling staff whilst also recruiting and retaining top, young talent. Recent research has shown us that 70% of apprentices stay with their employers once completing their qualification. This is really amazing statistics.  For us, apprenticeships aren’t just about the value they offer the apprentice, but also the value they give our business and sector as a whole. Having an apprenticeship programme is one of the best ways of creating a more motivated, passionate and satisfied workforce.

What’s more, it ensures growth in our sector and a future that is bursting with energy and enthusiasm.  With young people passionate about a profession within hospitality. There have been great strides  taken within our sector over the last 20 years, not only by us, but many amazing companies who are championing the industry. As a united front a huge change is coming, by us all sharing the same vision,  recruiting new talent and tackling the somewhat negative perception of working within the industry means we are making leaps and bounds in the right direction.”

What do apprentices do for our sector?

“For us, as an independent hotel,  apprentices help decrease the skills gap but also change the narrative over time on the positives and many benefits that chefs can reap from working within our sector. As the new levy moves boldly into its second year we can look forward to  incubating the next generation to attract, retain and develop new shining lights. This will help brighten all of our futures and is most definitely the way forward.”

What IS the levy?

“Like many changes, understanding them sometimes feels like you need a post doctorate to wade your way through the facts and figures! I am no expert, but working with City College Plymouth has helped me understand the essence of the levy.

Basically it requires all companies (with a pay bill of more than £3m) to contribute 0.5% of their payroll costs to the scheme. They then claim back for training. This amount is then topped up by 10% from the government. Businesses with pay bills below £3m don’t pay into the fund but they still have access to government subsidies of 90% of the cost of the apprenticeship, with the employers co-paying the additional 10%.

A year in and many are now asking for the Apprenticeship Levy transfer fund cap to be expanded from 10% to 50% to help support SMEs, as they make up of 90% of the hospitality industry.”

Do you practise what you preach?

“Although we are definitely not pretending to be experts in the field, we have had apprentices for many years and are pleased and encouraged that we are seeing apprentices lead on to successful, long-term careers in hospitality. What we also love to see is the numbers doing higher level apprenticeships have also increased. There is no doubt that like us, those businesses that are open to this real and purposeful way of working really do benefit.

By spending just a little  time getting to know the right apprenticeship provider, who are the experts, can bring you many benefits and we are so grateful for the support we get from City College Plymouth.”

Why is it important to have the right partners?

“The apprentices take what they learn from the classroom environment and apply it in a real and purposeful way. If both sides of the equation, the college and the business don’t collaborate well, then the programme will fail.  Speaking in terms of the world of  hospitality, by working tightly together there becomes more relevant and rigorous training and qualifications that really mean something.

The future within our sector cannot be depicted only by bricks and mortar as we strive for 5*, but by passion, enthusiasm and young people who understand their value and who are inspired to turn their passions into a profession that matters.”

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