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

Tel: 01752 276798

New Year; Striking New Suggestions…

The dawn of a New Year comes striking new suggestions for the hospitality sector from New Continental Hotel staff and customers…

Trends have to start somewhere. Change is made by people with passion. The future is bright when you have the right vision.  

We talk to our teams and our customers about what they want to see from our hotel and in the hospitality sector as a whole in the coming year; for 2020 and beyond.

There are two very different sides to hospitality; the side the customers enjoy and experience; and then the side the dedicated staff see!

We fuse the two together and look what beautiful patchwork we would both like to see for the future in hospitality in our New Year BIG SIX!

High AT ONE!

Plastic FREE

Plastic Free!

Both our staff and customers agree, seeing the straw being pulled from the nostril of the sea turtle on the BBC’s Blue Planet II made us all stop and think about the damage we are causing, without realising in most cases, to the planet.

Now, more united as a race than ever it feels, we all want to take stock and take action to try and undo and get smarter about the way in which we go about our day to day life. But not just that, 78% of the customers we asked said that they still want to be environmentally thoughtful when on holiday.

Single-use plastic was the main concern for travellers and our staff. Although massive steps were made in 2018; not just by us but many restaurants, hotels and bars, there is so much we can all still do.

The eradication of plastic straws was an amazing start. Led by Our Food & Beverage Manager Simon and his team, we were one of the first to make that stand. As a business we continue to assess what we are doing, what we could do and always ask if it’s really essential for business.

We have made bold pledges to phase out as much single-use plastic items as possible, both front and back of house.  Eradicating plastic completely we know might be a pipe-dream, but we are committed to continually asking the right questions.

Like many businesses and organisations across Plymouth, we at the New Continental Hotel were all super proud to be a Plastic Free Pioneer and a small part in Plymouth becoming the first UK city to be accredited by the global charity Surfers Against Sewage with Plastic Free Communities status for its waterfront district.

Here you can find our Environmental Policy

At TWO!

boy with goggles swimming in pool

Bobbing About On Your Holibob!

56% of customers asked said that one of the reasons they chose the New Continental Hotel was because it had a gym, pool, sauna and steam room. Now, we have never claimed to be a ‘spa’ hotel, with fancy pebbles and wicker furniture – and nor should we as that isn’t what we are.

What we are and what we have is a hotel with a leisure club that cares; inspires and installs confidence in everyone’s individual’s ability.

Our team of talented staff, led by Adam our Club Continental Manager don’t only have knowledge and experience, they have the passion. There doesn’t have to be fancy in life, there has to be generosity. Our Club Continental team are not only able, but also always willing to give unconditionally and always go above and beyond.

The time they give to both members and guests is truly incredible, and we know that this will continue to grow throughout 2019.

Wellness as an overarching concept is nothing new in travel and hospitality, but from our conversations with customers, we believe that 2019 will see a big rise in the number of people travelling and choosing very specifically to stay, or to get fit.

Find out more about CLUB CONTINENTAL 

In AT THREE!

Make Hotel Restaurants Great Again!

When you are on holiday in a new city you want to explore; especially if you are only in Plymouth for one or two nights.

As our Executive Chef, Paul Doidge says that he believes part of the exploration of Plymouth is the exploration of our cities amazing restaurants threaded throughout it’s DNA.  He admires the plethora of amazing and diverse restaurants in Britain’s Ocean City, and always encourages guests to try as many as possible.

We all understand too well that for our hotel guests there is a time and a place for hotel restaurants. Yet, knowing how talented our teams are; 2019 will be a year that we give Steve’s Brasserie the platform it deserves, as we would if it was a standalone restaurant.

Our Head Chef, Rob Dunne is working hard this year to really amplify the narrative about the greatness of his and his brigade’s food; and although a restaurant within a hotel he knows it too is worth trying!

Fighting At Four!

holiday packing

In The Air With Airbnb!

At the end of 2018, Airbnb was riding high for travellers as one of their main tools to book their holiday accommodation, and that doesn’t look like it will change in 2019.

Some hoteliers view Airbnb as a big threat; and yes, for some time many have either viewed it with downright hostility, or just ignored it with an ostrich mentality!

Here at the New Continental Hotel things are a little different, as we are not only hoteliers, we also have our sister company; Strathmore House Apartments too. We use Airbnb as a really successful tool for booking our 1,2,3 and 4 bedroom apartments on Elliot Street. Knowing how the platform works, having used it for some time successfully with our apartments, we decided to give it a go in 2018 for our hotel.

Prompted partly by an open letter wrote by Airbnb in March 2018. Here they tried luring hoteliers to step away from the major OTAs, enticing them with their lower fees and global community.

For six months we used Airbnb for our hotel; looking at it not as a rival, but as just another distribution platform. It just didn’t work for us as a hotel.

What it has done, is it has made us view things a little differently though.

There will always be a market for a wide selection of accommodation providers, and there will always be competition. What we believe, is that being part of success is success. We appreciate the guests that choose us, but we also appreciate there has to be choice.

Showing Willing At FIVE!

black and white phot of people toasting at a wedding

Getting Wed!

For over 30 years we have loved being part of couple’s special days. That will never change, but what we have noticed in 2018 and 2019 is that couples are stepping away from the traditionally popular ‘Summer Wedding’.

Now we see more and more couples opting for Spring and Winter Weddings instead.

What’s more there has also been a really large addition to the wedding calendar; mid-week weddings! . These have been great fun for us, as we get to see even more amazing couples, brides, grooms and wedding guests in the finest of fashion, filling the hotel with an atmosphere only a wedding day can bring.

TAXING At SIX!

IPhone and IPAD with pen on bed with wit

TAX Is Going Digital!

When hospitality talks tech, it’s usually in relation to technology  for the guests; features like keyless entry, room control systems and check-in and out technology. But back of house function are also really important and will no doubt speed in developments throughout 2019.

Keeping up with new and dynamic pricing software and AI booking engines can be a minefield at times, but let’s not forget about our poor accounts departments too – and we don’t just mean due to the techy invoices!

There is going to be a surge of energy in all accounts departments across all sectors gearing up for the ‘ TAX GOES DIGITAL’ manoeuvre in April.

Designed to be more efficient and to transform the tax system by 2020, this was the UK government’s original goal.

The plan is to introduce digital record keeping while also bringing in quarterly updating for landlords, the self-employed and businesses, covering self-assessment, corporation tax and VAT.

Wowsers right!?!

We have a headache just thinking about it! Whilst Development Managers and Marketers battled GDPR in 2018; 2019 TAX GOES DIGITAL looks like it may be a very similar fight for many Account Managers!

The year will no doubt be a full and fun one; with advances, changes and BREXIT! (You thought we had forgotten didn’t you!)

Whatever happens, there is one thing for sure; you can be certain that we will be here, doing our best to give our guests the best for yet another year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR. 

A good wander unveils the wonder of our beautiful city…

Whether you are here on holiday or a living Plymouthian; wandering really does unveil the true wonder of Plymouth…

 

Living In Plymouth |

Sometimes, when you live in a city your only experience of crossing it is a hectic commute, some frantic shopping in the city centre or drinks on an evening out. We all have a scalextric that we all seem to stick too, and so the scenery around us becomes a little like wallpaper. If this is the case, then we are all missing out!

Visiting Plymouth |

Our Ocean city is divine. The twists and turns; the cobbled streets; the history and culture. What we have as a city is truly breathtaking. A patchwork quilt of marvellous pieces; pieces that together make our city so great.

When you wander around our city, it becomes evident of its richness. Walking through the centre you will experience a platform that to the naked eye looks rather grey; but this city centre represents a deep passion and determination of a community intent on rebuilding their ‘Plymouth’ as quickly as possible after the destruction of WW2.

Around the Hoe and Barbican you have the hidden alley ways, the cobbled streets and a vista like no other. The highest concentration of cobbled streets in England stitch together stories that include Sir Francis Drake, Scott Of The Antarctic and surrounded by beautiful and iconic buildings that date back to the 15th century onwards.

Wandering The City |

Wandering around Plymouth really is the best way to see its wonder.  What’s more, getting lost is sometimes the best way to find what you never knew you were looking for!

Whimsical Wanderings & Moveable Feasts |

Some of us may like a more structured approach than simply getting lost on the cobbles. We may like some insider knowledge, interesting stories or just the company of other like-minded people.

That is where Whimsical Wanderings & Moveable Feasts makes for the perfect choice. There are other walking groups and tours in Plymouth, but what we love about Whimsical Wanderings & Moveable Feasts is that it is a bespoke walking, talking, feasting experience.

An experience that combines our cities culture and creativity; but also gives you a taste of our rich history and the amazing plethora of restaurants we have. This is all beautifully blended with the fabulous company of others. It incorporates not only the city but laughter and frivolity, interspersed with delicious food and drink!

Whether you are a seasoned walker – or simply looking for something new from your holiday; you will share with others (or alone if you’d rather) the perfect urban stroll.

Walking through the city, you will experience more than just a beautiful landscape. You will experience enchantment, tasty treats and memories that will last a lifetime.

 

 

For more information on a Whimsical Wander you can like them on Facebook or check out their website to hear more!

Staff Share Their BEST Things About Christmas…

Christmas Time In Hospitality…

Spending time with your family and friends surely hits everyone’s top spot! It’s true, you may get tired of hearing the same embarrassing stories about the time you did ‘that’ thing when you were five; or the stubbly kiss from your Great Aunt Winnie; the forced feeding of sprouts and then that deep, dark cringe when you hear ‘you’re next’ – for the annual game of charades!

…But, this all being said, there is something magical about Christmas and the way it makes us all warm up inside with fuzzy excitement at the very thought. Whether you have family traditions, cosy days in or you take it in turns to host; Christmas holds something very dear to everyone, including all of us here at the New Continental Hotel.

Working in hospitality means Christmas is busy, but staff at the New Continental Hotel LOVE Christmas. The twinkly lights, the smiley faces, the late night shopping and everything in-between and we love nothing more than sharing our Christmas with friends; both old and new.

Top Five…

We wanted to share our top FIVE favourite Christmas things, things that have already got us excited about the coming weeks!

At FIVE: Dec the Halls! We have so many beautiful Christmas Trees and decorations scattered lovingly throughout the hotel from November, with carols playing softly in the background and lights down low; the dark nights and warm hotel glow spell ‘Christmas’ to us all!

At FOUR: The Smell of Christmas! The best and truest of all treat for the senses; the smells from the kitchens! So hard to describe but oh so good! The mix of mulled wine simmering, stock bubbling, meat roasting and just love lingering; when it hits your nose, your brain instantly realises that it’s almost time! It’s almost Christmas!

At THREE: Friends gathering! The foyer is full, the bar is packed and friends and family unite. The love felt during this festive time sends pulses throughout the hotel and we LOVE it!

At TWO: Christmas Party Nights! When you see the glamorous entrance of those who have worked hard all year round and are now celebrating the successful end of their year together with fine food, great company, dancing shoes and the odd pop of a champagne cork! They are the nights we remember!

At ONE: Christmas Day! When people choose to crack their crackers with us! Christmas Day at the hotel is by far the most magical day of the year. Even Father Christmas chooses to spend an hour with us!

 

Christmas Party

Illuminate 2018 – Plymouth Shining Brightly

Proud To Be The Official Hotel Partner…

What we love most about our beautiful city is the people so passionate about making it shine…and shine it really will this weekend! And what’s more – you still have two nights to enjoy it!

Royal William Yard | FREE ENTRY | 17:30 – 22:00

Illuminate is a spectacular light-based festival that connects all of the Mayflower 400 destinations across the UK and internationally.

In 2017 Plymouth’s Illuminate celebrations saw parts of Royal William Yard turned into a spectacular display of light-based art installations and projections. This year, we truly believe, it’s even brighter!

In 2018 Illuminate has definitely grown; it’s showcasing projections and light art installations from local, national and international artists. It provides a vibrant, fun and inspiring experience for everyone. It has become a signature event in Mayflower 400’s programme; and an annual large-scale light festival that will be a highlight in Plymouth’s event calendar.

This weekend the Royal William Yard is lit up with light installations, immersive visual art and light projections. Illuminate, an event marking the anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, has grown for 2017, and taken on a new location in Plymouth’s historic former victualling yard.

If you have yet to experience it, then it’s a real must see event in Plymouth. Crowds  have the chance to walk around and see some fantastic light installations and projections around the yard as well as being entertained by music, food stalls, glowing candyfloss and the amazing settings offering food and fun around the yard.

For more information visit the Illuminate Festival website and you can download the Illuminate Map here!

Have a bright weekend – and be lit up by Plymouth!

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!

 

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