Welcome back to Galway Chamber’s Business of the Week series. This week, we spoke to Nigel Canavan, General Manager, Salthill Hotel.
Nigel Canavan – Salthill Hotel, General Manager. I am originally from Mayo and I currently live in Athenry.
What is your background?
I graduated from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology in 2006 and went on to hold Senior Management positions with the Marriott Hotel Group, The Harbour Hotel and The Sheraton Athlone Hotel. After four years with the Sheraton Athlone Hotel, I moved to BDL Ireland before relocating back to Galway to become the General Manager of NOX Hotel. After two successful years, I then joined Salthill Hotel.
Tell us about Salthill Hotel.
The 4 star Salthill Hotel in Galway is situated on the spectacular Salthill Promenade within the busy and atmospheric Salthill Village.
Salthill Hotel is the perfect venue for business needs with state of the art facilities for high-level conferences, business meetings and events, with a large investment in our AV equipment which was installed throughout the hotel in September 2018 with the focus in securing Salthill Hotel as a leading conference venue in the west of Ireland.
Salthill Hotel is a renowned wedding venue in Galway, taking care of 100’s of weddings each year to happy couples and families, and we are excited to continue to be a leading wedding venue for many years to come.
Our Ocean Fitness Centre is a popular fitness centre in Galway providing a 25 m indoor swimming pool, an 18 m hydro pool, whirlpool, sauna and steam room. We also boast a fully equipped, spacious gym and daily fitness classes, some of which are free for our guests.
Our location along the world famous Salthill Promenade welcomes a large volume of guests into our Blackrock Bar and Prom Restaurant daily.
What does Galway offer your business, with regard to the Tourism and Hospitality Industry?
Galway has seen significant growth in relation to tourist numbers over the past number of years. The Galway community is very robust and the cohesion between Galway Hoteliers and other business owners is incredibly harmonious. There is a general consensus that we all work together and for each other. Thusly, all our businesses can thrive and grow.
How has being a member of Galway Chamber helped you and Salthill Hotel?
Being an active member of Galway Chamber allows Salthill Hotel and myself to interact regularly with other business leaders across a variety of sectors. The diverse nature of the meetings allows in depth discussion and analysis of current business trends across the city. As Galway and Ireland are changing both legislatively and figuratively, membership of the Galway Chamber is more important than ever and gives our Hotel the platform to take part in meaningful discussions with other business leaders.
What are the big changes you have seen in your industry in recent years?
The introduction of GDPR in May 2018, was certainly a big challenge for our industry.
Our Hotel and industry are currently suffering from a shortage of skilled labour, especially in the culinary departments and middle management. Over the past number of years, it has been incredibly difficult to attract young talent to our industry.
Furthermore, the most recent change being the reversal of the hospitality VAT rate by our current Government. The Irish tourism industry contributes 260,000 jobs to our economy which equates to €7.8 billion. This VAT reversal has significantly damaged our industry to retain jobs, reinvest in our properties with the hope of growing our sector.
It is no secret that there is a major shortage of bedrooms in the Dublin region and because of this shortage bedroom prices have increased. However, on the western seaboard this is not the case, total revenue per room on the west coast is €12,000 behind that of our capital colleagues. Whilst eastern hotels maybe able to absorb this rate increase I fear that western hotels will be unable to do so.
What is one thing every day that makes your business a success?
I listen, both to my work colleagues and to the Hotel’s guests. Without taking feedback onboard, one cannot manage a business successfully. Feedback comes in all forms, positive, negative and constructive, it is how we process this feedback that makes the difference between mediocre and success.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone just getting started in business, what would it be?
I believe when faced with any business decision, one should adopt a four-point principle;
Plan – Organise – Motivate – Control