Simon Gaske: “Implementing Technology Without Removing the Core Values of Hospitality”
Last week, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Simon Gaske, Sales Director for the ETM Group & Mavern Leisure. Simon is a customer-centric and commercially orientated sales and marketing professional with extensive experience of working with high profile brands across the hospitality and leisure sector.
It was great to sit down with Simon and chat through his new role and thoughts on the industry – catch up on our conversation below!
HI SIMON! PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND YOUR ROLE
Simon Gaske, Sales Director for the ETM Group & Mavern Leisure. We have an eclectic group of bars, restaurants, roof tops and premium sports venues in the heart of London. Such as Wagtail, Botanist and Goldwood.
TELL US MORE ABOUT HOW YOU’RE NAVIGATING YOUR SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGIES AND HOW THIS DIFFERS FOR THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
What’s interesting about hospitality is that key dates and annual calendars never change. You’d think being prepared on that basis would be a walk in the park. But with guest expectations consistently rising - it’s not as simple as copy and paste annually or roll out across multi-venues with different concepts. Each venue requires a twist, a reason to visit, its own content for social. Making planning longer, creativity higher and marketing, like social, more in the moment rather than prepared in advance.
HOW DO YOU SEE TECHNOLOGY CHANGING MARKETING/SALES CAPABILITIES IN THE FUTURE?
Technology continues to develop, at pace. It all hinges on automation of all touch points of the guest journey, but first to the parapet is Sales (reservations) - which on the surface appears easy, book me a table or area for 5, simple! However, it needs to be done without removing the core values of hospitality, which is a people focussed, customer centric industry. That’s problem 1. Problem 2, how does one ensure a text bot auto answer questions correctly for 2 different guests wanting the same space if guest A, who needs a seated and standing party of 20 with various food and drink dietary requirements and a surprise cake for the birthday person Vs guest B, who needs a sit down 3 course meal for a corporate function and a a TV for a presentation? 🤯 Quite the conundrum. Solve this, boom!
WHAT SKILLS DO YOU THINK ARE ESSENTIAL FOR SUCCESS IN THIS INDUSTRY?
A good old fashioned ‘love of the pub’ is essential. Regardless of the Premium nature of your product. As the core values of what we do, stems from the original landlord / patron personal relationship. A love of the guest can’t be learnt.
ARE THERE ANY PROJECTS THAT YOU’RE CURRENTLY WORKING ON THAT YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT?
Being relatively new in this role, I’m most excited about building my team. It’s key to everything. Accountability, working as one, respect of each other and a winning together culture are my key priorities.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE KEY TRENDS SHAPING THE INDUSTRY?
Post COVID, with more people working from home, the key trend for the City is corporate parties. A chance for home based teams to get together, physically. This used to be once a year at Christmas, it’s now a quarterly affair! 😃