Trail Meets Village Hotels' Fiona Meek and Lindsay Southward

In our new interview series, we're putting operations in the spotlight. Getting unique customer insights, straight from the front line.
Jo Stephenson-Thompson
 • 
Jun 2021
4 min read

We caught up with Fiona Meek, Risk and Safety Manager and Lindsay Southward, Director of People and Brand Development at Village Hotels.

They shared how they used technology to guide and coach their teams through the pandemic.

What’s the best part of your job?

Village Hotels is a fast-moving dynamic company that is always looking to grow and develop even during the pandemic, it’s really exciting to be a part of this.  

Plus, we work with an amazing group of people which makes coming to work so much easier.

What has been your biggest challenge at work during Covid-19?

Keeping up to date with changes in legislation—we have hotels in England, Scotland and Wales. The devolved administration has been a challenge with differences in timings and what we can open when. We have to ensure the business has the correct guidance to follow.

Managing a workforce remotely while keeping the team motivated and engaged has also been a new skill we’ve had to develop.

What’s the biggest thing that has changed in the way you operate since Covid-19?

Everything has changed! However, the most significant changes have been the way we use technology in the guest journey, the employee journey and the management team.

Has technology helped during the pandemic?

As with all businesses, we have had to adapt quickly, from the management team to the call centre all being remote. Technology has been fundamental to our success in navigating through to this point.

Video conferencing has helped communicate with the teams and kept them engaged, from daily Exec calls to Townhall meetings and virtual team comms.

Technology has also been used in other areas, such as online classes for leisure and app check-ins. The business is now cashless, and so there has been huge investment into room technology.

You implemented Trail pre-Covid. What were the main problems you wanted to solve?

We wanted to create more transparency and consistency in our operational standards across the 31 hotels. And ensure we were  compliant.

Trail massively helped during the pandemic. From closing down operations to ensuring that the ongoing statutory due diligence checks were completed. Trail gave us that bird's eye view, as we weren’t able to visit all the hotels. With the aid of daily, weekly and ad-hoc checks, we could easily track and monitor progress. This also assisted in ensuring we were in a good position to open quickly when we were given a green light.

Do you have a sense of where Trail has saved time/money?

It isn’t easy to quantify, but the feedback has been immeasurable. It's very positive from an operator's angle, as it’s easy to use, saves time and is very adaptable.


What customers are saying

"It’s the app I can’t live without in my working day."
Beth Cole
Assistant General Manager
"Trail is making it easier for our teams to ensure our food and safety practices are upheld."
– Trail is making it easier for them to ensure our food and safety practices are upheld."
Tracey Colbert
Risk & Compliance Director
"Our teams love it, it gives our managers of all levels absolute clarity on what they need to achieve every day."
James Brown
Operations Director
"Trail was so easy to set up and the pubs love it"
Simon Swann
Regional Manger
"We turned our Costa Checks and various compliance forms into regular tasks on Trail, which has contributed to some of the best scores we have had."
Delroy Daniels
Operations Director
"Trail has given us realtime insight into every facility across our estate, so we can react to maintenance issues before they become large."
Scott Vernon
Chief Financial Officer

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