Interview | Ross Grieve

In Conversation With

Issue 38

What were your career ambitions growing up?

I started out wanting to be a chef and having spent time with Gary Rhodes at the Greenhouse in Mayfair, London, whilst thoroughly enjoying the experience realised that I wanted to be front of house dealing with the customer and be front-facing.

Tell us about your current role?

As Managing Director of Seaham Hall, the role is diverse and changes on a daily basis. One minute you can be speaking with the team discussing how to improve the business from a customer delivery, then you can be reviewing the finances, not only how to grow the business and revenue streams, but also keeping a tight eye on costs. Moving forward you can then be in a marketing meeting, discussing the peaks and troughs of the business for the months ahead and how to launch one of our new capital ventures. To sum up: it is all-encompassing.

What is your proudest business achievement?

There have been many, but one of the most important ones was being awarded hotel of the year in the North East as it demonstrated what we as a team had managed to achieve since taking over the business. Most recently, being recognised nationally by Visit England for the same category.

How has the hotel industry changed in the last decade?

The internet has changed the way the consumers purchase and therefore your marketing and PR and your online representation is key to attracting bookings, as well as looking after your online reputation with channels such as TripAdvisor, Facebook and Google Reviews. Even though the digital revolution has changed the way the consumer books, at our end of the market a significant percentage of our business is taken directly over the phone as the consumer still likes to talk to make their booking, but also to individualise it to themselves.

What are you currently working on?

We have literally just completed the Zen Garden which is a fantastic addition to the award-winning Serenity Spa. And keeping in line with the Feng Shui design this area now allows for the guest to enjoy open spaces, the sense of running water and the coastal air, along with entrapments of the hydrotherapy pool and the cocoon beds to relax, rest and rejuvenate.

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given?

To take your team on a journey, listen to their thoughts and input and set clear goals so that everybody is ultimately on the same page.

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

To ensure that you maximise all of life’s experiences that are presented to you, and where you can, travel either through work or enjoyment.

Who are your heroes inside and outside of business?

Sir Alex Ferguson, former Manchester United manager, and Willie Bauer, renowned London hotelier – both are uncompromising in the desire to achieve the very best but led by example and were great communicators.

How do you unwind outside of work?

Family-time which includes Sarah my wife and two lovely boys, not forgetting our beagle.

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