Most businesses are launched with the aim of providing a service or a product. But, should we be aiming higher? argues Dale Smith, Chief Executive of holiday lettings firm Host & Stay,
We set up Host & Stay in December 2018, when it had nine properties on the books. Now, it has over 550 holiday homes under management, and it’s this success that has made us rethink our wider purpose.
The holiday home letting service was our first business, and, in 2020, we formed The SDDE Smith Group, which is now a portfolio of complementary companies. Alongside Host & Stay, the group comprises a number of propertyrelated businesses, including legal practice GreySmith Legal and construction firm WOODSmith Construction Group.
However, as we continue to grow and develop the group, we have realised that our purpose is no longer just to provide the best possible service to our clients and to create a profitable business that can provide jobs. It now runs much, much deeper than that and we have come to recognise we have a much larger purpose to fulfil.
At the turn of the year, we set a group objective for 2022, which was to embark upon establishing and defining our ESG (Environmental, Social Governance) strategy. This is a big piece of work to undertake but something that is becoming an essential part of business and one that has the potential to have a huge impact on people, communities and the planet.
We identified a consultancy firm to work with us on our ESG journey, and we’re now several months into what is a nine-to-12-month programme aimed at establishing our strategy, direction and objectives for the short, medium and long term.
Prior to embarking on this ESG journey, we had already been thinking about our wider purpose as a group. This was when we realised that we, as a business, can and do have a huge impact on our colleagues and their families, not to mention the communities in which we operate and the economies of those communities.
We are now on the path to delivering our true purpose as a business, which is to make the North East one of the best places to live, to work and to stay.
Host & Stay is a prime example of how we’re doing this. Its incredible growth has led to constant reinvestment into the business, driving local North East-based jobs and employment, and developing and training our colleagues so that they can support our continued growth in the months and years ahead.
Wherever possible, we take on people from the region. Local employment and the up-skilling and development of local people is always high on our agenda as a North East business. And while we’re doing this, we’re also driving tourism in the region, bringing in visitors from across the UK and beyond to stay in our villages, visit our attractions and spend in our shops.
In fact, in a recent survey we found that on average, our guests spend £140 per guest per stay, which will equate to a £49m total spend in the local economy in 2022.
Ultimately, our continued growth means we can create better communities for people to live in, through the economic benefits that Host & Stay can bring; better places, environments and businesses for people to work in and improved places to stay, through our high-quality accommodation offering.