Some 450 professionals from the hospitality industry turned out for the 29th annual Hotel and Catering Reviews Gold Medal Awards. The awards took place at a black-tie awards ceremony in the luxurious Lyrath Estate Hotel in Kilkenny and were hosted by TV3's Martin King.
The Gold Medal Awards are intensely competitive; drawing entries from hundreds of hotels, restaurants, guesthouses, spas, and catering businesses every year. Each entrant is thoroughly evaluated by members of the Gold Medal Awards judging panel who travel the length and breadth of the country over the course of the summer months to search for Ireland’s greatest purveyors of hospitality.
The Wyatt Hotel was crowned the national winner of Ireland’s Best Hotel Website at the coveted awards ceremony. The team from the hotel were thrilled with the win saying: "This award is wonderful recognition for our digital efforts. We have placed great emphasis on our marketing strategy. We have invested significantly in producing great content, photographs and videos. Our goal is to 100 per cent represent each and every aspect of the hotel, our bedrooms, JW’s Brasserie, Cobbler’s Bar, Park Terrace Wine Bar as well as information on Westport online."
Triona Joyce, marketing manager of The Wyatt Hotel, and her husband Joe Joyce represented The Wyatt Hotel at the prestigious awards ceremony. Speaking of the award afterwards, general manager Barney Clarke said: "People expect to get everything online as standard nowadays. Information is consumed online 24/7. Some hotels only gear their websites to bedrooms bookings whereas we have focused on all aspects of the business. I can confidently say log on and you’ll find everything you might need, be it information, photo galleries, menus, pricing, and the ability to book any event or accommodation. From a dinner for two, a christening, a Christmas party, an overnight package to a full blown wedding, you will get it at www.wyatthotel.com "
He added: "Simple things like our entertainment page, which is a big hit with visitors and locals, means people can easily check out who’s playing in Cobbler’s Bar or what is the next Park Terrace Theatre show. The website is our number one go to reference on what we are about. We even use it as a staff training tool for new joiners. It is essentially our shop window and the first point of contact with customers. Having everything up to the minute and presented to the best possible standard is key."
Ease of navigation, simplicity of use, visual presentation, and sleek booking process were said to be just some of the reasons why The Wyatt won the title. The Wyatt faced some significant competition with the other finalists, some of which included five star properties, large chain hotels and properties triple the size of The Wyatt, making the win an absolute triumph for Barney Clarke, Triona Joyce, and all the team.
Noel Kavanagh, owner of the Wyatt Hotel, said: "The next generation of customers will only use social media and digital channels to access information so it is essential for us to future proof ourselves by keeping up to date with all aspects of technology and digital marketing." The Wyatt launched its current website in 2016. It features the latest web based technology being 100 per cent responsive and is constantly being added to as advances come on stream." Evoke.ie editor and Gold Medal Awards judge, Sybil Mulcahy, said: "The calibre of entries this year was incredible and we are delighted to see such a strong offering in our hospitality industry – it bodes extremely well for the tourism sector and for our economy as a whole.”
The Wyatt has reported an excellent season with 100 per cent occupancy for August and September. July was good but slightly slower than other years, a trend reported by Failte Ireland as a nationwide find this year. While UK visitors were down, largely due to Brexit, numbers from the US and the rest of Europe are up more than 10 per cent on last year. May and June both traded in a plus on last year and October is looking very strong. Such reports are very encouraging for all businesses, showing that the tourism season does not just exist for six weeks in July and August.
The Wyatt are no strangers to awards having received countless trophies in the past including Best Front of House, Taste of Ireland Award, and Top Chef awards. The Wyatt employs more than 75 people, most of whom work throughout the year.