Ask the Manager – Lynn McLaughlin, Clayton Charlemont Hotel, Dublin

Can I have a synopsis of your career?

My first step in hospitality was in the Forte Crest Hotel in Glasgow City Centre when I joined as a receptionist. I quickly found a love for the industry and from there I transferred to Forte Hotels in Dublin.

I worked my way up through various roles from Front Office Supervisor to Manager, Rooms Division Manager through to Deputy General Manager. I was then appointed General Manager of Clarion Hotel Dublin Airport in 2009, and it became the first four-star Maldron Hotel.

This was the start of my Dalata journey (who operate Clayton and Maldron Hotels), and I haven’t looked back. Being part of the Dalata family has really enabled me to grow and develop my career.

In May 2018, I took up the GM role of the first new build, the Clayton Hotel Charlemont in the heart of Dublin 2 and the hotel opened in November 2018

Is there a history associated with the hotel?

The hotel commands a beautiful location on the bank of the Grand Canal and incorporates the restoration of iconic Georgian buildings. They are linked to a new build hotel through a stunning glass atrium. The original Georgian building, which is the feature of the lobby, was home to St Ultan’s Hospital, the first children’s hospital in Ireland founded by Dr Kathleen Lynn and Madeleine French Mullan.

How has business been since the summer?

Despite the very recent setbacks in the lead-up to Christmas and increased government restrictions, the positive trend since hotels re-opened in the summer is evident. Bookings have been stronger than expected and we have seen positive signs of recovery which is great. Hospitality is all about people and it is great to be welcoming guests into our hotels again.

How are bookings, what is the winter looking like?

After the busy summer staycations period at Clayton Charlemont, we saw the leisure staycations being replaced by an uplift in demand from domestic corporate companies and project work, although we are now seeing postponement of Christmas events at the hotel.

How have you coped with staff shortages, if you had any?

We found new ways of reaching candidates, reaching out directly to colleges and language schools. We have been advertising on rental sites and we’ve made it easier to apply for roles using QR codes and instant responses.

Our largest sourcing method is through our own team internal referrals. We have found more people are looking for an exciting career in hospitality, not just a job. This is something that Dalata can really offer with fast-track career programmes. The company was ranked one of the Best Places to Work in Hospitality by The Caterer last year and this made us all very proud. 

Clayton Charlemont Hotel, Dublin

What changes have you made to enhance guests’ experience?

We are continually looking for ways to innovate and last year introduced online check-in, along with an online guest services portal making the guest experience with us seamless. We have also launched new breakfast standards, taking guidance from our customer feedback, and introduced an enhanced offering including more plant-based options as well as incorporating healthier methods of cooking. Our chef takes great pride in preparing fresh and local dishes, from breakfast and throughout the day.

Where do your guests come from mainly?

At the moment, they are mainly domestic and we are finding people’s eyes have really been opened to what a staycation locally can offer.

Are there any signs of business travellers returning?

Yes, we are certainly seeing signs of it, it has all been pointing in the right direction since the summer with more corporate enquiries.

Have you any special offers to entice visitors to your hotel?

We offer packages for our different customer profiles, making it easy to plan your break at Clayton Charlemont, from romantic date nights with complimentary glasses of bubbles and late check-out, to girly get togethers with luxurious rooms and world-class cocktails – we have tailored packages to suit everyone. Also, you can save €10 off every night with Click on Clayton when you book directly with us online.

Joan Scales
Award-winning journalist, Joan has been writing about travel and tourism for many years principally for The Irish Times and lately for travel2ireland. Joan has appeared many times on television and radio talking about the business of travel and all its component strands. She is also a public speaker and has appeared at many international conventions and conferences.

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