Situated along the beautiful Lough Eske against the backdrop of the stunning Bluestack Mountains, Harvey’s Point hotel has grown from humble beginnings. Since opening its doors almost three decades ago, it has become one of the biggest employers in the South Donegal region and one of the best-known hotels in the country.
Harvey’s Point owner, Deirdre McGlone, reveals the secrets behind her hotel’s success.
Q: Harvey’s Point has expanded quite a bit since its opening in 1989. How have you planned this growth in a manageable way?
Deirdre: The hotel has grown organically, as has our skillset as hoteliers. When we opened in 1989, it was just a guesthouse and restaurant. We had no grand plan and every year whatever profit we made we reinvested it in the hotel. Over the years we added two ballrooms, additional bedrooms and the list goes on.
Q: What are the secrets behind rating so highly on sites such as Trip Advisor year on year?
Deirdre: I think it’s because we’re a family hotel and we’re focused on what our customers want. It’s all about superb hotel keeping and genuine Irish hospitality blended together.
Q: How do you go about delivering a unique experience as a family hospitality business?
Deirdre: We look to add value, because during the recession we couldn’t afford to discount like our competitors. We had to find ways to see how we could give a bit more of ourselves or a bit more of our attention to the guests. So we host our own activities in-house. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we do a cooking demonstration and wine tasting with our chefs, while every Saturday I host a drinks reception for all the leisure guests.
Q: What advice would you give to someone starting a new business venture in the hospitality space?
Deirdre: I would say know your market, and be able to deliver what the customer is looking for. Know the numbers, I’m not always so good at that. Also build a good team around you, because you can’t do it on your own.
Q: Harvey’s Point is synonymous with serenity and calm, are aspects like heat and light important in creating that ambience?
Deirdre: Undoubtedly so. It starts with the turf fires and that feeling of being taken care of, and of the hotel being cosy and welcoming. Heat and light provide that. Good lighting and good heating are a huge part of creating this ambience of comfort and well-being for our guests as well as our staff.
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