The shiny new Tune Hotel Liverpool Street has friendly staff as well as a surprisingly good ambience and amenities for such a cheap budget hotel.
When I arrived for a recent stay at Tune Liverpool Street, I was checked in by the friendly Jeremy Bolton and we ended up having a good little chat.
Jeremy got his job at Tune through Skillsmatch – a jobs brokerage service for the borough of Tower Hamlets. Tune works with the council to employ local people wherever possible, making sure that it benefits the local community. It seems to be working well.
Tune also hires applicants with a focus on attitude and personality rather than experience in hospitality – a recruitment policy we've previously blogged about.
Jeremy says what he enjoys the most about his job is getting to know and serve guests
Jeremy has a degree in film studies, but had initially found it difficult to get a job. He decided to work at Camp America over the summer, and took the opportunity to travel round the States after his work was finished – but he arrived back in the UK to face the same situation as before. However, he'd realised that he enjoyed working in the hospitality industry, so a change of career called. Skillsmatch put him up for the job at Tune.
Jeremy told me "It's different when you're suggested for a job, instead of just cold calling. You get a lot of support." He was hired in October 2011, and trained with the rest of the Tune team, ready for opening on December 27th as the newest of various new hotels near Liverpool Street.
Tune Hotels does its best to hire staff from the community as they are more familiar with the local neighbourhood - pictured here from a top-floor room
The team spent a week and a half "in the classroom," learning about the Tune concept and the group's systems and procedures. After the theory, it was time for practice, shadowing the Tune Westminster staff for 2 weeks to learn the nuts and bolts of the hotel's operation. And the trainees couldn't have had better teachers than the same team who brought Tune's first London hotel to the forefront of budget hotels in Westminster.
Jeremy found the practical learning much more to his taste. "It's difficult to take role playing seriously," he said to me; " you just end up laughing at each other!" Working with real customers was something he greatly enjoyed. In the meantime, behind the scenes, a little over a month away from opening the latest of its hotels in Paddington, Tune is currently busy completing the training of its even newer employees.
Once staff were fully trained, they headed over to Tune Liverpool Street (still partly building site at the time) to check if rooms were properly ready. Because of Tune's low-cost concept, offering facilities like hairdryers and TVs as add-ons, pay mechanisms had to be checked for each room as well as electrics. "We spent a lot of time running between rooms, switching TVs and hairdryers on and off to make sure everything worked," Jeremy said.
Before the hotel's opening, staff were busy testing the pay-as-you-use system put in place for the various amenities found in guest bedrooms
He's obviously a glutton for punishment, or perhaps he just loves his job, as he was in the hotel on Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
Tune management are obviously very happy that Skillsmatch found them such a great member of staff. He's lived in Tower Hamlets for a while, so he knows the area around the hotel; and he's very keen to ensure guests get a high standard of service.
I asked him about his favourite aspect of the job. "It's probably how much fun I have getting to know guests," he said – "especially our regulars". "Regulars?" I queried. "You've only been open 4 months!"
"Oh yes," he said, "we have lots of regulars who come to do business in the City and stay here whenever they come. It's always nice to see a familiar face." It's a sign of the times that corporates from London's wealthy financial area now prefer to choose a well-executed budget hotel like Tune than the swanky luxury hotels you'd usually associate them with.
Tune Liverpool Street only opened recently but has already gained lots of repeat guests, drawn for example by the unique outdoor terrace and overall value for money offered
With two new upcoming hotel openings this summer with similar local staffing policies, it will be interesting to see how long it will take the chain's new hotels in Kings Cross and Paddington to develop their own loyal clients. We plan to conduct an inspection visit once they open, just like we visited the finished Tune Hotel Liverpool Street soon after it opened.
In the meantime, check out our review of a stay at Tune Liverpool Street.
Photo credits: London Hotels Insight bloggers Andrea and Timea. http://londonhotelsinsight.com