Top hotelier bringing charter rallying cry to Hospitality Exchange

Top hotelier bringing charter rallying cry to Hospitality Exchange

The hotel industry must be proactive in raising its own reputation and letting people know that even staff on the lowest rung can work their way up and forge a lasting career, the manager of one of London’s top venues has told LCN.

Sally Beckett, who runs London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel, set up the Hoteliers’ Charter in 2020 to raise the profile of the hospitality industry and promote it as a profession of choice to parents, schools, colleges, universities, and careers influencers.

In October she will bring the message that “the hotel industry is a cracking one, with good news stories that need to be shared” to Hospitality Exchange 2021, at Belfast’s Crowne Plaza.

Already there are almost 500 hoteliers signed up to a charter which covers everything from a commitment to career development, hitting environmental targets, ending low pay and ensuring staff have a good work/life balance…. and it all started with a rant, as Sally explains.

“I am a mother of two beautiful daughters and when one of them of was 15 she was going to do work experience in the hotel with a friend from her school in leafy Buckinghamshire.

“We’d lined up five days, with a little food and beverage, kitchen and accommodation and just a week a away from the date the other girl’s mum cancelled saying, ‘Why would I want my daughter to be a servant?’.

“It was then I thought. ‘Oh my god our industry has so much to do to raise our reputation and get the good news stories out there’.”

And Sally herself is one of those good news stories; a publican’s daughter from Scunthorpe who didn’t go to university and through hard work and no shortage of talent now manages one of London’s premiere venues.

Sally manages London’s Royal Lancaster

“At the risk of being controversial, there are people the public relate to and see on TV like Gordon Ramsay but would you want your son working in one of his kitchens?

“People see our industry as long hours and poor pay and it’s not… that is something from the dark ages,” says Sally.

“From this rant about how we are doing it wrong came the Hoteliers Charter and I believe hotels tend to do it better when it comes to hospitality.

“We have different budget lines with rooms revenue which let us do that and by doing it better people have careers not just jobs. They are mentored and coached – people who start in my hotel start on more than minimum wage and within six months to a year can move onto another job with the hotel.

‘You keep a team if you keep developing’

“I believe in apprenticeships, but they are not just for 16-year-olds but for 30 and 40-year-olds as well. That also helps you keep a team if you keep developing.

“So something that was born out of frustration has grown legs. Now we’ve got nearly 500 charter hoteliers. We’ve got an educators forum where we connect with all the colleges and universities across the UK who deal with catering and hospitality management, and we’ve set up a sustainability advisory forum because good progressive hoteliers want to work toward the government’s target of zero carbon we don’t want to be taxed into it.”

On that front Sally is also leading by example, recently ditching the plastic bottles that the Lancaster used to give to guests in favour of carafes of tap water.

Sally explained: “Our plastics use fell to zero, my bottled water in the mini bar started selling like hot cakes and those that started using the tap water and filling up their own glass took something valuable away with them.”

Indeed those that hear Sally speak at the Hospitality Exchange event on October 12 and 13 will also take something away from a session which includes:

  • Michael Wignall – chef on his career, advice and thoughts on the industry
  • Sean Wheeler  – industry image and improving attractiveness
  • Tim Browne –  innovative insights and solutions to the staffing and skills Crisis.

To find out more and keep up to date with all the Hospitality Exchange developments visit