To help local restaurateurs maximise revenue while adhering to social distancing measures, the management team at Hilton Glasgow are offering local restaurants and chefs the opportunity to use the hotel's ballroom for pop up dining experiences.

Hotel News Scotland spoke to director of operations Calum Ross about their welcoming initiative to support local hospitality businesses.


Tell us more about the initiative?

Calum: "We have a great space for large events which is supported with its own kitchen, refrigerated storage, guest entrance etc. We could cater for over 800 people in our Grand Ballroom before the pandemic. We think it will be a while before ‘large social and /or business events’ return to the pre Covid state so it’s likely that we’ll have a lot of available space. I know several very good Glasgow restaurants are really going to struggle to be viable when they are allowed to re-open because of the social distancing criteria. At 1m it may be worthwhile but at 2m I think the city will lose many great eating out venues. These restaurants are very much part of the fabric of what has become a vibrant Glasgow visitor experience. As a city we really don’t want to lose the creativity, energy and colour that independent restaurants and food led bars bring. These places will potentially have legions of frustrated followers – if using the capacity that we have (Hilton Glasgow) helps meet that demand and keep independent restaurants ‘alive’ through this difficult period then I feel that’s what we should be doing.

For us this is really about being a good neighbour – it’s not part of any focused commercial strategy. When people do start travelling again we want to do what we can to make sure that the Glasgow experience has not been diminished by the economic fall-out from this virus."




How would that work operationally?
Calum: "We’ll work out the detail with the restaurants that are interested. There will be some formalities and issues like licensing to work through but nothing that’s going to get in the way of making it happen. We have, at this point in time, a pretty healthy Ballroom order book for the final quarter of 2020 but we need to be realistic about the chances of many events going ahead as they were originally perceived. We remain hopeful of course but we need to be realistic. In the meantime we can work around the events that have booked ‘Hilton Glasgow’ to support others that contribute so much to making Glasgow what it is today (or was yesterday)."



What changes are you planning to make at the hotel prior to reopening?

Calum: "In terms of us being ready and able to welcome back customers there are a number of areas we are working on. Not surprisingly the approaches are designed to build confidence in safety and security for both our guests and our team members. Hilton have used their global experience to create a program named CleanStay. The program focusses on regular ‘touch points’ on any guest visit – rooms are checked ‘sealed’ prior to arrival, the cleaning process is ‘elevated’ and we’ll build on our existing digital key technology to minimise  sharing plastic and /or paper. Welcoming team members back is going to be a major part of the re-start for us. Our team are Hilton Glasgow – we intend to provide them with an unforgettable welcome back and we’ll be working really hard to create a shared sense of wellbeing to support a clear purpose. We are lucky here in that we have very open circulation and F&B spaces – that makes moving people around a lot easier."




As a large city hotel, what will be the hotel's main challenges when you reopen?

Calum: "When we get going again we are expecting visitors to return slowly  - it will be some time before things feel like they did pre-Covid. Our visitor experience is anchored in Events – whether it’s sport, entertainment, exhibition or convention. Until our stadia and venues are back then demand will be ‘softer’. At this time of year the lobby here is usually dominated by the accents of North America – 2020 will be a wash-out from this lucrative market. Visitors will return though – whether they are here for business or pleasure. Scotland is such a compelling proposition on so many levels  - I know that the grit, talent and perseverance of our broad hospitality community will lead the way in bouncing back."


To request more information contact Calum Ross directly.


Hilton Glasgow


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