Press photographers are no strangers to QHotels’ opulent Cheshire retreat, Mottram Hall, where sports stars and celebrities are often snapped using the luxury facilities – but last week saw the brand’s management quizzed and photographed in a media day at the four-star venue.
The UK’s largest golf-resort operator and the current AA Hotel Group of the Year, QHotels was keen to provide an insight into its golf operations which have more than doubled in the last year, and invited a select number of golf media to attend an informal event at one of its flagship facilities.
Guests were welcomed to the event by, among others, former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan OBE, before heading out on to the Dave Thomas-designed championship course. And the day culminated with dinner and a question-and-answer session with QHotels’ director of hotel operations, Vivien Sirotkin, and group director of golf, John Angus – all hosted by BBC sports presenter Dan Walker.
Vaughan, a member at Mottram Hall, said: “It was a pleasure to be able to welcome members of the golf media to Mottram Hall – my spiritual golfing home. I think it’s quite well known that beyond cricket – and Sheffield Wednesday, of course – golf is my big passion.
“I play as often as I can here and I’m delighted that the introduction of the new QFairway membership will enable many others to experience this fine venue. It seems an ideal way for people whose time may be limited to enjoy the sport to the maximum without compromising home or work life. And I think golf has needed something like this for some time.”
That was a theme taken up by both Angus and Sirotkin, who stressed QHotels’ drive to increase participation among juniors and females.
Sirotkin said: “Just because QHotels is the country’s biggest golf-resort operator, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best – but we certainly aspire to be. QHotels is passionate about individual service and strives to exceed customer expectations.
“Our strapline, ‘inspired by you’, sums up our proposition. Our staff use their intuition to respond to individual needs and create truly tailored experiences. Our brand proposition is based on real life, our customers and our people. It’s what we do, and what we want to be known for. It’s the essence of QHotels and we want to build on that reputation.
“One of our big pushes for 2015/16 and beyond is to increase the number of female golfers. Lady golfers make up just six per cent of QHotels’ golf members at the moment – which is below the national average. It is our intention to lift that figure above the national average – we’ve given ourselves some big targets and we intend to deliver on them.”
Angus added: “We listened to our members and regular visitors by conducting a survey last year, and high quality golf-courses and golf facilities, low costs and flexibility were the key requirements for the modern golfer. QFairway has grown organically out of those demands. It is – and will continue so to be – one of the biggest membership drives that have taken place in golf in recent years.
“In just a few months we have seen more than 1,000 new golfers take up the QFairway membership and that’s testament to its flexibility and suitability. Free junior memberships are available to all children aged 15 and under providing their parent or guardian also has adult membership at the same time.
“And shortly, QGolf Academies will launch across all 11 resorts with a commitment to growing participation levels, particularly among juniors and female golfers. QFairway and QGolfAcademies are just two examples of QHotels’ commitment to golf, ensuring quality facilities and service can be affordable and accessible to all. Our commitment to grass-roots golf and increasing participation in the game is clear through everything we offer.”
Members of the UK golf media participated in the Q&A session which was compared with some finesse by Walker, a keen golfer himself.
He added: “I wasn’t a member of a golf club for a long time because I couldn’t see the value when I didn’t have time to play enough. The QFairway membership scheme addresses those issues and gives golfers access to some tremendous courses at the same time. My maths isn’t magnificent but £375 for up to 50 rounds is what my dad would refer to as ‘good numbers’.”
The QFairway flexible points-based membership gives players all the benefits of a traditional club membership – including the facility to hold a handicap and playing rights for club competitions – while offering discount on food and drink, shop purchases, tuition, hotel bed-and-breakfast rates, and, most impressively, access to all of QHotels’ 15 golf courses, including such prestigious venues as Mottram Hall, Slaley Hall and Forest Pines.
Points may be used for golf, leisure club and spa facilities (where applicable), the driving range and even on buggy hire – all whenever and wherever the member requires. What’s more, unlike traditional golf club memberships, there is no joining fee, meaning that for a relatively small outlay keen nomadic golfers can now achieve their dream of belonging to a club, with all the friendly social benefits that entails.
The multi-award-winning, four and five-star QHotels group offers championship-standard courses in unique resort locations www.qhotels.co.uk