Sutton Hospitality Consultants hit a monumental event on Friday 30th October 2020 when the company hit its three year anniversary. We thought it might be worth having a word with Andy Sutton the owner of the company to see how the past three years have been and how they have faired in 2020 with all the changes.
How was Sutton Hospitality Consultants first discovered?
After my previous role as Operations Director for Pure Leisure Group I was working with a hotel company as a Managing Director, however on my very first day in the role the company went into liquidation and therefore presented me with a dilemma of moving to a new role somewhere else, or maybe taking there mistakes and progressing forward in my own path, thus SHC was born. Sutton Hospitality Consultants was originally called Ephihany Hotels and my original plan was to purchase all of the distressed hotels and rebuild them as a new platform using my knowledge.
However, during this same period I was in talks with several operators who also wanted me to come on board with them to assist in growing business. Some of which were theme park operators, some holiday parks and even a large hotel chain but the discussion also started to take a turn in the direction of assisting them with projects short term and long term, therefore I started to see a real opportunity and decided to work for companies for a number of days a week. This was where the name ‘Hospitality Consultants’ came from.
I was originally working on my own and from my house at my kitchen table and using social media platforms to advertise when I was out on the field or site visits in order to boost my viability.
The company very soon started to move to a point where I needed some help and an office and also a rebrand. I worked with a lovely lady called Sarah at the Print Agency of who I cannot recommended enough who worked hard with me to rebrand the company to my name “Sutton Hospitality Consultants’ and move into our first office designed for only two people.
From this stage, the business then started to move at quick pace with us working all over the world not just the UK with some of the largest brands worldwide and some mind blowing projects unfortunately all under NDA so we cannot disclose. I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at several events which helped to increase the company profile and awareness.
This growth enabled us to be able to move to another larger office in the same building.
And now we are moving to our new home which will be our first two storey building overlooking the beautiful riverside, housing a team of 12.
Our fantastic support network of suppliers including Prestige Park and Leisure Home of which we currently have an exclusive deal with, Eco Structures in Australia of which we are the only UK dealer for, Mayfield Decking which Debbie the owner has been a massive support for a number of years and Lisa and the team at Splash Pools. Our networking and supplier list is so large it covers all aspects from health and safety, to making sure we can build a park with the best pricing for materials.
The journey has been amazing and now as we are a full ‘turn key solution’ for the whole market, and my team can make sure we can deliver at all stages. Finally just over a year ago I brought a partner into the company, Paul Thatcher as my FD , which was an amazing decision from the get go, as now paul and I are in the position to financially back up any project needed with JV options, or even the position that we can purchase and sell sites/land for third parties – this really has meant we can deliver any aspect of the industry.
When you set up the business what did you envisage to be your five year plan?
The business for me was always about being a one stop shop for any project, we always wanted to be in the position that no matter what the task of the project we could see this from the very first site visit, all the way to the end stage of sales and rental completed, resulting in a happy end customer. Although covid has had an effect on this, we have managed to get to the stage and we deliver this 100%.
Has your five year plan changed if we were to ask you again now?
The plan like all good ones has changed and developed with the market changes, and that has meant changes in personnel as well as goals and strategy. There will always be challenges with a new company, and finding your place is always the first one to address, we have not firmly done this and now need to keep growing in 2021 and onwards to our next destination.
What advice would you give yourself when you were starting up from information you know now that you perhaps didn’t know then?
The biggest bit of advice I would give to myself is learn to let go, I have an amazing team around me who’s support is just incredible and after working alone for so long I have always needed to just let them move forward and let them push forward with their piece of our puzzle.
What would you say has been your biggest achievement to date?
It has to be building a business from absolutely nothing, from humble beginnings of me on my own in the kitchen, to now a growing team, new offices and exclusive partnerships is a great success story in my eyes.
How do you think 2020 has affected your plans for your business?
Just like everyone in 2020, we have all had to reaffirm our place in business and covid certainly gave us some challenges. We unfortunately witnessed first hand some clients and companies fall victim to coronavirus. We made also some changes in our team and my amazing operations manager Eve is having her first baby and my own wife who was my Marketing Manager is also expecting our first child so there has been movement in the team for the future.
Do you believe covid will have a positive impact on the UK holiday market for 2021 and beyond? If so, why?
The international market and even the European marketing is going to be very difficult for the next few years to be safe or even to declare that status therefore this means the UK market has mass growth, even bigger than before which was already ground breaking. We will really start to see some amazing years ahead of us within this amazing business and I look forward to watching it grow even further than it has to date!!