The Deloitte Best Managed Companies Awards Programme recognises Irish companies who are operating at the highest levels of business performance.

Padraig Sugrue CEO of the Company said: "It was a great source of pride for the company to be the first Hotel Group in the country to receive this exceptional accolade".

Speaking to RTÉ LifeStyle, he said that the award: "...has given us additional focus and resulted in notable benefits for the people we employ across the group.

"Over 90% of our customers are domestic tourists,” he added, “What we are sure of is that the key reason for the levels of repeat business we enjoy is down to the friendliness and the high quality of our service.

"For example, the Galway Bay Hotel is the No.1 on Tripadvisor in Galway and the overwhelming reason for this is staff friendliness.”

Miriam O'Callaghan presenting the Deloitte Platinum Award to Hodson Bay Group

He attributed the hotel groups’ success to 25 years of continuous investment in its hotels and the training and development of loyal and friendly staff.

"Our corporate culture is built on the three pillars of Respect for our Customers, Respect for our Staff and Respect for the local community", he said.

On the Up
It seems that their policy is working as recently the Company’s Commercial Director, Garry Walsh returned to the business because as he told us: "In my opinion, Hodson Bay Group are well positioned to exploit the strong growth potential in the Irish Tourism industry particularly in the Dublin market.”

He added: “...The economy is in a much better place and the domestic short breaks behaviour is going from strength to strength.”

Speaking about how they navigated their way through the recession, Sugrue admitted: “It was a hugely challenging period for us all. But again, I will point to our management and staff, and their positive approach to their work, which played a huge part in helping us get through the recession.

"Regarding property investment, we could not afford to compromise on this and whilst we were conservative with development spend, investment in refurbishment was carefully spread over the 9 years allowing us to maintain a strong 4 star standard across the three hotels."

The Future
"Whilst it’s well known that Ireland has a strong reputation for the warmth of its welcome, it is critical to continuously raise the bar when it comes to standards," Sugrue said.

"My experience in the UK and Europe is that standards are high and improving, particularly in the last two to three years. So at a hotel level, we must ensure that we compete with our European neighbours.

"Internationally, it is essential that Tourism Ireland invest in very effective marketing campaigns to drive more and more international tourists to the ever increasing airline routes to Ireland."

The Challenges
"I think this has to be the retention and recruitment of great people to allow us to reproduce and grow our successful business model in new properties, new locations.

"With unemployment reducing all the time, competition for staff will intensify, our organisation needs to be in pole position to attract the best."

The Group currently owns over 500 bedrooms between the Hodson Bay Hotel on the shores of Lough Ree, the Galway Bay Hotel on Galway City’s seafront, the Sheraton Athlone Hotel, and they are also hoping to expand their operation to include a Dublin hotel.