NORTHUMBERLAND BUSINESS AWARDS: Winning ‘benefited our firm’

From left, Keith Liddell, CEO of The Inn Collection Group, Coun Dave Ledger and Coun Grant Davey open The Commissioners Quay Inn at Blyth.

From left, Keith Liddell, CEO of The Inn Collection Group, Coun Dave Ledger and Coun Grant Davey open The Commissioners Quay Inn at Blyth.

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One of the winners in last year’s Northumberland Business Awards has described how the accolade has benefited the company.

Nominations are currently open for the competition to recognise achievements in 2016 – there are 12 different categories where businesses or employees can be put forward.

The awards are organised by Northeast Press, publisher of the Northumberland Gazette, Morpeth Herald and News Post Leader, and Tweeddale Press, publisher of the Berwick Advertiser.

In 2015, hospitality and pub firm The Inn Collection Group received the Leisure Award.

Keith Liddell, chief executive officer, said: “While it is always rewarding to gain recognition for our efforts in offering a first-class product and service to our customers, entering – and winning – the Northumberland Business Awards has been beneficial to our company on many levels.

“Being short-listed for the awards and our subsequent win brought our company excellent exposure and marketing opportunities, consolidating The Inn Collection Group’s positioning as a leader in the leisure and hospitality sectors.

“Winning this award is a great third party endorsement for our operations and gives assurance to potential customers that stepping inside an Inn Collection Group pub guarantees you a quality place to eat, drink, sleep and stay.

“Furthermore, this assurance gives us an advantage when competing against our peers to secure operator opportunities.

“As a benchmark exercise, entering awards such as these allows you to evaluate your operations from a different perspective and analyse what we do that is outstanding and identify areas where we could add further value and focus.

“It is extremely satisfying to see the effect winning this award has had upon staff morale and motivation.”

He added: “From the moment our staff are recruited, they are encouraged to buy into our customer-focused philosophy and to add value to our guests’ experience with us. To win this award is indeed a testament to the quality of our staff and their continued focus on first-rate customer service.

“It is important to me that our team can feel they have played a key part of a winning operation and that they get the credit they deserve.

“Since collecting this award, we have enjoyed continued expansion by adding two new units to our portfolio of inns – The Commissioners Quay Inn at Blyth and The Kingslodge Inn at Durham – and are actively continuing to identify other opportunities to grow our pubs with rooms model across the region and beyond.”

This year’s winners will be announced during a glittering celebration dinner at Linden Hall on Thursday, February 2.

The sponsors of the business awards include Northumberland County Council, Arch, Port of Blyth, Northumberland College and Macdonald Hotels and Resorts.

The competition is open to any businesses based in Northumberland.

There are 12 different award categories – Small Business of the Year (under 10 employees), Large Business of the Year (11 plus employees), Employer of the Year, Apprentice/Trainee of the Year, Innovation Award, New Business (under two years), Best Green Business Award, Corporate Social Responsibility Award, Exporter of the Year, Leisure Award, Creative Industries Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.

The closing date for entries is Monday, January 9.

To enter, fill in the form below and send it to Nominations, Northeast Press, 2nd Floor, Alexander House, 1 Manderin Road, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland, DH4 5RA, or email lynn.wild@jpress.co.uk