McCarthy, whose third party management company itself is planning to expand in the UK over the next few years, told BigHospitality that, as in the restaurant sector, one of the greatest challenges facing hotel businesses was recruiting and retaining staff.
“One of the challenges facing everybody now is developing and nurturing great employees and holding onto them,” he said.
“As the economy grows people are faced with more opportunity so there is a greater demand for staff. The only way you can counter-balance that is to create a fantastic environment to work in where the company believes in the development and progression of its employees.”
McCarthy said Valor Hospitality Europe, which currently manages 20 hotels in the UK on behalf of investment vehicles affiliated with MCAP Global Finance Ltd, a UK subsidiary of New York based investment adviser Marathon Asset Management, was ‘obsessed’ with employee engagement which he sees as crucial to the company’s success in staff retention.
“We measure employee engagement four times a year through a survey and we bonus our general managers on engagement results through that. GM bonuses are influenced by the level of engagement. It’s about creating an environment where people can flourish.”
Over the next few years Valor Hospitality Europe, which currently manages Hilton and IHG hotels under franchise in the UK, is looking to both manage and develop Marathon’s assets and work with other owners ‘to evolve into a third party management company working with multiple owners.’
McCarthy said there was scope to work with other large hotel brands such as Marriott with the mid-market, upper-scale sector its main focus although the company has ‘no aversion to operating in the budget or limited services sector’.
The hotel boss said recent predictions by CBRE that there would be an increase in the number of hotel owners opting for franchise agreements with brands was good news.
He said: “I’m delighted with the growth of the world of franchise because it opens up fantastic opportunities for quality management companies, which is what we are.
“The growth affords a fantastic opportunity for investors in the first instance, but there’s also great opportunities for quality management companies. It’s about having a proactive partnership with the brands and a track record that proves you have the ability to maximise returns for the owner.”