Casting a light on Beacon's new vision

If you’ve worked with us before, you’ll know that here at Beacon we’re focused on service - not just great pricing. And if you haven’t worked with us yet, then it might be time you gave us a call.

One of the people you’ll meet as a customer or supplier is Paul Brown, our Managing Director. Paul joined Beacon just a month before the pandemic hit, which means he’s got first-hand experience of the devastating effect it’s had across the hospitality industry. And, it’s no accident that he’s leading our charge in helping our sector adapt to the ongoing issues across the global supply chain. As part of our ‘Meet our team’ series, we caught up with Paul to hear more about his journey to joining Beacon - and what his vision for our future looks like…

Hi Paul! Tell us more about how you came to join Beacon.

“I’m from a hospitality background, early in my career I’d held both Financial Controller and General Manager roles within hotels, so I’d seen first-hand how implementing effective procurement practices were an effective way to drive successful results.”

“During this time I'd also been a customer of Beacon and BWH Hotel Group, so had experience of observing what it was like on the other side of the fence. I’d seen Beacon work incredibly effectively, but I’d also seen when it hadn’t worked quite as well too. I knew that developing strong relationships through customer-focused, engaged account management was something that made a real difference, so I saw an opportunity to build on this knowledge and help Beacon reach a point where customer expectations were not only achieved but exceeded.”

“While I had lots of experience in hotel management, branding and acquisitions, I didn’t want to be solely tied to hotels. I wanted to be able to lead any type of business, so I was keen to find a role where I could use these transferable skills in a slightly different environment. Beacon were looking for someone with hotel experience, and the role sounded like it was something I could really get my teeth into, so it seemed like a good fit.”

What’s your vision for Beacon?

“You’ve probably guessed that I want our approach to be much more personalised and relationship based. What I also think is important is that we deeply understand the situation that both our suppliers and customers are facing post-pandemic. And because of that, we’re staying committed to supporting both parties in riding out the pandemic and moving further down the road to recovery.”

“Above all, my vision for Beacon is for us to grow into a business where we gain a reputation for being the UK’s most customer-focused Procurement Services Provider, and it is this very single-minded ambition that has shaped our current business strategy.”

What do you think is Beacon’s best kept secret? Something that current or prospective customers may not know.

“I think something that really helps us to stand out against our competitors is that we’re not a one size fits all consortium, although many people may think that we are because of our relationship with BWH Hotel Group. The reality is that we provide a fully personalised procurement service that’s bespoke to every client we work with. That means we can offer the right solution, at the right price, with the right service levels for every single customer. Whatever their requirements, no matter how unique - we can meet them.”

“I’m also incredibly proud of all the work we did to support our customers during the pandemic. During what can only be described as a pretty traumatic time for everyone, we sourced a reliable, certified and cost-effective supply of PPE. We paused membership fees for all our customers and organised supplier payment plans for those who had major cashflow issues. We arranged free online training, certified by the Institute of Hospitality, for customers’ furloughed staff to help keep them engaged with their roles and upskill them while businesses remained closed. And, we looked to support them with every stage out of lockdown, whether this was creating a shop for social distancing signage or finding products and services to help them to adapt to outside entertaining or offering a food delivery service. We were constantly looking at ways in which we could help."

What does Beacon's future look like, post-pandemic?

“For me, it’s all about looking forward with positivity, whilst obviously tempering this with a pragmatic sense of realism. However, I feel really energised that we have a full team back in the office again and we’re investing in bringing in new people to add to our hard-working and dedicated team. I’m also excited about getting to see more of our customers - not just at events but visiting them at work, too. We have an incredible portfolio of customers with some amazing properties, and for obvious reasons we haven’t had the opportunity to see them at all for the last couple of years.”

“I think I speak for everyone at Beacon when I say we can’t wait to get back out there in person and start making a tangible difference to our customers' businesses.”

What’s your view on how the hospitality sector has changed?

“I think people have woken up to the appeal of holidaying in this country. And that means our customers now have a fantastic opportunity opening up in front of them.”

“There’s also lots to suggest that the meetings sector is going to recover too - and believe me there have been times when we thought it wouldn’t at all. Add the big backlog of weddings and events into the mix, and while the last two years have been incredibly tough, I think we’re going to start seeing the initial green shoots of recovery this year.”

And the burning question that everyone wants to ask… how do you think the ongoing supply chain issues will play out?

“Ultimately, supply chains are driven by people, and 2021 definitely opened all of our eyes to the limitations of the system. However, as companies and consumers adapt, many of the current knots will untangle and things should recover in time."

“But as the pandemic continues to impact lots of areas around the world, we have some worrying socio-political events happening right now, and the realities of keeping businesses profitable are biting harder than ever, we probably shouldn’t expect a complete resolution in 2022. Especially when we also have rising inflation and energy costs to contend with.”

“So, although I’m feeling far more positive about the future, we’re not completely out of the woods yet!”

Thanks Paul - at least we can all agree that pandemic-wise we’re in a much better place than we were just a year ago!

At Beacon, we’re working incredibly hard to make sure all of our customers and suppliers have everything they need to help them thrive in a post-pandemic world. So, if you want to work with a business where service is a number one priority along with great pricing - then get in touch.

Our time is completely free and included in your membership fee, so all you need to do is give us a call on 01904 695588 or drop us a line on Live Chat and we’ll do our best to find and deliver the solution that works best for you. Just get in touch – what have you got to lose?

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