South Yorkshire hotel owner says invest to survive

A South Yorkshire hotel owner, who is taking on staff, is warning other tourist businesses to invest during the recession rather than cut spending. John Wigfield, director at Cubley Hall hotel, which is also a free house pub, restaurant and wedding venue, says it is vital to spend on improved facilities and marketing.

John Wigfield, Director of Cubley Hall

John, who has run the hotel near Penistone with business partner David Slade for 31 years, said times were tough in the hospitality industry, but it was still possible to thrive. “You have to work smarter and keep ahead of the game or others will overtake you. It is a false economy to cut spending or to just stay stuck in a rut.

“We have decided to move more into business tourism and have spent money on new equipment and new branding and we are optimistic about the future,” said John, who has recently taken on a new chef and two other new members of staff to add to the 70-strong team.

John has been given free advice from business support programme Enterprising Barnsley.

“Having Enterprising Barnsley working with us was the catalyst to move us forward. It hurts when you are not making much money to spend money, but you have to.  You see bigger hotels going out of business and you realise anybody can go under if you don’t keep up.”

John and David bought Cubley Hall, an 18th century gentleman’s residence, in 1982 when it was a derelict former children’s home, and turned it into a pub. They later added a restaurant, hotel and pavilion for weddings. The hotel has 12 en-suite rooms and there is conference space for more than 100 delegates.

The recent investment in marketing and new equipment has run into several thousands of pounds.

Adrian Waite, of Enterprising Barnsley, said: “Over the next four years £20 million is being invested in the Barnsley visitor economy in a variety of public and private sector projects, including Experience Barnsley and Cannon Hall Farm.

“Every pound invested in tourism in Yorkshire delivers £40 into the Yorkshire economy, making it worth £7billion a year.

“It’s good to see Cubley Hall implementing a well thought out strategy and modernising its approach to deal with the current economic climate, but also the opportunities within the Barnsley visitor economy.”

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is designed to help high-growth businesses in the borough in order to create much-needed jobs. It is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency (BDA) and Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC) and is supported financially by the European Union.

The project has attracted £2,259,511 investment into Barnsley from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme

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