With a prestigious past dating back to the 12th century, award-winning Farnham Castle must be one of the most historic venues in the UK – but there’s nothing old fashioned about the way it runs its business.
Catering for hundreds of weddings a year, and even more meetings and conferences, the world-class hotel and its five acres of grounds have built a solid reputation as the go-to destination when something a little different is required.
Farnham has become well-known as both a boutique hotel and a stunning venue, providing a unique combined hotel and venue experience.
So it’s not surprising that General Manager Robert Wright says the customer experience is paramount – and explains why Farnham Castle has implemented not one but two up-to-the-minute software systems to work quietly away in the background so everything runs perfectly.
Farnham Castle uses a hotel property management system (PMS) to organise every aspect of running its busy hotel operations, from online booking to food and beverage management, front desk and even housekeeping management.
Impressed by the way the system unobtrusively helps the hotel and its staff to deliver excellent customer service, Farnham has recently added a ground-breaking venue management system to create perfect control over its meetings and weddings business.
Robert said: “We’ve been using the PMS since July or August 2017, and we installed the venue management system following that.” The desired results have been quickly achieved.
“We were on Excel spreadsheets before we moved to the venue management system, and it’s definitely provided us with the ability to manage our events better,” said Robert.
The technology saves time by eliminating paper diaries and the possibility of double booking. Everything is in one place and easily accessible, and many routine tasks are automated to save staff time and hassle.
The venue management software also eliminates the time-consuming process of typing up function sheets in Word, and provides easy task management for all staff, who simply log into the system and see at a glance what tasks managers have allocated for them to do.
“The system helps us to manage our costs and track our revenue so much more efficiently,” said Robert.
“When we’re planning events we can put everything into the same format at the same time, which is very time effective for our staff.”
The venue management system also makes sure organisations never miss out on following up any valuable sales leads, and makes billing far simpler and more accurate. Comprehensive reports give the venue organisers an end-to-end view of their business in real time.
“The system captures our sales leads effectively and puts them all in the same format, which means not only do we never miss a lead, we can also log statistics and monitor what’s working,” said Robert.
Business is pretty non-stop at Farnham Castle, set in the pretty town it is named after on the Surrey/Hampshire border.
“We do around 200 events just over the summer, about three months – we host lots of weddings, and some smaller conferences and meetings too,” said Robert.
Life is pretty full-on for the Farnham team, and Robert says they appreciate the operational support they receive from the systems – and from NFS, which has a 24/7 helpdesk manned by experts just in case anything goes amiss.
“We’ve had fantastic support from the NFS team – they’ve been brilliant,” said Robert.
“And we’re delighted at the way the systems have helped both our bookings and our guest experience.”
NFS Chief Executive Luis De Souza said Farnham Castle was a shining example of how successful hospitality businesses in the UK can enhance their businesses with the right technology.
“Farnham Castle is a superb example of a hotel that is operating both as a high-class hotel and as a venue, and it’s great to see it is polishing its already-impressive offering to its customers with the help of our technology,” he said.
“It’s a genuine privilege for NFS to include this fabulous award-winning venue among our esteemed clientele.”