4 Questions with Royal Lancaster Hotel GM Sally Beck about Hoteliers Charter
Updated: Sep 26
General Manager of the 411-room Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, Sally Beck is a passionate hotelier whose frustration with the perception of careers in hospitality by the parents of her teenage daughter's friend, inspired what has become the Hoteliers Charter. Now a full-blown movement with 450 hotels on board, Hoteliers Charter has been nutured and led by Sally over the last two years. Beginning with an actual 10-point charter (see graphic) that hotels commit to, Hoteliers Charter is now a platform to share all of the good the industry is doing and career possibilities so that potential employees and parents, colleges, and universities know that anyone choosing to work in hospitality will be supported and developed for the long term.
Sally is going to be speaking at Hotel360 on September 29 at 2:00 pm about careers in hospitality and we had a chat with her to learn more about Hoteliers Charter.
Why did you start Hoteliers Charter?
Started as a rant. My daughter was 15 working in a school in Buckinghamshire, set up a rotation around my hotel for her and some friends to do work experience. One of the mothers called and canceled the week before saying, “Why would I want my daughter want to be a servant?” That same year, in 2019, I won the Catey “Hotelier of the Year,” an award that has been going on for 36 years. In front of all these hoteliers, I said, “In 36 years we’ve not managed to change the reputation of our career. We get lumped in with any kind of hospitality and what ‘Joe Public’ sees on the telly is celebrity chefs shouting and bullying people or scandals about restaurants topping up wages with service charges. That is what gets into parents’ heads and why we can’t interest young people in careers in hotels. We do it better and we need to stand up as best in class for what we do.”
How did you get Hoteliers Charter off the ground?
After getting the Catey award, I had a meeting with members of the West London Hotel Association, and then Kate Nicholls of UK Hospitality and Marc Lewis of Hospitality Action. We came up with the 10 charter points (see graphic). Many people offered help with PR, the website and the plan was to launch in February of 2020 but then the pandemic hit and we held off, which actually gave us the time to do it properly. We set up Hoteliers Charter as a non-profit and launched February of 2021.
How’s it going?
We have 450 hotels signed up all over the UK. Each hotel commits to the 10 points of the charter and gets connected with local schools to bring kids and their parents around and explain the careers you can have in hotel management. I mean, I run a £50 million business, I oversee a large staff, I’ve met amazing people and have traveled all over the world, it’s a bloody exciting career!
Well, I would like to get to 1,000 hotels committed by next year. Also, we have partnered with the Cateys so that future winners of the Hotelier of the Year, can sit on the board and keep moving the Hoteliers Charter forward. We’re working on an educators forum uniting colleges and universities and a sustainability forum.