“Lynx has helped make The Bridge what it is today,” says Roberts.
“Not only has the Lynx team negotiated keener prices than I would be able to as a single hotel, but they have also been a second pair of eyes on the business. As a sole trader, you can easily find yourself working in splendid isolation, so I’ve really valued Lynx’s perspective as it’s from outside the business, but is informed by their years of experience in the hospitality industry.“
Roberts purchased The Bridge Hotel in 2001 when it was a rather down-at-heel hotel, in need of substantial renovation. The transformation into the 4-star, award-winning hotel, spa and conference venue is a testament to Roberts’ belief in the site’s potential and his commitment to making it happen.
Today, The Bridge Hotel & Spa is firmly on the map for leisure and business guests, offering the widest range of conference and event spaces in the region as well as weekend and mid-week breaks on a half-board basis, with options to enjoy the hotel’s spa, or rounds of golf at a local club. The Bridge has an enviable location in the beautiful north Yorkshire countryside, close to York and Harrogate, and offers a combination of olde worlde charm – it started life as a 17thcentury coaching inn – with the modern levels of comfort guests expect from a quality hotel.
In both leisure and corporate markets, service standards are what set The Bridge Hotel & Spa apart from other venues in the region, says Roberts.
“The facilities here are second to none, but our reputation has been built on customer service. When customers book into The Bridge, whether for a business meeting, a mini-break or a wedding with 200 guests, they have very high expectations.”
Roberts and his team take pride in meeting those expectations, but doing so requires a significant investment of time and effort. So when Lynx Purchasing offered to take away the headache of negotiating prices with suppliers, and deliver savings of up to 25% into the bargain, Roberts was quick to accept.
“There seemed to be no downside – only benefits. Lynx are buying experts. They have greater purchasing muscle and, just as importantly, they have the time to drill down into the prices quoted by suppliers and work out a better deal. Having Lynx fighting our corner instead of having to do it myself means that I can spend less time on managing prices and more time on other aspects of running The Bridge.”
It’s not just the savings in cost that have proved such a benefit to Roberts, but the ability to fix costs for months ahead. He says, “Christmas is a big opportunity for us: corporate party bookings, family groups dining out and festive mini-breaks are all popular at The Bridge. We start marketing our Christmas and New Year offers six months ahead, so we need to be confident that the prices we set in June will still hold in December.
“Lynx have managed to tie down prices on many of our key festive menu items, which enables us to far more exact in our forward budgeting. It means Christmas and New Year are more profitable for us.”
Over the years Roberts has worked with Lynx, he estimates savings have averaged 20-25% on a range of menu items including fish, meat and dry goods, as well as paper supplies.
“Working with Lynx Purchasing has been a 100% positive experience,” concludes Roberts.
“They’ve been a great support in many ways and I can’t think of any good reason for changing the arrangement – though I’m not tied into it contractually. I’m very happy with the partnership, long may it continue!”