In April 2022 English Lakes Hotels welcomed not one, not two, but three new members to our Board of Directors. This expansion reflects the ongoing success of the business, and brings new breadth, creativity and personality to the board. Cumulatively, the three new board members have an impressive 56 years’ experience working for the business in different capacities. Teresa Lawrence takes up the position of Group Sales Director, Matt Stanaway is our new Group Operations Director whilst Michael Kay takes the role of Group Leisure Director. We caught up with them to find out a little more about their life in and out of work.
I grew up in the market town of Ulverston, but now live not far from there in Dalton in Furness. I’ve been married to Peter for 21 years and we have a son, Thomas. I still can’t believe that Thomas turns 20 years old this June! Buster, our springer/cocker spaniel cross, is also very much part of the family – even coming to work with me on occasion.
I enjoy walking and enjoying the surrounding countryside and can regularly be seen on the nearby beach with Buster in tow.
I’ve been with the company now for 31 years. I started at Low Wood Bay as Sales Co-ordinator before being promoted to Sales Executive and eventually Sales Manager for Low Wood Bay.
The Group Sales department was formed a few years later and I took on sales responsibility across all the hotels.
The most recent, and most obvious, is being made Sales Director. It was also a thrill to become Group Sales Manager when I first started looking after the sales for the group of hotels.
I’m going to be delving into our sales strategy for each of our market segments. My role on an ongoing basis will involve working closely with the General Managers of the hotels and making sure they get the best possible sales support. One of my first jobs will be to employ a Revenue Manager for the group. This is a new position and one that I believe will be pivotal for the company. I am also very involved in overseeing some aspects of upgrading our online customer sales suite.
It’s a family business with good values which makes it a great place to work. I like that every member of the team is known by their first name – there are no airs and graces here. It is also a forward-thinking company that welcomes ideas from every member of staff. Our +1 Culture means that we engage with our guests, finding out how we can exceed their expections through small acts of kindness that make a lasting impression.
Originally from Nottingham, I have spent more than half my life living abroad - Australia, Spain, Singapore, Hong Kong, America. It was probably appropriate that I studied Foreign Languages and Computer Programming. I met my wife, Caroline, at one of the hotels then owned by English Lakes Hotels. We now have two grown up children, with five (soon to be six) grandchildren. As well as Grandad duties, I have a passion for health and fitness.
(L) Michael and Caroline with Laura, Grant and four grandchildren; (R) Annabel, Joe and Jacob
I started my career with English Lakes Hotels in 1995 on a student placement which covered all aspects of hospitality. I progressed to Duty Manager and then to Manager of several different units within the group. Leaving the hospitality industry in order to development my leadership and operational skills, I spent over 12 years as Operations Director with different companies with Spa and self-catering properties.
I returned to English Lakes in 2016 to take up the role of Group Leisure Manager where I have been involved in the redevelopment of Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa and other leisure operations within the group.
There are far too many to mention! Whilst I am delighted to have been appointed a Director, for me the joy is in creating opportunities for team members and customers to experience standout moments whilst they are with us.
My role is divided into two parts. I expect to carry on supporting the company with new opportunities both in terms of developing our sites and products. Recognising that our people are key to our continued success, I will be working closely with the General Managers and team leaders on the continued development of our Company Culture.
Without doubt our locations are special, with each hotel offering something unique. It’s a privilege to be able to enjoy the facilities as part of our company benefits. To work in an organisation where everyone can be involved in creating opportunities makes it a great place to work.
I’m originally from Oldham but have lived in Leamington Spa, Brentwood, Chester, Blackpool and now, Grange over Sands. I’m married to Ruth and we have three children aged 18, 16 and 12. Although my university degree was in Engineering, I’ve always worked within the hospitality industry. I’m a Man City fan and addicted to trainers!!
Matt, Ruth and family on holiday in France
I’ve worked for English Lakes Hotels for 16 years starting as Operations Manager at Lancaster House. I then went on to manage several of the hotels in the group, including Waterhead, The Midland and The Wild Boar. Prior to joining English Lakes, I worked as Food and Beverage Manager for Hilton, Accor and Paramount hotels. My first job in the industry was as weekend Kitchen Porter - a long time ago!
Whilst I was General Manager at The Midland, I really enjoyed working with Wayne Hemingway and the Midland team to create ‘Vintage by the Sea’. A specific moment in the Festival was standing on the top floor balcony of the hotel watching the only 2 remaining Lancaster Bombers fly overhead.
All about an ethos of meeting guests’ expectations as a minimum and, wherever possible, adding the small extra memorable touches which personalise the guest experience and exceed expectations.
Working closely with the hotel General Managers and their teams to offer the very best guest experience possible. Equally, ensuring that we have the best trained and motivated team in order to do this!
Having seen other companies come and go, it is reassuring to have the stability of a company with a long history in both the Lake District and Lancashire. More than that, English Lakes is a forward thinking and ambitious company that welcomes new ideas from the whole team.
Everyone seen as an individual and not a payroll number!