How has Barclays supported Bluestone’s growth?
Business Leader Magazine recently interviewed the CEO of Bluestone National Park Resort, William McNamara, about the resorts growth and how Barclays have helped their business.
Can you tell readers more about your business and its history?
“Bluestone is a five-star, self-catering resort in Pembrokeshire. It’s a very beautiful county; we have Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which is the only coastal national park in the UK.
“We’re a short break destination. We have lots of all-weather facilities, including a place called Camp Smoky. We host a shindig a couple of times a week, where everybody has a barbecued supper and we have live music and everyone’s dancing on the tables at the end.”
What growth has the company achieved in the last five years?
“We came through a very difficult time because we opened in 2008 and the recession hit very quickly after we opened and as a start-up you’re always vulnerable.
“So, we had very tough times until about 2013 when things started to pick up and since then we’ve expanded the business. We built another 64 amazingly high-quality lodges, as well as lots more facilities, play areas, woodland walks, zip lines and restaurants. We’ve also maintained year-round occupancy so the business is now in a great place.”
What sets you apart from your competitors?
“We’re the only coastal national park and we’re the only big facility built within a national park, so we’re surrounded by lovely coastline and blue flag beaches.
“But the biggest thing that sets us apart is our staff. We have a superb, engaged, motivated, caring and welcoming team and they are great people who really care about our guests.”
Can you tell readers about your average working day?
“I have a philosophy here that you don’t do yourself what you can cost-effectively pay someone else to do. So, my role changes all the time. The moment I can pass on a task or a responsibility, then I do so.
“I surround myself with the very best people I can find. I create thinking time for myself and I encourage my team to create thinking time.
“My role now is very strategic so I’m not involved but I’m very aware of the day-to- day and I keep a close eye on the day to day operation and delivery of excellence. But fundamentally my role is to think about the future – to plan, design and make new projects happen and to make sure the money is there to do so, in conjunction with my finance director.”
How long have you been a Barclays customer and how have they helped grow/change your business?
“Since mid-2013. We did the first stage of a management buyout then they took us on. They’ve been great partners in this journey.
“They’ve been very supportive. They do like the sector we’re in and they understand it, which is very important. We’ve built a relationship that is important to me and I would say it is important to Barclays as well.
“In return, we provide them with excellent management information and in the last 40 months we have never not delivered what we said we would deliver in the budget. We’re always very close to budget but just on the right side and if we continue to do that, their confidence in us will build and the mutual respect is very much there. They’re good people and we’ve enjoyed working with them.”