Thursday 24 February 2011

The launch of "Hospitality Today" magazine - from hospital!

The last few weeks of my life seem to have passed in a blur. My company, Special Publishing, has launched a digital magazine for the hospitality industry - "Hospitality Today" - and that has taken a lot of my time. We have a foreword from the Minister of Tourism, a wine column from Jancis Robinson and much else beside - and we are reaching over 30,000 business owners (hoteliers, restaurateurs, and owners of inns, pubs and B&Bs).
The most exciting thing, though, is the innovative technology that underpins our "virtual magazine" - it can be read by anyone, anywhere on any PC, Mac, laptop, iPhone, iPad or smartphone. You can "turn the pages", but unlike printed magazines we can have video as well as still pictures on the page.

Enough of the sales pitch - my reason for this post is to say that just three days before our launch date, I saw my GP with 'stomach pains' and was rushed into hospital straight away, and went under the knife that evening for an appendectomy.

Thank god for the Blackberry - luckily I was able to OK a last minute ad from Moet & Chandon from my trolley before being put under - and that closed the magazine ready for launch. We did make the planned launch date after all.

In my couple of days of enforced inaction in hospital, however, I did refelect on the fact that NHS hospitals have some of the same faults as some hospitality businesses - mainly a lack of communication to the patient/customer. People will put up with an awful lot, if they are told what is going on quickly, clearly and honestly by someone who introduces him or herself and explains his or her role.

Whether it is a matre d' welcoming you to your table and describing today's specials, or a nurse telling you when you are due to go into the theatre, the same principles apply. On that basis, the NHS have a lot of room for improvement in my experience - though it has to be said that the operation was a complete success - luckily for me (and 'Hospitality Today'!).