The picture postcard Lygon Arms Hotel in the Cotswolds village of Broadway has recently been bought by London Regional Properties and one of the first things its new owners are doing is installing Sage 200 to manage the hotel’s finances. This brings it in line with other hotels in the LRP group where staff are used to using Sage 200 and working with business partner Datel.
A browse through the guestbook at The Lygon Arms hotel in the Cotswolds reveals a star-studded list of visitors over the ages, from Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor to Paul Robeson, Prince Philip and Bond actor Pierce Brosnan.
The Grade ll-listed building dates back to the 16th Century. Indeed, Oliver Cromwell slept at the inn in 1651, the night before the Battle of Worcester that finally destroyed the royalist cause. King Charles I, Cromwell’s adversary, also used the inn on various occasions to meet his supporters in Worcestershire.
As you would expect with a near-500-year-old property, its ownership has changed often and it has now been sold again. And the first thing its new owners are doing, in partnership with Datel, is installing a Sage 200 system to manage the country hotel’s financials.
Martin Brown is Financial Controller of one of The Lygon Arms’ new owners, London and Regional Properties’ (LRP) flagship hotels, the 785-bedroom Strand Palace Hotel in central London. He has been handed the responsibility of looking after the new addition during the handover period and he explains the situation:
“The Strand Palace Hotel is owned by London and Regional Properties who have bought The Lygon Arms hotel in the Cotswolds which will become a stand-alone hotel under London and Regional as the Strand Palace Hotel is. They are going to invest a lot of money into the property; it’s going to be a very nice 4* coaching inn, it already has a 2AA rosette restaurant, beauty spa and pool. I’m looking after the handover from former owners The Hotel Collection.”
LRP also operate the 5* Cliveden House Hotel in Berkshire, the setting for the infamous Profumo Affair in the 1960s, and the luxury country house hotel Chewton Glen in Hampshire. These hotels are to be positioned alongside the 78-bedroom Lygon and both operate Sage 200.
“Part of the transitional agreement in the sale of the Lygon is that there are several systems that we get to keep for three months that we can carry on operating with, however, the finance system we don’t get,” says Martin. “My idea is to keep as many of the systems as close as possible to what I already know at the Strand Palace. Hence Sage 200 and hence Datel because they are the companies I use here. Sage 200 does everything we need it to do, from recording our revenue to paying the bills.”
He adds: “The ease-of use is key and it’s a brand leader so if you’re recruiting for someone to work in your accounts team, a) if they don’t know how to use an accounts package it’s pretty easy to pick up and b) if they have worked in an accounts team they’ve probably seen Sage 200, Sage 50 or Sage ‘something,’ in which case it’s very easy to cross-train and get them up and running very quickly.
“The people I have in the new hotel have used finance packages including Sage 50 so I’m not anticipating any problems in getting them to understand the system.
“Regarding Sage partners, I went straight for the one that I know, that I have contact with. My only question was whether they covered Worcester and the answer was yes.”
Andrew Pritchard, Account Development Director at Datel, said: “The customer was happy with Datel supporting the Strand Hotel Sage 200 and knew that Sage 200 could handle their processes. The Strand Hotel knew they could offer training advice and reports advice to the newly acquired Lygon Hotel. The need to maintain the ongoing SAP support payments, which was the system The Lygon Hotel will be moving away from, is also removed. We look forward to working with them on the new Sage 200 implementation.”