Hospitality so good that it’s saving lives

by Catriona Conway-Mortimer

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

Charitable Edinburgh organisation celebrates record year across city centre venues 

A team picture of Surgeons Quarter staff to illustrate a hotel PR story

A HOSPITALITY organisation that puts its profits into advancing surgery worldwide is celebrating record expansion of its staff and premises in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

 

Surgeons Quarter, the commercial arm of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), now boasts a 130-strong team after starting out with just three ambitious staff members in 2006.

 

From its humble beginnings, the enterprising team that supports the work of the RCSEd has gone from strength to strength and now proudly manages Edinburgh largest four-star independent hotel, Ten Hill Place, four events venues and the popular Café 1505.

 

Ten Hill Place Hotel was extended from 77 to 129 bedrooms opening in time for the Festival in August 2018.

 

Together, the venues accumulated an annual turnover of over £5.9m in 2018, which, after paying staff and investing in the upkeep of its venues, is put towards a number of good causes, from improving surgical practice in the UK to training surgeons in developing countries which are in a state of crisis due to the lack of practitioners serving the population.

 

Surgeons Quarter has built a name for itself in the hospitality sector and is now a go-to destination for conferences, weddings and celebrations of any kind. It is also the largest Festival Venue in the city for the entire month of August hosted by Space UK and catered for by Surgeons Quarter.

 

Lorraine Downard, HR Manager at Surgeons Quarter, said: “Our success seems almost unimaginable when you look back on where we began almost 15 years ago.

 

“It’s not happened overnight, or without vision – being where we are today has taken bold decisions, not without risks, and some seriously hard graft.

 

“But as with any charitable work, our drive only gets stronger as we know that with our exceptional level of service we are also helping to save lives.”

 

As it grows rapidly, the organisation has remained fully dedicated to the professional development and wellbeing of its staff. It is progressing towards becoming a real living wage employer by increasing the hourly rate for contracted staff by 50p an hour.

Located in the heart of Edinburgh, Surggeon's Quarter is shown in a hotel PR image

Surgeons Quarter has also nurtured one of the rising stars in Edinburgh’s competitive chef scene: Executive Chef, Alan Dickson (Hotel Chef of the Year for Scotland 2017).

 

Lorraine added: “As a team, we couldn’t be more proud of how far we have come and are excited to see what the next 15 years has in store.

 

“Since recruiting our first sales department back in 2008 we’ve just not stopped growing. We now have a number of key roles around the campus ranging from Association Sales Managers, Hospitality Managers and our own in-house Finance/HR Departments.”

 

Surgeons Quarter has also been the recipient of a number of prestigious industry accolades since inception – including Conference Hotel of the Year, Eco Hotel of the Year, Gold Award in Green Tourism and Silver Four Star Rating from the AA.

 

Surgeons Quarter promotes, sells and manages all commercial activities held within the RCSEd campus, which includes the Playfair Building. All profits support the charitable aims of the College which are education, assessment and advancement in surgery.

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Catriona Conway-Mortimer, account executive with Holyrood PR in Edinburgh, Scotland

Private: Catriona Conway-Mortimer

Catriona Conway-Mortimer is part of the award-winning PR team at Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

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