Charlotte Bennett has been the Managing Director at Healing Manor Hotel since she took the business over three and a half years ago, alongside her husband Steven Bennett, aka The Lincolnshire Chef.
Trading the world of fashion for hospitality – an industry previously unknown to her – Charlotte has since gone on to make quite the impression in the region for her business acumen and unique approach to marketing the hotel's unique offering to three different audiences: leisure, corporate and weddings.
Home to 37 bedrooms, an award-winning family and dog-friendly pub – The Pig & Whistle, restaurant The Portman and two wedding and event function rooms, under Charlotte’s eye for detail Healing Manor Hotel now employs a team of over 50 which actively works to champion locally sourced and seasonal food, producers and fellow independent businesses.
"Lincolnshire is such a vast county, the geographical area it covers is staggering. From the coast and countryside to our urban landscapes, we are so lucky to be able to offer visitors such a wide variety of things to do, places to visit and businesses to experience. Looking from the outside in, we are almost a self-sustaining county - from energy and manufacturing to food, producers and leisure – and now the rest of the world is waking up to what we have to offer.
"There is such a wealth of investment coming from the manufacturing and green energy sectors, with North East Lincolnshire in particular fast becoming the green hub of the UK. And, that investment is now driving value further afield into the visitor economy and the businesses operating within it.
"For such a long time Lincolnshire felt disjointed in terms of how businesses communicate and, in turn, how they are supported and the overriding message we as a county are trying to put out there. Visit Lincoln has done a fantastic job of streamlining that over the last decade, but it is Destination Lincolnshire that will take our development further and truly unite Lincolnshire’s visitor economy businesses together with one, strong voice.
"The need for Destination Lincolnshire to become that one-stop shop for all things B2B when it comes to support, direction and guidance is palpable, and the sector is absolutely ready for it. It is precisely the solution we need to grow Lincolnshire’s visitor economy further, surpassing and building upon what Visit Lincoln has already achieved.
"Furthermore, the joint approach from Destination Lincolnshire and Visit Lincolnshire will only enhance the connectivity between businesses, signposting us to the support we need, such as with funding, driving the bigger tourism initiatives to the fore so we are all on the same page. It’s that 'community rather than competition' ethos that will ensure we not only answer the demand we are currently seeing but generate more interest in what Lincolnshire can offer the consumer.
"Being based in an area of the county that is very corporate, Visit Lincoln has already provided us with priceless guidance to ensure we can showcase ourselves properly. Destination Lincolnshire will only further the value businesses see within both DMOs, ensuring all of us access the right audience to grow our businesses and therefore the visitor economy. Destination Lincolnshire will provide us with the tools we need to be heard and simultaneously see what other resources are available, and what other businesses are doing. The richer our B2B communication is, the more ideas we can share, driving that investment in Lincolnshire forward together.
"That camaraderie is so, so important. It can be a very lonely world working in and running an SME. For us all to be able to rely on something like Destination Lincolnshire to provide us with a community is vital for our survival. I came into hospitality knowing nothing about it and having other businesses to talk to and bounce ideas off of was priceless. If we can work together under the guidance of Destination Lincolnshire we will all help each other grow and drive-up demand.
"It’s been three and a half years since we took the business over and it has changed exponentially, much like Lincolnshire’s economic landscape and consumer expectations. We’ve really worked to strip the business back to what Healing Manor used to be, returning the family feel it once had, making it a destination for local and UK-wide audiences alike across the three markets we target - leisure, corporate and weddings.
"For Steve and I, a huge part of that is having a lovely team to nurture, which is one of the areas we’re really excited to work with Destination Lincolnshire on. The entire visitor economy has suffered staff shortages, not just hospitality, and nurturing the next generation and the skills they need to succeed is vital. We hope Destination Lincolnshire can work with us all to provide that boost and bring new blood into the visitor economy to ensure a fruitful future."
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