Paul Cookson has recently just taken on a new challenge. Previously GM of Oddfellows in Chester, the quirky, contemporary boutique hotel under the Jonathan Slater leadership, he is now heading up the newest Oddfellows in Cheadle Manchester, which only opened its doors this month.
Cookson comes from a long line of hospitality establishments, more notably the Chester Grosvenor where he was employed for over 12 years, 10 of which was spent as director of events before he found his feet in the management and operational side of the business. It was here he built a strong relationship with industry legend Jonathan Slater, and so jumped at the chance to take the role of general manager at Slater’s boutique Oddfellows Chester in August 2015.
Under Cookson’s management, Oddfellows delivered a great year in 2016. Four monthly e-broadcasts generated revenue of £82,000, the hotel’s website garnered 80,000 monthly page views, while the hotel received over £190,000 worth of PR in just 12 months. Oddfellows mission statement now includes two missives – offering ‘an individual, memorable experience’ and ‘exceeding customer’s expectations on every visit’.
Cookson has helped the team to achieve this with a consistency of approach, staff training, service procedures and a focus on a combination of charisma and confidence. Cookson encourages creativity among his team, coming up with ideas for promotional campaigns such as ‘man-crèche’ for Christmas shopping, VIP BBQ events and BBQ business meetings, and noticing a rise in repeat business as a result. Now tasked with emulating this success over at Oddfellows on the Park, Cookson says the new direction was a ‘very welcome one’.
“Oddfellows is a truly independent hotel group, both in spirit and ownership, and celebrates personality and individuality,” he says.