No.15’s owner takes the hot seat

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No.15’s owner Ian Taylor (c) Derryn Vranch

Ian Taylor, one half of the husband-and-wife team behind No.15, followed in the footsteps of local business luminaries – including Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis and Bruce Craig, owner of Bath Rugby – to speak at a regular business club hosted by Bath Life magazine this week.

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The Bath Life Business Club in full swing (c) Derryn Vranch

The event, which aims to bring together a select group of the city’s businesses to attend a talk from a leading business thinker, is about sharing valuable insights into business in Bath. And Ian, being the owner of three independent hotels in the city, the latest of which is, of course, No.15 Great Pulteney, proved a prime candidate to share his more-than-30-years’ of hospitality experience.

So, what did we learn? Our Northern-Ireland born Ian Taylor was originally destined to be farmer, except that with a very unique ability to look at a room and be able to organise it – or to “see the spaces and not the trees” – he felt that the hospitality industry was his true calling.

“I love the challenge of seeing something, taking an asset and turning it around,” Ian says, and also believes it takes time to change the image and perception of an existing business.

“Change in the product is one thing, but it’s also about finding dedicated and professional people,” he thinks. “As a family-run business, we want our staff to feel like we’re interested in them as well, as we expect them to welcome our guests and deliver great hospitality. It’s also really important to praise people when they do well, to talk and listen and offer people a good induction and training and to make them feel proud.”

Friendly, open and approachable, there are, he says, no big secrets when it comes to our proudly independent hotel group.

A progressive business, there’s no doubt that the Taylors have achieved a lot over the last five years since they purchased their first Bath property, the Abbey Hotel, back in 2012, and they understand what it means to work with historic buildings, such as the Grade-I No.15.

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No.15 MD Jonathan Walker with Simon Gould and Tim Kaner (c) Derryn Vranch

Ian’s thoughts on Bath’s proposed tourism tax were asked for, and the resounding response was that it adds a negativity to attracting people to Bath and that we have to be cleverer in making up the shortfall in the city’s running costs.

And the final answer that people were keen to hear, would he do it all again with another property? “If it makes business sense, yes I would do it,” Ian says, “I’m always looking for a good opportunity.”

Lucky for all of us then that he didn’t become a farmer after all.

www.bathlifebusinessclub.com

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