LCD STORIES: WILLIAM THOMSON FROM OXFORD
William Thomson, until recently the Head Concierge of Oxford’s Five star Randolph hotel in Oxford, England is putting his golden keys to a new use.
A true “Phoenix risen from the ashes” William answered redundancy from his beloved hotel last year by setting up a new business, the concierge and event planning venture askwilliam.co.uk. He aims to bring his city’s hospitality sector out of lockdown by using Ask William’s concierge contacts and network to benefit all hotels in the area. He is already being heralded by Oxford’s media as “the man in the know” and is fielding a boom in enquiries for weddings, anniversaries and events from a pent-up public wanting long awaited celebrations. Last week, William was front page news on both The Oxford Times and Oxford Mail and had lengthy features in both newspeapers. Eager for news on how we can all move safely beyond these dark days of the pademic, journalists talk about William’s “little black book” helping business and locals plan their perfect return to hospitality. Oxford’s only member of Les Clefs d’Or, with contacts and connections all over the world, William plans to offer an out-sourced concierge service to all of the region’s hotels. He will serve returning guests and visitors as hotels reopen, providing all that the area has to offer. William explains “Many hotels do not have the benefit of an experienced concierge, someone who can delight guests by bringing them more goods and services to enjoy during their stay. By “upselling” local hospitality services in this way, we will increase the spend of returning guests and enable supporting businesses like local attractions and tour operators to share in the hotel’s success”. In the last week, Ask William has advised on various weddings, rescheduled bithdays, a corporate dining club and an overseas business trip to Oxford. With the UK prime minister’s roadmap out of lockdown suggesting that restrictions could be gone by June 21st, William is cautiously confident in the return of celebration. According to William, people are desperate to have something to look forward to and many, having saved money during lockdown, have the funds to make things happen in style. “Last year was the year of the cancelled birthday, abandoned trips and delayed weddings” says William “but we are now sensing a real urgency for help with bookings and arrangements for this summer and beyond”. A recent report by the Bank of England says that British households have built up record savings during the pandemic “hibernation”, saving up to five times as much as in any other nine month period on record. If households start spending the £125bn now believed to sit in savings, post pandemic Britain could see a boom. Forecasters are predicting strong competition for hotel rooms and restaurant tables as people escape their “cabin fever”. Sources in London suggest that Saturday weddings in the capital may already be fully booked for 2022. William says “Like everyone, we are longing to see restrictions lifted safely and permanently. It’s early days, but we are definitely seeing hopeful first steps towards people planning their return to social life. We are busy working with venues and other hospitality suppliers to help make the transition back to normality with caution and care”. William has been a familiar face to locals and visitors to Oxford for over fifteen years. He started his career at the Bear hotel in Woodstock at age 18 before quickly moving on to assist guests as the flamboyant head concierge of Oxford’s five star Randolph hotel on Beaumont Street. Made redundant last September as a result of Covid and new hotel ownership, William decided to launch his own business instead of joining the long ranks of those out of work. He is now busy drawing on his large professional network to form expert and colourful teams, ready to create and deliver exceptional events. William’s membership of the Les Clefs d’Or gives him access to top class assistance around the world. William was awarded the global accolade of “Young Concierge of the Year 2016” in a competition with peers from around the world. Made redundant last September as a result of Covid and new hotel ownership, William decided to launch his own business instead of joining the long ranks of those out of work. He is now busy drawing on his large professional network to form expert and colourful teams, ready to create and deliver exceptional events. William’s membership of the Les Clefs d’Or gives him access to top class assistance around the world. William was awarded the global accolade of “Young Concierge of the Year 2016” in a competition with peers from around the world. Closer to home, he works with trusted colleagues and lists as his friends the country’s premier venes, caterers, tailors, milliers, photographers and many other crafts people and specialists in the world of travel, tourism, events and leisure. William hopes that bringing businesses together in this way will help revitalise the local economy, and hospitality in general: “I have been in the world of hospitality all my life” William explains “and I am determined to do whatever I can to help my belve industry get back on its feet and thrive again. As we leave this terrible pandemic behind, I will bring everything I can to the table, to get this party started!”
Joy Le Fevre
The Oxford Times