Resources from the web site of Well House Consultants on the subject of Behind the scenes. We provide
Articles and items about what goes on behind the
scenes at Well House Manor. You can read all about
our 2006 refurbishment, and how we've built up our
business since then, with many regular guests staying
with us whenever the work in Melksham.
|Articles and tips on this subject||updated|
|4302||Sunday is never quiet at Well House Manor|
It's not yet Midday on Sunday here at Well House Manor ... and yet in the last twelve hours, we have checked in our final Saturday night arrivals (01:35 ;-) ) ... prepared breakfast for ten, and had those ten people eat and check out. The breakfast room has been cleared, and the used linen taken ...
|951||What happened at Geekmas|
A big "Thank You" to everyone who came along to Geekmas over the weekend - a good time, a great night at the hotel, and a fantastic curry had by all!
Code quality, testing and maintainability turned out to be a major theme that ran through the weekend - with topics ranging from Rasmus Lerdorf's 4 layer ...
|3961||Well House Staff Party|
A great time had by all at the Lamb at Strand last night - it was a chance for me to say "thank you" to the best team that I've ever worked with. And I'm proud to say it here, in public, too.
We're all looking forward to seeing you in 2013. Whether you're attending one of our IT courses or simply staying ...
|3844||Rooms ready for guests - each time, every time, thanks to good system design|
It's no accident that your room's ready for you when you check in at Well House Manor, and that the bathroom is sparkling.
And it's no accident that the bed has been remade during the day while you're attending your course or you're out at work or seeing the sights.
Our online systems keep a record ...
|3743||Sunday - no longer a day of rest|
Well ... yesterday was one of the busiest days I can recall, and it was a Sunday. We've moved a very long way from the UK (and our business) being Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.
There are - normally - a couple of compromises to it being a "weekend" day on Sunday - such as breakfast starting at 08:00 rather ...
|3093||How many toilet rolls - hotel inventory and useage|
Running Well House Manor, we buy a lot of hotel supplies - ranging from sheets and towels when they are to be replaced, through guest soaps and toilet rolls, salt, sugar and jams which are ordered from time to time, to weekly or twice weekly orders such as fruit and fresh products and ultimately the ...
|1000||One Thousand Posts and still going strong|
Can you believe it? In the two and a half years I've been writing here I have posted no fewer than ONE THOUSAND items and articles - ranging from the frivolous to the serious, and from the long to the short, and from daily life to highly technical tips.
Why do I do it? Because it gives me a chance ...
|2960||The Well House team - September 2010|
If you're a regular reader, you'll have seen me advertising an opportunity to join our team [here], and we also put the word around in more conventional ways such as a line in the local newspaper. And we were spoiled for choice ... some really good candidates. I let people know a week ago on Friday, ...
|2961||Initial handling of phone calls and walk in visitors|
"Thank you for calling Well House. If you are calling to book a course, press 1. If you are calling to book a hotel room, press 2. If you're calling to check whether a course is suitable for you, it's 3, and you should press 4 if you're trying to sell us something. To reach Graham to talk about the ...
|2910||Robust - testing the system|
It's 07:30 in the morning and I've already made breakfast, changed a room over (two more to complete), and got more or less ready for a course (two systems to go yet). And that's after a very busy and long day yesterday.
We've always said that we should be robust enough to stand things happening at ...
|2916||Testing the robustness of our hotel and training systems - holiday and sickness times|
"No matter what's going on behind the scenes, the customer comes first". Grand theory - but what does that say in practice?
It says that a company such as ourselves should have sufficient robustness in place to carry on with scarcely a missed beat if one of us is off sick. Even if another one happens ...
|939||Swipe cards for hotel rooms - Security issues|
We're using swipe cards for room access at Well House Manor - it allows us to give our guests a single key that gives them access to their room, the front door, and the conference rooms if appropriate. And as they're time limited, it allows our guests to be reassured that a previous guest who failed ...
|2396||Easing off in our 50s?|
From my mailbox:
"Now that I'm 50, I'm looking to ease off on the IT which is turning into far more work that I anticipated. Also have a farm, where I have seriously been thinking of relocating to, and planting fruit trees. Would continue to do some software work, but hopefully less than now. Maybe ...
|1319||Customer feedback - lifeblood of a business|
I'm going to share here a forum posting I just made in an obscure corner of the net concerning customer feedback, where a cynical poster (he may have been right to be cynical) was worried that his inputs were not being taken seriously. "But that doesn't mean it will do anything about them" he wrote.
|2247||A day in the life of a hotelier|
It's been an exhausting day ...
... and it isn't even 3 p.m. yet.
Breakfast for five and all checked out. Meeting for 3. Coffee service and meeting for 8. Lunch for 7. ...
... still to come - conclusion of the meeting, and "prepping" for breakfast for 20, and a further meeting and lunch for ...
|2125||We have lost a regular business guest|
A note from Chris, on checkout duty: "Xxxxx has left - very happy with this stay and previous stays. Leaving for promotion in different company."
We don't like to loose regular guests, nor do we like to have irregular guests choose to stay elsewhere if they're in Melksham again - so we look to keep ...
|1991||Rules for a King|
At Well House Manor, we're here to supply a service to customers. And the customer is King ... But even the King has to follow some rules
There are certain requests that we really cannot meet - the most extreme example I have personally had was a request for us to accept just twenty five pounds for ...
Required Request ... that medical / legal term that requires hospital teams to ask if the body of a newly deceased person is available for transplant. It sounds ghoulish, but without "required request", the clinical team doesn't like to ask and the family is too distraught to even think about it ... ...
|931||Before and After - Well House Manor|
Do I want to show people, proudly, all the works we've done on Well House Manor and how it's now such a different place? Of course I do. But at the same time I don't want to discourage visitors who happen upon our web site and see the old rather than the new.
So ... for those of you who are interested, ...
|1957||Why are cooks bad tempered?|
I've heard it said that cooks are bad tempered because they spend all of their time creating art in food, just to have it destroyed when it's eaten ...
I served breakfast this morning (hey, the first Monday in *months* I wasn't training, and they say a change is as good ...
Why is it that people can't admit to making mistakes, but rather want to shift the blame on to someone else even when the responsibility should lie on their, or their company's shoulders?
This came to my mind this morning as I have a handful of particularly frustrating incidents over the past couple ...
Here's a link for the delegates who were with us at lunchtime yesterday ... it's to Table Topics. L**** picked up the little box that we have left lying around near the dining table in our eating room, and started reading out, aloud, some of the cards.
Those who wanted ... answered. Those who didn't ...
|1904||Ruby, Perl, Linux, MySQL - some training notes|
We have just come to the end of a solid 12 days of training ... and we are just getting ready for the next week, with delegates arriving this evening. There's a lot going on behind the scenes, even over this weekend, with the hotel to be prepared as well as the training course. (Picture - our clean ...
|1854||Three Seasonal Pictures|
I've not labelled them individually, as each of them stands as a picture on its own. But if you want to know more, the first is Oliver's Castle, near Devizes, Wiltshire and the second was taken in Oxford a couple of weeks ago. The third picture shows me between a chap who's seeking ...
|1637||Providing exceptional service - and carrying on doing so.|
Nothing gives me greater please than to hear from a customer who writes "My line manager is quite keen for me to work on those web programming skills for various proposed, so we've already discussed it, and I don't think he'd be looking at me going elsewhere for training - what you do is so much better ...
|1571||Await guests in the early hours|
You may wonder what I am doing sitting at my keyboard at 1 in the morning!
We have a rule - "we don't take reservations for tonight after 10 p.m." We made the rule as we're really not well suited to provide accommodation to people who have spent the evening in the local pub and are then looking for ...
|1520||Terms and Conditions - Hotel, England - plain English|
With our hotel getting busier every month, and with advertising in place to fill rooms at weekends and holidays when our training courses are not in full swing, it seems a good time to update our terms and conditions.
On one hand, I wanted to cover almost every eventuality, but on the other hand I wanted ...
|1515||Keeping staff up to date on hotel room status|
Communication - communication of the immediate status of hotel rooms, of events that have happened out of the norm, of the reasons behind each of our terms and conditions, and much more is all a vital part of running our hotel - and it's not made easier by the fact that we are (and must be) run be a ...
|1490||Software to record day to day events and keep an action list|
Well House Consultants is a diverse company with a small team - operating a hotel and training centre and presenting courses there too - and a such we have a need for efficient communications between us.
"Thank goodness for email" is a cry often heard, with messages being passed back and forth between ...
|1441||On cancellations, rebooking, and pricing schemes|
Lisa forwarded me an email describing how travelers are booking their hotel rooms well in advance, then canceling them at the last week or so if they see a special deal or suspect one from a major chain, and rebooking at the lower price. The article went on to say how the bigger hotel chains are less ...
|1371||Hotel in Melksham at Christmas|
Well House Manor - Open at Christmas
Well House Manor in Melksham will be open as usual over the Christmas and New Year period. It's in a quiet location just five minute walk from the town centre, and ideal for you if you're visiting family in Melksham or West Wiltshire, but don't want to overcrowd ...
|1369||One business, four different angles!|
I took a phone call on Wednesday from one of the Denton family at "Denton's Directory" - a local directory that's distributed free to households here in Melksham and has actually become something of a well-used institution. So although the call was a "cold call" looking to persuade me to go for a somewhat ...
|1311||What do people look for on a hotel web site?|
I was wondering which pages at the Well House Manor web site might be the most popular ... so took a long-overdue look at the log files. Top hits:
1. Home Page
2. The Rooms (26 accesses for every 100 to the home page)
3. The Rates (23 accesses for every 100 to the home page)
OK - not big surprise ...
|1285||In the army, or in civvie street?|
Working as the proprietor of a company such as Well House Consultants is more like being in the army that being in a company in civvie street. That's the startling conclusion we came to at lunch time today, on a course where we have delegates who have been in both.
"When you're in the army, you're ...
|1189||Meet, greet and welcome|
Picture ... Lisa waits at Heathrow to greet son Tyler, yesterday morning. Tyler has lived (contrary to our desire) with his natural father in Florida for these past years, and we have seen him for holidays and high days - always too short a time to spend together, always too few visits always too little ...
|1179||Sizing sheets and other domestic issues|
There's a great deal to be said for mucking in with all the jobs done within the company from time to time, and today Lisa and I have been turning bedrooms around - the wedding group gone, and two checkins tonight with three more arriving tomorrow - a full hotel again. Good to see how the rooms are standing ...
|1159||It can take more that one plus one to get two.|
I was running a C++ course yesterday (yes, a Saturday!) and among the topics we covered was the overloading of operators. In languages such as C++ and Python, you can re-define what operators such as "+" do when you add objects together, and the course example I used was adding two enclosing cubes - ...
|1105||A week is a long time in the life of a conference centre|
Looking back over the last five days, I'm astonished at the different room / settings that we've put together for events as diverse as a training course, an executive meeting, a retirement gathering, and a large public meeting.
Monday - For our "Save The Train" meeting, Theatre style, comfortable for ...
|1083||Behind the scenes|
Behind every successful course, conference or hotel stay there's a team of people working to make it that success. Here's a few pictures of our "behind the scenes" team.
Christine prepares to serve for a day conference.
Martin prepares the "Wilts" - our larger conference room - before the start ...
|927||Hotel door furniture|
What a difference the word 'hotel' makes!
Just some of the fixtures and fittings associated with our bedroom doors - all of which are, of course, to the latest fire standards. Add spy holes, smooth closures, 'washer' lights so you can see your way at night and in an emergency, and you'll see the ...
|897||Too much for the National Trust|
Yesterday was the day that the National Trust with other organisations designated to be a typical day, and they encouraged everyone to write a blog to be archived for posterity to show typical life in October, 2006. Good idea, yes; I wrote mine, but came to find on submission that there's a 4k limit ...
|868||Smoking, or no|
That's the story at our training centre, and at Well House Manor too. But there's a further story that says "but these delegates and hotel guests are our customers and we provide them with a service that doesn't restrict them". A paradox; one man's freedom to smoke in the lounge is ...
|813||Monday Morning at Well House Consultants Melksham|
Sometimes, I wonder where my time goes in the morning! I'm writing today's entry just after 9 ... awaiting delegates for this week's Linux course, and I think to myself so what have Lisa and I DONE with the past four hours. It seems to have just trickled away ... and yet.
* I've taken a complete ...
|769||King Edward VII - days of empire|
Things that are so much of my daily life are novel to others, and things that are so much part of their daily life are new and novel to me. After all, everyone's got a different life, different tastes and different experiences. Wouldn't it be fearsome if that wasn't the case ... everyone in the world ...
It's all systems go on 48 Spa Road ... we'll be taking over "The Old Manor" on 31st May. Through the summer, we'll be thoroughly updating both inside and out, and we'll be opening in the Autumn as Well House Manor - a hotel specialising in accommodation for business visitors to Melksham.
Well House ...
|742||A visit from the solicitor|
Yesterday, finally, we took over vacant possession of "The Old Manor" - henceforth to be Well House Manor. Regular readers and friends will know that this has been a long time in arriving, and that we now have months of work to do converting a B&B with a backlog of upgrades and maintenance into a business ...
If you are looking for a complete course and not just a information on a single subject, visit our Listing and schedule
Well House Consultants specialise in training courses in
. We run
throughout the UK (and beyond for longer courses), and
at our training centre in Melksham, Wiltshire, England.
It's surprisingly cost effective to come on our public courses -
even if you live in a different
country or continent to us
We have a technical library of over 700 books on the subjects on which we teach.
These books are available for reference at our training centre. Also
available is the Opentalk
Forum for discussion of technical questions.