The Inn Collection Group overcomes pandemic adversity with a hat-trick of award shortlists

The Inn Collection Group has confirmed its status as being among the best in the country after being revealed as a finalist in a trio of national awards.

The Northumberland-based pubco features on the shortlist for three categories in the prestigious Publican Awards, which champion the very best operators in the pub industry.

In the running for Best Accommodation Operator and Best Managed Pub Company, the group is also looking to retain the sought-after title of Best Pub Employer, an award the group has held for a record two consecutive years.

Sean Donkin, managing director of The Inn Collection Group said: “It’s pretty amazing being shortlisted for these awards. To reach the finals in three categories is a real boost in these difficult times, as the sector continues to be hard-hit by the ongoing pandemic.

“More so, it’s a fitting tribute to the extraordinary team we have at The Inn Collection Group who display time after time their resilience, passion to succeed and agility to adapt, evolve and deliver.

“It’s down to each and every member of our team that the company continues to overcome adversity and that we push together to be the best as one, without losing sight of the reason why we do what we do – and that’s giving our customers the best possible experience when they eat, drink, sleep and explore from our inns.”

He added: “We will continue to reinvest in our staff with the latest innovations in training and supporting their well-being throughout these difficult times. We are continuing to carry out exciting refurbishments and upgrades across our inns and investing in the environments and communities we operate within, so we emerge from lockdown in a strong position that is ready to go from the outset – hopefully with some premium new silverware in the cabinet, too.”

Ed Bedington is editor of The Morning Advertiser which organisers the event. He said:

“While the awards are certainly going to be different in 2021, following a year of almost total shutdown, the aim remains the same, to celebrate some of the excellent work that operators have been doing despite the challenges.

“Ours is a sector that has been battered long and hard by the storm of the crisis with limited support that continues to tail off. Yet despite that, we’ve seen some fantastic responses from operators in the trade and these awards, as ever, aim to recognise that excellence, as well as shining a light on how our sector continues to push onwards, despite the difficulties it faces.

“It’s been inspiring to see some the entries this year despite everything and I look forward to celebrating your successes down the line.”

A panel of judges made up of leading industry experts will start the second stage of the rigorous judging process, conducting virtual head office visits to assess finalists before Dragon’s Den style panel interviews conclude the judging process.

An online evening awards ceremony on Tuesday 30 March will replace the usual Publican Awards ceremony at Battersea Evolution in London.

The Alchemy-backed group has venues across Northumberland, County Durham, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lancashire while a 40-bedroom, new-build site on Sunderland’s seafront at Seaburn is currently under construction.

Its Eat, Drink, Sleep and Explore pubs-with-rooms brand includes all day, every day food service and affordable accommodation.