David Oglethorpe from the Glaramara Hotel smiling

The Glaramara: A tale of brilliant broadband for hotels

  • Transcript

    Before we had full fibre in the hotel, running this whole operation from an administrative point of view was a complete nightmare. Plus, of course the guests’ expectations. Guests expect, want full fibre now and expect good quality, good speed, good WI-FI. They weren't getting it. And they weren't happy.

    My name is David Oglethorpe. I'm the owner of the Glaramara Hotel in Borrowdale in the Lake District. Since we had full fibre, now people are coming back all the time, especially families which are very important.

    Without full fibre, I didn’t actually see a future. It was putting off investments, was thinking why do we need to invest more? If you not got the fibre, guests aren’t going to come. It was that sort of scary really. Now we have it. It has transformed the way we do things. It's opened up so much possibilities. The opportunities are endless now, here. We can expand the hotel, we can enter new markets.

    I would highly recommend other businesses to get full fibre. For the investment involved, it pays huge dividends. Absolutely huge.

“Openreach engineers came in and installed our Full Fibre, they were fast, efficient, informative and helpful. It was very quick, done within a day.”

Barry Johnson | Co-founder | The Barber Collective

There are few places in the UK more naturally impressive than the Lake District. And few hotels more perfectly placed to enjoy its beauty, than the Glaramara.

Seated deep within the Borrowdale Valley, surrounded by hills and mountains, the hotel is a popular base for hikers thanks to its location on some of the best routes in the Lake District.

But interestingly, it is this remoteness, perhaps hotel’s greatest draw, that has led to huge challenges for the business. 

Changing expectations

When owner David took on the Glaramara Hotel more than 22 years ago he started a large programme of improvements. But as renovations began, a far bigger issue was brewing.

As broadband started to replace dial-up internet, guest’s behaviour and expectations changed rapidly. Suddenly, people who came to escape still wanted to remain connected to their lives at home.

And, in an instant, the hotel industry went digital, with everything from housekeepers to tax returns, bookings to maintenance managed through online systems.

But Glaramara’s internet connection was not up to the job.

“On a bad day we’d be lucky to get the card machine working at all”

Broadband problems made everything difficult. The more guests the hotel had accessing the Wi-Fi, the worse it got for everyone, sometimes taking staff as much as an hour to connect at all.

Even the basics became a nightmare, with staff having to take reservations on the phone, then find 4G mobile phone signal outside to sync them to their online booking system.

Better broadband for hotels, homes and businesses in Borrowdale

Through our Fibre Community Partnerships – a programme for getting rural properties connected to Ultrafast Full Fibre, David and other residents claimed government Gigabit funding vouchers and pledged them with us. Each pledge acted as a vote for a new Ultrafast Full Fibre broadband network in the area, and commitment to buying a package when it became available.

When enough pledges were received, we began building them the network they so desperately needed. It wasn’t easy, taking more than two kilometres of fibre cables and over 1500 metres of underground duct along country roads, across fields and over rivers. But fortunately, we love a challenge, and soon their new network was complete.

Unsurprisingly, David was at the front of the queue to upgrade. And after a “seamless, tidy and clean” installation exactly where he wanted it, finally his hotel had the connection it needed.

“I can't imagine going back to business without it. It's just transformed the way we do things.”

Things are very different for the Glaramara now. The team can communicate with customers quickly, organise staff easily and take bookings without a hitch.

And thanks to their new ultra fast guest Wi-Fi, they’ve even finally been able to cater for businesses with conferences and team building packages, bringing many more customers to the hotel every year. But they’re not stopping there.

“The opportunities are endless”

With the business now stable and more efficient than ever, the hotel is making exciting plans, exploring ideas for outdoor dining, glamping pods, and even a shop.

And, as David looks ahead, with the Glaramara powered by the very best broadband for hotels, the future looks very bright, and at last, very, very fast.

Seeking better broadband for your business?

Ultrafast Full Fibre isn’t just the best broadband for hotels, it’s a great choice for all kinds of small business. If your company could do with speeding up how it works, explore your options on our fibre checker now.

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