The gridlock above London town.


Hotel in administration, what now for suppliers ?

I am a supplier to hotel’s so this article is largely based on the hospitality sector, but most of the points can be applied to any business.

Before I get into the ‘action plan’ for dealing with hotels or companies that have gone into administration, you need to know a little about the administration process.

Many people panic when they are doing business with a company and they hear that it has gone into administration, administration is very different to bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy is when a company has no possible way of survival and everything is lost.  Administration is a process of survival.

A company can be placed into administration by one of more companies that it owe’s money to.  Typically in the hotel business, the two main culprits who place hotels into administration are banks (who are owed a large amount of money in a mortgage or overdraft) and the Inland Revenue who are maybe owed a large amount of cash in VAT or PAYE payments.  A company may also place itself into administration if it thinks things have gone to far.

The company responsible for placing a company into administration, then appoints an Administrator.

The administer is a company specialist in this sort of thing, they act on behalf of the company owners, the people the company owes money to and the general running of the day to day business.

With hotels it is usually normal practice for the administrator to appoint a ‘hotel management company’ to do the day to day stuff which lets them concentrate on the future of the business.  The original owner of the business’s involvement mainly depends on the how the administrator feels about how they have ran the business up to the point it went into administration.  It is common enough for the administrators to pay the owner a salary to stay involved in the interim, in some cases the owner will not be allowed on the premises for any reason.

The company will not stay in administration for-ever but the time can vary from one month to 3 years (or more) dependent on the debt levels, current turnover and future plans.

There are a number of potential outcomes to administration.

1.  Complete bankruptcy, the company has no future and is wound down.

2.  Break up, in the case of a hotel, the property and land might be sold in chunks to developers.  The fixtures and fittings sold at auction etc, this is common if the month to month business is simply un-viable moving forward.  In hotel chains, it is common for the individual hotels to be sold off or the group to be split into smaller groups.

3.  The company is sold to another company, this is generally the quickest way out of administrator where another company see’s a bargain and grabs the hotel for a cut down price.

4. The hotel can work it’s way out of administration and return to the original owners, this is also not un-common and a situation were the administrators gets the company running correctly again, cutting all dead weight, re-structuring the debt and sailing on.

5. Management buy-out.  Not as common in today’s market but in times when credit is more freely available, management who were not previously owners can club together with the help of investors and banks to buy back the company.

So what do you do, if you supply a company that goes into administration.

The ‘Action Plan’

1. Firstly, you need to get to know your industry.  Thankfully, I am well connected in the hotel industry so I hear about these things (in most case’s) before they go public, this means conversations can take place ahead of the news.  Have you ever tried calling a business the day bad news is broken?  It’s not a good idea.

2. You need to know the law and your rights as a supplier.  You have a contract with BIG HOTEL LTD and on 21st May 2011, BIG HOTEL LTD goes into Administration,  You are owed every single penny up until 21st May, thats not to say you will get paid that money but you are owed it.

3. You need to cut the credit to BIG HOTEL LTD, if you continue to supply credit to this company there is a good chance you won’t get paid because that company on paper does not trade anymore

4. Speak to the management, the administrators, your contacts, the doorman, the bank, the neighbours dogs, whoever you like.  The point of this conversation is three fold, firstly that you are happy to continue to supply them, secondly to agree new terms (ie, reduced credit, a DD mandate, payment up front, whatever you are comfortable with) and thirdly to GET THE NEW COMPANY DETAILS.

The new company details will generally be BIG HOTEL (IN ADMINISTRATION) LTD with the same company registration number and all of your documents, invoices and agreements need to reflect this.

5. Set up a new agreement but be careful who sign’s it, it can be signed by the following people

a) BIG HOTEL (IN ADMINISTRATION) LTD, co-signed by the administrators

b) The administrators themselves

c) The new management company, appointed by the administrators.

6.  You need to treat the debt owed to you by BIG HOTEL (IN ADMINISTRATION) LTD and BIG HOTEL LTD as two separate things, if you are like me, you will probably be well down the pecking order for getting paid but you might agree to settle the balance for less.  The Government and the Banks will always get their money first, thats just the way it is.

7.  Chill out, follow the process and be happy.  It is in everyone’s best interest for the company to survive, do your part to make it happen!


Oh no, Apple are tracking my location

An article running in nearly all the British media outlets today reveals that Apple has been storing location data of iPhones and iPads customers.

How it took two British security ‘experts’ is totally beyond me, one of the iPhones key features in the ability to attach your location to many of the phones services, twitter, email and the facebook are a few. Photos can be ranked by location and the handy thing about google maps is it ability to guide you to your location based on where you are right now.

Of course, the ability to track a devise this is nothing new, Apple have just created some magical way if tracking people’s location, they just made the technology similar for the average person to use. Mobile Phone networks have been able to track user locations since the dawn of the mobile phone through the slightly complex yet simple method of triangulation, a measurement of the distance the devise sits between 3 masts giving a nearly pin-point accuracy.

The benefits for missing persons and for fighting terrorism far out way the nay sayers and privacy campaigners weak arguments.

It’s quite simple, if your a drug dealer, terrorist or having an affair and you don’t want to be found out – bin your phone (sorry if this inconveniences your life). If your a normal person with nothing to hide then stop crying, no one is that interested in your life location anyway.

Big Brother and the product placement dream.

Now I have no interest what so ever in Big Brother as a show, a concept or a viewing pleasure……. actually I do, it’s like watching a car crash live on TV, it’s amateur sociology ………… for dummies, TV Gold!

Channel 4 last year lost the franchise for Big Brother, or rather they binned it after ratings dropped to an all time low of just 7.4% of TV viewing but it’s far from dead, it was thought for a while in media circles that perhaps a digital channel would pick it up, a channel that could only dream of 7.4% of TV viewings and with no one putting their names in the hat, Richard Desmond wanted it for the newly bought jewel in his crown….. Channel 5, a channel always dubbed with being the poor relation.

So what can he do that is different?  Well apart from giving the show a much needed shake up and face lift what Richard can do is offer companies a cross platform sponsorship deal across not only Channel 5 but his over media outlets as well, such as his news papers and the elusive OK! magazine.

The other thing Richard has on his side is the secret P’s, hailed as the savor of ad revenue in the states……. Product Placement, now legal in the UK companies can pay to have the contestants were their clothes, sit of their couch and drink their coffee, in true truman show ‘everything on the show is for sale’

Richard has set the sales team of Channel 5 and his media companies a tough target, a target of £25million in series one of the new show, a target which will add more that 10% of Channel 5’s revenue and in this market, that’s not to shabby.

I can’t wait!  Now, how much will Davina cost?

Are you going to stand up against this? #notinmyname

More madness over the weekend, hundred’s of people had their travel plans distrubted because of a bomb left under a bridge in Newry on Friday, it took me close to 5 hours to get home from my office in Dublin.  I don’t see how cutting off the main road between Belfast and Dublin can somehow work towards a United Ireland, surely if you wanted a united Ireland you would be encouraging cross border travel!

This morning hundreds of more people were delayed getting to work because of a hoax bomb on the M1.  It won’t stop me living here, it won’t stop me doing business across the island, it won’t stop me raising my family in this wonderful country.

They must not win, we cannot allow them to win!

If you are stuck in traffic or your journey is delayed because of these people, don’t let it get you down, take some time to enjoy the scenery surrounding you, take some time to talk to the person stuck in the car next to you.  Don’t let it get you down, don’t let it anger you because if you do, they win.

We need to stand united against these people, we need a United Ireland, that is an Ireland that is United in standing up against these people.

Watch this video Ruth has put together to learn more about how you can make your stand!

Send your photo to : , about now is good!

Good salesmanship is alive and well

I popped into the local londis store, around the corner from my office here in Dublin at Lunch time, grabbed a Kit Kat (cause they are fat free, didn’t you know?) and handed the guy on the till’s a cool tenner.

“Would you like a lottery ticket for tomorrow night, it’s a €14million jackpot” he asked enthusiastically.  Why not, I thought, he took the extra €3 out of my change and we both got on with our days.

Excellent, had he not asked, I would not have bought the ticket.  Simple but effective.  The point is this, to many people simply don’t ask and if you don’t ask, you don’t get.  Shops don’t make much on lottery sales, a few % at best but it adds much needed cashflow to a small business and in todays market, cashflow is king.

I can’t find the article now but I remember reading in the past that the ‘extra shot’ Starbucks are always encouraging you to take, adds up to something stupid like 15% on their BOTTOM line.

Go ask for some business, you will be surprised at the results!

Whats the Big (Society) idea ?

Yer Man David Cameron, off coalition Government fame has been chatting about his BigSociety again,

Here are the bullet points from Wikipedia;

The plans include setting up a Big Society Bank and introducing a national citizen service.[4] The stated priorities are:

  1. Give communities more powers (localism and devolution)
  2. Encourage people to take an active role in their communities (volunteerism)
  3. Transfer power from central to local government
  4. Support co-opsmutualscharities and social enterprises
  5. Publish government data (open/transparent government)

It’s all a bit nuts if you ask me……………………. but it all makes sense. I like it! Society is made up of a random bunch of people and local matters, matter to local people.  We all have different skill sets so why can’t we all give just a little bit back to society instead of taking all the time.

I have been doing charity work since I was 14, I started helping out with the Beaver Scouts, now (a few years later) i’m still scouting.  I don’t actively run a Friday night group any more but I use the skills learnt in my paid employment to sit on scouting boards, executive committees and also run events.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my paid employment but there is something satisfying about helping to educate kids through scouting.  Some of my happiest times have been spent in the pissing rain at scout camp.  Often I spend more time working for free, than working for money.  So why can’t we all do it?

Because we (as a society) are a bunch of lazy, selfish, freeloading morons……. don’t believe me?  What have you done today to make you feel proud (yeah)? If you can’t answer that, then you need to do something about it (now will be fine).

One of DC’s idea’s is to have a National Citizen Service, a sort of unpaid bunch of people (manly over 16 years olds) that can help out when the time arises.  It’s a great idea, the UK is one of the only EU countries that does not have a civil defense service and I have seen the civil defense do great work in Ireland during the floods.

Northern Ireland is the only UK state that does not have a 4×4 response team, despite calls to set one up.  During the Cockermouth floods in England, the 4×4 response team were as vital as the police and army were at getting people safe.

What can I do ? Give your time, like I said, everyone has something to offer and maybe just maybe if we all club together and do just one little thing, give just one thing back then we can make this world bearable for our children.