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Blog 6/17/2020

In Conversation: Ian James, General Manager of University Arms, Cambridge, England

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Our Product Director, Sam Mullen speaks with Ian James, General Manager of University Arms, Cambridge, England - a landmark hotel located in the historic centre of Cambridge. The University Arms opened in 1834 before reopening again in 2018 after a 2 year renovation throughout including it's 192 rooms. James discusses the immediate future of travel in the UK and what changes may need to be implemented post pandemic.


How do you think people will be feeling going into the summer?

I think the pandemic will change how everyone travels and what becomes important to them. Short term it will take longer to recover, if travelling from abroad, due to Government legislation. I believe travellers will be more keen to explore different areas of the UK and the key for us will be about consumer confidence.

Travellers will want to keep having amazing experiences, especially in areas they have missed due to closures, such as fine dining restaurant, destination bars, hotels in cities with cultural or historic heritage; personalised and attentive service will be more important than ever

Ian James




How will the University Arms reflect this new era of travel?

I believe we will need to be upfront and open with guests about the procedures we have put in place to keep them safe and show that our team members are on board with us. This should be communicated clearly - available on the website, pre arrival emails and all the team members should be able to proudly share the policies that is keeping them and our guests safe and well. We are determined to ensure the hotel feels like a hotel and not a clinical ward in a hospital, the environment needs to be in keeping with the expectations of guests, while adhering to Government guidelines and taking into account everyone’s safety.       


What do you think travellers will want to focus on?

They will want to keep having amazing experiences, especially in areas they have missed due to closures, such as fine dining restaurant, destination bars, hotels in cities with cultural or historic heritage. I believe personalised and attentive service will be more important than ever.

"We are really proud of our monthly, charitable food waste event that runs at our destination restaurant, Parker’s Tavern called Rubbish Cooks. Our wonderful Chef Tristan Welch creates a 5 course menu from food that would have otherwise been thrown away. We can’t wait to get started with this again"

Ian James


Tell us about your vision of sustainability?

We work with various initiatives in order to support our local and global community – these include Green Tourism Award certification, the recycling of coffee grounds to make fire logs and planting of trees in Africa by exchanging the cleaning your room for a tree! One initiative we are really proud of is a monthly, charitable food waste event that runs at our destination restaurant, Parker’s Tavern called Rubbish Cooks. Our wonderful Chef Tristan Welch creates a 5 course menu from food that would have otherwise been thrown away. We can’t wait to get started with this again

What have you learnt about yourself during the pandemic?

Being able to adapt to change is key. These days that can be from day to day - one day can be a sunshine day and the next a cloudy day! I have learnt how to be change, adapt and be open minded to this ever changing environment we currently find ourselves in.   

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