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Clew Bay Hotel hits the headlines with "Takeover" led by Norah Casey

Clew Bay Hotel hits the headlines with "Takeover" led by Norah Casey

Westport often hits the national media, but not usually with a staff "takeover" bid led by business guru Norah Casey. The Clew Bay Hotel is the focus of "The Takeover" on RTE television this Thursday (2nd May). The hit TV show puts management on the sidelines and gives staff a chance to take control of the reins helped by media mogul and ex-Dragon, Norah Casey. Husband and wife hoteliers Maria Ruddy and Darren Madden spent two weeks exiled from their family hotel while chefs, waitresses, barmen and admin staff tried their hand at giving business a boost.

Chef Louise Morrin and Operations Manager Karen Brennan immediately turned their attention to filling the hotel function room and tried to make the most of their location advantage in highly competitive Westport - the church is right on their doorstep! Is there nothing they won’t do on their quest to get a slice of the lucrative function business?

"We had to be different", said Karen Brennan "We only had a fortnight and we were determined to succeed. It was hard work, but it was great fun too."

Meanwhile, waitresses Donna Moran and Saoirse O'Malley put on business suits for the first time in their working lives and pitched the hotel as a hub for corporate getaways. Did the waitresses wow prospective clients or did their inexperience show?

"Getting to see the decision maker within a business was much harder than we expected", Donna Moran commented, "Once we got in the door and were able to make our presentation, it was great and we felt confident about it."

Accountant Maureen Martin, waitress Nelly Meehan and barman Ger McGreal wanted to revamp the hotel entertainment. After holding auditions for local talent, they decided to turn the hotel bar into Westport’s first Comedy Club. But will bosses Darren and Maria be laughing when they see their family friendly hotel turned into a comedy hotspot?

Maureen Martin jumped in the deep end, as an organiser and also doing a comedy sketch herself with partner-in-crime Carole Fabby, "It was really daunting coming from a very controlled accounts environment", Maureen admitted, "A vast amount of work was involved in the Comedy Night, between auditioning talent, planning the show and marketing it - and all under extreme time pressure. Of course we had to keep our own day jobs ticking over too, so it was quite a challenge"

All of the Clew Bay Hotel staff who were involved in The Takeover agree on one thing - it was a fantastic way to break down barriers and get to understand how other parts of the hotel function. They feel the benefits will be long term.

Not wanting to miss a trick, The Clew Bay Hotel have launched a special Takeover Offer where guests get a free Adventure Islands activity with their booking. Archery, Clay Pigeon shooting and High Ropes are just some of the freebies on offer. It's available May and June for 2 night stays and starts at just €99pps. 'Phone 098 28088 for details.

Don't miss The Clew Bay Hotel on The Takeover, RTE Network 2 on Thursday 2nd May starting at 9.30pm.

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