Professional Liverpool – Networking Lunch with Lawrence Kenwright

Liverpool is a city with a thriving visitor economy, that attracts thousands of tourists every year. Tourism is an extremely valuable asset, which is worth £4.3bn to the local economy, and employs over 51,000 people. The boom in tourism is reflected in the number of hotels, that have opened in Liverpool since 2008. A prime example is Signature Living, which is owned by Lawrence Kenwright. Signature Living owns four Liverpool hotels, including the Shankly Hotel and 30 James Street.

I was delighted to attend this week’s Professional Liverpool’s Networking Lunch event. Held on the sixth floor of the Shankly Hotel, I joined a packed audience in listening to Lawrence himself, talk about the story of Signature Living.

Lawrence gave an interesting insight into the origins of the business. From being broke in 2007, to building Signature Living into a successful business, is a remarkable and inspiring story. Whilst I was aware of Signature Living’s popularity, I learned that they use word-of-mouth, through harnessing the power of technology, to market and promote their brand. Having examined their social media footprint, I have since learned that Signature Living have over 280,000 Twitter followers, over 23,000 Facebook visits, and 14,700 Instagram followers. This is a powerful example of why businesses need to utilise and harness the power of the Internet, to develop their online presence and promote their services.

Lawrence also talked about how Signature’s brand is to be different from other hotel chains. This is through providing a unique feel and experience, from each of their hotels. An example is the Shankly Hotel itself, and its decorative feel and mementos that reflect Liverpool FC’s legendary manager. This helps to generate value for the customer and for the business, whilst providing a luxurious and down-to-earth feel.

In addition, Lawrence also talked about growing Signature Living as a business. This included plans to open new hotels in Belfast and a venue in the Cunard Building. Like any business, growth is required to keep ahead of the competition, but I found it refreshing to hear Lawrence speak about the importance of Signature Living growing as a business, whilst remaining true to its roots. Too often businesses become successful and grow too quickly, that their core customer base becomes neglected, causing an inevitable decline. Lawrence reiterated clearly that Signature Living must never fall into that trap.

My experience of the event was positive from start to finish. From listening to Lawrence sharing the story of Signature Living, to networking with fellow attendees, and tasting the delicious food provided, I was delighted to attend, learn and absorb the atmosphere of the afternoon. I also appreciated how Lawrence spoke briefly and concisely, before allowing the audience the opportunity to ask plenty of questions.

As well as the conversation, discussion, food and networking, I was amazed by the beautiful and stylish surroundings of the Shankly Hotel. When I arrived on the sixth floor, I marvelled at the spectacular view overlooking the city centre, the shiny white tiled floors and golden covered walls. Complimented with an excellent turnout of people (including several familiar faces), the atmosphere was ripe for a fine afternoon of networking and conversation.

Many thanks to Lawrence, the staff of the Shankly Hotel, and to Rosie Davis of Professional Liverpool for organising a first-class quality event.

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