Ashford Castle is the epitome of Irish Hospitality.
Underpinned by passionate, long-serving staff, the breath-taking 5-star property located in the West of Ireland provides a truly spectacular guest experience. Former home of the Guinness family, the 350-acres estate – part of Red Carnation Hotels, is unsurprisingly, one of Ireland’s top hotel destinations. Avvio has been fortunate enough to work with Ashford Castle since 2004: a successful partnership which has spanned 15 years.
Visiting the 13th-century castle is akin to experiencing a royal adventure: one that leaves an incomparable impression. Nestled within the immaculate grounds and overlooking Lough Corrib, the hotel is undeniably exquisite. Each room and suite is individually designed and tastefully elegant. In 2015 Ashford Castle underwent an incredible restoration project which accentuated the beauty and grandeur of the hotel whilst preserving the castle’s original features: this year, they celebrate their 80th year of hospitality.
In-line with their commitment to preservation, Ashford Castle also place high importance on Responsible Hospitality. They even have their own Green Team which helps keep Ashford Castle sustainable and dedicated to conservation and preservation. Director of Sales and Marketing Paula Carroll has worked at Ashford Castle for an impressive 31 years. When asked about their commitment to sustainability, she said:
‘We have a great awareness of our responsibility to the environment. We live in such a beautiful farming community and most of the people who we employ wholly embrace our commitment and values. We were the first hotel in Ireland alongside our sister hotel ‘The Lodge at Ashford Castle’ to be awarded the Plastic Smart Green Mark which is something we are incredibly proud of!’
From angling and falconry to horse riding and boat trips, guests are delighted from the moment they step through the grand stone doors. For avid golfers there is a 9-hole parkland golf course – the very same legendary Irish golfer, Christy O’Connor Senior started his illustrious career! Physical activities aside, guests can also indulge in the aptly named ‘Extraordinary Experiences’ where they can enjoy Afternoon Tea to sophisticated dining in the George V Dining Room. Through the Avvio Booking Engine, Ashford Castle are able to upsell these extraordinary experiences to their guests which helps to further grow their direct website revenue each year. They are a “best in class” example of how you can sell more than just bedrooms through your brand website.
It should come as little surprise then that they have won an array of accolades across the luxury hotel category as well as awards for their spa and restaurants. The spa at Ashford Castle was awarded ‘Overall Spa of the Year 2018’ by Irish Tatler. They’ve also appeared on the BBC’s ‘Amazing Hotels’ last year – a poignant moment for the Hotel: Not only was it influential in that it expanded their audience, it actually crashed their website due to the influx of new visitors! Their Avvio E-commerce Manager Ailís Cahalan says:
“Ashford Castle is the perfect example of how traditional and digital marketing can work in tangent with each other. They’ve naturally had a very strong brand presence throughout the years and the additional exposure on the BBC created increased awareness for Ashford Castle. Avvio, in partnership with their digital marketing team at Red Carnation Hotels, have subsequently helped to convert these searches and visits into bookings. This synergy has led to continued growth for Ashford Castle: since the restoration was completed in 2015 there has been an average of 17% growth each year versus the previous period”.
When asked why she thinks the relationship between Avvio and Ashford Castle has lasted for more than a decade, Paula says: “Avvio has been honest and transparent in their discussions with us, which has enabled us to work towards the same objectives. We rely on their guidance; they keep us up to date on best practices and encourage us to consider different techniques online. The above has been key to the longevity of our relationship.”
Frank Reeves, Co-founder and CEO of Avvio says: “We are honoured to have Ashford Castle as a customer for the last 15 years. They were one of the very first customers to believe in our vision for a personalised guest booking experience. We hope to continue this successful partnership for many years to come.”