A woman with no fear of heights is planning to climb to the top in business, with the help of Cornwall Enterprising Women’s Growth Programme.
Annabelle Sylvester, an avid mountain climber who has reached the summit of several peaks higher than 5,000 metres, is already running the successful Port Gaverne Hotel but joined the programme, which is run in association with Truro and Penwith College through ESF Convergence funding, to learn how to develop the business even more.
Annabelle, who has been happily married for more than 20 years and who has two teenage boys, said: “We were housing sitting for friends and just fell in love with the hotel. The hotel has 15 bedrooms and we have a luxury dining restaurant and pub, along with a healthy turnover. We are busy during the peak months, with shooting parties supplementing the winter season but what we want to do now is increase the spend per head.”
Annabelle appreciates the hotel’s location is one of its greatest assets as Port Gaverne sits in a picturesque, secluded cove on the north coast of Cornwall.
The 17th century restored hotel is steeped in history, with the area once being a busy trading port for slate from a nearby mine and the street full of the sound of carts on their way to be unloaded onto the waiting sailboats.
But Annabelle also knows it is the service provided to customers that sets the hotel apart from competitors, and as she and her husband had previously turned their own home into a hotel and then a bed and breakfast they have plenty of experience.
She said: “My husband and I have a great working relationship, which is good as we work hellish anti-social hours, but if a business in our sector is not aware of that it hasn’t done its research. Being your own boss can sometimes be like being in permanent freefall.”
Therefore being part of the Growth Programme has helped Annabelle realise that she knows “a lot more than I thought in some areas and a lot less in others”, adding, “it has inspired me to push on in areas I have been reluctant to'.
Describing herself as outgoing and friendly, “a necessity in the hotel and catering business”, Annabelle also says she is independent and determined, and it seems with her track record there will be no business growth mountain that Annabelle won’t be able to climb.
Visit www.portgavernehotel.co.uk or call 01872 501270.