Burgh Island

A Devon landmark on its own tidal island and surrounded by golden beaches and silver seas. Built in 1929, extended in 1932 and now restored to its ’30s glamour, find out how we helped turn the tide for this iconic coastal hotel..


The Brief

The challenge set by the owners was to grow income to the Island, particularly outside of the summer months. Revenues had been declining slightly each year for the past few years. We had to achieve this while maintaining the original and unique business model (namely dinner, bed and breakfast only pricing and a rather formal black-tie policy for the evenings)


Firstly we went about understanding the business by spending time with the management team, analysing management information and interrogating the customer database. Quite unusually for a UK coastal hotel Burgh Island is 100% direct in terms of customer acquisition. They do not pay any third-party commission to receive room nights.

We found the audience was very loyal but ageing, with many more first-time visitors than 10 years ago. Occupancy was seasonal and pricing very flat. Marketing output was dated, particularly digitally and routes to market were traditional.

We then looked at ‘why’ people were visiting, interviewing and chatting to past and current guests to understand their decision to stay, be it as a leisure guest or for a wedding/special event.


Burgh Island’s appeal as an authentic, step back in time travel experience has been somewhat lost. Any visit is a tick on most people’s luxury travel “bucket list”. Burgh Island is like experiencing luxury travel in the 1930’s, just like a trip on the Orient-Express is famed for.

We set about re-instating this sense of ‘experience’. How many hotels do you arrive at in the UK by a sea tractor? How many hotels are genuinely art deco in design and how many hotels do you dress up in black tie in the evening for dinner at these days? Our work included:

  • Re-photographing the whole island, including every individual bedroom.
  • Developing a brand new transactional website.
  • Update the identity and tone of voice.
  • Create a new pricing policy and yield system.
  • Finding a unique exclusive use position by introducing ‘Island Hire’ as a concept.
  • Undertake sales conversion training for enquiries.
  • Curate new packages and promotional offers.

The Results

  • 75% uplift in online revenue in 3 months
  • 125% increase in Exclusive Use enquiries within 6 months

NOTE: Since Hotel Makers performance improvements, owners Deborah Clark and Tony Orchard have successfully sold Burgh Island, realising their business aims.

If any of this hits the spot, we'd love to hear about your own Hotel(s) and have a no obligation chat.

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Contact us today for a chat

Chris Ward

Chief Maker

The Old School Way

Tel: +44 7553 010956
Email: chris@hotelmakers.co.uk

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