Life In The McKeever Family Hotel Group
Position: Group Operations Director
Company: McKeever Hotel Group
Sector: Hotel & Leisure
The family business is currently run by the first and second generation. Eddie McKeever shares his thoughts on his role and life in the family business.
Question & Answers with Eddie McKeever
What Does Your Family Business Do?
Our family business, McKeever Hotels owns and operates 4 hotels, Corr’s Corner Hotel in Newtownabbey, Dunsilly Hotel in Antrim, Adair Arms Hotel in Ballymena and Dillon’s Hotel in Letterkenny, the most recent acquisition, that has seen the Group expand into a new market.
How Did You Get Involved?
Naturally growing up in the business, I have always wanted to be involved in Hotel Management and went on to complete a degree in Queen Margaret’s University, Edinburgh. Upon completion, I went to work for a few large hotel groups including Maldron in the Republic of Ireland. This was a great learning experience and insight into how large hotel groups operate head office and budgets. Experience which I have now been able to bring back to the family business.
What Did You Want To Be When You Grew Up?
Growing up above our first bar/restaurant I wanted to be a barman, this quickly progressed to wanting to have my own hospitality business.
What Are Your First Memories Of The Family Business?
My first memories are of eating breakfast in our restaurant’s kitchen and helping to wipe down bottles and stock shelves in the bar as chores.
What Values Are Important In Your Family/Family Business?
I think the values we have as a family are reflected within the business as it is an extension of our family. Our core values are honesty and respect.
What Is The Best Thing About Being A Family Business?
Being a family business we feel very close to our staff and customers. We have staff members who have been with us 20+ years and a lot of regulars and other locals who support all our Hotels.
And The Worst?
When you do get a complaint or there is a problem you can take it personally and it seems to hurt a bit more. It is like an insult to your family and it can be difficult to separate the two sometimes
What Is The Best Thing About Your Working Day?
The best thing is that every day is not the same, some days I do not get anything on my ‘To do list’ done as other things have come up. There are a large amount of things that you could be dealing with on each day and no two are ever the same
What Is Your Proudest Family Business Achievement?
Luckily there has been a lot of proud moments over the years from buying the first business, from our first steps as hoteliers by adding bedrooms to Corr’s Corner Hotel, building the Dunsilly Hotel and buying our first hotel in the Republic of Ireland. The proudest family business moment is recently, however is seeing our dad, Eugene McKeever awarded an MBE for his contribution to Hospitality and Tourism.
Is There A Next Generation Waiting In The Wings To Take Over?
My sister Bridgene and I are the next generation who are already in the business. We all have roles to play within the business and respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
We do have 3 younger sisters who are following their own career paths outside of the business at the moment, but you never know what the future holds.
What Do You See As The Biggest Challenge Facing Family Businesses?
There are a lot of challenges facing all businesses in general. The largest challenge facing family business specifically is succession planning and how that will affect the individuals involved without having a detrimental effect on the running of the business. It is such a large and important area for any family business that want to survive long term and every business will have to approach it in a different way depending on their family structure.
What Words Do You Associate With Family Businesses?
Honesty, Respect, Loyalty. Hard Work!
Words Of Wisdom – What Piece Of Advice Would You Pass On To Someone Thinking About Joining The Family Business?
Make sure you can communicate with the rest of the family involved, if you argue over who gets the TV remote you are definitely going to argue in the business. Make sure that the decisions taken about the business are for the good of the business and not personal decisions. You also need to have a passion for the business as it will be your life. We talk about the hotels in work, at home, on holiday… everywhere.