THU 28TH MAY 2020


Bringing the family business community together

Home From Home!

David Chaplin

Position: Chairman & Managing Director

Company: The Gonville Hotel

Sector: Hotel & Leisure


Business Address: Gonville Place, Cambridge CB1 1LY


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Company Description

The Gonville Hotel, Cambridge, offers everything you'll need for the perfect stay in this beautiful and historic city, whether you're visiting for business or pleasure.

Question & Answers with David Chaplin

What Does Your Family Business Do?

Our family business owns and runs farms and hotels.  The Gonville Hotel in Cambridge plus a hotel in Norwich and we are also involved in property investment and development.

How Did You Get Involved?

After a 25 year career in the City, I eased my way in alongside my brother and took over the parts of the business that he was not alreaedy running as our parents stepped back from the day-to-day management.

What Did You Want To Be When You Grew Up?

An engineer.

What Are Your First Memories Of The Family Business?

Working on farms in the summer holidays and setting out the foundations of a hospital on the Norfolk coast.

What Values Are Important In Your Family/Family Business?

Developing our people and fairness and ethical conduct in our dealings.

What Is The Best Thing About Being A Family Business?

We are siblings with a common interest and therefore there is a shared goal that drives our discussions.  So, as much as we may take different routes to a decision, once we hve understood how each other is thinking it is easy to come together in the decision.

And The Worst?

There is not a bad thing but there are times to look out for that sometimes need effort to avoid.  For instance, there are times when events in the business can become more important than they should be in family relationships.  It is important to remember that no business is more important than the personal relationships between family.

What Is The Best Thing About Your Working Day?

I am lucky my office is on the shop floor and walking into the premises each morning is a joy.

What Is Your Proudest Family Business Achievement?

The improvement in the quality of our hotels is the most visible face of what we do, who we are and our proudest achievement too.

Is There A Next Generation Waiting In The Wings To Take Over?

There is a next generation but we are most keen that there is neither expectation on our part nor a feeling of entitlement on the part of the next generation.  It's a great big world out there and we want to see our children maximise their potential and follow their dreams.

What Do You See As The Biggest Challenge Facing Family Businesses?

Running it in a way that does not cause difficulty in managing expectations between generations.

What Words Do You Associate With Family Businesses?

Independent and investment.

Words Of Wisdom - What Piece Of Advice Would You Pass On To Someone Thinking About Joining The Family Business?

Certainly do not do it out of a sense of duty or obligation.  Keep in mind that it may be a decision that is not easy to reverse and do not think that you will be able to change things overnight, or even that quickly either.



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