Hospitality at its heart with Andrew Drysdale from Glasson Lakehouse Resort
The late Steve Jobs once said that the only way to do great work is to love what you do. And this saying is certainly true in the case of Andrew Drysdale. As an avid golfer, he gets to combine his personal passion with his new role as General Manager of the Glasson Lakehouse Resort.
Andrew has had a long and fulfilling career in the hotel industry, which started early in life when he worked as a teenager in the local hotel in Co. Clare as a porter.
“A lot of people say you catch the bug early, and it’s something you just take to”, he says.
After studying hotel management in GMIT, the Shannon native had a quick stint in the Oakwood Arms Hotel before joining the Carlson Rezidor group and beginning his hotel career in earnest.
It was with Carlson Rezidor that Andrew predominantly grew his career. His first position was in the Radisson Blu Limerick, where he joined the pre-opening team and remained there for six years holding various roles throughout his time there.
From there, he spread his wings and joined the General Management Development Programme at Farnham Estate Golf and Spa Resort in Cavan, and that’s where he really developed an affinity for resorts, embracing the mix of leisure and corporate style business. He held the role of Operations Manager at Farnham, before moving to the Radisson Blu Galway in the same role.
Andrew continued working up the ranks of the group, securing his first General Manager position managing both the Park Inn Shannon Airport and Radisson Blu Cork Airport, before returning to Farnham Estate as General Manager for a four-year period. Following that, he returned to the Radisson Blu in Galway, staying there for three years until the property was sold. In all, Andrew enjoyed a 16 year career with Carlson Rezidor.
Andrew continued working the Galway market in the iconic 5 star g Hotel and Spa up until recently.
Andrew’s new position with Glasson Lakehouse sees him return to the resort hotel scene, and he can’t be any more excited about it. “I took a bit of a break last year, and this opportunity came my way; it looked intriguing, a super exciting project”, he explains.
It’s a busy time for Andrew. “In the short term I’m focused on bedding in the team, putting a structure together and allowing the resort to work efficiently. We’ve just finished the refurbishment of the entire ground floor and all the bedrooms. We’ll start phases 3 and 4 of the project in the second half of the year, but the short-term focus is on the team and the summer business ahead.”
Business at the Glasson Lakehouse is very strong for the summer up to the end of September, with the hotel enjoying good occupancy, bolstered by the wedding business. Andrew sees the resort’s location as a big advantage: “The Hidden Heartlands and the Athlone has so much to offer; It’s not too far from anywhere which helps”.
Like the rest of the hotel industry, Andrew has experienced recruitment challenges at the hotel. “It’s peaks and troughs, it’s been a very challenging few months. I started in the role at the beginning of March, and I’ve been putting the structures in to allow us to look after people and retain them. The retention piece is really key for us, attracting great staff to a rewarding place to work and be proud of. It’s all coming together nicely for the summer months, and we employ a lot of people to operate the business over the summer. We attract both local and international team members to work in Glasson Lakehouse”.
The hotel has a predominantly domestic clientele, and there’s still big demand for weekend and mid-week getaways. “There’s lots of resorts competing for the business”, says Andrew, “but what we offer is a very unique proposition. The likes of outdoor hot tubs, the outdoor pool and bikes are all included in your stay, as well as additional chargeable activities such as renting boats on the lake, paddle boarding and picnics. And of course there’s a very busy golf course both from a membership and visitor perspective. It’s a very enjoyable golf course, with lovely scenic views”.
Andrew is passionate about his new role, saying: “This is a very exciting move in my career. My key focus is making sure that Glasson Lakehouse is a really enjoyable place to stay, but also a really enjoyable place to work.”
Glasson Lakehouse is part of the Press Up stable, and Andrew is excited to join the group. “It’s a very young, exciting, dynamic , design-led company. The group is only going in one direction at the moment, with some really exciting projects in the pipeline, including developing more resort style properties similar to Glasson Lakehouse”, he says.
Press Up is an Irish owned and operated company, and at its heart is hospitality. Talking about the group’s focus on recruitment, Andrew explains: “It’s about working with and developing people that have a flair for the business, providing opportunities and experience in the various outlets that we have – there’s something for everyone from cinema and gym business, to hotel and fully fledged resorts. People are very willing to move between the properties, as they’re all set up with the same systems, it’s easy to adapt.” Looking to the future, Andrew is passionate about developing his team, and placing the focus on customer experience. Things are moving in a very positive direction”, he says. “The development, the growth within the team, it’s all great.” “My personal passion is golf, and I’m excited about bringing that passion to the business!”.