Malmaison & Hotel du Vin

Whether it’s for their prime locations, their unique style or their memorable individuality, the Malmaison & Hotel du Vin brands are well-known.


Whether it’s their prime locations, their unique style or their memorable individuality, the well-known Malmaison & Hotel du Vin brands consistently manage to make an impression on the hospitality crowd.

Each of the hotels in these impressive portfolios (13 Malmaisons and 16 Hotel du Vins) provides an original guest experience – for example, depending on which Malmaison you choose, you might check-in to a converted castle prison, a hospital or even a Royal Mail sorting office. But the difference doesn’t stop there — each location is designed with flair and imagination, with no-compromise accommodation and daring touches around every corner.

And of course, the 3000 MAL/HDV staff are the crucial part of the package, and they proudly ensure that both brands deliver the warmth, quality and consistency by which great hotels are measured.

The hospitality business is tremendously variable – as business intensities and customer demand change daily, managers need to make continuous adjustments to their manpower planning and staffing levels. By its very nature, these brands attract large numbers of young staff, so higher turnover can present challenges. Part-time contracts play a significant role in helping managers to operate a 24/7 business with the flexibility and responsiveness necessary to keep on top of service delivery in such a fluid and changeable environment.

Lindsay Southward
Group Director of People & Development
Malmaison & Hotel Du Vin


Lindsay Southward, Group Director of People Development at MAL/HDV, was frank about some of the other issues they faced. “We previously rostered our staff with a manual time sheet system, but this was open to abuse. Since it was effectively managed on trust, we had no real visibility and control over payroll.”

The ROI is easily justifiable in payroll savings.

Thinking Software's Solution

With a clear emphasis on improving efficiency and reducing payroll costs, Lindsay felt that Rota Horizon was the obvious choice to deal with the demands faced by her managers. “I’d used Rota Pro (an earlier version of the software) during my time with De Vere Hotels, and helped to run the trial of Rota Horizon at Village Hotels,” said Lindsay. “The system allowed us to manage staff attendance at work, and to cut payroll cost through effectively managing start and end times, planned hours, overtime and breaks.”

Malmaison & Hotel du Vin expects Rota Horizon will have a significant impact on their costs. “It’s worked so well at De Vere for over 10 years now as an efficient and cost-effective management tool,” Lindsay explained, and added that “the ROI is easily justifiable in payroll savings.”

With dedicated teams from both Thinking Software and MAL/HDV working together on the rollout, the Group had Rota Horizon up and running very quickly. “The implementation and training processes were seamless and straightforward”, says Lindsay. “Justin Hemming led the team from Thinking Software, and he made sure that time was spent understanding our reporting requirements and business practices. Matt Hemming (his no-less-capable brother) was just as effective when we needed post-implementation support. They worked closely with our PD Directors and the MAL/HDV HR team to ensure that we ended-up with a tailored solution. It was quite a partnership, and it’s worked.”

Amongst the reports and features which Lindsay highlighted, the Department Rota, Rounding Rules, Break Rules, Rota Locking and Authorisation Process, Budget Tools, Employee Reporting, Payroll Management, Forecasting, Contractual Hours and Managing Overtime seemed to be the tools most commonly used by managers across the Group.

When asked how cost savings and improved efficiency have driven the project, Lindsay commented that “we’ve seen a huge increase in payroll efficiency, from breaks right through to managing start and end times. And what’s more — the global side of the system has allowed us to compare hotels easily, so that we’ve been able to spread best-practice and best-efficiency ideas from the top performers to the rest of the managers in the other hotels.”

Support is excellent, and very fast — hotels find it easy to get a quick response if they need help with Rota Horizon.

Lindsay was especially positive about the levels of customer backup provided by the support and training desk at Thinking Software. “It’s excellent, and very fast — hotels find it easy to get a quick response if they need help with the system. Over the past 10 years, I’ve recommended Thinking Software & Rota Horizon to several other companies, and their experience has been just as positive. I’m convinced that Rota Horizon is the way to meet the needs of time management in hotels. Frankly — I love Thinking Software!”

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