“We have the highest ranking on the University Rooms website for our bed and breakfast, and we’ve got excellent TripAdvisor reviews, too,” says Head Butler Darren Munt of the summer months when the College is open for external bookings. “We’ve got a few other colleges snapping at our heels – there is a little bit of healthy competition,” he adds.
In July, Darren’s 14-strong team of permanent staff will serve approximately 7,000 breakfasts, 5,500 lunches and 7,000 dinners – no mean feat.
So how does he ensure that the College provides the best B & B out there?
“We offer a really personal service,” explains Darren. “Staff introduce themselves; everything is explained clearly to guests – where things are, how we do things. We give our guests what they want and we give them a very good choice.”
The College’s 5,300 B & B guests range from tourists to summer school groups and conference attendees. Some of this summer’s groups are attending annual university conferences on Refugee Studies or Law, with other groups coming from the US and elsewhere to explore the city – recently, Darren has been looking after a group of students from the British American Drama Academy.
And the bed and breakfast offering is not all – there are also external dinners to cater for, ranging from around 30 guests to a full hall (around 160).
Teas, tours and tasty menus aside, the events team also puts on a fantastic array of Alumni events outside term time. The 1610 Society Dinner; the Alumni Society Dinner: the Whitby Cup golf dinner; the 1980-1985 Gaudy; the Wadham Boat Club Dinner; and the Dorothy Dinner, held annually for our high-level donors, are all on the cards before students return for Michaelmas Term.
And when they return? “In term time there is much more of a routine,” says Darren, “we have about 50 for breakfast, 200 for lunch, and 100 staff and Fellows and then around 200 for dinner each evening.”