Meet the Team: Jim


In this Meet the Team blog, we’d like to introduce you to one of our owners, Jim. After all, The Old Stocks Inn just wouldn’t be the same without his vision and passion for great Cotswolds hospitality!

  • Jim Cockell, The Old Stocks Inn, Stow on the Wold

Tuesday 3 March 2015
Our Team

Name: Jim Cockell
Role at The Old Stocks: The Boss

More about me …
My family has always been in travel, so it seemed like a natural path for me to follow. I was born in South Africa where my dad was based whilst working for Cooks (which eventually became Thomas Cook), so travel and hospitality has always been part of life. When my family moved back to the UK, my dad started a hotel booking agency in the UK, which grew over many years until he decided to retire in 2010. It was then sold to Capita, and we now have a number of that team involved with The Old Stocks Inn. 

I decided to work in hotels following one of those ‘career’ sessions at school that suggested I was suited to either being a tax inspector or hotel manager. Tax sounded so extremely boring, so I applied for a Hotel Management degree at University of Gloucestershire. Following that, I went on to manage Cotswold House Hotel and Spa in Chipping Campden before starting my career as a revenue manager in larger chains such as IHG, DeVere Hotels and Principal Hayley. I worked for three years with the National Express Group, but the hunger for a return to hotels was too great – so here I am!

Why I picked Stow …
I had been looking for the perfect Cotswolds hotel for a while, discounting a number of properties around the area, but I knew Stow well and had always liked the fact that it’s well connected and never seems to lack momentum. To find a site that had such a good position in a town with a location like Stow was very lucky! Coupled with the state of the building, the lack of investment and the way the market had changed, I saw a real opportunity to do something different.

My Cotswolds experience so far …
It’s been a steep, but really enjoyable, learning curve. I’ve met some great customers and staff and I love the area for what it has to offer our guests. Running the hotel for nine months prior to closing the doors gave a real insight into what guests want and expect. All these things helped to inform and evolve the design so that we exposed more of the things visitors want from a 17th century building, yet were able to bring the hotel and its thinking into the 21st century.  

The vision for The Old Stocks Inn …
Hospitality is becoming increasingly predictable. Someone does something exciting and everyone copies the idea, which ultimately limits innovation and creativity. Guests want different experiences – they expect to get something better than what’s at home, and that’s the challenge we want to rise to. The Old Stocks is not here to be all things to all man. Instead, we want to deliver a collection of things exceptionally well, and take the time to find the right produce, the right furniture and the right design that differentiates us from the predictable.

I’m a firm advocate of just how valuable your staff are to the business and we have some great Troupe members coming on board. They’ll be the heartbeat of The Old Stocks Inn, interacting with our guests and enhancing their experience to make us stand out from the crowd. I think our core value of ‘have fun, be charming’ will make all the difference there.

Boutique hotel challenges …
One of the things I always struggled with in large chain hotels was the ability to move quickly. It’s a bit like trying to turn a container ship – it takes time and far too much planning. In a smaller hotel, you can be personable and change things quickly, allowing you to learn, evolve and provide a better experience for your guests. The other great thing is you can sit and observe what happens, talk to guests and hear first-hand what is good and bad. This offers an instant ‘thermometer check’ on how the business is performing, which is really useful.

I’m looking forward to …
I can’t wait to take down the hoarding and show some of our old staff and guests around the building – I think they will really like what we have done. It’s been a long journey – when I sat down in a room 18 months ago to develop a concept, I never thought it would lead me into handling the smallest details, like planning out the right height for plugs by a full-length mirror! However, I hope the result will be a hotel that exceeds expectations, makes guests feel totally relaxed and comfortable and keeps them coming back to Stow for years to come.

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