HE’S the smartly-dressed guest with the false name who has visited 16 countries in under two years staying at over 100 luxury hotels.
But remember the face because hotel auditor Chris Pearson, 54, knows every-thing there is to know about the accommodation business.
Chris runs the Kendal-based Hospitality Audit Services, which he set up two years ago after redun-dancy, with an office on Stramongate.
Large hotel chains now contract him to carry out financial and operational audits of their properties all over the globe.
For Chris, that means running the rule over every facet of their business from behind-the-scenes profit and loss accounts as well as front-of-house service standards, then coming up with a far-reaching report to make things better and more profitable.
Sometimes when he mystery shops, test purchases or carries out integrity tests, Chris goes by the name of Mr Oliver or Mr Knox, checking in to hotels to see if they are living up to their brand standards and customer promises.
Chris, who carries his passport with him at all times, has provided his services to 19 different brands at the last count, from Radisson Marriott to Intercontinental. Before going it alone, Chris was a financial controller at the Prince of Wales in Grasmere – now The Daffodil Hotel – and head of internal audits for Mint Hotels which had seven properties in the UK and one in Amsterdam before its Hilton buy-out.
The father-of-four, from Flookburgh, audits UK hotels from London to Scotland and Europe, having just returned from Paris and Barcelona.
Of the common mistakes made in hotels, Chris says: “There is a tendency to concentrate on getting sales up and paying for gimmicks instead of concentrating on controlling the cost, because it’s as much to do with your profit as it is your sales.
“Turnover isn’t profit and it’s the profit that matters.
“If it’s not improving your profit, what the hell are you doing it for?”
Straight-talking Chris, who spent seven years in London in the heart of the city’s insurance district on Lloyds Avenue, now has sufficient new clients to add an associate hotel auditor who is just back from Washington DC.
Chris said: “I’d like to do a bit more work around here, even though we have lots of work.
“But people could always tap into my experience and I’ll have a sit down and a coffee with anybody.”