Fermanagh businessman and former GAA president Peter Quinn is to take over as Chairman of Ireland’s leading national B&B organisation, the Town and Country Homes Association. The appointment comes just one week after Ballyshannon-based TCH announced its intention to join with Irish Farmhouse Holidays (IFH) to form a new all-island body.
Quinn takes up the chair today as the TCH board meets in Dublin, and when the merger process is complete, he will remain as chairman of the new organisation – Irish Town, Farm and Country Homes (TF&CH).
Quinn says that his main priority is to “unify and strengthen the Bed and Breakfast sector. Together we can form a larger and more unified B&B body to tackle the main issues facing this sector.”
He identified the main issues as compulsory licensing of B&B properties and the introduction of a grading system – such as exists for hotels – “in order to offer a better quality product to the consumer.”
He says there is also a need for B&Bs to highlight what they do best compared to other accommodation providers.
“The sector has certainly improved its brand image and raised its profile,” says Quinn.
“Falling hotel prices are competing with the B&Bs so niche and brand marketing will be very important in retaining and developing demand for what they have to offer.”
“The core values of the B&B product remain the same and visitor feedback shows that people still want the home-cooked food, local knowledge and one-to-one service they get from a B&B. But we need to further promote package breaks so that visitors to B&B can easily access activities such as golf, angling, hill-walking, culture and heritage.”
Quinn’s business pedigree is relatively well known. He is a director of the Cavan based Quinn Group, and runs his own business – Peter Quinn Consultancy Services.
In addition, he is chairman of TG4 and of the National Social Finance Foundation. His background in tourism includes his involvement in the Quinn Hotels, his role as first chairman of the Green Box green tourism body, and his consultancy’s work on a range of urban and rural tourism projects.
His appointment as chairman of TCH comes at a crucial time for the tourism industry and for the organisation itself. TCH has been consolidating a technological and developmental revolution, which now sees it at the cutting edge of online booking systems.
In addition, it has been developing joint marketing activities for members and working with individual B&Bs to provide more and better packages of activities for visitors.
Chief Executive Helena Healy says Peter will assist their work in unification of the sector. “The B&B sector has a lot to offer the Irish tourism offering, his expertise will help us ensure the further development of the product on the national and international stage”.