Case Study

The Wensleydale Hotel


The Wensleydale Hotel & Tack Room Restaurant is located in the centre of the historic market town of Middleham.

It is owned by husband and wife team Charles and Fiona Merchie who bought the property in April 2019 with the aim of creating a small continental style boutique Hotel. The hotel was well in known as The White Swan for 18 years. The couple decided to rebrand the hotel as it had no goodwill attached to it and renamed it The Wensleydale Hotel in keeping with the traditional surrounds of the town. The previous owners had knocked through to what had been a tea rooms and the hotel itself has had many uses over the years such as a bank, post office and tearoom.

The Wensleydale Hotel has undergone a facelift over the past year.  It has yet undergone a major refurbishment; however, standards are constantly being upgraded with a plan to fully upgrade it over a three-year period.

Owner Charles is the head chef at the hotel and Fiona tends to PR and marketing side of the business. They couple own a farm in Ferry Bridge where Fiona rears rare breed pigs.  Charles cures his own salmon, ham’s and salami’s and makes all recipes with fresh produce. The menu at The Tack Room restaurant at the hotel is a mix between the best of British with a European influence with Charles originally being from French origin. The couple spent 4 years in Italy and on their return to the UK Charles worked in some of the best Yorkshire hotels such as the Faversham Arms and Swinton Park in Woodall and then went on to purchase The Wensleydale Hotel.


Rebranding the business meant starting up a new business with no online presence, database and or many customers. Purchasing the hotel came with its challenges which included inheriting an old outdated Siemens telephone system which was installed in the late 70’s, early 80’s. The property had a slow broadband connection which was only suited to receive e-mails and certainly was not fast enough to stream movies.  The router was located some distance from the rooms which affected the signal quality.

Initially there was only a single telephone based in the back room of the hotel some distance from the main reception desk.  This meant that the owners had to run back and forth between the back room and reception desk to answer calls and see to customers at the front reception area. When using their mobile phones, the signal was poor in some areas which caused difficulty and added to their frustration. In addition to the upgrade of their telephone systems a computer system upgrade and fast broadband line was required. The original Siemens system was outdated, and they could not find an engineer to service the old system. At that point Charles contacted YTL Managing Director Phill Burke to discuss his requirements for a replacement system.



A replacement digital LG Ericson IPECS system was installed by Yorkshire Telecoms along with 14 handsets for each of the rooms. The new system offered efficiency and massive cost savings. Charles stated that “the cost of the new install and equipment meant that it would be paid off in two years with a saving of two thirds on their telephone bills going forward, which was a lucrative offer”. Having YTL as a supplier meant that the owners were able to integrate other technologies like business mobile phones, Wi Fi and computer equipment and services onto one single bill. Charles stated that “it was a pleasure to have a modern updated telecoms system and range of products with one supplier rather than working with procurement companies to get the best price”.

The business relationship between Charles and YTL Director Phill Burke started several years ago when Charles was managing the Feversham Arms. An unfortunate flood caused a lot of damage to the hotel and telecom system. As a result of the flood and damage Charles had to run the hotel with one incoming line which was diverted to his mobile phone which had its challenges. Phill provided advice about a replacement telephone system which was dually installed.  When Charles was faced with communication challenges at The Wensleydale Hotel there was no hesitation in choice of supplier.

Telecom systems evolve very quickly. Outdated systems have no one to service them or a maintenance plan which render them useless. If you do not have all the lines and functionality you cannot operate a business. In the hotel industry having a quality telephone system is imperative. It is a convenience that is taken for granted however, when your business faces challenges or when it does not work correctly, you realise what an important part of business it is.

Read more about The Wensleydale hotel here >

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