Chris Wayne-Wills, Chief Executive of Crerar Hotels Group has been awarded the prestigious title of Master Innholder, and is the only Scottish-based hotelier to be awarded this year.  Chris receives the Master Innholder status along with a selected group of hoteliers in the UK from companies such as Four Seasons, The Goring and Hand Picked hotels securing the coveted accolade.

The award was created by the Worshipful Company of Innholders and is given to those who have proven themselves as industry leaders, having set the standard for the next generation of hospitality talent.

The Master Innholders is a leading force within the hotel industry and champions the education and development of the next generation of hospitality.

Scholarships recognised as the most desirable industry placements, known for professionalism and excellence.

Chris who leads Scottish hospitality trailblazers, Crerar Hotels Group, which operates seven four- and five-star hotels and inns located within some of the most idyllic settings in Scotland, is no stranger to national recognition for his work, both within his business and across the sector. He is currently the Scottish chair of UK Hospitality, the country’s largest hospitality trade body, and was most recently awarded the title of the UK’s ‘Most Influential Hotels Group CEO of the Year’ 2023 by CEO Monthly Magazine.

Chris is also a trustee of HIT Scotland, a fellow of the Institute of Hospitality and sits on the Institute of Hospitality Scotland committee.

Being part of the Master Innholder community means hoteliers will be providing opportunities to give back to the industry and support the next wave of talent. The organisation is committed to promoting education and development within the hotel sector through programmes including the Master Innholders Aspiring Leaders Diploma, the Innholders Scholarship, the Hotel Leadership Conference, MIDAS and its mentoring scheme.

This June, Chris will attend a prestigious black-tie dinner at the Innholders Hall London where he will receive the award, medal and the Master Innholder certificate. Later this year, he will be granted the freedom of the city of London in a ceremony at Guildhall as a benefit of being a Master Innholder.

Chris Wayne-Wills, CEO of Crerar Hotels Group said: “It is a true honour to be the only Scottish-based hotelier to be accepted as a Master Innholder this year. The title is nationally recognised as a prestigious force for good and a standard bearer across the industry. It’s also a proud moment as this has been a career long ambition for me.

“In the very early stages of my career, I was awarded a Savoy Educational Trust scholarship in association with the Worshipful Company of Innholders and I attended the Developing General Management programme at Cranfield University School of Management in 2000. This was pivotal at this time in my career so to now be a Master Innholder and be able to give back and support the opportunities for development for others is an honour.

“The work I do with Crerar Hotels Group, UK Hospitality and beyond, shines a light on the ambition and willing of hoteliers across the country to help and support each other and their local economies and it is a true privilege to be recognised with this title.

“There are many great inspirational hotel leaders who I’ve had the pleasure to learn from throughout my career such as Peter Lederer, Stephen Carter and Peter Taylor who are all Master Innholders, it is fantastic that I can follow in their footsteps. Taking on this title will allow me to continue to my work in supporting and influencing the hospitality stars of tomorrow which is something I am incredibly passionate about.”

With more than 25 years of senior experience within the hospitality sector, Chris has worked with some of the UK’s leading hotel brands, including Marriott International, Macdonald Hotels and QHotels, beginning his career as a sales manager before progressing to general manager, regional managing director and then most recently taking on the senior position at Crerar Hotels Group.

Leading the company at a time of uncertainty during the height of the pandemic, Chris was described as ‘a beacon of inspiration’, successfully overseeing the group’s recovery and multi-million-pound transformation and repositioning of several Crerar Hotels properties, including the award-winning Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa, and the newly rebranded Balmoral Arms.

Chris said: “We have made significant investments in our iconic hotels over the last few years and have driven forward when others held back investment plans. I have huge faith in our hotels, the guest experience we offer and in the locations in which we operate, but it is our wonderful people that make it all come to life and the prestige of the Master Innholder title will allow me to push forward with inspiring and driving opportunities for the next generation.”

More information on the Master Innholders can be found here.

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