Bridge launches Mentoring & Coaching Programme

We are very excited to launch our new Mentoring & Coaching Programme. Lead by Creative Director – Dale Smith, he will work 1-1 with participants over five carefully curated sessions. This strategic framework empowers leaders to navigate various stages of their own unique and personal development journey with confidence, clarity and adaptability. This flexible journey is guided by the individual’s needs, learning style and desired outcomes.

To find out more about the programme, cost and time commitment, download the brochure for more information.

Bridging Hospitality and Healthcare: A Convergence of Service Excellence

In the realm of service-driven industries, hospitality and private healthcare stand out as beacons of guest-centricity, each with its unique desire to connect and their overarching objectives. While hospitality has a long history of unparalleled service delivery and immersive guest experiences, private healthcare has been looking to better understand how to incorporate this magical connection and part of its offering. Whilst looking back in the mirror hospitality is reaching to gain more perspective on increasing the human connections of empathy, warmth, care, and compassion in its quest to attract a more boutique offering.

Each has the capacity to learn from other as ultimately, they are both in search of the recipe to engage employees to deliver on a more defined and clear guest experience. However, the intersection between these domains is often overlooked. By scrutinising their respective offerings and aspirations, comparing customer service to guest experience, and advocating for a shift towards a guest-centric mindset in private healthcare, we can uncover valuable lessons for both sectors.

Hospitality has evolved into a gold standard of service excellence, characterised by engaging staff, personalised experiences, and a relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction. Whether it is a luxury hotel, boutique property, or high-end renowned brand, the ethos of servitude must permeate every aspect, aligning employees with the vision and values. Central to this sits in the mindset of a Hotelier and one that is driven by the cultivation of pride and ownership. This only comes to life through the employees fostering a culture where every interaction is infused with genuine warmth, attentiveness, and a true desire to exceed expectations.

In contrast, private healthcare is propelled by a profound commitment to empathy, care, and compassion. Patients, often in vulnerable states, entrust their well-being to healthcare professionals, expecting not just medical expertise but also understanding, support, and reassurance. Yet, the parallels between hospitality and healthcare are striking and sometimes misunderstood. Both revolve around serving guests – whether patrons or patients – in a heightened state of emotional need and expectation. While the emotions evoked may differ, ranging from anticipation and excitement in hospitality to anxiety and apprehension in healthcare, the underlying complexity remains constant. They both necessitates a workforce that is not only highly skilled in their respective fields but also emotionally intelligent and attuned to the nuanced needs of their guests or patients.

The terminology used – customer versus guest – is not merely a semantic distinction but a reflection of a broader landscape.

While “customer” implies a transactional relationship, “guest” conveys a deeper sense of warmth, belonging, and hospitality. In both hospitality and private healthcare, guests are welcomed into environments where their well-being is paramount, whether they are paying patrons, family members, suppliers, or transient visitors. Hence, I understand the challenge with the word customer and therefore advocate the term guest experience in healthcare. The choice of term underscores the profound significance placed on human connection and the art of making guests feel valued, respected, and cared for.

Delving into the historical context, we find a shared legacy of hospitality transcending mere accommodation. Welcoming visitors into one’s property, however temporary, was an honour steeped in tradition and status. Similarly, private healthcare institutions have historically embraced a duty of care towards those seeking healing and solace. Both sectors are fuelled by a sense of servitude, where the passion of employees breathes life into the promised experience, transforming mere transactions into enduring memories. These two worlds are more alike in many ways as both require exceptional and resilient employees that embrace a true desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

At the heart of customer or guest expectations lies the quest for emotional fulfilment. Whether it’s the exhilaration of a luxurious hotel stay or the reassurance of competent medical care, guests yearn for experiences that resonate on a visceral level.

The notion of “we pay more, therefore we expect more” is not confined to one domain but permeates both hospitality and private healthcare, elevating the stakes and intensifying the pursuit of excellence. Understanding the drivers behind guest expectations is imperative for both sectors to deliver on their promises and safeguard their reputations.

Drawing from my extensive experience working with prestigious private healthcare organisations such as BUPA Cromwell Hospital, New Victoria Hospital, Saint John & Elizabeth Hospital and One Welbeck, combined with my involvement in a ground-breaking transformation project transitioning the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach into a boutique hotel, Eau Palm Beach Resort, & Spa. I have witnessed first-hand the transformative power of fostering a guest-centric mindset in both sectors. In each of these endeavours, the common thread lies in the unwavering dedication of employees who believe in a higher purpose – whether it’s providing exceptional medical care or creating unforgettable guest experiences.

Guests seek out establishments not only for their expertise but also for the kindness, support, and sense of responsibility they offer for their well-being. This shared desire underscores the profound impact of employee ownership in crafting experiences that delight, bring joy, and ensure safety, fostering lasting connections between guests and staff. However, many organisations aspire to create memorable guest experiences but fall short by failing to document, train, and empower their employees, leaving them in a state of ambiguity and setting them up for failure.

In both hospitality and healthcare, it is imperative to document and introduce a clear and guided guest experience as part of the employee journey, from induction through to development and reward. Guest experience should be integrated into the fabric of the organisation, becoming woven into its DNA. It can never be lip service or looked at as a tick box exercise. To create truly memorable guest experiences, it must be driven by the values, beliefs, and clear standards that are documented for employees to benchmark and surpass with high degrees of autonomy and enthusiasm.

A great guest experience is ultimately the by-product of a clear brand promise, positioning employees to see and feel the messages that attract guests to the property be it hospital or hotel.

It goes far beyond a list of amenities and truly sits in the hearts and minds of engaged, focussed, and connected employees. Employees need to embrace the brand promise as this enables them to better understand what is expected of them, both from a business perspective and in the eyes of the customer or guest. The brand creates the promise, and it’s the living brands that deliver on that promise, creating the ultimate guest experience. This mindset should permeate throughout all levels and departments of the organisation, from senior leaders to frontline staff. Celebrating success stories internally and externally is essential, truly embracing the employees who create magic in other people’s lives every day.

Mutual outcomes of building a great guest experience include:

  • Enhanced Trust: Both hospitality and healthcare thrive on trust. By prioritising guest experience, both sectors can cultivate trust with their guests and staff, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Improved Reputation: A commitment to guest-centricity results in positive word-of-mouth referrals and online reviews, bolstering the reputation of both hospitality establishments and healthcare facilities.
  • Increased Revenue: Satisfied guests are more likely to return and recommend the establishment to others, driving revenue growth through repeat business and new guests.
  • Better Patient Outcomes: In healthcare, a focus on guest experience can lead to improved patient satisfaction, compliance with treatment plans, and ultimately, better health outcomes.
  • Elevated Employee Morale: When employees feel empowered to deliver exceptional guest experiences, it not only enhances guest satisfaction but also boosts employee morale, leading to a more positive work culture and lower attrition.

Why then, do I advocate for a shift towards the term “guest” in private healthcare? Because it encapsulates a philosophy rooted in warmth, attentiveness, and meticulous attention to detail.

By embracing the mindset of hosts welcoming guests into their homes, healthcare professionals can cultivate environments that prioritise not just medical outcomes but also holistic well-being. This shift in perspective fosters deeper connections, fosters trust, and elevates the guest experience to new heights of excellence.

In conclusion, the convergence of hospitality and private healthcare offers a wealth of insights and opportunities for mutual learning. By recognising the parallels between these two environment’s, embracing a guest-centric mindset, and infusing every interaction with authenticity, warmth, and care, both sectors can elevate their respective offerings and create truly transformative experiences for their guests. In a world where service is under scrutiny the union of hospitality and healthcare offer a haven where service excellence should be paramount. Though some lens the boundaries between sectors blur, however the focus remains unwaveringly on the well-being and satisfaction of every guest.

Dale Smith

Creative Director

Video: Bridge Talks with the Dorchester Collection

Bridge Talks is back in 2018 starting with 'A Night with the Dorchester Collection' on June 12. Eugenio Piri, Chief People and Culture Officer, opens up the doors to the amazing cultures that support their businesses. The event will look at the important role that all employees play in delivering an outstanding customer experience and share their journey to putting in place a business case for culture.

Tuesday 12th June, 6:30pm. £30.

Book your ticket


2019 Conference Speakers Announced!



Dale Smith

Creative Director, Bridge

Dale Smith is well-versed in Emotional Intelligence and neuroscience and leads the development of new theories and programmes on behalf of Bridge. He is a master practitioner of NLP with degrees in Psychology/Sociology and Business Marketing as well as an accomplished international speaker and facilitator and has presented at several industry conferences and events. He has worked extensively with clients in both the UK and abroad in Employee Engagement, business transformation and building organisational cultures that best reflect the brand promise.

Liz Pannaman

Organisational Development Specialist - People Transformation, TfL

Learning and development specialist and corporate performance coach and trainer, specialising in leadership and personal effectiveness. Industry recognised for her skills in performance management, success planning, strategy, and HR transformation.

Chieu Cao

Co-founder & CMO, Perkbox

Before co-founding Perkbox, the UK’s fastest-growing employee engagement platform, Chieu established himself as a tech marketing force to be reckoned with, leading initiatives for brands including Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo. A consultant turned CMO, Chieu's repertoire spans both B2C and B2B, from SEO to social strategy.


Tim Pointer

HR Director, Dixons Carphone

Tim is not only a Global HR Director but also an organisational consultant, executive coach, speaker, CIPD award winner and business culture expert. He has a broad-based global experience across both FTSE 100 and large-scale private family businesses, specifically in the European, North American and Asia-Pacific markets. A comprehensive understanding of branded business, with a background covering the FMCG, performance goods, fashion, technology, retail & e-commerce, and liquor sectors.

Ben Gateley

Founder, CharlieHR

Ben is a co-founder and COO of CharlieHR: a free, cloud-based HR toolbox used by thousands of small businesses worldwide. Having started and grown a number of successful companies since his teenage years - including BORN SOCIAL, one of the largest social media agencies for challenger brands in the world. An outspoken champion of positive workplace culture, frequent volunteer and engaging public speaker, Ben is a passionate advocate for all things “people”.

Elizabeth Hampson

Director, Health Strategy Consulting, Deloitte

Elizabeth leads health policy and commercial strategy projects for central government, industry and leading health charities across Europe. Over the last decade her clients have included all types of organisations across the health economy: European central governments, major industry players (pharma, med tech and private providers), healthcare providers and leading charities. Health policy and strategy experience across EMEA has given her a breadth of perspectives on whole-system challenges in health and those faced by the individual participant organisations. Elizabeth is committed to delivering exceptional service to clients and developing the skills of her team. She has practical skills, backed with strong academics, which include an MSc in Health Economics and Policy from London School of Economics, the Chartered Financial Analyst qualification and recently a PG Cert in Coaching.

Philip Luce

Hospital Director, Bupa Cromwell

Philip Luce is Bupa Cromwell Hospital’s Director. Philip started his career at the Cromwell in 2011 as the Cardiology & Medical Directorate Manager, before becoming Operations Director a couple of years later – heading up the refurbishment of all wards, and overseeing the clinical teams in the day to day running of the hospital. In 2015, Philip took on the role of Director of Bupa's nationwide network of Health and Dental Centres, during which time Bupa acquired the Oasis chain of dental centres, making it one of the biggest providers of dental services in the UK.
His extensive career in private healthcare began as a Cardiac Physiologist before taking on the Cardiology Manager role at HCA, working across a number of hospitals including the Lister and London Bridge.

Christina Liciaga

Head of Customer Service, HSBC

Entrepreneur turned international finance executive with experience in emerging and mature markets across Asia, Europe, Latin and North America. High Net Worth business development influencer, advising large corporates on people-first post-merger integration opportunities, developing client segmentation strategies, and building and leading the global award-winning wealth proposition, Jade by HSBC Premier. Passionate leader who builds and transforms teams through authenticity and curiosity to embrace innovation, embed change, and deliver commercial growth; translating strategy into reality.

Jonny Gifford

Senior Advisor for Organisational Behaviour, CIPD

Jonny Gifford is Senior Advisor for Organisational Behaviour at the CIPD. He has extensive experience conducting applied research into employment and people management, including in previous roles at the Institute for Employment Studies and Roffey Park Institute. Current interests include job quality or ‘good work’ and behavioural science insights into aspects of HR such as performance management. Jonny runs the CIPD Applied Research Conference and actively promotes evidence-based practice, including through systematic reviewing and running randomised trials. He is an Academic Member of the CIPD and a Fellow of CEBMa, the Center for Evidence-Based Management.

Maggie Tambe

Head of Customer Relations, Peabody

A strategic leader who works hard to provide a sense of direction as well as building ownership and alignment within workgroups to successfully implement change. Judge for the 2017 UK Complaint Handling Awards and nominee for the WOW! awards 2017 recognising customer service excellence. Has worked with Family Mosaic since 2011, and played a key role in their merger with Peabody Trust.

Simon Lewis

Owner, Eau Palm Beach

Simon’s area of expertise is in global hospitality for LFH, the private family business behind River Island and a global real estate portfolio. Regularly challenging employees and colleagues beyond their comfort zones, Simon uses his relaxed manner to constantly stretch their knowledge, understanding and skills to boost performance and achievements. He combines 25 years experience in brand values, destination marketing and sales strategies associated with the travel, tourism and hospitality industries to develop creative solutions which achieve consistently measurable often award-winning results. In 2007 Simon conceived, developed and opened a multi-award winning luxury Spa business in the US. In 2013 he was instrumental in creating and implementing a new cultural identity for the 5 star Eau Palm Beach Resort in Florida. Here his work encompasses the complete values set, which underpins the core identity of the business from guest touch point to employee engagement. 

Chloë Marsh

Head of Engagement, RHP

With experience in Communications, L&D and HR, Chloë’s passionate about the link between highly engaged employees and better business results. Her expertise has helped RHP to be named as the most innovative housing provider in the UK three years in a row, gain Investors in People Platinum and place number 7 in the 2018 Great Place to Work list. Over the past two years, her team has been integral in getting both customers and employees ready for the launch of RHPi, the UK’s first digital-only housing service. They’ve continued to build engagement across all digital channels and today 70% of interactions are made online.

Becky Thoseby

Group Head of Wellbeing, Department for Transport

Becky owns the wellbeing offer for employees of the Department for Transport and its agencies. Her primary focus is on creating a culture of wellbeing at DfT. Recent work includes;

- running DfT’s first employee wellbeing survey, a diagnostic tool to target interventions where they are most needed
 - designing and delivering training for senior leaders focused on developing self-awareness and behaviour change,
- changing the picture we paint of a high performer to recognise that colleagues with wellbeing issues can still be high performers if the issue is managed well
- providing coaching to individual senior managers to address wellbeing issues arising in their areas.

Becky also practices as a well-being coach, both privately and as part of her role, and delivers mindfulness sessions within DfT.

Myra Cooke

Head of Performance Talent & Development, Virgin Atlantic Airways

Myra is a business-focused OD leader with more than 15 years’ experience in a global remit within complex global and domestic industries providing expertise to link development initiatives to strategic business objectives and achievements. Currently Head of Talent and Performance at Virgin Atlantic Airways & Virgin Holidays;  she is responsible for the Talent, Performance, Leadership Development and Diversity and Inclusion strategy across Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays. Myra has previously held senior HR and Talent and development roles within organisations including, Veolia, Royal Mail, Priory Group and Dimension Data.

Helen Watson

Senior Strategist, Ogilvy Healthworld

A digital professional with over 15-years experience of delivering communication strategy and user centred solutions for clients. Helen designs engaging, customer-focused omnichannel experiences that meet both the customer and business needs. With experience across a broad range of technologies and channels, uses this knowledge to deliver multi-technology, creative and engaging user experiences for the Healthcare space. 

About the conference

Linking Employee Engagement and the Customer Experience as One.

Hear from top speakers and well-known brands on case studies and best practice in various industries. We have gathered speakers from organisations well known for their culture and employee experience, and asked them how they did it.




Central London
+44 (0)207-720-9933

A2i Successful Dyslexic Entrepreneurs Event

Aspire2inspire Dyslexia CIC is a charitable organisation based in Wandsworth, bringing awareness of Dyslexia within the community and encouraging entrepreneurship amongst dyslexics. A2i supports dyslexic adults who want to return to education, apprenticeships, self-employment and we also offer employability skills.

As part of Wandsworth Enterprise Week 2018, three successful dyslexic entrepreneurs, including Bridge’s Creative Director, Dale Smith, will be showcasing their businesses and talking about how they managed to set up their enterprise despite all the challenges they may have encountered as dyslexics.

6:00 – 8.00pm | Tuesday 6th March 2018

Battersea Library
265 Lavender Hill
London SW11 1JB

Free Event – Complimentary Refreshments

Register for your free ticket here

One week after the ‘main 30-day’ challenge

A week after the ‘main 30-day’ part of the #LivingBrandProject, Dale reflects on the challenges of sustaining transformation, both personally and in business.

“Sometimes we have to move and shake with our businesses in order to find what is right for our employees and the business, creating a clear structure between those two worlds.”

Talk to us