Dramatically situated on the edge of Snowdonia, Lake Vyrnwy Country House Hotel & Spa commands breath-taking views over the mountain-ringed lake and is one of the regions largest LPG users.
"We use LPG because the hotel is oﬀ the mains gas network, and until recently the electricity supply has been at best ﬂakey”, observes Operations Director, Anthony Rosser.
“Because we’ve always used LPG, the best thing to do as the business developed was to improve that infrastructure. We use it for heating, cooking and hot water, and run state of-the-art condensing boilers, so it is pretty efficient. And because we use so much of it, we can buy it at relatively preferable rates; our usage in 2013 was 203,000 litres and we project 2014 consumption to be similar.”
What we did
AvantiGas Area Sales Manager, Tony Edwards, adds: “For running a commercial kitchen, gas is every chefs favourite. That requirement would have steered the hotel towards LPG in the first place, and we have acquired their valued custom and have been in a good trading relationship ever since.”
Lake Vyrnwy has six large vessels all linked together; fuel is delivered in liquid form via a tanker, which usually comes from our Stanlow refinery or the Caernarfon depot. The hotel is on an automatic top-up facility; if they run out of gas, they have no business, so a constant source is vital. Tony Edwards explains: “There is a telemetry system installed, which sends us a daily mobile phone signal with a contents reading of each of the six 4,000-litre tanks. Based on that data, we schedule a delivery to fall in with consumption patterns. If there’s been a busy weekend with, for instance a couple of weddings, the telemetry tells us that we need to make a delivery soon.”
According to Anthony Rosser, a reliable energy delivery service is paramount to his business. So how did they fare if we have a very harsh winter? “We’re very remote up in the hills”, he tells us, “and once or twice we have come close to having delivery problems; because of the poor telephone signal in this area we occasionally have problems with the telemetry system, but we have a very good relationship with the people on site at Stanlow. Certainly around Christmas time, with the additional usage, we can get through an awful lot of fuel. AvantiGas, along with the rest of the country was being pressed for gas, and with the snow, the approaches here were quite difficult. However, AvantiGas actually managed to lay on a smaller truck and get it up here, so that was a good eﬀort on their behalf. If we ran out it would be disastrous; apart from 52 bedrooms accommodating potentially 100 guests on site, I’ve also got 24 live-in staﬀ.” Anthony has been the Manager there for 14 years, “It’s not a bad place to be!” he jokes. The hotel has grown from 30 bedrooms to 52; we have built a spa and gained another star, making us a 4-star hotel. We have also recently redeveloped the pub area into an eclectic brasserie restaurant, and there are clay pigeon ranges, fishing, hiking; Lake Vyrnwy is certainly a very desirable establishment. “At the moment,” enthuses Anthony, “the business is returning to prerecession levels and record occupancies are on the cards.”
So why does Lake Vrynwy choose AvantiGas over any other LPG supplier? “On an annual basis we go out and do our due diligence to see whether we’re getting value for money in the marketplace, and we have not been able to better the price. But additionally, the nice thing, which is rare these days, is that the people I have on the ground here have a direct working relationship with the people at AvantiGas, so if we do have a problem, we can actually call and talk to them, which is something we really value.”
From a wider perspective, with the changing economy in Wales, tourism is now hugely important, being in the top four for generating GDP. Specifically within Lake Vyrnwy, apart from some relatively small tenanted farms, there is nothing else. “Once,” Anthony reveals, “the estate had over 70 people working on it; the last employee was handed his cards a few years ago, so we are now the sole employers in the region and the principal economic generator for a significant chunk of Wales. So, without the proper infrastructure and support that we get from companies like AvantiGas, that business model could break down.”