The name is HILL. Adam Hill – and he’s shaking up the hospitality industry with his creative concepts.
He’s a visionary who aims to have a million-pound turnover by 2022, make it on to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list – and create a design movement within the hospitality sector.
It’s big talk for a 25-year-old, but Adam’s entrepreneurial skills, ambition and obsession with food, drink and top hotels put him in a different bracket to today’s creative alumni.
“I’m a massive foodie. My mam was a trained chef, so I never had the standard sausage, eggs and chips tea. She’d cook Bombay potatoes, pork goulash and she was crazy about cooking midweek roast dinners with a twist,” says Adam, owner of Creativehill, an award-winning creative and digital design studio in Newton Aycliffe.
Perhaps it was his mum’s love of food which was the catalyst for Adam’s passion for changing people’s perceptions. Or the fact he fell in love with Saatchi & Saatchi campaigns during an advertising and design course. Whatever it is, he’s already making some serious waves.
Earlier this year, Adam and his small, young and talented team, were given a brief by James and Rebecca Allison – owners of Middleton Lodge Estate, a country retreat which features two wedding venues, two restaurants, treatment rooms and 40 individually-designed bedrooms.
“The brief was to create a simple, effective website which increased customer engagement by outlining the different elements of the business whilst illustrating the lifestyle brand they have spent the last five years creating,” says Adam, whose work on this project saw the website traffic increase from 250,000 page views to almost a million.
“Success isn’t quantified by money, it’s a result – and the buzz from this was amazing. I remember sitting monitoring the visitors on the website, it was incredible. Of course, it’s not just what we do that achieves that figure. Having a great team behind the scenes at Middleton Lodge, James’s willingness to work with us and his internal PR team is all part of the success, too.”
After leaving school at 16, Adam had his heart set ‘on becoming an international spy’. “I’ll confess, I wanted to be James Bond but I was the kind of kid who sat at the back of Maths class, so I could sketch in the back of my notebook.”
Instead, he studied Television and Media at college before moving into advertising and design, working for creative agencies in the North East.
“We helped gin brands on their design, worked with start-up companies on launching a product and finding new routes to market and I fell in love with changing the way people think.”
But his appetite wasn’t sated and fed up with how some companies operated – and with a burning desire to put his own stamp on the industry – he left and set up Creativehill.
“I want to change the industry, I don’t want to follow the crowd. I want game-changing results with what we deliver,” says Adam, who’s vociferous about third-party booking websites.
“Why do hotels need them? If they have great web systems in place, strong images, great copywriting and the right strategy – they don’t.”
Although his fun and flamboyant design agency offers branding and marketing, he loves nothing more than disrupting the market when it comes to web solutions. “Did you know luxury hotels increase their sales when people are looking for holidays abroad?
“Just imagine, you’re sitting at home with a glass of wine, perusing the internet for your next holiday. You find all-out luxury but it comes with a price tag, you want it cheaper.
“You manage to find a mid-range compromise, it’s still too expensive so you reduce spend, but you’re now in a different hotel and travelling in a different class – it’s not the quick break you had in your head. Our data and analytics show that you will start looking at luxury breaks in the UK.
“Here, you can live the luxury lifestyle,” says Adam, whose analytical brain loves delving into data, insights and behaviour patterns. “I also have a weird passion for sitting in bars and picking errors on menus. My wife hates it,” laughs Adam.
Although he already works with an impressive collection of North East hotels, his aspiration is to work with ALL hotels in the north, dominating the section by increasing occupancy, weddings, restaurant bookings and putting strategies in place to solve any problems. Creating the right culture is key too. From empowering staff to working with clients direct, understanding their brands and delivering results in a fun, playful and creative way is all part of the job.
“For me, creating a design movement or a shift in perception for the hospitality sector would be the ultimate goal.
“We already work with some of the north’s top hotels and I would love to leave behind a business that was known for thinking outside the box. If people are talking about it and writing about it long after I’m gone, that is the ultimate success. That’s the legacy.”
For more information contact Adam on 01325 526119, or visit creativehill.co.uk