herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Hotel makeover show is the surprise hit as it pulls in young viewers

A surprising number of younger viewers are watching At Your Service as it hits record audience numbers.

Expert hotelier brothers John and Francis Brennan are winning huge viewership numbers to the Sunday night RTE show -- and some avid viewers are just six years old.

John told the Herald: "It's hard to believe we could be popular with children but I know of several who watch every week. One man told me his six-year-old won't go to bed on Sunday until he sees At Your Service.

"And, of course, the grandmas love Francis and his antics," he said.

The current series of the show has broken previous records with more than 600,000 watching the episode featuring The Strand Inn in Dunmore East. And a fifth series has already been ordered by RTE, he said.

"We're billed as a makeover show but we're fundamentally a business show. People are interested in how others run businesses. It's a different world... within two minutes many viewers can identify the problems," said John.

The brothers, who own the five star Park Hotel Kenmare, help struggling hotels and guesthouses breathe new life into their businesses.



Embraced

Said John: "A couple of places like Lough Key House in Roscommon and Ouvane Falls in West Cork really embraced change and doubled their revenues, at least."

"The phone didn't stopped ringing with bookings at The Strand Inn after the show recently."

Lots of people were also booking into Crossogue Equestrian Centre in Thurles after it featured last week. John said he was amused at what happened while filming that episode while he was handing out leaflets at Killarney Races promoting riding holidays for couples.

"I didn't realise until afterwards that one man at the races that I told about the couples weekends turned out to be a priest. His face went white...we didn't include it [in the programme]!," he laughed.

This Sunday, the brothers will be seen helping at 'The Coachhouse' in Glenbeigh, Co Kerry, and the following week they will feature The Pink Potato in Adare, Co Limerick.

In April, the brothers embark on their own new project when they open Dromquinna Manor in Kenmare as a 'glamper resort' _ a 'glamourous camping' resort with five-star tents.

An RTE spokeswoman said: "We're absolutely thrilled with the programme and its success."

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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