I try to be supportive in the workplace — we have a one-team approach and a no-blame culture, focusing on how to fix problems rather than blaming someone when things go wrong.

As part of my series about “developments in the travel industry over the next five years”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Julian Hudson, General Manager at The Fellows House Cambridge, Curio Collection by Hilton.

Julian Hudson is a devoted and experienced hotelier with almost 25 years of hospitality management experience in the United Kingdom. Beginning with his role as general manager of Slug and Lettuce, he has since held a managerial role at eight locations across the country — his most recent appointment including general manager at The Holiday Inn Express London Stratford which he held for nearly a decade. During this time, Julian oversaw the hotel through the 2012 Olympics, ensuring the thousands of visitors through Stratford were well taken care of. As a personable manager, Julian’s passion comes from building and developing a passionate, well-trained, and close-knit team. With many of his staff members having been away from work during the pandemic, he is particularly conscious of the ramifications of the past year, and how important it is to lead by example, with a caring and eager to listen ear.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I fell into it. I was travelling and bar work was easy, convenient, and provided accommodation back then. I transitioned into management and then was given an opportunity to work in hotels. I have been doing it ever since!

There was an irrelevant bit of statistical data that came out in 2011 whereby Newham in London had experienced the highest increase of tourism than anywhere in the capital. The hotel I was managing was in Newham, so ITV London came and interviewed me.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I was once making beds as our housekeeper was on holiday. After doing seven beds, I noticed blood on the sheet and realised my hand was bleeding. I had to go back and do four of the beds as they had specks of blood on them as well. It taught me to wear gloves when making beds.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?

Learn to delegate, this helps you as a manager and helps your staff to develop professionally. Jonny, my manager at the Slug and Lettuce, allowed me to run the business so I learnt a lot.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Nick, GM at Southampton, contacted me about a well-timed opportunity at Newbury Park just when I was moving to London because my partner was attending teacher training nearby.

Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?

The Fellows House, Curio Collection by Hilton, is an innovative concept, with its offer of a new proposition to cater for long-stay guests in apartment-style living with all the amenities the modern traveller would require. The self-contained apartments have fully equipped kitchens, we have laundry facilities onsite, and guests can also enjoy in-house events each month, allowing a sense of living life like a local. We are also the only apartment-style hotel that is a member of the Curio Collection, and a one of a kind offering in the city of Cambridge, too.

Our proximity to the Science Park and other research and development hubs, such as the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, places us near the cluster of innovation that is driving global companies like AstraZeneca, Amazon, and Microsoft to settle in the city.

Similarly, understanding the importance of wellness in today’s world, long-stay guests can benefit from our indoor pool, steam room and sauna and the 24-hour gym. We are located close Jesus Green, which has tennis courts and a lido. Guests can unwind walking along the river and easily reach the centre of Cambridge.

An additional point of constant innovation is our commitment to the environment. As our apartment-style hotel opened in July 2021 as new build, it comprises carbon-reduction and energy-saving features. We are also committed to Hilton’s Light Stay Programme, which aims to reduce carbon emissions equivalent to 19 cars and energy consumption equivalent to 32 powered houses. Our café and restaurant offer plant-based menu options.

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation?

The Fellows House’s proposition of the long stay offering aims to assist in tackling some of the environmental challenges the industry faces. Carbon reduction is not an easy target to achieve; the pain point is trying to convince everyone that these sustainability measures might require a deep change in the way we work but are necessary and worthwhile. Through longer and extended stays, we can limit our carbon footprint whilst maintaining a high level of service to our guests.

It is important to recognise our teams delivering the service. The hospitality industry is facing staffing challenges as well as productivity issues. At The Fellows House we are always looking for new ways to reward our team for working efficiently and productively.

How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

The UK Government is encouraging industry to be sustainable and published a number of policy papers to foster a green industrial revolution. Some industries are struggling to adapt to new ways of working and the economic recovery from the pandemic has been slow, especially in hospitality.

By promoting long stays and adopting Hilton’s light-stay recommendations, we are working more efficiently whilst boosting customer satisfaction. Our focus is on long-stay accommodation, which helps with achieving green objectives, for instance with less frequent linen changes than with short stays. Other examples include the car park with multiple electric car charging ports and there are electric bikes and scooters outside to hire via an app. We also rent bicycles to our guests.

On the staff front, we are addressing the challenges of having a smaller employment pool, so we are looking for innovative ways to automate routine tasks.

As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share 5 examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?

I can only speak through personal experience here, but from the point of view of our apartment-style hotel, we are aiming to meet the needs of travelers who now live further away from their jobs and might need to stay in Cambridge to attend meetings and conferences over a longer period.

We can also accommodate guests who are looking for longer-stay options that offer the best of the apartment-style flexibility, with all the amenities of a luxury hotel at their fingertips. For example, having the choice of in-room dining from The Folio Bar & Kitchen, eating in the restaurant, or cooking a meal in the fully equipped kitchen. The Fellows House gives guests a sense of feeling at home, with the added services expected from a luxury hotel.

The focus on the environment will continue to grow, and I have mentioned several measures we are implementing to be sustainable. On Earth Day we shared our green credentials, and these are five actions and programmes we champion in that arena: Hilton Light Stay Programme; out of 79 car park spaces, 28 EV car park chargeable bays; in-house laundry facilities with energy-saving programmes; reduction of energy use and carbon emission via our CHP units; low-pressure shower heads to save water and, finally, forming partnerships with local companies and organisations to support green projects.

You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

My perfect holiday includes lots of activities for my children and time I can spend with my partner. It would also be a blend of being able to visit local attractions and time to chill by a pool. When I book a hotel, I always look for images of the pool. I enjoy discounts on Hilton hotels worldwide, which is a great benefit of the job, not just for me but for everyone working at The Fellows House.

Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I try to be supportive in the workplace — we have a one-team approach and a no-blame culture, focusing on how to fix problems rather than blaming someone when things go wrong.

Within the community, I like to be involved with organisations that help young people find employment. On a personal note, I am a blood donor. My son has a rare genetic disorder, which means he needs regular transfusions so I feel the least I can do is to ensure I am an active donor.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If everyone believed others always had good intentions, then the world would be a happier place. I always give people the benefit of the doubt and try to find out why they behave in a certain way. I then can help them to navigate their difficulties.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I am not active on social media, however The Fellows House has several social media accounts and I get involved with ideas to represent our brand. Our Twitter account is @TheFellowsHouse, but we also have a LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook accounts.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.