Cornish Gems

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Cornish Gems is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Founders and Managing Co-
Directors Julianne Shelton (left)
and Nadia Macer-Wright (right)
Rosilian Hall, one of Cornish
Gems’ luxury waterfront
holiday homes in Flushing
near Falmouth
Twelve years ago, Julianne Shelton and Nadia Macer-Wright
identified a gap in the Cornish tourism market. They
looked to exploit this gap by creating a business centred
on delivering the highest-level tourism standards and offering
luxury holiday homes appealing to an emerging trend of visitors
seeking a home-from-home holiday experience, or better. Their
primary unique selling point is their ability to take the hassle
away from holiday letting and changeover management for
time-poor homeowners. Julianne and Nadia explain that this
aspect of their service was groundbreaking at the time and has
over the years developed into a turnkey, fully managed rental
solution for holiday home owners.
What we didn’t quite appreciate at the time of launching Cornish Gems was that
our efforts in realising our dream and mission to create the best hand-picked range
of luxury holiday homes in Cornwall would contribute towards raising the bar of
Cornish tourism. With holiday tariffs ranging from £300 a week to over £12,000
we’re appealing to a diverse range of customers, all seeking the same thing: an
amazing place to call their home on holiday here in Cornwall.
This hasn’t been an easy journey, but it started out with two business management
graduates with a complementary blend of academic and work experience coming
together to become a commercial marriage, and a very happy one at that. Both
Nadia and myself share a vision to create a stand-out Cornish company with core
values and competencies that have become the steadfast backbone of what we
»Founders and Managing Co-
Directors: Julianne Shelton and
Nadia Macer-Wright
»Founded in 2007
»Located in Truro and St Ives,
»Services: Luxury holiday
home rental agency and
management services
»No. of employees: Over 100
»Property portfolio of 180
luxury holiday homes to rent
throughout Cornwall
»Guest concierge service
Cornish Gems
Highlighting best practice
stand for today. Many thought we
would fail, launching a business on
the cusp of recession with capital of a
mere £500.
Twelve years later we are proud to
own and still manage the day-to-day
operations of our organically grown,
multi-million holiday rental agency
employing just over 100 – including
eight senior management positions.
Excellence and customer focus
We have two main customer groups,
the 25,000 holidaymakers we bring on
average to Cornwall every year, and
the individual property owners who
each own one of the 180 properties
within the Cornish Gems portfolio.
Over time, we have honed customer
service policies that focus on providing
the highest level of customer care,
and our workforce has been shaped
to deliver this. We fully manage the
guest experience from the point
of enquiry via our website, right
through to their day of departure.
This all-encompassing service – via
our knowledgeable travel advisers,
housekeeping and maintenance
staff and our trusty customer service
team, who are on hand to ensure
we have a solution to every request
– we feel creates a truly memorable
holidayexperience. We offer a myriad
of support services to holiday home
owners, along with advice to ensure
they are legally compliant, that they
are providing safe environments for
guests and that they don’t have to get
involved with the most challenging
element of holiday letting, the weekly
changeovers. Our exceptionally trained
housekeepers clean week in, week
out and keep an eye on wear and tear
and standards, while managing all
the laundry and welcome provisions.
We have developed our own in-house
quality standards, which define and
benchmark luxury holiday letting. Our
full-time in-house quality assessor
works with property owners to achieve
these standards.
Setting the industry standard
We are fortunate that Cornish Gems
holiday home owners share our
passion for excellence and high quality
and want to join us on our journey,
playing an integral part in our luxury
travel brand by offering the best
standard of accommodation they can.
Being the first in the industry to adopt
this business model certainly created
a competitive advantage and gave us
the initial springboard to success, but
the real fruits of our hard work have
been a direct result of our passion,
commitment and entrepreneurial
spirit to drive the business forward by
A beautifully presented
bedroom, typical of a
Cornish Gems property
Housekeeping attention
to detail is paramount at
Cornish Gems
We have
developed our
own in-house
which define
luxury holiday
continuously challenging ourselves to
deliver the highest quality of service.
One of the most beneficial initiatives
has been the implementation of the
Investors in People framework of
best business practice. Work towards
achieving IIP accreditation started in
early 2012, and we ended 2012 having
achieved Silver standard. Continuous
effort took us to Gold standard three
years later and our goal by the end
of 2019 is to achieve the highest
Investors in People has helped
transform what we do and how we
do it. For example, it’s helped improve
the quality of our leadership and
management policies, and our staff
are clear in terms of what’s expected
from them and therefore have a
greater ability to perform their job.
There is an increased level of staff
commitment and although company
net profitability dropped by 50 per
cent from 2015 to 2017 due to the
investment in our people, structure
and our service, we were pleased to
achieve a net profit of 17.66 per cent
at the end of 2018 and we are well on
track to push our net profitability back
above 20 per cent this year.
Continuing to compete
One of the major market forces that
ensures we continuously strive to get
better at what we do is the highly
competitive nature of the industry
and the rise in dominance of global
booking engines vying for a bigger
the slice of our marketplace. We
believe our continued efforts to
promote the value of choosing a
localised agency with the strictest
standards in terms of safety and
quality will secure our longevity in the
Entrepreneurial spirit is in our blood
and while we’re very comfortable with
our portfolio size, with the ongoing
support of our team, we’ll always be
exploring new ways to bolster and
improve our service and secure our
position as the market leader in our
field. Rather than being the biggest in
what we do, we want to be renowned
as being the best.
Rather than
being the
biggest in
what we do,
we want to be
renowned as
being the best
We had the confidence to start the transition of moving
away from Visit England Quality in Tourism standards and
accreditation scheme, where our holiday homes were
consistently hitting the highest standards. The national
scheme had lost its relevance so no longer provided value
for us and our clients. We created our own minimum
entry standards in terms of what was expected of holiday
accommodation at a luxury level. We raised the bar even
higher to further develop excellence in our field with
our crème de la crème Cornish Cribs collection; holiday
homes substantial in size, enjoying enviable locations with
features such as swimming pools, home cinema rooms
and hot tubs
Scots Craig a stunning
Gem enjoying an
elevated position
overlooking St Ives

This article was sponsored by Cornish Gems. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.