The new General Manager of the Oxford Witney Hotel plans to empower his staff in the same way his employers empower him to provide the best possible service to guests.

Madhu Balakrishnan is bringing nearly three decades of experience to his new role at the 115-room property, which is managed by Focus Hotels.

He said: “Focus Hotels is a forward-thinking, supportive company that realises that employees are their greatest asset”.

“I am working with professionals I can learn from and who will push me to take on new and challenging opportunities. I am treated with respect, given daily encouragement and feel valued for what I bring to the business.”

These are values that Madhu plans to pass on to his new colleagues at the Oxford Witney Hotel.

He said: “I am looking forward to working collaboratively with people for successful outcomes.

“I have a great young and positive, thriving team in place here, and plan to move forward by creating clear goals, achievable targets and empowering every member of staff to provide a superior service.”

Madhu has been with Focus Hotels since April 2019 and has worked at the Swans Nest Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Mercure George Reading and Ibis Styles (as multi-site manager) and Mercure Shrewsbury Albrighton Hall.

Before joining Focus, his career has seen him work with some of the world’s most recognised hotel brands, including Sheraton, Hilton, Accor and IHG.

“My most memorable moments were when I rebranded the food and beverage offering from Le Meridien Gatwick to Sofitel Gatwick, and also the pre-opening of the Hilton Ageas Bowl, where I had an extremely valuable experience learning more about hotel operations and management.”

Madhu, who is married and has two teenage daughters, added: “I am looking forward to settling into my new role within a new environment, with the fun of having new colleagues, challenges and opportunities at the Oxford Witney.”

In addition to 115 bedrooms, the hotel has a brasserie and bar, fitness centre, pool, sauna, steam room, flexible meeting room and the facility to accommodate 150 guests for weddings, conferences, and events.

“I am very open to whatever opportunities the future may hold. I pride myself in being flexible and adaptable. I think the best way of planning for the future is to make the most of the present productivity, efficiency, collaboration, and goal setting.

“I want to ensure there are very efficient communications between the hotel and guests, with a responsive service, standardised content and services and personalised offers.

“When you’re targeting potential customers, it is important to listen to their needs, wants and challenges, and focus on these.”

He added: “Food and beverage becomes a key difference on your total revenue and bottom line, and we are currently reviewing our menus for our restaurant and bar.”

Lynn Hood, Chief Operating Officer of Focus Hotels, said: “Madhu has 28 years of experience in the industry, which will be hugely beneficial to the post-pandemic business recovery at the Oxford Witney.

“His appointment is another example of how Focus Hotels seeks to recognise and reward those who demonstrate strong leadership skills and who embrace our ethos of putting people first, in terms of our own teams, our guests and our business partners.”


February 2022

Issued on behalf of Focus Hotels by Empica. For further information contact Darren Bane or Martin Powell on (01275) 394400 or email