The short run-up to the snap General Election in June is bound to have it’s affect on hotel occupancy across the country. Let’s hope that it is followed by a period of calm and stability. Somehow, I doubt it. Never, in my lifetime, has there been so much interest in world politics from different walks of society.
Those of us, who live and breathe the hospitality industry, are acutely aware of the impact of Brexit and the slightest change in customer confidence. We are probably one of the most sensitive industries to outside influences, which can be anything from international exchange rates to terrorism. This was reinforced by one of HOSPA’s long-term members, who said to me: hospitality has the most and perhaps extreme excuses for changes in business levels - from the weather to Brexit, from war to bird flu or SARS!
Whilst our political and economic futures are uncertain, one thing is for sure: advances in hospitality technology show no sign of abating. HOSPA attended HITEC in Amsterdam at the end of March, and it was a great opportunity to catch up with our many industry friends and colleagues. Following the exhibition, I was honoured to be invited to attend HFTP’s strategy meeting. It was interesting to hear their key members’ and officers’ impressions of the global hospitality market. Each UK hotel is different and most have something special to offer their target guests, regardless of whether they offer ultimate luxury or affordable limited service. Across the world, these differences are magnified - with local pressures often jawdroppingly diverse.
Back to politics, no matter what we believe about ‘Brexit’, we cannot ignore it! With the triggering of Article 50 and the start of the process to leave the European Union, the need to reduce the UK hospitality industry’s reliance on EU workers has become a priority concern. It is more important than ever that we encourage home-grown talent to our exciting industry - with its many and varied career paths. In this respect, we are delighted to be able to help and support The Hospitality Undergraduate Mentoring Scheme - in association with The Savoy Society and The Springboard Charity (see p.14). As ambassadors for the industry, we must all do our bit to encourage both the attraction and retention of good employees. Being proud of what we do and demonstrating that hospitality is a rewarding career is invaluable. We must do all we can to show those considering entering the industry - at any age - that we work hard, but the rewards (if not always financial) and opportunities are great.
With HOSPACE2017 six months away at The Lancaster London (see p.13) the exhibitors already are responding well to our ever growing Annual Conference and Exhibition, as well as its new central London home. We are pleased with the uptake so far and we look forward to working closely with all our sponsors and exhibitors to produce an excellent showcase of the best hospitality solutions out there. We are thrilled that by popular demand Peter Hancock, Chief Executive of Pride of Britain Hotels, once again will be hosting the Conference. His renowned wit and skill as a compere - matching his immense industry knowledge - make him a must for a major Conference such as ours. Outstanding speakers, all experts in their own fields, are being lined-up for the main event - with a well-known figure presenting the ‘Hospitality Professional of The Year Awards’ at the HOSPACE2017 Gala Dinner. Following positive feedback from HOSPACE2016, we are excited to confirm that we have the same expert panel discussing Brexit as last year. They will be examining what has changed in the last 12 months. Certainly, there will be no shortage of material in this respect!
I hope you enjoy reading The Overview. Please pay special attention to the Events Diary at the back of the magazine. I look forward very much to welcoming you to these invaluable gatherings; and please don’t hesitate to let me know if there is a specific topic or issue - within hospitality finance, revenue management, marketing and IT - that you would like to see discussed at a future date.