Have confidence in your fire safety arrangements
On June 11th we held a members’ meeting at the lovely Bulgari Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge.
The topic for discussion was different payment methods that hoteliers might want to consider accepting in order to open up new markets. For example, the Chinese use wallets such as Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay, rather than the standard credit cards that are so familiar to us. Following the presentations there was a lively discussion where the experts were able to share their knowledge and experience with the audience. We were grateful to have the event sponsored by Elavon, a provider of Merchant Services and have expert speakers from both Elavon and CMSPI, an independent payments consultancy. Over 100 delegates were registered, which is great news for HOSPA members and sponsors. As these events grow, the opportunity to network with colleagues in the industry increases.
The feedback from delegates on the Bulgari Hotel was so positive that we have now confirmed it as a venue for our Christmas lunch! For many years, we combined the HOSPA professional development awards with our Christmas celebration. However, in January 2017 we relaunched the professional development awards as an afternoon tea event; an event that has now run successfully for two consecutive years at the Hilton on Park Lane. In 2019, the awards ceremony will again be afternoon tea, but with a change of venue to The Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel.
With the afternoon tea and the festive season being in such close proximity, it seemed sensible to remove our Christmas lunch from our events calendar, which we did in 2016. However, the lunch has been sorely missed by many members, so we are delighted to be relaunching our Christmas event. The new format will be focused purely on fun, with it effectively being an end of year party with industry colleagues. The aim will be for guests to spend time with colleagues and suppliers while simply enjoying the occasion. We are selling tables of 10 as well as individual tickets. Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to book your places.
Whilst on the subject of lunches, each year HOSPA hosts a small lunch to say thank you to the sponsors who contribute most to the organisation. As a ‘not-for-profit’ we rely heavily on sponsors to enable us to continue delivering value to our members. This year we were excited to experience the opulence of the newly refurbished Mandarin Oriental Hotel. When news of the fire broke a week before our planned event, we were devastated on so many levels. Firstly to see such a beautiful hotel in flames, but also because we have many members, friends and colleagues working there. How devastating it must have been to see your place of work ablaze.
The efficiency of the staff at the hotel ensured that the guests were evacuated safely and looked after exceptionally well. Thank goodness there was no loss of life or serious injury. Local luxury hotels opened their doors to accommodate staff that afternoon and evening, as well as look after the Mandarin Oriental’s guests. As ever the industry pulled together to help a bad situation recover as quickly as possible.
Of course, we had to relocate our lunch. I was amazed and impressed to receive a call first thing the following morning from the Director of Events offering to find a new venue for us. With HOSPA’s connections we immediately knew that we would be able to find another venue ourselves. We declined their kind offer of help as we had no intention of adding to their long to-do lists in the wake of the fire, and set about sorting a new place for lunch. I was inundated with offers - I do love this industry - and we ended up at The Rosewood Hotel which has to be one of my current favourites in London. We were very well looked after and everyone seemed to have an excellent time. We are grateful to the team at The Rosewood for accommodating us so well and at such short notice. Hopefully we will reschedule at the Mandarin Oriental next year!
Returning briefly to fire and the risk it can pose to hotels, in October we are running an event in conjunction with Keystep at The Rubens at the Palace Hotel. We will have some expert speakers presenting a session entitled ‘Smoke and Mirrors.’ You can register now, and on the night you can find out what you need to do to keep your guests safe and secure while they stay with you. Our expert panel will cover fire safety, electronic lock systems, fire regulations, CE marking, physical security and dealing with emergencies. You can see Andrew Evans’ thoughts on this on page 7.
A fire is such a devastating occurrence for any hospitality venue and it’s important that we take such a possibility seriously, no matter how remote it may seem - so I really would urge you to consider attending the event to make sure you’re confident in your fire safety arrangements.