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Simply The Best

HOSPA Chief Executive Carl Weldon previews HOSPACE 2014

HOSPACE 2014 promises to be one of the most exciting, positive, informative and technically sophisticated Annual Conferences and Exhibitions we have ever held!

As daylight emerges from years of recession, the profession at last has a really positive story to tell – a fact to be reinforced by our traditionally popular HOSPACE scene-setting ‘Industry Overview’, presented by STR Global and PwC – using their latest hotel data. In August, we had the very welcome news that double digit growth was recorded for the UK hotel industry. If this trend continues, we can expect a significantly more positive year for both London and the provinces. For those of you wondering about prospects for the eating-out and drinking-out market, Coffer Peach will be revealing their latest findings during the opening session.

So now you’ve heard about the much more encouraging economic climate, what are the industry leaders thinking in this new environment? Will they be creating new businesses or brands, installing new guest and back-of-house technology, recruiting new staff and training them, or will they be doing something else? Find out first-hand about the answers to these questions and much more from our eagerly awaited Leaders Panel – to be chaired by Pride of Britain Chief Executive Peter Hancock, who received such high praise from HOSPACE 2013 delegates.

You will get the chance to not only learn from, but also question, the experienced and illustrious panel of multi-disciplined leaders who will include: Steve Cassidy, Area Vice President, UK & Ireland, Hilton Worldwide, responsible for the company’s multi-brand portfolio across the British Isles; Simon Ewins, Business Development and Corporate Responsibility Director, Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, who is responsible for the roll-out of Whitbread’s new high-tech city centre hotels: ‘Hub by Premier Inn’; Heiko Figge, Head of private equity company Moorfield Group’s hospitality portfolio; and Phil Le-Brun, Senior Director - European Restaurant Solutions at McDonald’s Europe Ltd.

Now it’s time to discuss and explore one of the biggest challenges currently facing hospitality finance, revenue management and IT practitioners – ‘How to get the most from the data insights revolution’. This will be achieved – with the support of the latest cutting-edge, interactive technology to ensure full delegate participation (including voting on issues raised) – by our very first 70-minute, in-depth ‘HOSPA Spotlight’ session, designed to help you understand the value of investing in, and applying efforts to, your own information and data.

Tasked with this undertaking is a top line-up of ‘information insights’ specialists, dealing with the hospitality industry, who will all discuss and illustrate how to gather and use data more effectively: Michael Heyward, Director, Hotel Performance Support Europe, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG); business intelligence specialist Samir Sharma, Chief Executive of datazuum – which enables companies to turn data into valuable insights; Isabelle Pinson, Senior Director of Market Management for Northern Europe, Expedia Lodging Partner Services; and Paul Squires, UK Wireless Manager, Hewlett-Packard (HP).

Guiding the panel, we’re fortunate to have just the right Chairman for the subject in Michael Prager, non-executive Chairman of Optimal Monitoring Limited & Hospitality Pro, and formerly Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Hilton Worldwide. He is also a former Vice President – Sales, Planning & Development, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

You can learn from the real life examples of their experiences, illustrating the value that can be gained from your own business assets. Revenue managers will be seeking out guest behaviours, in terms of booking and spend patterns, whereas finance managers may be looking to their data for researching trends and information primarily on ‘cost’ behaviour. This is an area where OTAs, airlines and supermarkets have traditionally led the way in customer relationship management and loyalty schemes. The session will help you understand and benefit from the insights of key players in this market, as well as HP – one of the largest players in Big Data analytics and Retail.

Rounding off HOSPACE 2014’s morning sessions, we are fortunate to have with us British Hospitality Association Chief Executive Ufi Ibrahim, who is also Chairman of the Tourism Alliance. She will be giving us an ‘Overview’ presentation of the invaluable work currently being undertaken by the ‘Tourism Council’.

The focal point of HOSPACE 2014’s afternoon sessions will be a second in-depth, 70-minute ‘HOSPA Spotlight’, which this time will be shone on ‘Hospitality cures for sleepless night anxieties – from fraud and PCI compliance, to OTA commissions, purchasing technology and a new challenge: trading coming OUT of a recession!’ Helping to put your minds at rest over such worrying issues and more, such as the rising cost of utilities, will be a highly experienced panel with wide-ranging expertise that includes key representatives from the HOSPA Communities. Again supported by the latest delegate technology, the panellists will include: Carol Dodds, Vice President of Revenue Management for the UK, Interstate Europe Hotels & Resorts; Jim Gee, Partner and Head of Forensic and Counter Fraud Services, PKF Littlejohn; Paul Nisbett, Finance & Commercial Director, The Hotel Collection, and Chairman of the HOSPA Finance Community; Bryan Steele, Head of IT, Royal Automobile Club (RAC), and Chairman of the HOSPA IT Community; and Rajesh Vohra, Sales & Marketing Director, Sarova Hotels, who is also President of HEDNA’s (Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association) Board of Directors.

I am delighted to announce that one of the world’s most distinguished and respected hotel advisers, HVS Chairman Russell Kett, will be presiding over the afternoon ‘HOSPA’ Spotlight session. The recipient of a special HOSPA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 in recognition of his ‘outstanding commitment to improving best practice financial management’ right from the Association’s inception in 1969, Russell is the perfect choice to chair the second 70-minute, in-depth discussion of the day.

Linked to the two ‘HOSPA Spotlight’ sessions will be another traditionally popular afternoon highlight – HOSPACE’s highly topical programme of hospitality industry specific educational workshops – all led by top specialists in their subjects. For the first time, some of the workshops will be devoted to panel discussions on specific hot industry subjects – so be sure not to miss the ones most relevant to your business needs! There will be 21 sessions in our famous Educational Sessions Matrix’ and you can choose three half-hour blocks (a choice of seven sessions in each of the three blocks) – giving you the opportunity to build your own programme.

You will have plenty of time during the conference to visit our ever growing exhibition of hospitality technology solutions – providing delegates with a ‘one stop shop’ to view and interact with the latest and ‘best in class’ technologies. The exhibitors will have something of interest to all of you – covering all eventualities for any hospitality business, whether you have a start-up, are an established independent operator, or are involved in a multi chain-owned, operations.

HOSPACE is known for innovation and 2014 will be no exception. We are very proud to be hosting a demonstration and study by Dr. Ajay ‘AJ’ Aluri of consumer behaviour regarding Google’s innovative Glass technology, introduced from the US to the UK in June 2014. Dr Aluri will be examining how wearable computing technologies will both positively and negatively affect the hospitality industry. He will be demonstrating Google ‘Glass’ and will be collecting data from HOSPACE delegates to examine consumer behaviour when using ‘Glass’ in the context of the hospitality industry.

What is Google ‘Glass’? It has been called an ‘ubiquitous computing’ device – with an optical head-mounted display that can be integrated to mobile, and can be operated hands-free using simple voice commands. During his initial research in the US, Dr Aluri – who was selected to participate in the Google ‘Glass’ program in 2013 – explored the motivations and behaviours of college students using ‘Glass’ for cyber-tourism. This is a new type of tourism in which cyber travellers virtually travel and experience a destination in real-time, as a substitute for physical travel. Come and see this exciting development for yourself!

Whether you can attend or unable to be with us on 20 November, you can still interact with us on the day by tweeting on ‘@HOSPATweets’. We have over 14,000 following us on all social media platforms so join in the conversations on the day.

The event’s grand finale Gala Dinner – including the signature ‘HOSPA Pub Quiz and entertainment’ – is one of the traditional social networking highlights of the Conference. I can promise you some amazing entertainment – that will remain secret until the night – both at the dinner and afterwards, before the disco really gets going and you can dance into the early hours!

HOSPACE 2014 is not to be missed so if you haven’t yet booked, or want further details, contact the HOSPA Membership and Events Office on telephone: +44 (0) 203 418 8196; or email: For regularly updated information on HOSPACE 2014 (HOSPA Conference and IT Exhibition), visit the HOSPACE 2014 Website at:


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