I am delighted to introduce myself as HOSPA’s new CEO, taking over from Carl. I’ve got a long history with HOSPA - I used to be a sponsor, Carl and I launched the IT directors’ lunches/dinners together, I then helped out on a voluntary basis with the conference for a few years before joining more formally to run the Membership and Events office in March 2014. Prior to that I have worked in hotels and made a career out of hospitality technology. You can be confident that I know and understand the business!
As a supplier I recognised the massive networking opportunities in HOSPA and the conference was always a big draw. The members’ meetings are very informative, interesting, useful for meeting people and always good fun. There is a very good social aspect to members’ events, so not only did I enjoy working with HOSPA, it was also very educational.
HOSPA is in very good shape since its development from BAHA back in 2011. It has gone from strength to strength, the conference being a very key part of what we deliver. I want to build on all those strengths. I’m very keen on expanding membership, to attract more hoteliers and also widening it out to the larger hospitality industry. Historically we have been very strong on hotels, but I now want to extend our reach to include contract caterers, restaurants, conference centres and stadiums to give us wider coverage of hospitality.
In the very beginning BAHA was the British Association of Hotel Accountants changing to the British Association of Hospitality Accountants which then became the HOSPA that we have grown to know and love! HOSPA (and BAHA before it) has been very hotel-oriented and continues to be so despite having attracted members and sponsors from the whole world of hospitality. Businesses such as contract catering and stadiums are now a very big part of the industry and we will be embracing of them.
We are going to build on HOSPACE and this year the Gala Dinner on the 10th November 2016 will include the Professional of the Year Awards. Historically we have had a separate event in December for the awards, alongside Debra Adams’ Professional Development accolades and prizes for the most successful students of the year. We plan to split that event into two, with the Professional of the Year Awards part of the Gala Dinner and the student awards being celebrated in a separate educationally oriented ceremony. In early 2017, this new, dedicated event will focus entirely on the skills and development of the most successful learners.