The Hospitality Professionals Association saw a record number of attendees at its annual HOSPACE conference – with hundreds descending on the Royal Lancaster London hotel to hear expert insight on the challenges and opportunities facing the hospitality industry.
Following months of preparation, this year’s HOSPACE saw its numbers surpass last year’s attendance by more than 20%, with just shy of 600 delegates there to enjoy the range of panel discussions, workshops and networking opportunities on offer.
Among the high profile contributors was Kate Nicholls OBE, CEO of UKHospitality, who discussed the relationship between the current inflationary pressures and consumer confidence — whilst exploring the realms of sustainability and its ability to influence the career choices of young people.
Veteran hotelier, Harry Murray MBE, HOSPA’s President, also addressed this year's delegates where he highlighted that “Our people are our most valuable asset”, when discussing the current staffing crisis. He also spoke of the need to develop and project a culture of diversity and inclusion the industry can be proud of, whilst reflecting on his journey as an apprentice and how the relationship between education and hospitality is paramount.
The programme for the day focused on the important topics impacting the industry including finance, sustainability, workforce development and technology — with a discussion between Peter Gould from RendezVerse and Jon Davis from the Ivy Collection entitled "Where On Earth is the Metaverse", proving a particular talking point on the day.
Other notable contributors included Pigi Matthaiou and Weirong Zheng from Google, Danny Pecorelli, the Managing Director of Exclusive Collection, Michael Clitheroe, the General Manager of Balmer Lawn Hotel, Matt Broom, the Head of Customer Technology at PizzaExpress and Andrew Stembridge from Iconic Luxury Hotels.
The educational element of the conference was topped off with its traditional gala dinner – which also saw a record number of attendees and offered a collective celebration of yet another challenging year in hospitality. During the dinner, HOSPA announced the winners of its Inspirational Leader awards, which recognise those going above and beyond in the industry and included:
David Pryde, Director of IT at Millennium Hotels and Resorts – winner of the Inspirational Technology Leader of the Year award (sponsored by BT)
Angela Duffy, Head of Operational Finance and Shared Services at Jurys Inn & Leonardo Hotels — winner of the Inspirational Finance Leader of the Year award (sponsored by BDO)
Danny Pecorelli, Managing Director at Exclusive Collection — winner of the Inspirational Sustainability Leader of the Year award (sponsored by SaveMoney CutCarbon)
Nicola Trew, Director at Vroom — winner of the Inspirational Revenue Manager of the Year award (sponsored by Edwards & Finn)
Nicola Cook, Head of Marketing at Rudding Park — winner of the Inspirational Marketer Leader of the Year award (sponsored by Profitroom)
William Gibbs, Hotel Director at SRSL — winner of the Inspirational Leader - Asset Management Project award (sponsored by Keystep solutions)
Commenting on the winners and the success of the event, Jane said: “We can confidently say that this year’s HOSPACE event was our most successful to date. Not only did we have a record number of delegates in attendance, we had an outstanding array of contributors, who relayed their expertise and engagingly tackled some of the biggest issues facing the industry. Of course, no HOSPACE would be complete without our highly anticipated Gala Dinner, which once again saw us celebrate some of the best leaders in our sector through our Inspirational Leader awards. We are always grateful for the opportunity to bring hospitality professionals together and there really is no substitute for face-to-face engagement. The team at The Royal Lancaster were fantastic once again, and their efforts are the backbone of a successful HOSPACE — for which we are all very grateful.”
Alongside HOSPA and the Royal Lancaster London’s respective teams, the event was made possible thanks to support from HOSPA’s key sponsors and exhibitors, which included Percipient, Sky, BDO, Exponential-e, Harri, Profitroom and Methodworx among others.
Some of the key sessions from the programme are set to be housed on the HOSPACE website within the next few weeks, allowing non-attendees to gain an appreciation of the topics discussed, while additional information about the event is also available. Please visit www.hospace.org for more.