HOSPA CEO Jane Pendlebury looks forwards to a hopeful 2019
Last week was the HOSPA Christmas lunch, and it was an exquisite way to end a year of successful HOSPA events. We were in the Ballroom at the very elegant Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge, and we had tables of 10 hosted by BDO, Euronet, FM Recruitment, Elavon and Melia Hotels, plus lots of other HOSPA supporters on their own or in small groups. A lot of fun was had with a Christmas themed quiz, Christmas headwear and Santa snow globes sponsored by our supporter Andrew Evans at KeyStep. We also raised money for Hospitality Action (www.hospitalityaction.org.uk) one of the main charities for our industry.
Those with staying power ended up in a pub behind the hotel, where the party continued some more and it was great to see so many in the festive spirit. Thank you to all who attended and added to the fun and success of the event.
As mentioned in my column last month, HOSPACE next year will be at the end of November, and at the Royal Lancaster once again. Hopefully you already have the 28th November 2019 blocked out in your diary, but if not, now’s the time to do so! Whilst we are delighted that we have returned to our traditional spot at the end of November, it is both good news and bad news, as it may mean that our re-launched Christmas lunch event is short-lived. Our feeling is that the two events so close together might be too much - but please do let me know your thoughts!
It’s always lovely to look back at the year gone by and be proud of what we’ve achieved. The most significant change to HOSPA was the addition of the Asset Management Community, something that has been a real positive and one that has helped to make 2018 a standout year.
Looking ahead to 2019, HOSPA will have a full calendar of members’ meetings, an expanded team and social events. I don’t doubt that next year will continue to send its challenges, both for the UK and hospitality. Brexit still casts clouds over so much of what we do, with a weakening economy never good for our industry. The strength (or otherwise) of the Great British Pound has both positives and negatives for us. Weak local currency means that the money overseas staff send home to their families has less value, so they may question their reason for being away. Potentially losing these employees adds to staff shortages that have already been impacted by the very prospect of Brexit. On the positive side though, a weak pound often prompts an increase in visitor numbers from abroad which can be a real boost for the hospitality industry. However this is something that is then tempered by the higher cost of any imported supplies eating into profit margins. But while our sector can be one of flux, one thing you can be sure of, is that we are a resilient and hardworking industry - and our smile never falters!
Merry Christmas to you all and good wishes for 2019.