Some worries may pervade the U.K. hotel climate, but speakers at the Annual Hotel Conference said it’s time for hotel executives to organize and manage their businesses to take advantage of today’s opportunities.
MANCHESTER, England—The first day of the Annual Hotel Conference laid out a laundry list of what to worry about—Brexit, disruption, technology. Day 2 was all about how to address those concerns by putting one’s own assets and portfolios in order.
Stephen Cassidy, SVP and managing director, Hilton Worldwide, spoke of the increased innovation needed to both drive revenue for the top line and keep it for the bottom line. His strategy involves improving the guest and employee experience, in part by maximizing digital capabilities.
Deirdre Wells, CEO of tourism and hospitality lobby organization UKinbound, added if the Brexit referendum taught the country anything, it was the need to increase outreach into communities—many of which, she said, feel detached and sidelined from the economic benefits of recent years. Outreach, she said, is an expense in time and cost that reaps palpable benefits.
Another way in which the U.K.’s hotel industry is changing is the move to social lobbies, and the guests’ expectation of memorable experiences and localness. Small operational tweaks in mindset and outlook, the panelists agreed, will help to offset macroeconomic influences—many of which are beyond most individuals or firms to change.
It’s important to have vision, and to work to change what you can, speakers said during the second day of the conference.
At a panel on design, Jason Holley, director, Universal Design Studio, said social lobbies might look as though they are full of locals spending all day on their computers while sipping one cup of coffee, but “activity does generate revenue; generosity is seen and repaid.”
Sara Cosgrove, of Sara Cosgrove Design, added that lobbies seen in such hip hotel chains as Ace and Hoxton Hotels “create energy, and energy creates spend.”
Lessons on sound operational tweaks and change came from unexpected places, too.
Martin Elliott, professor of cardiothoracic surgery at children’s hospital Great Ormond Street, gave an inspirational closing speech that emphasized teamwork and specialization—and everyone knowing their role¬—are critical to saving lives. He said surgeons and hospital staff learned life-saving lessons from watching mechanic pit crews at Formula 1 motor racing events.
The same lessons, Elliott said, might be applied to hotel operations—though, no one is in a life-threatening position at a hotel. Brexit and other industry challenges might seem cataclysmic, but sound hotel operators with the right asset in the right location and with the right team, putting hospitality first, have every possibility of success.
Photo of the day
Quotes of the day
“The big do not eat the slow; the fast do.”
“There are a lot of people out there who cannot afford (soccer) clubs and so will buy hotels.”
—Both from Danny Pecorelli, managing director of Exclusive Hotels and Venues, on the “Performing in transient times” panel.
Tweet of the day