Asides, inspiration from UK’s Annual Hotel Conference
Asides, inspiration from UK’s Annual Hotel Conference
22 OCTOBER 2018 8:22 AM

The Annual Hotel Conference is now up to its 15th year, and it is going great guns with almost 1,000 attendees—not all of whom come from London.

The Annual Hotel Conference, held every October in Manchester, England, is going from strength to strength and is now in its 15th year.

The 2018 edition began very sadly with news of the passing of Neil Bowler during the annual Great Hotel Bike Ride, where members of the hotel industry cycle the 220 or so miles from London to Manchester in aid of charity.

Bowler died while cycling a few miles from Manchester. A founder and director of business consultancy Jenics, Bowler was 52 years of age with two daughters aged 11 and 13.

At the conference, one of the keynote speakers, Julie Fawcett, CEO of hotel-design firm Qbic Hotels, urged hoteliers “to enjoy what you do, and be very proud of it”—words everyone saw the sense of.

However anyone contributes to the hotel industry, it is a wonderful one to be part of. It brings joy.

On a lighter note, there were numerous words from panelists and keynote speakers that provided inspiration, thought, laughter and confirmation. Here are some of them that will not find space in our article coverage of the conference.

“Using tech simply as a differentiator to make your hotel stand out is a risk.”
—Leo Johnson, partner and disruption lead at PwC, and presenter of the BBC Radio 4 program “FutureProofing”

“There aren’t enough metrics to support and benchmark (meetings, incentives, conventions and expositions) business. Meetings and events is a really valuable area that deserves a lot more focus.”
—Ally Northfield, director, Revenue by Design

“Brand is bland. Consumers are willing to roll the dice to find something special. They want an experience that is not replicated down the street.”
—Serena von der Heyde, owner, Georgian House Hotel

“Can a hotel become a village hall? That really is not the job of a hotel. Integration is more about where items are sourced and other community interactions, not so much as being the pillar of that community.”
—Julie Fawcett, CEO, Qbic Hotels

“We live in a complicated time. If you’re an economist, you can prove anything at the moment.”
—Rebecca Harding, CEO, Coriolis Technologies.

There also was humor to be found in the conference’s official Twitter feed and respective hashtag tweets. This is my favorite:

All of the above, and much more, contributes to why AHC 2018 had record attendance numbers—some 950 people.

It is the most British, and Irish, conference. This is the forum in which British issues and its hotel industry can be discussed, assumptions refuted, friendships made and inspiration provided, and the event has grown from an audience of just 50 in its first year.

And it is healthy that it is held outside of London, to which most events are attracted as though moths to a flame.

Would it be a good idea to have the AHC move to another city, probably in the North? Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow?

Just an idea.

Email Terence Baker or find him on Twitter.

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