Now in its 27th year, the Master Innholders has revamped its annual conference and rebranded it for 2020 as the Hotel Leadership Conference.
Formerly known as the ‘General Managers’ Conference’, the new name marks the start of a new era for the leading industry event for senior hotel managers.
We spoke to conference chair and co-owner of The Torridon, Dan Rose-Bristow FIH MI, to find out more.
The Master Innholders has renamed the Hotel General Managers’ Conference to the Hotel Leadership Conference. What was the key reason for doing this?
The conference has never just been attended by general managers; many of the delegates are owners of independent hotels, heads of department or junior management, and we wanted to reflect our audience in the title.
The Hotel Leadership Conference is a better reflection of the content on offer; it opens the event to a wider audience and makes it more accessible, especially to those who thought it may not be relevant for them in the past.
Who should attend?
Whether you’re a personnel and development manager or managing director, head housekeeper or head chef, hotel professionals of all levels will take away implementable and thought-provoking insight from the two-day event.
What was the thought process behind the 2020 conference theme ‘Challenge Your Perspective’?
The conference programme will be about looking at the hotel industry, how we work and what opportunities the future will bring from a different perspective. Whether repositioning a business, changing recruitment strategies or being prepared for a change in hotel guest, the programme will delve into what and how we can learn from other industries, and look at what hotels and the industry will look like in 20 years’ time. This will include employee engagement, trends and legislation amongst the unmissable content.
What can hotel professionals expect from the Hotel Leadership Conference?
Delegates of the conference can expect to leave feeling inspired with a new outlook on how they can work and think differently to achieve excellence. The conference is not about reinventing overnight, it’s about how people can think differently to evolve and become a better hotelier.
Attendees will also benefit from the unique opportunity to meet with hundreds of their peers, including many of the UK’s leading hoteliers, and share their challenges, frustrations and ideas in a dynamic and inspiring environment.
With many hotels cutting back on training and development budgets, what would you say to those hoteliers who were questioning whether to book a ticket to the conference?
I think it’s not so much whether you can afford to attend, but whether you can afford to miss out. Training and development are essential, no matter what level of the industry you’re at, and the takeaways from this event will benefit your business over the years to come.
Until the 15 November we have a ‘4 for 3’ offer on tickets, so you can come with your team at a reduced rate and maximise on the learnings from the conference throughout the business. We also offer special rates for hoteliers, Master Innholders, St Julian Scholars and Aspiring Leaders Diploma alumni.
Earlier this year the Government announced the new UK Tourism Sector Deal, committing to build an additional 130,000 hotel rooms. Do you think this will have a negative effect on the independent hotel sector?
I think that any pledge from the Government that recognises the value of the tourism sector and the enormous contribution it has to the economy has to be received positively. The independent hotel sector is thriving and in many cases innovating, so hoteliers should see this as an opportunity to continue to look to the future and stay ahead of the curve, and continue to focus on the points of differentiation that sets independent hotels apart from their competition.
In your opinion, what do you see as the next biggest challenge for hotel professionals?
The biggest challenge is going to be keeping pace with consumer expectations and always staying one step ahead. Guests – quite rightly – expect a hotel stay to be better than what they have at home, and whether that luxury comes from in-room technology, exceptional customer service or outstanding food and drink, hotels need to be ready to deliver.
What is your strategy to minimise the effect these challenges will have on your property and team?
For me I think it’s incredibly important to always be looking at what other people are doing, both within the hotel industry and in other sectors, to help identify emerging trends. As a hotel you can’t become too insular or you’ll get left behind. I try to attend as many industry events as possible and encourage my team to do the same, as well as visiting other hotels and looking outside the industry to see what innovations are emerging in technology, marketing, retail and other sectors. Collaboration is also key – for independent hotels to thrive we need to share ideas and support each other, as well as supporting the next generation of hoteliers who will end up driving the change.
What do you think the industry will look like in 10 years’ time?
It’s incredibly hard to predict the future but what I hope to see is an industry that’s dynamic and continually evolving, staying at the forefront of innovation. I think the guest accommodation landscape will have changed, with serviced apartments, Airbnb and other non-traditional options capturing more of the market, but hotels can still thrive by proving their point of difference through unrivalled service and offering something that cannot be found elsewhere.
Aside from that – you can find out more about what the future will look like by attending the Hotel Leadership Conference! We have a dedicated session on what the industry will look like in 2034, and all of our speakers will be discussing ways hoteliers can implement new strategies to future-proof their businesses.