Main Photo: The virtual AHC, normally held in Manchester
Date: October 2020
Location: UK, with European attendance
Name: The Annual Hotel Conference-Reimagined
So What Happened: Over 600 members of the hospitality community came together for two days with a willingness to learn, from content sessions of industry experts, network, with over 1,400 meeting requests sent through the virtual networking platform, and were inspired, by the content and live chat in the sponsors’ booths.
The overall conclusion: The sector will return, and it will be smarter, savvier and slicker than ever.
Keith Barr, CEO at IHG opened the conference programme by saying: “we have learned to get through a crisis by leveraging technology, but we should never underestimate the power of human connection.”
We heard from economist, John Ashcroft that “whilst some sectors may lag, economies do return to the mean” which was supported by STR when Thomas Emanuel said: “people want to meet, network and learn and once we can meet again, there will be demand.”
The pandemic has brought the sector prominence and as Deirdre Wells from Visit Kent said: “I hope through this experience, governments and local authorities will recognise us as a force for good. It is a vibrant industry that needs investing in.”
Michael Grove from HotStats reminded us that “context is key in understanding performance” and Al Karim Nathoo from 4C Hotel Group challenged brands to prove their worth.
Many speakers said how much closer to their business they had become as well as recognising the power of community – whether that be local guests and businesses, or their teams. The importance of clear, honest and regular communication has been understood.
Desmond Taljaard from London & Regional Properties said: “long term the human instinct is to travel and be curious” and Lionel Benjamin of Gullwing Hospitality reminded us: “you can’t have a virtual holiday – the reality of hotel performance in July and August shown this.”
Ben Harper from Watergate Bay urged those investing into the sector to “look beyond the core” and explore “the pockets of hospitality that would outstrip the urban lead market.”
THPT Comment: THPT were pleased to be co-sponsors of this event….having attended in person for the few years, it wasn’t quite as exciting as being there in person, but Questex did well to get such a good audience. The way of the future…I hope not!
First Seen: Questex press release
The Hotel Property Team (THPT) is a small group of highly experienced business professionals. Between us, we provide a range of skills and experience which is directly relevant to those involved in the hotel property market.