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Independent Hotel Show 2019: a show preview

A raft of new products and innovative ideas to inspire budding hoteliers and enlighten existing operators will be available at the Independent Hotel Show, taking place next week at Olympia London. Janet Harmer previews the show

The eighth edition of the Independent Hotel Show will be the biggest one yet. More than 350 companies – nearly 200 of
which will be new for 2019 – will display their products to an audience of around 6,500 owners and operators of the UK’s luxury, boutique and independent hotels over the two-day show on 15-16 October.

With nearly 22,000 new hotel rooms being added to the UK hotel market this year, according to data from PwC, there will be many hoteliers looking for inspiration for furnishing and fitting out new spaces.

Operators will also be looking at how they can most effectively grow existing business by tapping into new markets for the expanding sector in the most sustainable manner possible. A visit to one of the key sessions during a full two-day seminar programme will provide visitors with a host of thought-provoking and exciting ways to manage their businesses.

More than 50 expert hoteliers and industry professionals will share their expert knowledge.

● To view the full seminar programme, visit independenthotelshow.co.uk/sessions-2019

The Conscious Bedroom

With sustainability increasingly in the mind of guests when booking a hotel, it is vital that operators put in place initiatives that will have minimum impact on the future of the planet. To help hoteliers in their quest for creating more sustainable hotels, the Independent Hotel Show has created the Conscious Bedroom, in partnership with Criton. Harris Harris has designed the room to bring to life the changing taste of hotel guests, showing how a more considered approach can work in today’s changing environment.

The room has been created as if it was located within a heritage building, which is frequently cited as being more challenging when it comes to being sustainable compared to a new build.

Every aspect of the design was taken into consideration – from the architectural finishes and furniture to the bedding, floor covering and even the artwork. The room will use recycled, organic and sustainably sourced products and materials, with low-energy LED lights and taps and showers with low-water usage.

Hotel Vision Stage

Aptly named, this space will host hotel visionaries sharing their views on a number of wide-ranging subjects. They include:

● Robin Hutson, founder and chief executive of Lime Wood Group and Home Grown Hotels, which operates the Pig hotel brand of six hotels.

● Will Ashworth of Watergate Bay hotel in Cornwall and Paul Milsom of the Milsom Hotels, who will talk about hotel dynasties.

● Marten Dresen of Good Hotel Group, on how to combine doing good with doing business.

● Petra Clayton of Custard Communications, Laura Sharpe of Ham Yard hotel, London, and Chris Ward of Hotel Makers UK on
building successful partnerships.

● Nick Davies of the Cottage in the Wood, Worcestershire; Tim Holloway of the Manor at Sway, Hampshire; Julio Marques of the London Bridge hotel; and Adam Raphael of The Good Hotel Guide on community business.

● The Competition and Markets Authority leading a discussion on ‘Online Practices: the Good, the Bad and the Illegal’. The session will give tips to marketing, IT and general managers on how to manage a hotel’s reputation online.

Innovation Stage

Among the latest hotel trends in digitalisation, design and sustainability to be discussed will be:

● The Conscious Hotel Bedroom Report – Alex Harris of Harris Harris; Hamish Kilburn of Hotel Designs; Sue Williams
of Whatley Manor, Wiltshire; Xenia zu Hohenlohe of Considerate Group; and Olivia Richli of Heckfield Place, Hampshire, will discuss the details of the report that has informed the show’s installation.

Wellness – how guest well-being and customer engagement are intrinsically linked with a panel made up of Nadira Lalji, founder of wellness-focused Inhabit hotel, London; David Connell, general manager of South Lodge, near Horsham, West Sussex; Harry Cragoe, owner of the Gallivant, Camber Sands, East Sussex; and Rohaise Rose-Bristow, director at the Torridon, Wester Ross.

● Social Media 2020 – Alison Battisby from Avocado Social will discuss how the likes of Twitter and Instagram can have an positive impact on a hotel’s business.

● The Dark Art of Digital – Olivia Byrne of Eccleston Square hotel, London; Julie Grieve of Criton; and Steve Lowy of the Hotel Marketing Association on how hotels are embracing new digital products and technologies.

● The Main Ingredients: Digesting the Latest Trends in FB – a panel including Juan Diego Farah of Deliveroo will discuss the top food and drink trends for 2020.

Independent Hoteliers’ Hall of Fame

The exemplary work being undertaken up and down the country by independent hoteliers will be celebrated at the show by a raft of awards.

Leading the way will be the well-established Independent Hotelier of the Year award, presented to operators who have made a significant impact in the industry, as well as being passionate about running their hotel and creating exceptional guest experiences.

Past winners of the accolade, which has been presented annually since 2012, include Jeremy Goring of the Goring hotel, London; Kit and Tim Kemp of Firmdale Hotels; and Adam Rowledge of Georgian House hotel, London, who is now working as a consultant.

The shortlist for Independent Hotelier of the Year includes:

● Harry Cragoe, owner, the Gallivant, East Sussex

● Mark and Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, owner, Swinton Park, North Yorkshire

● Paula Ellis, group general manager, Retreats Group (Twr y Felin, Roch Castle and Penrhiw Priory), Pembrokeshire

● Anton Fedun, owner, the Ampersand and Vintry Mercer, London

● James and Fjona Hill, owners, Hampton Manor, West Midlands

● David and Charlotte Reilly, owners, Yorebridge House, North Yorkshire.

New to this year’s show will be three new awards for Hotel Innovation, GM of the Future (created in partnership with the Master Innholders to recognise rising stars in the hotel sector) and Long-time Achievement. The Hotel Innovation Award will go to a business which has had a significant impact the industry by dynamically reshaping the guest experience.

The shortlist features:

● Mollie’s Motel Diner, Oxfordshire

● Whatley Manor hotel and spa, Wiltshire

● Cow Hollow hotel, Manchester

● Hampton Manor, West Midlands

● Swinton Park, Yorkshire Dales

● Manor House Lindley, Huddersfield.

A judging panel of hotel industry experts has compiled the above two shortlists, while the GM of the Future award has been put together in partnership with the Master Innholders to recognise rising stars in the hotel sector. The GM of the Future shortlist includes:

● Adam Hersey, operations manager, Barns hotel, Bedfordshire

● Jeremy Whitworth, deputy general manager at the Montagu Arms, Beaulieu, Hampshire

● Samantha Rieu, hotel operations manager, Dukes London

● Simone Hopman, rooms division manager at the Athenaeum Hotel Residences, London

● Tamsyn Mann, guest relations manager, Calcot hotel and spa, Tetbury, Gloucestershire.

The winners will be decided by the industry and will be announced on 15 October at the end of the first day of the show.

● To vote, visit: www.independenthotelshow.co.uk/awards/cast-your-vote