Monday 27th June 2016 saw leading hospitality industry experts gather at London’s Grange St. Paul’s Hotel for a thought-provoking day of discussions and debate. Described as the “Davos of the hospitality industry”, the Summit was organised by the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and Bench Events.
Tony Matharu, Managing Director of Grange Hotels, commented:
"The strapline for The BHA Hospitality & Tourism Summit 2016 of ‘connected.success’ could not have been more relevant and timely following the referendum leading to the proposed Brexit from the EU. I am grateful to all of the speakers and contributors and most particularly to the Rt Hon. the Lord Hague, who stressed the need for us to navigate carefully through the increasingly volatile and unstable times confronting us today; taking advantage of opportunities to exploit the dynamism, entrepreneurial spirit and productivity demonstrated by the British hospitality industry."
To an audience of hospitality industry experts and leaders from both within and outside of the industry, Tony emphasised the importance of timely, relevant and personal connections in order to achieve success. With the proposed Brexit at the forefront of minds, Tony stressed the importance of dynamic, outward-looking and positive communication, together with maintaining and encouraging increased collaboration rather than introspection and fragmentation.
Tony utilised examples from the FSS and UEFA campaign: Stronger Together, and the irony of own goals, as well as the quotation from Franklin D. Roosevelt, “the only thing to fear is fear itself”, to encourage a positive approach in the increasingly uncertain political and economic climate.
The day saw the Summit’s theme of connectivity brought to life in a variety of speeches, panel discussions and roundtable talks, with keynote speeches from Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture Tourism and External Affairs, Scottish Government, and the Rt Hon. John Whittingdale OBE MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, DCMS.
Throughout the day, Grange Hotels heard from young ambassadors within the hospitality sector - beginning with Sam Johnson, Guest Relations Manager at Grange St. Paul’s Hotel - who shared their personal journey and experiences in the hospitality industry together with their aspirations and hopes for the future.
In light of recent events, Dr Andrew Sentence CBE, Senior Economic Advisor for PwC, and Dermot King, Managing Director of Butlins and Chairman of BHA’s Cut Tourism VAT Campaign, discussed the outcome of the referendum and the poignant question of what it will mean for the hospitality and tourism industry.
The afternoon saw a particularly interesting discussion about connected customers and how to own and nurture relationships, with an impressive line-up of speakers which included Terri Scriven, Industry Head of Hospitality at Google UK; Varun Kapoor, VP and Head of Business Intelligence at Global Hospitality Services; and Helena Egan, Director of Industry Relations at TripAdvisor.
The inspirational and erudite the Rt Hon. the Lord Hague of Richmond, closed the Summit with an outstanding keynote speech. Lord Hague discussed human economic and political instability, the importance of local knowledge, global connections and long-term thinking, and the need for hospitality businesses and others to take advantage of new opportunities whilst confronting the dangers of the foreseeable future. Lord Hague concluded his speech by re-emphasising the integrity and credibility of individual and collective values and reputation, which underpin success in an increasingly turbulent world.
Grange Hotels would like to applaud the British Hospitality Association for organising the event and delivering such an inspiring programme, and would also like to thank all of this year’s Summit attendees, volunteers, speakers and ambassadors.