Celebrating 10 years of the Independent Hotel Show
As the Independent Hotel Show prepares to return to Olympia London on 4-5 October for its tenth edition, we speak to some of the key figures involved in the show’s history to hear how it has evolved, and what their hopes are for its future.
It’s rare in the trade show industry to come across a true gap in the market, and even rarer for that gap to have a pre-existing community clamouring to come together. So, it was quite a moment when, in 2012, Tim Etchells of SME London teamed up with journalist and consultant Henrietta Green to do just that.
The dream was to create an event specifically for the independent and boutique hotelier community, with content and suppliers curated for this unique sector. Dan Brod, Co-Owner of The Beckford Group, has been at every edition of the show, as a supplier, visitor, speaker and even as an award nominee.
He recalls of the first edition: “It was very intimate and wonderfully sociable; all the stands had been carefully selected, so everything really did feel very relevant. There was an excitement that echoed what hoteliers in our independent and boutique sector had always felt: that we were ‘different’ to mainstream hospitality, and it felt good and genuinely useful that this was being recognised in a show.”
This sense of the show is echoed by Peter Hancock, former CEO at Pride of Britain Hotels and long-time ambassador and advocate for the event.
"Crucially, the show has remained exclusively aimed at independent minded hoteliers."
“I remember being shocked to meet people I knew around every corner,” he says. “It is only with hindsight that we (the punters) could see there had been a gap in the market for a show like this. The show has just got better and better in my opinion, especially in terms of the quality of speakers on the stages and the overall attendance. Crucially, the show has remained exclusively aimed at independent minded hoteliers."
Another long-time partner to the show is leading independent insurance broker James Hallam. David Noble, Managing Director of Hospitality and Leisure at the company, told us: “The independent and boutique hotel community is tight-knit, and the show quickly became a place to catch up with old friends, make new ones and network with key decisionmakers. It’s the one show that people really make an effort to attend.”
The show was acquired by Montgomery Group in 2016, which has continued to grow the event and the accompanying Independent Hotel Show Awards while keeping its core hotelier audience front and centre. As we look ahead to the next ten years of the Independent Hotel Show, it’s more important than ever to support and grow the independent and boutique hotelier sector, both in the UK and as the brand expands with sister events in Amsterdam and Miami.
Damion Angus, Group Managing Director at Montgomery Group, comments: "I am delighted to be celebrating ten years of this magnificent brand which was created to serve the needs of the boutique and independent hotel industry when it launched back in 2012.
“We have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the luxury and boutique hotel industry and all those that supply this hugely innovative and design-led group of individuals. We very much look forward to another decade of discussing new trends, creating valuable content and connecting the community to ensure new relationships are built and further opportunities are discovered.”
We can’t wait to celebrate our tenth edition at this year’s event, and to raise a glass with the amazing independent hotel community.