An Article from Peter Hancock

Until the Independent Hotel Show launched some eight years ago there were only limited opportunities for those who run their own hotels to meet in an environment specifically created to help them learn what is going on and to meet a carefully curated bunch of suppliers. When the doors open at Olympia this year on October 15th & 16th, a tried and tested format is expected to attract around 6,500 hoteliers from all over the UK.

Having a small involvement in the proceedings I have seen the trouble the organisers take to ensure that the business sessions on the two stages are relevant to our needs and have the best available speakers taking part. This year is no exception and now there are two new award categories designed to celebrate Hotel Innovation and the GM of the Future in addition to the well-established Independent Hotelier of the Year. As a little aside, the very first recipient of that honour was Jeremy Goring of the eponymous London property and because he was away in Australia at the time they asked me to accept the trophy on his behalf. Presenting the award was TV chef Rick Stein who inadvertently introduced me as Peter Haddock, perhaps allowing his mind to turn once more to the treasures of the sea when he should have been concentrating on the typed card right under his nose.

It is a tribute to the event organisers, Fresh Montgomery, that they have resisted the temptation to allow the show to massively expand along similar lines to Hotelympia, which they also run, because bigger would certainly not be better for us. Part of the charm of an independent hotel is the love and care that a hands-on proprietor puts into everything and in many ways the show replicates this concept. Anyway I hope to see you there if you can make it.

So what will we be wrestling with in October? By then it looks like we’ll be very close to the EU exit door and new legislation will have been passed committing the UK to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. I make no political point here, but the implications are huge and likely to change the way people travel, what they buy, what they eat and where they work. The hotel industry will need to adapt to some big changes no matter what else is going on in the economy, so there is much to be learned not only from the experts but also from the examples of other hoteliers.

On that note I feel compelled to draw your attention to another key date as the Master Innholders will present their Hotel Leadership Conference on January 13th & 14th at the London Hilton Bankside. You don’t have to be a Master Innholder to attend and I can guarantee a hugely informative programme. How do I know? Because the person putting it together is Dan Rose-Bristow, owner of The Torridon in Scotland and current Chairman of Pride of Britain Hotels. A wiser and better-informed hotelier could scarcely be imagined.

A final observation if I may… based on three decades of getting to know people from our trade. The most successful invariably seem to get out and about, noticing how others run their businesses and picking up fresh ideas all the time. The least successful, I’m sad to say, are often those who feel they are indispensable – tied to the stove or the desk or the bar and never allowing themselves time to step away from the business. What a lot they are missing!

About the Author:

Peter Hancock has spent almost 40 years in the hospitality industry and is currently chief executive of Pride of Britain Hotels. Now 19 years into the job, the Pride of Britain consortium is in better shape than ever with 50 outstanding member hotels. He will chair this year’s Independent Hotel Show Awards, Tuesday 15th October.

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