Some of the country’s most esteemed hoteliers arrived at London’s Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel, for the Master Innholders General Managers’ Conference on Monday 11 and 12th January – an annual forum of trends commentary, strategy development, behavioural techniques and leadership coaching designed to set the hotelier’s agenda for the year ahead.
Delegates took to social media in force this year to share soundbites from the inspirational speakers and communicate with other attendees and by mid-afternoon on 11th January, the conference hashtag #GMConf16 was trending in the top five UK-wide, with more than 94,000 impressions.
In keeping with this year’s conference theme ‘Excellence is No Coincidence’, leadership expert Steve Radcliffe encouraged the experienced audience to think hard about their presence, their body language and their conversation.
“The organisations that will be most competitive in the 21st Century are those who effectively harness the emotional engagement of employees,” he said. “Excellence or greatness is only possible when people cross the line and choose to participate, rather than just willingly, or unwillingly, comply.”
Martin Couchman OBE, deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association (BHA), briefed delegates on the legislative issues that should be on every hotelier’s radar in 2016 and Katharine Le Quesne, director – travel, hospitality & leisure at Deloitte, presented her analysis of global travel market trends, highlighting that the UK and Spain were leading growth in Europe.
Gorgeous Group’s founder Robbie Bargh inspired delegates by tackling the art of storytelling in building a brand that people want to engage with. Keynote speaker and entrepreneur Luke Johnson then reflected on his experience as a restaurant and pub owner and investor to talk about the inventiveness required to perform well in what’s now a highly experiential business.
“Hotels have to reinvent themselves right from two-star to luxury level. They’ve got to offer theatre, storytelling, design,” he said.
In the evening, a glittering gala dinner at Grosvenor House saw guest speaker Gyles Brandreth wow with entertaining anecdotes about his encounters with the hospitality industry.
On day two Wayne Clarke, founding partner of Global Growth, gave a rousing personal account of the powerful role of staff engagement in his successful growth into a manager and then into a leader.
MediaCoach director Alan Stevens then led the charge on a debate about crisis management, with a panel made up of hoteliers – Michael Gray FIH MI, general manager, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, David Sharpe, divisional director, London Midway Attractions and Gareth Jones, hotel industry specialist – well versed in managing the challenging aftermath of a traumatic event.
Digital expert Dan Christian discussed harnessing user generated content to drive sales and the behaviour expert Jez Rose finished off with an inspirational and energetic presentation on ‘extraordinary leadership’.
Jonathan Raggett, chairman of The Master Innholders, was delighted at the outcomes of the event: “This is one of the most outstanding conferences we have ever held with so much inspirational content. Thank you to all of our delegates, our valued sponsors and the conference planning committee led by Stuart Bowery, whose wonderful team at Grosvenor House have provided exceptional hospitality.
Funds raised from conference ticket sales will now go towards funding the Master Innholder Scholarships and Aspiring Leaders Diploma, helping the next generation of hospitality leaders learn and develop in their careers.”