Independent hoteliers should seize the upcoming chance to personally check out what the big wide world has to offer them, says Peter Hancock
My job allows me to meet lots of successful independent hoteliers and I can't think of one who does not devote a large part of their waking day to meeting the needs of their customers. Sadly there aren't too many occasions on which the tables are turned, when someone else has gone to a great deal of trouble to provide hoteliers with what is useful to them.
A notable exception last autumn was the Independent Hotel Show, which is repeated this year on the last two days of October at Olympia. It promises to be even more informative this time around, with a packed programme of business sessions dealing with real solutions to real problems, like raising finance. I have been asked to chair a couple and so had an early glance at the list of participants, which is not so much a ‘who's who' as a ‘who knows how to' from the world of hospitality.
Unless they are members of a consortium or very active in the wider hotel community, those who run independent hotels can easily become prisoners in their own businesses, reluctant to spend time away unless it's absolutely necessary; in some cases they are less aware than their customers of what the competition is doing.
From a selfish point of view, events like the Independent Hotel Show are a great way to learn what's going on in the big wide world without the inconvenience of years of study. In my career I have found that very few problems cannot be solved simply by phoning the right person and paying them afterwards. Often the difficult bit is finding the right person but with so many experts under one roof the chances are greatly increased.
As the time approaches I'll be trying to think of some really good questions to put to the panellists, especially about marketing, so if you are planning to attend, why not help me pick the brains of the professionals? We might learn something really valuable.