Hotplate April 2019

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April 2019

Culloden Estate & Spa Tuesday 9th April 2019




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HOUSEKEEPING WINNERS CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THOSE THAT COLLECTED A TROPHY AT THE AWARDS. P. 18-19 MEMBER NEWS Refurbishments, awards and celebrations in the Northern Ireland hotel world.

P. 4-6 GOLF TOURISM Are you ready for The Open? A look at preparations and the economic impact.

P. 20-23 RECEPTIONIST OF THE YEAR The assessment day for receptionists has been completed.

P. 24-25 EASTER OPENING HOURS The liquor licensing hours for hotels this Easter from O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors.

P. 27 FRONT COVER. Pages 10 to 16 focus on the Taste of Tourism Summit on 9th April.

HOTPLATE Northern Ireland Hotels Federation The McCune Building, 1 Shore Road Belfast BT15 3PG Tel: 028 9077 6635 Web: Email:





t has been a winter marked by many tragic incidents. However, none resonated more with the hotel industry than that of the recent events at the Greenvale Hotel. I would like to take this opportunity to offer our condolences to everyone involved and our support to those coping with the aftermath of the tragedy. The first quarter of the year is always a challenge. After a busy Christmas period, there tends to be a prolonged hangover for the hospitality sector. Bills have to be paid, overheads appear to swell, and business tends to be slow. Easter seems light years away and there is a temptation to hibernate until the busier summer months arrive. This year we have faced the additional hurdle of a significant increase in stock, rising costs and, lest we forget, the uncertainty of Brexit. Consumer confidence has taken a knock, but hoteliers are a resilient breed

and have been working hard to promote business. There have been notable campaigns like ‘Say Hello to More’ with Tourism Northern Ireland and city breaks promoted by Tourism Ireland. Business has been slow, but the months ahead show good base business on the books, visitor numbers look strong and if we manage to sort Brexit out in the coming months, businesses will breathe a long sigh of relief. Over the last few months, the NIHF has been working on highlighting the role of people in the industry. The competition to find the best housekeeping team has just been completed. Congratulations to all the winners and well done to everyone who took part. The Hotel Receptionist of the Year competition is being staged for the 16th time and it remains an important fixture in the Federation calendar. Taste of Tourism, focusing on the food and beverage elements of the industry, takes place on 9th April. A stellar line-up of

GAVIN CARROLL President internationally acclaimed speakers and the opportunity to gain a real insight into the future of food awaits. The Federation also celebrates its twentieth anniversary in 2019. We will be marking this occasion in a number of ways and hope that members have received their pin badge to mark the year. More details will follow in due course, with a celebration planned for this year’s Hospitality Exchange on 15th and 16th October 2019. All that remains is for me to wish you all a happy Easter and a busy season ahead.


The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation was officially founded in March 1999, following a meeting of hoteliers in what was the Stakis Hotel Templepatrick at the start of that year. The aim was to set up an accommodation-focused body that would represent the needs of its members at a time of rapid growth for the tourism sector. Twenty years later, the hotel industry and tourism are still growing but challenges remain - Brexit, the lack of government, skills and

recruitment - to name a few. In celebrating their twentieth anniversary, the Federation continues to focus solely on the accommodation sector. They are here to help hoteliers and to lobby for the things that matter to them. The Federation has a range of events planned throughout the year, culminating in the 20th Hospitality Exchange conference and exhibition in October.



GALGORM RESORT » Galgorm has announced the opening of 11 new luxury country cottages within the resort grounds.





Andras Hotels has appointed McCue Crafted Fit to create a new ‘Open Lobby’ at its Holiday Inn at Belfast City Centre. Open Lobby is the new concept from Holiday Inn for the reception, bar and restaurant areas in its hotels.

Ballygally Castle has announced plans for a new wedding pavilion set within in the castle gardens. This new “Belvedere” Suite is a separate garden structure which represents a £135k investment by the Hastings Hotels Group.

The new interior will transform the traditional hotel lobby, lounge, bar and restaurant areas creating one open, cohesive space where guests can checkin, dine and blend work and leisure with no barriers. The concept features free Wi-Fi, ‘To Go Café’ for 24/7 snacks and drinks including Starbucks coffee, a flexible and relaxed dining area with a range of seating options, a media lounge, complete with comfy seating, games, magazines and TV to replace the traditional bar and an E-Bar business centre.

The new pavilion is aimed to offer couples a new and unique venue in which to hold their wedding ceremony and enjoys superb views of the stunning gardens and trout stream.

The Bushmills Inn has just completed the latest phase of investment which has allowed them to introduce Afternoon Tea to their portfolio, as well as the refit of a new kitchen to help meet the continual increase in demand for their food and beverage offering in their Restaurant and Gas Bar.

The new Belvedere garden suite will be able to accommodate up to 120 guests and will enable the hotel to meet the growing demand for outside ceremonies, without having to worry about the weather.

As well as the kitchen refit, 8 rooms have been upgraded from Mill House Classic to Mill House Deluxe bedrooms with new bathrooms, carpet and soft furnishings. New carpet has been laid in all public areas. This follows last year’s work on a new laundry room, new parquet floor in the Gas Bar and remodelling of the main entrance fireplace.


FITZWILLIAM HOTEL » The Fitzwilliam Hotel is celebrating its tenth birthday and the completion of the second phase of development at its premises on Great Victoria Street bringing the total amount invested in the property since 2016 to £5million. This latest phase of investment has seen the addition of a further 16 luxury bedrooms and a new penthouse suite with panoramic views over the city. This follows an initial £2million refit in November 2016 which saw the introduction of the sumptuous, art deco inspired colour palettes and furnishings throughout the lobby and bedrooms.



Work began on the Beannchor Group’s new £4m hotel at Lisburn Square in March. It is anticipated the new hotel will open in autumn 2019 and, when complete, will create 75 new jobs.

Killeavy Castle has unveiled its newly refurbished premises following a £12 million investment with support from First Trust Bank.

The new 52-bedroom property will be the first hotel in Lisburn city centre. An artist’s impression of the new hotel reveals a contemporary look and feel to the venue, which will enhance the aesthetic of the Lisburn Square scheme, with a striking glass fronted ground floor façade. The property, which is aiming for 4* status, is an entirely new concept for Beannchor. The development will also include a residents’ gym, conference room and an underground car park.

The Grade 1 listed building, derelict for over a decade, has been given a new lease of life after being bought by Armagh native Mick Boyle and his wife Robin, for £1.2 million in 2013. The Castle will create 85 new jobs for the local area under the management of new General Manager, Jason Foody. An underground tunnel once used as a servant’s passageway now links the castle to the newly built 45-bed boutique spa hotel, a Grade 2 listed building which was formerly a coach house, mill and farm buildings.

VALLEY HOTEL The Valley Hotel in Fivemiletown has revealed its newly refurbished deluxe suite, complete with freestanding bath. The hotel plans to refurbish all the bedrooms over the next year.








Lough Erne Resort has been crowned the ‘Top Rated Five Star Wedding Venue’ at the recent Wedding Dates awards, beating off stiff competition from fivestar wedding venues all over the UK.

The Galgorm Collection will invest a further £7million in the local economy as they agree to buy the Templeton Hotel in Templepatrick.

RTE has paid tribute to the late Sir William Hastings in the new series of Strictly Business which follows the fortunes of six small Irish businesses as they endeavour to make it big.

The win adds to the hotel’s recent accolades in the field, including ‘Overall Wedding Venue of the Year 2018’ and ‘Wedding Co-Ordinators of the Year 2018’ at the Wedding Journal Reader Awards.

The hospitality group has now made a £10m investment in Northern Ireland tourism in the last 12 months The property will join Galgorm’s portfolio, including the £1.5million investment in Belfast restaurants Fratelli & Café Parisien and the £600,000 purchase and refurbishment of the Castle Kitchen + Bar at Galgorm Castle Golf Club in 2018.

Pictured is Eoin Shanley of Copper Fish Studio who presented Lady Joy Hastings with a bespoke lamp, which has been inspired by her late husband’s love of the Mourne Mountains, and now takes pride of place in the Sir William Hastings Suite in the Grand Central Hotel.



Bishop’s Gate Hotel has once again featured in the annual TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. In the UK’s Top Hotels Overall category, the Grade B1 hotel was second, while in the Europe category it was 15th. The hotel was also ranked 12th in the UK Best Service award category.

The Culloden Estate & Spa picked up the award for Best Hotel Service and Hospitality in Ireland at the CIE Tours International 29th Annual Awards of Excellence which was held in Dublin’s City Hall.

Commenting on the achievement Ciaran O’Neill, says: “We’re absolutely thrilled to feature in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for the third year running. Last year, Bishop’s Gate Hotel took the No.3 spot in the UK category, so it is great to be second on this coveted list.”

CIE Tours International is the largest tour operator into Ireland and winners were chosen according to feedback from 32,000 customers throughout the year. Aileen Martin, Director of Sales for Hastings Hotels is pictured accepting the Culloden’s award from Peter Malone, Director of CIE, Chairman, Vivienne Jupp and CEO Elizabeth Crabill.


PE R F E C T LY C R A F T E D The way food tastes and our enjoyment of dining is influenced by more than simply the ingredients it contains. Studies have proved that the colour, texture, shape and even the sound of tableware has a direct impact on flavours and the overall eating experience. Artisan is born out of this philosophy. Artisan is a beautiful collection of tableware that combines shape, texture and colour in a way that is designed to elevate and enhance the entire dining experience. Inspired by studio pottery and now combining genuine vitrified stoneware with high alumina porcelain, Artisan offers something unique. It combines the look of a hand crafted product with the strength, consistency and durability of tableware produced by truly world class manufacturing processes. This ensures that Artisan is every bit as practical as it is beautiful. And what makes Artisan even more appealing is its ability to deliver this unique combination at a price that offers you exceptional value for money. Artisan is perfectly crafted‌



Call: 028 3751 1999





NEW HOTEL GUIDE ENTRIES FEDERATION SEEKING UPDATES TO NEW GUIDE TO NORTHERN IRELAND HOTELS, THE ONLY COMPREHENSIVE HOTEL BROCHURE IN THE MARKET The Federation has been working with Tourism NI on a series of ROI Marketing Campaigns. The sixth campaign has just finished and feedback has been again very positive. Funding of ÂŁ200,000 was put in place to help hotels and visitor attractions promote in the Republic of Ireland. For many, this has been their first foray into ROI marketing and it is very encouraging to see the results come through. As part of this marketing activity, NIHF is producing a new Hotel Guide, the only comprehensive

hotel brochure in the market and free for all members of the Federation. Some 12,000 copies will be distributed over the summer through Visitor Information Centres and other outlets. Despite the prevalence of online marketing, the print guide remains popular. If you would like to update your free entry, please see the website at as soon as possible as we are about to go to print with the new guide.

ROI CAMPAIGN Âť Some examples of recent campaigns included both print and social media advertising. Online promotion has become more popular as each campaign as progressed.



WAGE UPDATE AND CONSULTATION NEW RATES FOR ALL STAFF AGES AS WELL AS A CONSULTATION ON THE WAY FORWARD FROM 2020. The rates for the National Living Wage (NLW) and the National Minimum Wage (NMW) change every April. The new rates are shown in the table. The Low Pay Commission (LPC) is the independent body that advises the Government on the level of the minimum wage. The LPC currently is consulting on the impact of the NLW and the how this will progress beyond 2020.

them. The details of the consultation are available on line via the following link. consultations/low-pay-commissionconsultation-2019/low-pay-commission2019-consultation-questions. The LPC is also planning to visit DerryLondonderry on 15-16 of May to seek evidence in person. The exact location is yet to be finalised

We would encourage all those in the industry to submit their thoughts to Year

25 & Over

21 to 24

18 to 20

Under 18


April 2018






April 2019






LICENSING CONSULTATION DFC CONSULTING ON CHANGING LIQUOR LICENSING FOR SPECIAL EVENTS. The Department for Communities is responsible for the policy and legislation relating to the sale and supply of alcoholic drinks in Northern Ireland. It has announced a consultation on some proposed changes in the licensing law which would provide the department with a power to designate an event taking place in Northern Ireland as a “special event.” Having designated an event as a “special event”, it would then have the power to vary permitted hours for the sale of alcoholic drinks at the event. The department is consulting at this time because The Open Golf Championship takes place in July. A change in the law

will contribute to the success of the event and improve the prospects of this event and others coming to Northern Ireland in the near future. The Federation will be responding to this proposal and believes that it will enhance not only The Open but will also help attract world class events in the future. We would urge members to contribute as well via the following link. uk/sites/default/files/consultations/ communities/dfc-sale-supply-alcoholspecial-events.pdf

NIHF EVENTS NIHF EVENTS CALENDAR 2019 Here is a list of hotel and hospitality industry events for the remainder of the year. Further details will be available on 9th April Taste of Tourism Culloden Estate & Spa 2nd May Receptionist Dinner Hilton Templepatrick 23rd May Business Outlook & STR Update Clandeboye Lodge Hotel 11th June Golf Day Lough Erne Resort 20th June Trade Lunch Crowne Plaza Belfast 15th & 16th October Hospitality Exchange Crowne Plaza Belfast

Culloden Estate & Spa Tuesday 9th April 2019 featuring Galton Blackiston

William Sitwell

Ciara Attwell

with Dr Morgaine Gaye, Greg Hughes, Phil Ervine, David Matchett, Mark Abbot, Danni Barry and Paul Catterson.

Programme - 9th April 2019 08.45 Breakfast The best of Northern Ireland food in bite size pieces.

12.45 Lunch Bred & Board - food with a twist from the Culloden chefs.

09.45 Welcome Jo Scott, Compere

14.00 Critic’s Choice William Sitwell on culinary controversy and the role of the media.

10.00 Chef Spotlight with Galton Blackiston 10.20 Taste of Tomorrow Food Futurologist, Dr Morgaine Gaye, on what’s next for food. 11.00 Networking Break Fresh coffee and the chance to chat with craft food companies. 11.30 Dishing it up Digitally Food blogger, Ciara Attwell on the power of social media. 11.50 Exploring London’s Larder The inside track on London’s Borough Market with David Matchett. 12.20 Michelin v Mainstream Challenges, insights and opinions.

14.30 The Spirit of Tourism Greg Hughes on the unique story of Irish Whiskey. 14.50 Tour Talk The hunger for food tourism from Phil Irvine. 15.30 Takeaway Bag The Summit concludes with a takeaway for every delegate, featuring the finest food and drink along with some special gifts. All Artisan Marketplace day Sample local produce and meet small producers. Dr Morgaine Gaye

Every delegate gets a free copy of Ciara Attwell’s book, My Fussy Eater, along with a Takeaway Bag full of local goodies!

Book online now at

The Taste of Tourism Summit takes place on 9th April in the Culloden Estate & Spa. This full-day event includes breakfast, lunch and refreshments. Delegates leave with a special Takeaway Bag and the inspiration from some amazing, internationally-acclaimed speakers.

Why attend

What you get

How to book

If you run a hotel, restaurant, bar or any hospitality business with a food element, this is the conference for you. Here’s a snapshot of what’s on the menu.

Taste of Home Breakfast Iconic brands, traditional fare and intriguing healthy options start the day off right.

Cost Tickets for Taste of Tourism are priced at £95 inc VAT. This includes all meals, refreshments, takeaway bag and the full speaker programme.

Star Chef Guest chef, Galton Blackiston, shares his vision and what inspires him to keep cooking. Food Trends International influences and what’s next for food from futurologist, Dr Morgaine Gaye. Culinary Challenges Food critic, William Sitwell; blogger, Ciara Attwell and Borough Market’s David Matchett on ingredients, vegans and fussy eaters.

The Taste of Tourism Summit is supported by

Bred & Board - food with a twist Lunch includes food for sharing, grazing and enjoying the best local products. Artisan Marketplace Taste the finest food and drink throughout the day from our craft producers. Takeaway Bag A selection of artisan samples and a free book for all delegates.

Book online now at Additional information on the website at or by calling 028 9077 6635.



THE GRILL CONTINUING OUR NEW FEATURE ON TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY LEADERS, HOTPLATE SPEAKS WITH GREG HUGHES, MANAGING DIRECTOR JAMESON BRAND HOMES AND EDUCATION AT IRISH DISTILLERS, ABOUT RUNNING THE WORLD’S LEADING DISTILLERY TOUR AND WHISKEY IN GENERAL. Where did you start you career in Hospitality/Tourism? I have been in the drinks business since leaving college. Twelve years with Guinness/Diageo as Sales Manager, Quality Manager and Customer Marketing Manager. Nine Years with Irish Distillers as Head of Key Accounts, MD Dillon Bass, Sales Director Irish Distillers and now Managing Director Brand Homes & Education. Can you describe your role in 50 words? I manage our Brand Homes business – including Jameson Distillery Bow Street; Jameson Distillery Midleton and The Irish Whiskey Academy, Midleton. Combined, our Brand Homes experiences welcome over a half a million guests annually, playing a pivotal role in supporting Irish Whiskey Tourism. What is the visitor mix at Jameson Distillery Bow Street? Jameson fans travel from all over the world to see where it all began. With five fully hosted experiences on offer, we have something for everyone – and thus welcome a very wide base

of visitors to both of our distilleries. Our top 5 nationalities are USA, UK, France, Germany & Ireland. How do you think interest in Irish Whiskey has progressed over the last decade and do you think it can be a major player in growing international tourism? The Irish Whiskey category has grown very strongly over the past decade – very much out-performing the broader total drinks market. Many new brands and distilleries have emerged – with many more in planning or development – so the category is positively thriving. However, there is still huge potential for further growth – as the total category is still relatively small in comparison to Scotch & Bourbon for example. How important is working in partnership? We operate in the people business, therefore our relationships & partnerships are key. At a local level, we’re actively engaged within our communities in Dublin 7 and Midleton, Co. Cork. We partner with local craft artists, to bring uniquely Irish product offerings within our retail experiences. We’re connected with other visitor experiences and tourist attractions, including the ever growing network of whiskey distilleries throughout Ireland – we absolutely believe a high tide raises many boats. How important are people in delivering a world class experience and what are the key skills you are looking for in your distillery attractions? It is a little bit of a cliché, but it is absolutely true to say that our people are our biggest asset. They are our USP - a point consistently reflected through consumer feedback and comments received through our social channels. We recently invested €11M into our Bow St. home. We often say, without our people it was merely an architectural project. Our teams & our visitors are the beating heart of our experience.

GRILLED. » Greg Hughes, MD Brand Homes & Education, Irish Distillers

WORLD’S LEADING DISTILLERY TOUR As well as being a highlight of Dublin’s tourism trail, the recently refurbished Jameson Distillery Bow St. and original home of the brand is fast becoming the go-to place for locals to enjoy the world’s fastest-growing Irish whiskey. Jameson Distillery Bow St. reopened in March 2017 following an €11M refurbishment, with visitor numbers

topping more than 350,000 in the first year making it the most-visited whiskey experience in the world. Bow St. draws on brand immersion and theatre to complement the iconic 230-year-old Dublin distillery creating a living, active space that engages guests in multisensorial experiences.

In terms of key skills we seek when recruiting Brand Ambassadors - intelligence and personality in equal measures, with a garnish of wit & warmth for good measure! Visitors love the fun and engaging way that our team impart their knowledge and passion for our brands. You now have two visitor sites in Ireland - do you have any other plans for expansion or additions in the coming year? We have no plans for expansion or additions currently. However, we never stand still, and are constantly evolving our

In December 2018, Jameson Distillery Bow St. was named the World’s Leading Distillery Tour at the World Travel Awards in Lisbon; an accolade rewarding excellence from across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry.

offering in response to consumer demand. What do you see as the challenges for 2019? We are quite optimistic in our outlook for 2019. However, uncertainty around Brexit & devaluing Sterling poses a threat to tourism numbers. Recent increases in VAT for the hospitality sector potentially also threatens competitiveness versus other cheaper tourist destinations.



FOOD INDUSTRY GAME CHANGER DR MORGAINE GAYE, KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT THE TASTE OF TOURISM SUMMIT ON FOOD, THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY AND MORE. Dr Morgaine Gaye is a Food Futurologist and director of Bellwether: Food Trends, the first food trend research compendium. She has her own health-food product range of functional food blends called Dr Gaye, which are sold globally online. We caught up with her before her visit to Northern Ireland, where she will be a keynote speaker at Taste of Tourism. Her passion on the topic of food is evident and she says, “food affects us all, daily; food is a complex topic and involves society, behaviour, geo-politics, culture, belief, history, trends, fads, design, marketing, sensorial perceptions and biology - almost everything.” She continues, “as a Food Futurologist, I explore all the facets of food; future food trends, why we eat what we eat, why we believe what we believe and what the future of food looks like. The future of food is as much a part of our sustenance, as it is our aspirations. “Although taste is often understood as a biological experience, it can also be a social or cultural phenomenon; an aesthetic, a sociological, economic and anthropological concept referring to cultural patterns of choice and preference. “Food is something we all have in common. No matter what we eat or don’t eat; we make personal, cultural, societal, political and aspirational decisions with everything we buy,

grow and consume. Food Futurology uses a range of indicators as a lens to look at what is yet to come. “Irrespective of our political beliefs, we are living in a time when things are being turned on their heads. The fallout is that we will re-evaluate our personal values. This has a knock-on effect for companies operating in the hospitality sector. Lack of trust is a concern. Consumer demand for traceability is front of mind. People want to know where their food has come from and are less inclined to believe the marketing. “For food producers in Northern Ireland, rising costs are a challenge. We have had thirty years of a false economy where producers had to cut corners to keep up with the supermarket demands. Food prices will go up and consumers will expect a more ecological product. “Interestingly, the value placed upon ‘kindness’ is also emerging as a trend. Consumers are keen to see generosity and goodwill. It can no longer be all about the bottom line for brands.” At the conference, Morgaine will present insights on the circular economy; recycling, compostable packaging and discussions on what needs to change to make a difference as we head into the future.




FOOD TOURISM TOURISM AND FOOD JOIN FORCES AT BOROUGH MARKET Northern Ireland’s recent accolade as Best Food Destination at the International Travel and Tourism Awards has led Tourism NI to spearhead a presence at London’s Borough Market as part of a two week showcase of Northern Ireland food and drink.

23rd March. Visitors to the market have been sampling the finest local food and drink and speaking to producers.

Up to thirty food and drink producers from Northern Ireland have been taking part in the showcase which ran until

David Matchett from Borough Market will be a speaker at Taste of Tourism. Food lovers flock in droves to London’s

Pictured are Rosemary Lightbody and Gary Quate, Tourism NI with Christine Cousins and Michelle Shirlow Food NI.

South Bank to visit Borough Market. David will present Borough Market to us, from 1000 years ago to its place today as a beacon for sustainability in the London and UK food scene, and how the market looks to the future though a number of innovative initiatives.




Visitors are looking for an ‘experience’ rather than just a ‘product’. Armed with our extensive portfolio of Irish Whiskeys, the team at Dillon Bass are on hand to support you in offering guests an authentic and positive Irish Whiskey experience. HOW WE CAN PARTNER WITH YOU TO INCREASE SALES

• •

• •

Educating bar staff to pass on knowledge of the distilling process and whiskey styles to customers Offering a wide range of whiskeys to suit all tastes from new whiskey drinkers to more discerning customers Hosting unique local experiences with whiskey tastings or whiskey and food pairing evenings Designing whiskey menus with suggested serves to help customers with the choice of whiskeys available

Our whiskey experts can offer advice on the best Irish whiskeys from Jameson, Ireland’s most famous whiskey, to Powers, Midleton, and the award-winning Redbreast family.

Source 1. Tourism NI Stats Jan-Dec 2017 / Source 2. Irish Whiskey Association 2018

028 9038 2233



HOUSEKEEPING WINNERS TEN OUT OF 10 FOR HOUSEKEEPERS – HOUSEKEEPING AWARDS CELEBRATE TENTH ANNIVERSARY The winners of Housekeeping Awards, which is in its tenth year, were announced at a glamorous awards evening hosted by the BBC’s Jo Scott in the Clayton Hotel Belfast. The top four winning premises that scored ten out of ten for housekeeping were: Tara Lodge, which won the under 50 rooms category; Belmore Court & Motel, which scooped the 50-99 room category; Ibis Belfast City Centre which claimed the 100-149 room category and

Holiday Inn, Belfast, which won the over 150 rooms category. 2019 marks the 10th Housekeeping Team of the Year competition and the awards have come a long way since 2010 when we had under 20 entrants. Hotel numbers have grown over the last year and we have revised the categories to reflect this. In fact, the hotel sector has created over 1,000 jobs in the last year alone.

The Federation would like to take this opportunity to thank all the judges who gave up their valuable time to participate in the various stages of the competition. Also, the support of sponsors was invaluable and we are indebted to Tourism Northern Ireland, Bunzl Rafferty Hospitality, Ecolab, King Koil and Linencare for their generous support. Without them the awards wouldn’t be possible.




ARE YOU READY FOR THE OPEN? In recent years Northern Ireland has experienced exceptional success and status as a golf destination and July is set to bring the oldest and most prestigious international professional golf championship to Royal Portrush, when The 148th Open returns to the region for the first time in 68 years. It is shaping up to be the biggest sporting event ever held in Northern Ireland, creating an unprecedented opportunity to showcase our part of the world to visitors and broadcast viewers across the world. The 148th Open taking place from 14th – 21st July is estimated to deliver over £80 million in combined economic and media benefit to Northern Ireland. With over 190,000 visitors and an expected global broadcast audience of 80 million across 150 countries around the world, the opportunities are huge. Aine Kearney, Tourism NI Director of Business Support and

Events, said: “The 148th Open is the biggest event that Northern Ireland has ever held and has been years in the making. The Championship will shine a spotlight on Northern Ireland, placing us on a global stage and leaving a lasting legacy. We are ready to welcome the hundreds of thousands of visitors who will be joining us to watch a truly spectacular sporting event.” 1st March saw the first official stop of Tourism NI’s community engagement campaign ‘The Epic Journey to The 148th Open’. The community event will take place in every county in Northern Ireland, as well as Dublin, to mark the excitement and civic pride surrounding the return of golf’s most prestigious championship to Royal Portrush. The tour will include golf’s most iconic trophy, the Claret Jug along with a giant #TheOpen letter sculpture, designed by Tourism NI and made out of 4,000 golf balls, which was unveiled by global golfing hero and former Open Champion, Rory McIlroy, last October.

How can you get involved? Tourism NI in partnership with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has developed a guide to aid local businesses in maximising the commercial potential around The 148th Open. This booklet gives you our top 10 tips on how you can engage with The 148th Open, before, during, and after. This is available for download from Become a WorldHost Ambassador You can play your part by becoming a WorldHost Ambassador for golf. Courses are currently running for those in the Causeway Coast and Glens area (courses in more council areas are coming soon.) By signing up you benefit from this world-class customer service course during and after the tournament. The Causeway Coast and Glens Council and Tourism NI have partnered to subsidise this training and it is now only £15 per delegate including lunch. For more details and upcoming dates please visit


Serving your guests the perfect night's sleep



TUESDAY 11TH JUNE LOUGH ERNE RESORT & SPA We are delighted to announce that the NIHF Annual Golf Day will be held at the five-star Lough Erne Resort & Spa on the fabulous Faldo course on Tuesday 11th June 2019. It’s a great day out and we’ll have some amazing hotel prizes on the day with our Round of 18 Prize Draw! The Texas Scramble competition will feature teams of four and a range of fun prizes. There will be a two tee start from 11.30 am and golf will be followed by dinner and prize-giving in the hotel. If you want to Stay and Play, we have deal with Lough Erne Resort & Spa for £99 per room in a lodge and £115 per room in the hotel on a B&B basis. Please call 028 6632 3230 and quote NIHF Golf 2019.

Tickets are only £320 (plus VAT) per team of 4 and include: 18 hole golf competition, bacon rolls & refreshments before tee-off, goodie bags, dinner, and complimentary drinks throughout the day. If you don’t have a team of four, just contact us and we will make up a team for you. Contact the office on 028 9077 6635 to book your team.





Webb Wonders Musings from the Federation’s Economic Advisor

CHIPPING AWAY ECONOMIC ADVISOR, ANDREW WEBB, ON CHIPPING AWAY AT A £1BN TOURISM TARGET. Could golf be the thing that tips our tourism sector over the line to the magic £1bn sized industry that seemed like a pipe dream just a decade ago? I’m not a golfer and would side more with the ‘good walk ruined’ school of thought but anyone with an interest in growing the economy of this place will be watching with interest as the British Open Golf tournament arrives in July. The golf fans I know are increasingly giddy in anticipation. As is the tourism sector. It feels like a while since we had a major event on these shores so the opportunity to showcase our wares to the watching world between July 18th and 21st is most welcome. Especially as this one has taken about a decade of dogged determination from those that secured it.

Tickets sold out ten months before the event and 190,000 visitors are expected through the gates, many from across the globe. Let’s unpick that number a bit. Tourism NI’s statistics tell us that tourism expenditure was £926m here in 2017. Based on overall nights spent here, this works out at just over £55 per night. Given how property rental prices seem to be heading during the week of the British Open, I’m confident in raising that £55 average spend to suggest that visitors to the Golf will be spending at least £80 per night across, let’s say, 5 nights on average. All this could mean at least a £75m spend by visitors coming for the golf. No wonder there has been such excitement about it. We could be talking about tourism generating about 10% of its annual business across 7 days. There are follow on benefits to be gained from hosting large events. Money seems

to be found to improve the look of the place and we’ll look our best when the cameras roll into town. Just as well, apparently the British Open is broadcast into 80 million homes across 150 countries around the world. More than 120,000 golfers visited Northern Ireland in 2017 and spent an average of £2,000 per trip. Once the British Open beams across the globe, the expectation will be that Northern Ireland’s reputation as a top golf destination will be cemented and enhanced. We can look forward to a successful Open Championship and a long-lasting legacy of even more golf tourism. Andrew Webb is economic advisor to NIHF.





A staggering eighty-eight entries were received for the competition which is one of the most popular items in the Federation’s calendar. The competition was relaunched in 2004 and has grown in popularity since then. The 2019 competition has three award categories; Hotel Receptionist of the Year, Most Promising Hotel Receptionist of the year (for those with under one year’s experience) and a team category, Hotel Reception of the Year. The winner of the team category is determined by a mystery shopping process, while individuals competing for

the receptionist of the year titles have to participate in a series of challenges set by Life Adventure company. Everyone who entered the 2019 awards came along to an assessment day in the Wellington Park Hotel where they were given a series of tasks to test their interpersonal skills, their ability to cope under pressure and also their personal presentation. On the basis of that performance, a shortlist of fourteen was created and these receptionists progressed to the final interview stage. The competition demonstrates the industry’s commitment to people within

the sector and is one of the highlights of the NIHF calendar. The standard of entrants has been exceedingly high with many receptionists displaying exceptional people skills, a great understanding of their hotel property and a real passion for tourism. Funders and sponsors are critical to the awards and the Federation is very grateful for the support of Tourism Northern Ireland, Net Affinity, Right Revenue and Insight6. The winners of the 2019 competition will be announced at a gala evening on 2nd May 2019 in the Hilton Templepatrick.


INCENTIVE READY » Tourism NI and a delegation of representatives from the meetings and incentives market which targets business related travel headed to New York for a programme of promotional activities including sales calls, educational sessions and networking with leading North American tourism buyers.




Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance has announced the appointment of Dr Joanne Stuart OBE as Chief Executive Officer.

Mount Juliet Estate, the 18th century walled estate has been awarded a 5-star rating by Fáilte Ireland. The accreditation applies to the 32-bedroom Manor House and newly-opened, 93-bedroom Hunter’s Yard hotel, Michelin-starred restaurant, the Lady Helen, Jack Nicklaus designed signature championship golf and activities such as fishing, falconry and a state-of-the-art equestrian centre.

A group of hotels supported By Tourism Northern Ireland went on a learning journey to the Republic of Ireland to look at best practice. The group visited Kilkenny and Kinsale, learning that collaboration is the key to success in these destinations. Local operators explained that tourism is firmly rooted in the commercial activity of both destinations and whilst they remain dependant on the domestic Irish market, they are keen to maximise new initiatives to promote regionality and seasonality.

A former Chairman of the IoD NI Dr Stuart is a highly experienced and well-regarded business leader. Joanne’s appointment comes at a critical time as NITA embarks on a number of major campaigns , in particular seeking positive change on the key issues of APD (Air Passenger Duty) and the NI VAT rate.

Newly appointed General Manager, Mark Dunne, was delighted with the accreditation.

Many of the issues experienced north of the border are prevalent with skills being the primarily challenge. Other areas of concern were a lack of business tourism, attracting the incentive market and driving business on weeknights. The general consensus was that cross-learning between the hotes in the group was of real benefit and that collaboration in the promotion of a destination maximised success.




ADVICE. » Contact the NIHF on 028 9077 6635 for advice or Seamus McGranaghan at O’Reilly Stewart on 028 9032 1000.

BRUSH UP ON YOUR EASTER OPENING HOURS BUT REMEMBER, HOTEL GUESTS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THESE RESTRICTIONS. As Easter approaches it’s always important to ensure that you and your staff are aware of licensing requirements and the details of opening hours of the Easter Weekend. All hotels, bars and restaurants, have a liquor licence which is controlled by the courts. It is illegal for any premises that does not hold a liquor licence to sell alcohol to members of the public. The most common forms of liquor licence are a pub licence, hotel licence, restaurant licence and off-sales licence. It is illegal for under 18s to be on a licensed premise which does not have an article 59 children’s certificate. The children’s certificate will identify on which parts of the premises under 18s are permitted, being areas that are deemed suitable for children by the courts. Even where a premise has an article 59 children’s certificate, children must still be accompanied by an adult and must not be on the premises after 9pm. The courts will not grant a venue a liquor licence unless they are content that the venue has the appropriate planning permission and building control approval and is otherwise suitable to be licensed. Those who provide entertainment should hold an entertainment licence.

These are controlled by our local councils. They permit the provision of entertainment at any venue seeking to provide it, whether indoor or outdoor. Councils will physically inspect venues and require various documents and certificates on the property to make sure they are suitable for their intended use and have the correct fire risk assessments, safety procedures, hygiene measures etc in place. Councils can impose restrictions or obligations on entertainment licence holders depending on the venue, location, risk, age profile of users etc. If you use any door supervisors or security staff, there should be regulated by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). Door staff must be SIA approved meaning they have undergone appropriate training. If anyone is performing a role of this nature, even proprietors on an ad hoc basis you are required by law to be SIA approved and hold a valid licence Entertainment licences may state how many door staff need to be on duty at certain times or on certain days of the year. Easter Opening Hours 2019 Listed below are the permitted hours for alcohol sales in licensed premises over the Easter period.

Easter Thursday 18th April 2019 11.30am to 11pm (with half hour drinking up time). Premises with late licence may remain open to serve alcohol until midnight (with half hour drinking up time) provided an entertainment licence is in force. Good Friday 19th April 2019 - 5pm to 11pm (with half hour drinking up time). No additional hours allowed. Easter Saturday 20th April 2019 11.30am to 11pm (with half hour drinking up time). Premises with late licence may remain open to serve alcohol until midnight (with half hour drinking up time) provided an entertainment licence is in force. Easter Sunday 21st April 2019 - 12.30pm to 10pm (with half an hour drinking up time). No additional hours allowed. These restrictions apply to hotels in relation to sales to the general public. However, hotels are still entitled to sell to residents and their guests outside the permitted hours as usual. For further information please contact O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors on 028 9032 1000.

WE’RE HERE FOR YOU The Federation exists for its members. We provide advice, help you market your business and train your staff. We lobby governments on issues that affect you and speak up on things that are relevant to the largest sector of the tourism industry. We are celebrating 20 years of supporting our members. Call us now on 028 9077 6635.


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