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January 2018





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HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE REVIEW OF THE GOURMET DINNER AND THE REST OF HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE. P. 8-12 MEMBER NEWS Refurbishments, awards and celebrations in the Northern Ireland hotel world.

P. 6-7 January 2018

TOURISM ECONOMY Working together to attract visitors from the Republic of Ireland could bring great rewards.

P. 12 HOTEL DESIGN Luxury spas are part of the latest design directions for hotels.


GDPR Not the most exciting of subjects but every business needs to be aware of this new legislation.


FRONT COVER. Sweden’s Ice Hotel - not quite that chilly in Northern Ireland!

HOTPLATE Northern Ireland Hotels Federation The McCune Building, 1 Shore Road Belfast BT15 3PG Tel: 028 9077 6635 Web: nihf.co.uk Email: office@nihf.co.uk




was honoured to be elected as the new president of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation in October and look forward to representing the sector over the next two years. The Federation’s focus is very much on member needs and we will be actively working with stakeholders on skills, staffing and an improved business climate for the hotel sector. It is important that we improve the image of the hospitality industry and show that we are not just a sector that has good jobs but also one that offers excellent careers. To this end we hope to provide a number of platforms where the industry can share our positive experiences and speak about the many inspirational people that we have been lucky enough to work alongside. My career in hospitality started in my student days and has afforded me an exciting and varied career path. Along the way, I have met some great people and witnessed the hotel sector in Northern Ireland transform itself into a major driver in the local economy. As an industry, we need to ensure that positive messages and life affirming stories are communicated beyond the sector. In doing so we can help address the poor image of the hospitality industry and encourage people to take up a career in this vibrant and fulfilling industry. Hospitality Exchange took place in October and the NIHF used the event to launch a new Hotel Expansion report. Our research shows that the sector will grow 25% by 2020; jobs will increase by over 2,000 and the hotel sector will grow to a £500m industry. In addition to this, considerable employment and wealth will be created during the construction phase.

An exciting time for Northern Ireland - an era of opportunity and the opportunity for growth. While we are keen to focus on the positives, it would be negligent not to highlight the challenges that this expansion will create. There is a need for more staff and improved skills. In order to maximise hotel expansion, we require more visitors, which requires increased promotion, improved access and a better business climate for members. The Federation will be lobbying on these issues over the coming months and hope that you will support us in this activity. The Federation will have a full range of member-focused events in the coming year including a couple of new ideas, which we look forward to sharing with you in due course. We are delighted to recognise and reward the excellent jobs carried out by housekeepers and receptionists and will continue to do so in 2018. We are keen to expand our recognition of those who work in the hotel sector and hope to find a suitable platform to do so in the coming year. As an organisation, we are lucky to have the support of trade partners, sponsors and members and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your help - it is much appreciated. I look forward to meeting you during my time as president and if you require any assistance or would like us to investigate a matter on your behalf, please contact the office on 028 9077 6635 or email office@nihf.co.uk. All that remains is for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and profitable 2018!





INDUSTRY IMAGE A KEY ELEMENT FOR SUCCESS IN GROWING THE HOTEL INDUSTRY IS CHANGING THE IMAGE PERCEPTION AND REINFORCING THE WONDERFUL CAREER OPTIONS THAT EXIST. Our recent report into hotel expansion has brought a sharp focus back to the thorny issue of skills and staffing. With an additional 2,000 hotel bedrooms coming on stream over the next two years, the need for more people has never been more apparent. Many have expressed concern over levels of recruitment into the sector and issues around retention. However, the issue of image has become a major stumbling block and in many ways the repeated reports of the poor image of the hospitality and tourism industry is proving the be our biggest challenge. Image is defined as “the general impression that a person, organisation, or product presents to the public.” Unfortunately, the image of the hospitality industry remains poor and the perception is of a low paid, poorly rewarded sector with limited career prospects. This view is widely held and often expressed. In reality, the industry has not managed to alter its poor image or counter criticism with positive good news stories. In European countries like Spain and Italy, hospitality is viewed as a respected career with great prospects. This is certainly not the case here. It would be naive to suggest that there are not minimum wage roles and that hours can be long and in some cases anti-social. The flip side of this is that there are well-paid clearly defined roles offering a great career path. The hotel sector has a wage bill in the region of £200m which includes head office support roles and operational staff.

Within hotels, there is little doubt that a new strategy needs to be deployed to raise the profile of the industry and address its negative image. People often to refer the advertisement “Made in the Royal Navy” as a great advert for a life choice and showing a naval career as a path full of adventure, camaraderie and lifelong opportunity. It would be great to see a comparable campaign focusing on elements of the hospitality sector than can offer a similar career path. The hotel industry in Northern Ireland is littered with people who have made a great career. Many owning their own businesses at an early age, others taking the skills they have and going onto roles in foreign parts. A line that is often proffered is “not just a job but a great career”. This is a message that we have to filter through to young people starting out on their careers. We have got to convince parents that “hospitality and tourism” careers are a path of choice not a last resort. Curricula need to reflect the interesting and varied skill set required by the sector whilst focusing on plethora of opportunities that are available. The message also needs to be imparted to mature jobseekers looking for a new challenge and direction. In recent years, the NIHF has engaged the services of a number of high profile chefs, many of whom earn six figure salaries. They have spoken of

JANICE GAULT Chief Executive their concerns, the actions that they have taken on terms and conditions to improve working life and the great careers they have forged for themselves. Coincidentally, a number of stars from Northern Ireland have key roles in these businesses; Daniel Clifford of the Michelin star Midsummer House in Cambridge employs Mark Abbot originally from Templepatrick as head chef. Mark started his career in Northern Ireland and trained at Belfast Met. His stellar career has seen him not only lead an awarding-winning kitchen but feature as a finalist on Great British Menu. On his visit to Northern Ireland, Tom Kerridge had two local chefs in his kitchen at the Hand and Flowers and Angela Hartnett employed a chef from Newcastle, Co Down in a senior role. The founder of Wetherspoon’s, Tim Martin, has close links with Northern Ireland having been brought up in Dungannon. He has a nett worth of £280m and employs over 37,000 people. A great example of how pints can convert into pounds!


MARK ABBOT » Local chef Mark Abbot running the Pass for Michelin-star chef, Daniel Clifford.

These are only a couple of examples and I’m sure there are many more. It would be good to see these and other stories feature in an image-led campaign showing how portable a career in hospitality and tourism can be. A significant amount of research has been done into the sector with image being identified as a critical issue. Without altering how the hospitality and tourism sectors are viewed in the wider community, we will continue to struggle to recruit and retain staff. This industry can reward with a great career but without collaboration between education, government agencies and industry stakeholders on the issue of image, the struggle to be taken seriously as an economic driver and a substantial employer will continue. It’s a competitive market out there for staff. It would be great to see a career in hospitality viewed as a life affirming role offering flexibility, a great career path and good rewards. Altering our image is a key element in this and is the key to unlocking the talent the sector requires to meet its full potential.

NIHF DIARY DATES 2018 WE HAVE CONFIRMED SOME DATES FOR THE FEDERATION’S EVENTS CALENDAR FOR 2018. MORE TO COME SOON. 30th January 2018 Housekeeping Assessment Day Europa Hotel Belfast 6th February 2018 Member & Trade Lunch Merchant Hotel 7th February 2018 Hospitality Student of the Year Southern Regional College 20th February 2018 Receptionist Assessment Day Clayton Hotel Belfast

22nd & 23rd February 2018 STR Industry Update Belfast, Derry-Londonderry & Omagh/Fermanagh 6th March 2018 Receptionist Interview Day Clayton Hotel Belfast 14th March 2018 Housekeeping Awards Dinner Hilton Templepatrick 18th April 2018 Receptionist of the Year Dinner Everglades Hotel



BULLITT » Babel - a vibrant new rooftop bar and garden – part of a £1.75m expansion of Bullitt opened recently. The contemporary new space includes a plush indoor bar; an open-air terrace with panoramic views and a retractable roof; and a cosy corner VIP room.



KILLYHEVLIN LAKESIDE HOTEL The Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel & Lodges has collected a number of awards over the past few months. The Award for Outstanding Contribution to NI Tourism at the Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards recognised the extensive contribution made to the promotion of tourism in the Fermanagh Lakelands, particularly over the last four decades when owned by the Watson family. Commenting on receiving the Award for Outstanding Contribution to NI Tourism 2017, Director Leigh Watson said, “We are delighted to have received such a prestigious accolade, which recognises the hard work and extensive developments we have undertaken in recent

years. As a family run hotel for over 40 years, excellence in customer service is always at the forefront of our decisions here at Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel. All of our recent developments have been completed with the goal of providing the highest quality service possible to all of our valued guests.” WeddingDates.ie has awarded the Killyhevlin Overall Winner of Top Rated Wedding Venue in Northern Ireland, Regional Winner of Top Rated Wedding Venue in Ulster and Winner of Top Rated 4 Star Hotel Wedding Venue in United Kingdom. The hotel also won the Unilever Food Solutions overall award for Great Carvery of The Year 2017.

Roe Park Resort, Limavady, was named ‘Resort Hotel of the Year’ at the inaugural Northern Ireland Hospitality Awards. The 4-star resort came out on top against a number of popular Northern Ireland destinations, including Lough Erne Resort and Galgorm Resort & Spa, at a ceremony at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belfast. The award is the latest addition to a string of accolades for Roe Park – the resort took home ‘Best Golf Resort in Ulster’ at the 2017 Golfers’ Guide to Ireland Awards and ‘Northern Ireland Spa of the Year’ at the Professional Beauty Regional Awards in 2016.



CROWNE PLAZA BELFAST » The Crowne Plaza now offers the ultimate luxury in Bridal suites, with the refurbished rooms adorned with an elegant bed, complete with separate lounge offering comfort and space for the newlyweds. This is the completion of a £1.5m refurbishment of the wedding suites and bridal bedrooms.




The Old Mill Restaurant at the Canal Court Hotel & Spa is delighted to have won the Best Place to Eat Award in the Greater Newry Area.

The Bushmills Inn is delighted to have been awarded the 2017 IGTOA Best Customer Experience Property Award. The IGTOA National Golf Tourism Conference & Gala Irish Golf Awards is the largest annual gathering of Irish Golf Tourism Industry professionals.

Hastings Hotels has become the first hotel group on the island of Ireland to achieve the China Ready accreditation which has been awarded by the Chinese Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI).

General Manager at the hotel, Gemma Adams is delighted with this achievement saying, “this is a fantastic reflection on the hotel and is so rewarding to see our hard work pay off. Our main focus is on delivering the highest standard of food in our Old Mill Restaurant, sourcing local produce, and to win this for our beautiful restaurant is sentiment to this”. She added “Earlier this year, we launched brand new menus in the Old Mill, and the feedback has been incredible.”

Alan Walls, Hotel Manager at The Bushmills Inn said, “Firstly, I would like to thank the IGTOA for the tremendous work that they do in the promotion of Irish golf tourism and of the whole of Ireland as a world class destination. I would also like to thank the IGTOA board members for their unfaltering commitment over the years to Irish golf and tourism and for considering The Bushmills Inn as worthy of this very prestigious award.”

COTRI has been working with the Centre for Competitiveness locally to help prepare businesses for the growing number of Chinese tourists visiting Northern Ireland. Staff in the Culloden Estate & Spa, the Europa Hotel and the Stormont Hotel have undertaken the relevant training courses and the outputs of this training have been mystery shopped and passed by COTRI.


A STORMY START TO HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE STORM OPHELIA TRIED TO BLOW AWAY THE GOURMET DINNER BUT THE SHOW MUST GO ON. Hospitality Exchange 2017 got off to a stormy start as Storm Ophelia blew into town as an unwelcome guest at the Glynn Purnell Gourmet Dinner. The event, which took place in the Merchant Hotel on Monday 16th October traditionally heralds the start of Exchange and this year diners braved the weather to attend an evening of excellent food with a theatrical twist. The evening was compered by Pamela Ballantine who entertained diners with her culinary knowledge and ensured that the event ran smoothly despite the climatic challenges.

Glynn and his brigade joined the team at the Merchant, led by Head Chef Johnny Leake, to create a superb tasting menu which was served on Artisan tableware kindly supplied by main sponsor Bunzl McLaughlin. The dinner was wine matched with a selection by Dillon Bass. Liam McBride, their Retail Sales Manager, spoke on the evening about a choice that combined the classic with the quirky. Glynn is known for his nostalgic approach to food. He spoke to the audience about how he has used flavours and

Dillon Bass and guests.

memories from his childhood to create dishes which has seen him win Michelin recognition and become a Great British Menu champion. The menu on the night featured a number of his winning dishes including the top scoring Mint Choccy Chip dessert. Guests had a real treat at the end of the evening when Glynn came out of the kitchen to add the final frosty touch to this dessert. A dramatic twist to a truly memorable evening!

Paul Rice, Gordon Enderson, Martin Darling and Danny Rice.

ARTISAN. Âť Tableware on the evening, part of the Artisan range, available exclusively from Bunzl McLaughlin.

Glynn pours dry ice on to the dessert.

Gourmet Dinner with Glynn Purnell

The Merchant Hotel Monday 16th October 2017


Monkfish Masala

Indian red lentils, pickled carrots, coconut, coriander

“R” de Ruinart, Champagne, France oOo oOo

Cheese and pineapple emotions of “soixante-dix” Brancott Estate, Letter Series, Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand

Slow cooked Neck of Lamb Scorched Leeks and lettuce, leek fondue, white onion puree

Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Reserve Mouton Cadet, Saint Emilion 2015, France



Beetroot Mousse

Burnt English custard egg surprise

Brancott Estate, Letter Series, Pinot Noir 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand

Jacob’s Creek, Double Barrel Matured Cabernet Sauvignon, 3rd Vintage, Australia

Escabeche of beetroot, horseradish crumble, watercress

Blackberries and tarragon



Dundrum Crab

Mint choccy chip

Domaine Long-Depaquit, Chablis Premier Cru 2014, France

Tea, Coffee and Petit Fours

Salt baked celeriac, Granny Smith apple, smoked paprika honeycomb


Beefeater 24 Lighthouse Punch




HERE’S WHAT YOU MISSED AT HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE 2017! Demo by Michelin star chef Glynn Purnell, a sellout exhibition with special exchange offers & exclusive products. Meeting with industry colleagues & insights into hotel expansion. We honoured a hospitality hero, Martin Darling and made Mandy Patrick MBE a Patron of the Federation. Enjoy these snaps of the day and if you didn’t make it - we hope to see you next year.




INVITING THE NEIGHBOURS OVER ECONOMIST, ANDREW WEBB, LOOKS AT THE RECENT ROI TASKFORCE PUBLICATION AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR ATTRACTING MORE BUSINESS FROM THE ROI MARKET. The festive season is well and truly upon us and with the focus on celebrating, the annual ‘should we invite the neighbours over?’ debate begins across the land. Few have given the issue more thought than Tourism NI – they even had a taskforce ponder it. There is no doubt in their mind that they want far more visits from our nearest neighbours. Who could blame them? The payoff is significant and potentially massive. The Republic of Ireland (ROI) market represents a significant tourism opportunity for Northern Ireland. In 2016, Northern Ireland attracted more overnight visitors from ROI (456,000) than from mainland Europe (358,000) or North America (250,000). However, as the just released ‘Unlocking the growth potential for tourism to Northern Ireland from the ROI market’ report tells us, between 2012 and 2015 the number of holiday trips from ROI to here declined by 29%. This prompted the then Minister to task Tourism NI to come up with a plan. The plan is worth reading, as it lays out a detailed assessment of the reasons why the market from the south is underdeveloped and what can be done about it. Aside from ‘macro’ reasons for underperformance such as currency fluctuations and differential VAT rates, the

reasons for the decline given in the report make for uncomfortable reading from NI’s perspective: • NI is consistently outperformed by ROI on most of the key motivating short break activities (e.g. shopping, nightlife, enjoying the natural environment, engaging with locals etc.). Importantly, ROI consumers rate ROI as offering better places to eat and stay – two key drivers of decision-making in choice of a short break destination. • The active promotion of NI as a destination by its industry to ROI consumers is limited. • NI is currently not a sufficiently compelling or motivating destination for ROI consumers. • Knowledge about NI is low amongst ROI consumers, with 54 percent stating they know NI ‘not well at all’ or ‘not that well’. • While relatively positively regarded by ROI consumers, NI is not sufficiently compelling in its own right nor relative to the ROI domestic offering to drive choice. There is a perceived lack of ‘must see and do’ attractions and a sense that the short break holiday experience in general is underdeveloped. • Historically NI has suffered from a ‘poor value for money’ perception and has been considered an expensive destination.

ANDREW WEBB Webb Advisory

Concerns about personal safety, although minimal, remain present and linger in the ROI consumer’s mind, acting as a deterrent to consideration and planning. There has been a very significant decline in TNI campaign budget in recent years (77 percent decline 2011/12 Vs 2015/16) leading to a significant decrease in NI brand visibility and consideration. This was further compounded by a limited direct spend by NI industry in the ROI market.

Laying the fault lines out so clearly is to be welcomed as it arms all of us with an interest in the economy here, with insights into what to do to fix it. And fix it we must. With around 2,000 new hotel rooms coming on stream in the next 24 months or so, it is crucial that everything possible is done to market NI and ensure the significant investments being made in developing the tourism offer are fruitful. ‘Build it and they will come’ won’t cut it; a clear target of £140m by 2025 from ROI visitors has been set. Achieving that means government, agencies and the wider sector have to invest time and money in maximising our attractiveness and inviting people to come here.


TASKFORCE. » L-R Conor Kavanagh, Orla McKibbin, Eamonn McKeon, Terence Brannigan, Stephen McNally, Conal Harvey, Len O’Hagan and John McGrillen.

UNLOCKING POTENTIAL TOURISM NI WELCOMES NEW REPORT ON UNLOCKING THE GROWTH POTENTIAL FOR TOURISM FROM THE ROI MARKET. Tourism NI has welcomed the findings of a report outlining a strategy to grow visitor numbers from the Republic of Ireland.

The report tells us clearly that we must give visitors a compelling reason to experience Northern Ireland now – not some day – and we need to equip potential visitors with all the information they need to plan and book their short breaks here.

Tourism NI Chairman Terence Brannigan said: “We welcome the findings of the Republic of Ireland Taskforce and the ambitious targets set out in this report, which provides practical steps for both Tourism NI and the industry as a whole to maximise the potential of this market.

The Taskforce was commissioned by Tourism NI and charged with unlocking the potential for tourism growth from Northern Ireland’s closest export market. The report outlines a strategy to increase revenue from the Republic of Ireland market to £140 million by 2025 by: • Engaging with the tourist industry in Northern Ireland to develop a focused and collaborative approach • Develop a range of tourist offerings that rivals what is available in the Republic of Ireland

Investing in a compelling and unique destination brand that appeals to highly targeted groups of consumers.

“In the first half of this year alone Tourism NI’s Say Hello to More marketing campaign helped deliver 221,000 overnight trips by Republic of Ireland residents to Northern Ireland, contributing £40 million to the economy. While we have experienced growth in recent years, progress has been sporadic in our closest-to-home export market. We also face a strong competitor in the Republic of Ireland as a destination.” He added: “We need the support of the

whole industry to join with us and help promote this part of the island as a mustsee destination to Republic of Ireland visitors.” Tourism NI will host a series of regional workshops based on the report findings in 2018, outlining perceptions, challenges and how the tourist industry can collaborate to maximise growth. Achieving the target in the Republic of Ireland market would contribute to the overall target of £1 billion export revenue per annum from Northern Ireland tourism as a whole by 2025. Urging the tourist industry to get behind future campaigns, Mr Brannigan said: “The results are clear - when we invest in maintaining a consistent profile in the marketplace we see spikes in visitor numbers and spend.”



7 NEW YEAR HOTEL TIPS TOP INSIGHTS FROM ADRIENNE HANNA OF RIGHT REVENUE With 2018 fast approaching now is a great time to evaluate not only your rates but perhaps your product, your customers and your team. Here are my top 7 tips for the New Year: 1 – The OTA customer is YOUR customer – whilst all of us rely on the OTAs, if you use them in the right way, the impact on business can only be positive. Collect email addresses on arrival; let those customers know that they will always find the best rates, special offers and availability on your own site and for goodness sake read the small print on their contracts. 2 – Be prepared to pay for online real estate – and by that, I mean get a Pay Per Click campaign! Google is now dominating page 1 of all hotel searches so to get noticed you need to be prepared to pay. And ALWAYS be prepared to bid on your brand name because if you

aren’t the OTA’s will be. 3 – Get to know your customer – if you can invest in technology to help you do this then great but if not then at least understand who is staying for business/ leisure/ wedding/ part of a tour group etc. Collect email addresses and start communicating with them in an appropriate way (but see point 4 below!). 4 – Get your head around GDPR – the new data protection regulations affect us all, so get your house in order now. Make sure you are allowing guests to ‘opt-in’ rather than ‘opt-out’ and only communicate if they have given you permission to do so. 5 – Tailor your offering to match your customer – you don’t and shouldn’t be all-things-to-all-people so if you are a country house hotel whose customers are predominately wedding guests and

romantic breaks, then don’t try to be a family orientated destination. Or if you are mainly corporate then make sure your wifi is super-fast, offer breakfast to go or in-room dining. 6 – Go Green – how good is your environmental policy? Many guests now chose to stay in hotels that have the minimum carbon footprint possible. Are you reducing waste and minimising your environmental impact? If you are, tell people. 7 – Know that your greatest asset are your staff – people are staying in your hotel as they need a bed for the night and the greatest take-away that any guest can have is how your staff interacted with them. Invest and keep investing. Make sure your team know your vision and your culture then get everyone on board with providing the very best service they can.

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BOARD MEMBERS The Northern Ireland Hotel Federation is a not for profit trade association which represents hotels. The Federation has a non-executive board, drawn from a range of accommodation products from across Northern Ireland. We are delighted to welcome two new Board Members - Nicky Cassidy from the Westville Hotel in Enniskillen and Alan Walls from the Bushmills Inn Hotel. They join the existing 10 Board Members under the new chairmanship of the Merchant’s Gavin Carroll.

ALZHEIMER’S SOCIETY CHEQUE. » Federation President, Gavin Carroll, presents a cheque to Leanne Vennard from Alzheimer’s Society. A total of £3,317.50 was raised at the Hospitality Exchange Gala Ball which took place in October.


WINNERS. » Last year’s competition was won by Holiday Inn Express Belfast and Tara Lodge.

Now in its 9th year, this Housekeeping Awards are about recognising and rewarding the housekeeping team; giving them the thanks they deserve! It is an exciting, fun competition with interactive tasks and some great team building. The assessment day will take place in the Europa Hotel on 30th January and the awards dinner in the Hilton Templepatrick on 14th March. This year’s event is supported by Tourism Northern Ireland, Bunzl Rafferty Hospitality, Ecolab, Robinson Services, Linencare and Respa Beds.

NATIONAL LIVING WAGE The national living wage paid to workers aged 25 or over will rise from £7.50/hour to £7.83/hour in April. The 33p increase represents a 4.4% rise, meaning workers will see their pay rise above current levels of inflation. It amounts to an annual increase of about £600 for a full-time worker. The Government has previously said it plans to raise the national living wage to £9/hour by 2020.


National Living Wage for over 25s from April 2018


“ Over 10,000

hotel bedrooms by 2020.

Hotels will invest more than £500m in new developments, expansions and upgrades by 2020.

The hospitality sector’s total contribution to GVA is nearly three times that of agriculture.

Over the next 10 years, hospitality will create more jobs than manufacturing and the same as ICT.




By 2020, even taking a conservative view of current expansion plans, Northern Ireland should have 10,010 hotel bedrooms across 151 hotels. The Federation launched a major new report at Hospitality Exchange looking at the planned hotel expansion over the next few years.

smoother, this is a significant spike in room provision which is likely to prompt a period of adjustment in pricing and average occupancy rates.

The key findings were that the investment level of projects underway and those likely for completion by 2020 is in the region of £500m: £250m in new developments in Belfast, £150m in the rest of Northern Ireland and a further £100m in the expansion and upgrades to existing hotel properties. Hotels will spend an additional 4% of hotel turnover (around £25m per annum) on refurbishment.

Current forecasts would suggest an additional 2,000 jobs will be created. Along with the normal recruitment requirements, this would mean 4,400 new employees will be needed by 2020.

The hotel sector will continue to be predominantly made up of 3 and 4-star properties. In 2017, there are 51 three-star hotels and 37 four-star. By 2020, there will be 10,010 hotel rooms in the market with 54 hotels in 3-star and 44 at 4-star. These segments will account for 74% of the overall room stock.

The success arising from the private sector investment of £500m will require support from Government at all levels if it is to leverage its real potential. Ironically, the sector’s success has led to under-investment in promotion and agency support. This support needs to be addressed by Government as a matter of urgency.

The report went on to assess the economic impact of this investment in terms of construction and operational phases.

Support is needed for hotels to reach their full potential. Some constraining factors are beyond the remit or control of the sector. These include access, taxation and attraction capacity.

The Federation will continue to use this document in lobbying efforts throughout 2018.

The report suggests a figure of an additional 2,000 rooms in the market by 2020. That means an extra 730,000 rooms to sell each year. Unlike other markets where growth has been 600

11000 547




561 9,239


10,010 8250





247 150


End 2017

Q1 2018

Q2 2018

Additional Rooms

Q3/4 2018

End 2019

Total Rooms


CHART. » Room pipeline growth from 2017-19.

Four Seasons Hotel, Ten Trinity Square, London

Lillie Square Clubhouse, London

The Savoy Hotel, London

The Berkeley Hotel, London

The Shangri-La Hotel, The Shard, London

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HOTEL DESIGN HOTPLATE SPOKE TO MCCUE CRAFTED FIT ABOUT WHERE HOTEL DESIGN IS HEADING IN 2018. What emerging trends have you seen in hospitality/hotel design? Hospitality and hotel design has changed over the years but we have noticed the industry is moving from that of a service industry to an experience industry. The hospitality industry has evolved to ensure guests receive a holistic experience during their stay. This includes providing excellent customer service, allowing guests the opportunity to do things quickly such as self-checkin, but yet having access to personal assistance when required, as well as delivering reliable and fast connectivity for both personal and business use. Ensuring a relaxing experience for guests is also important and there has been a large focus lately on providing modern spa facilities within hotels. The Fitzwilliam Hotel, one of Belfast’s luxury city centre hotels has plans to extend and is due to feature a state-of-the-art spa and leisure facility once complete. McCue recently fitted out The Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square in London, a project that included a new luxury spa. Described as ‘a sanctuary of wellness and nurture’, The Spa at The Four Seasons Hotel has set the benchmark for spa experiences throughout the UK and Ireland. There is a lot of hotel expansion in Northern Ireland as well as refurbishment - is this a trend you have seen in other sectors? Refurbishment is key within any sector. It is no longer about being ‘just’ a retail shop or an office, it’s about ensuring people are comfortable in their surroundings and have an immersive experience. The flagship ‘Lush’ store in London that McCue fitted out is a prime example of how retailers are shifting their focus and making the customer journey an engaging experience. The Oxford Street

flagship store opened a spa with four treatment rooms to add to that overall experience. The corporate sector is also focusing on improving customer experience as well as employee experience. McCue completed an office fit out for Danske Bank Headquarters in Belfast that saw a revamped office space, as well as an entirely new front entrance for employees with a new staff access location. How important do you think refurbishment is for hotels? Hotel refurbishment is very important. They need to be able to advertise a current, appealing product to remain competitive, as consumers tend not to stay in a hotel that is past its best. However, with projects like Ten Trinity Square, it’s important to be aware of the original features of the building during refurbishment as they add to the authenticity of the hotel and ensures it maintains its heritage. In your opinion, what is the most important thing to consider when redesigning a hotel? Hotel guests have many needs. It is no longer just about business people, weddings or weekend breaks; hotels need to cater for all types of guests.

Currently designers are being encouraged to create hotel concepts based on psychographic research rather than demographics. Various factors include; personality, values, opinions and attitudes; these are considered and subsequently used to create a hotel that is fit for a particular purpose. An example of this is Hilton Worldwide that launched the ‘Tru’ brand of hotels - a ‘vibrant, affordable and youngat-heart’ experience focusing on millennials. The hotels even offer food and alcohol 24 hours a day to attract the younger visitor. It is also important that any outlay should be recoverable with potential trade increases. What do you think will be big in 2018? We forecast that one of the big trends in 2018 will be that any refurbishment to medium/high end hotels will incorporate a luxury, modern spa as this is proving to be a major draw for customers.

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL. » The pool at the Four Seasons Hotel in London, part of a new luxury spa.


CLENAGHAN’S » Danni Barry has taken her Michelin star skills from Deane’s Eipic to a country restaurant outside Moira.



Titanic Belfast has appointed Judith Owens as Chief Executive, taking over the reins from Tim Husbands MBE.

Tourism Ireland has launched details of its marketing plans to promote Northern Ireland overseas in 2018.

As Director of Operations and Deputy Chief Executive since before opening in 2012, Judith has been looking after all front of house operations as well as recruitment, facilities management, learning and outreach programmes.

In 2018, Tourism Ireland aims to grow overseas tourism revenue by +6%, to £623 million for the Northern Ireland economy, driven by over 2.3 million overseas visitors.

Prior to her role at Titanic Belfast, Judith was Head of Operations and House Manager at the Waterfront & Ulster Hall for 14 years.

They will continue to promote major Northern Ireland themes and attractions around the world – including the Causeway Coastal Route, Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway and our National Trust properties.

DYSON HOTEL IN KINSALE The Blue Haven Hotel in Kinsale has become Ireland’s first “Dyson” hotel, the third in the world after London and Sydney. The hotel, an older property, has worked with the Dyson company to incorporate lighting, vacuums, hair dryers and most importantly, air purifiers and heaters to bedrooms and public spaces. So now hand-helds buzz around the place, doing interim cleaning, the reception has the distinctive lighting system, and the rooms have fancy purifier heaters and Supersonic hairdryers. They’re especially pleased with the heater: a guest can specify, when they book, precisely what temperature they’d like their room to be.





THE SEARCH TO FIND THE BEST TWO HOSPITALITY STUDENTS IS NOW UNDERWAY. The 2018 competition to find the best Hospitality Student of the year will take place at Southern Regional College in Newry on 7th February 2018. The competition which is in its fourth year, has two categories, best food service student and best chef. The initiative, which is supported by the Department for the Economy, Bunzl McLaughlin and the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, seeks to raise the profile of the sector, reward those with

talent and highlight the great career path the hospitality sector can offer. The event also receives support from Dillon Bass for the award dinner. The competition has been well supported since its inception and has identified great talent within the student fraternity. Last year’s Food Service winner, Kieron Cleverley has gone on to represent the sector in the World Skills finals and the 2016 chef winner Ed Astrauvis won a scholarship with

Kempinski Hotels to further his career in China. No doubt the finalists in 2018 will show equal talent. The closing date for entries is 5.00pm on Friday 19th January 2018 and for further details contact Julie-Anne Stevenson, Deputy head of School for Hospitality, Tourism, Business & Management by email at stevensonja@ src.ac.uk



GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION (GDPR) NEW LEGISLATION ON HOW YOU HANDLE DATA COMES IN TO FORCE IN MAY 2018. IT HAS SIGNIFICANT IMPLICATIONS FOR HOTELIERS. Please don’t switch off or fall asleep at this point! The law in relation to the data that your business holds is changing and it’s important. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply in the UK from May 2018 and replaces the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). If you are subject to the DPA then you will more than likely fall under the remit of the GDPR. GDPR builds on the previous legislation: but provides enhanced protection for consumers, and more privacy considerations for organisations. It brings a more 21st century approach to the processing of personal data. The GDPR will apply in the UK from 25th May 2018. The government has confirmed that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of GDPR. What is the GDPR? GDPR is incoming EU legislation which sets out new rules for data protection. The regulation replaces the existing Data Protection Directive, which was brought into law in the UK under the DPA. Will it apply to me and my business? If you handle “personal data” (information from which a person can be identified), GDPR will most likely apply to you. Unlike the DPA which only imposed obligations on a “data controller” (the party which decided what data to collect and what to do with it), GDPR also imposes direct obligations on a “data processor” (the party which agrees to handle personal data on behalf of someone else). This is important to know, since the penalties for failure to comply with data

protection under GDPR will be increased from £500,000 up to the greater of €20,000,000 or 4% of a company’s global annual turnover. This is EU Legislation - we’re leaving the EU - so it won’t affect me? GDPR will come into force in the UK on 25th May 2018 and will apply directly in the UK from that date until we leave. Post-Brexit, it is likely that the Government will implement legislation that will be broadly in line with GDPR and don’t forget we will still be working with countries within the EU where it will apply. Do I need to take any action? If you want to comply with the new law and be ready for its implementation on 25th May 2018 – you need to take action now. There is lots of information on the Information Commissioner’s website www.ico.org.uk and this is updated regularly. In the meantime, below are three simple steps that you can take to get you started on the process: 1. Carry out a data audit This means mapping the flow of the personal data you handle, from collection to destruction. You need to know the following: • • • • • • • •

Whose personal data is collected? What types of data? Where does the data come from? What uses do you make of it? How and where do you store it? Who has access to it? What security measures do you have in place? How long do you keep it for?

• •

How do you destroy it? Who is responsible for each part of this process?

2. Conduct a gap analysis In order to do this, you’ll need to know what your obligations are in respect of GDPR. This will differ depending on whether you are a “data controller” or “data processor”. In some businesses, you are likely to be both. Most hoteliers will fall into the data controller category. For example, you’ll most likely be a data controller in respect of data relating to your employees and clients (including marketing and promotional activity), but a data processor if you handle data relating to your clients/ customers. As a hotelier and ‘data controller’, you will have a number of obligations imposed on your business: One of the key requirements is compliance with the ‘Conditions for Processing’. This means (in part) that you must have a legal basis for processing. The two most common basis are likely to be: i. consent from the “data subject” (the person who can be identified from the data), or ii. the processing is necessary to perform the contract – i.e. to provide the services requested e.g. stay at your hotel, pay wages In addition, data controllers will need to comply with the ‘Principles of Processing’ – which deals with the ‘how’ rather than the ‘why’. These new principles are broadly similar to those under the DPA, but offer new concepts of ‘Data Minimisation’, ‘Purpose Minimisation’ and ‘Storage Minimisation’.


Data controllers will also have to familiarise themselves with the ‘Rights of Data Subjects’, which will be enhanced substantially under the GDPR, including a new express right to be forgotten as well as the right to object to automated decision making e.g. if you have the data subjects details for one specific process, staying at your hotel, you must have their permission to use the data for anything else or if the person does not wish their data to be used in the future, you must have a process for forgetting it i.e. how you have disposed of it. 3. Implement Procedures to comply Once you’ve mapped out the life-cycle of the data you hold in your business and are acquainted with your obligations, you should be able to work out what procedures you need to implement to comply. GDPR does not offer a checklist of steps to comply as each business will be different in its data use and business requirements; instead it requires each business to look at its particular model and decide how to put data protection at its core. It may be worth having this process audited by a qualified third party or doing a risk analysis in the first instance. The procedures required will be different for each business. However, there are likely to be some steps which will be common to many, which are set out below: (a) Update your privacy policy If you’re collecting the data directly from a data subject, it’s likely that you’ll need to update your Privacy Policy to include the following information: 1. Legal basis for processing 2. Identity your Data Protection Officer (DPO) if appointed (see below) 3. How long you’ll retain the data 4. How you will dispose of data 5. Any transfers outside the EEA and safeguards around the transfer 6. The rights of data subjects 7. How a data subject can complain 8. What happens if a data subject withdraws their consent 9. The rationale for any automated processing (b) Update your mechanism for obtaining consent Under GDPR, consent must be freely given, informed, specific, unambiguous and signified. This means your privacy policy needs

to be clear, available at the point of collection and sufficiently detailed; no more preticked boxes; and consent will be need to be given specifically for the use of the data (and not bundled in with consent to your T&Cs). Particular attention will need to be given to any use of personal data related to under 16s – for which you’ll need parental consent. (c) If you outsource your infrastructure, review your data processing agreements Does the processor provide contractual promises to implement adequate security measures? Where are their servers based? Are they obliged to assist you if any access requests are received from data subjects? How long do they retain the data for? What can you sue them for if there is a data breach? Do they have a policy in place for data restoration? (d) Implement robust internal processes within your organisation Draft an internal Data Protection Policy. This should deal with matters such as who is authorised to access particular types of data; whether data can be accessed on personal devices; use of passwords and encryption; data retention periods and deletion procedures. Carry out staff training particularly if you have customer-facing staff, so that data is handled correctly from the point of collection. While it’s not compulsory for all businesses, it is a good idea to appoint someone in your organisation to act as your DPO. They will be responsible for ensuring that policies are implemented and that data access requests are dealt with. At the heart of GDPR is the idea of ‘privacy by design’ which means that businesses will need a change in culture within their organisations. It won’t be sufficient to carry out a one-off process. You will need to implement policies and continue to audit and update. The Information Commissioner’s website has a check list for SME’s which will be of use to many members.


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



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Hotplate January 2018  

The magazine of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation.

Hotplate January 2018  

The magazine of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation.

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