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January 2019

IS THERE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE BREXIT TUNNEL? PLUS SCREEN TOURISM, GAME OF THRONES, EXCHANGE REVIEW

+ MEMBER NEWS, WORKING WITH OTAS, HOUSEKEEPING, WHISKEY +


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INSIDE HOTPLATE

P. 31

SCREEN TOURISM A LOOK AT THE BURGEONING INDUSTRY DEVELOPING AROUND GAME OF THRONES AND OTHER PRODUCTIONS. P. 5, 11

P. 16

HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE A LOOK BACK AT THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2018 CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION P. 14-19 MEMBER NEWS Refurbishments, awards and celebrations in the Northern Ireland hotel world.

P. 6-8 INDUSTRY NEWS More news from hotels, restaurants and the wider tourism sector.

P. 32 FOOD AND DRINK TOURISM Is whiskey the big new thing and can it bring in the visitors?

P. 26 THE GRILL Hotplate speaks to TBL International Chief Executive, Judith Owens.

P. 12-13 FRONT COVER. Our lead article on P. 4 looks at Brexit and the effects of hotel expansion.

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


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

I

am now in the second year of my presidency and I doubt that many of my predecessors have been through a more interesting time. From massive hotel expansion, to political turmoil and the ongoing issue of skills, there is no shortage of challenges. We have been supporting members through these turbulent times and have been meeting with all the local political parties to reinforce the important role that the hotel sector plays in the infrastructure of Northern Ireland. The issue of Brexit continues to dominate the news. Regardless on your stance on this process, the uncertainty it has created is not a positive environment for the hospitality and tourism industries. As a sector we rely on consumer confidence being high which encourages people to spend their disposable income. Brexit has created consumer nervousness leading to a lack of confidence. The concern for our industry is that this will translate into a reduction in business. The hotel sector has also undergone a seismic change over the last eighteen months. Room numbers are at record levels with growth of 18% in overall

stock in Northern Ireland. Industry investment in the latest expansion phase comes to almost £500m.

Coren, as well as insights from Lonely Planet and GAVIN CARROLL TripAdvisor. President The event was a real opportunity to celebrate the industry and this year’s Gala Ball with its masquerade theme was a fitting end to a great couple of days. I would like to extend my personal thanks to all our sponsors, stand holders and the delegates who supported this year’s Exchange.

The Federation commissioned a forecast from leading benchmarking company STR with economic analysis from Tourism Economics. The report was launched at Hospitality Exchange. The analysis highlights the effects of additional supply, with the main focus being in the Belfast market where the bulk of growth has taken place. It is important to note that demand is growing and more rooms are being sold. However, supply currently exceeds demand, and this is causing some turbulence in the market. Room rates are under pressure and overall occupancy has fallen. The Federation recognises that we need more visitors to address this situation and we have been working with Tourism Northern Ireland and Tourism Ireland on promotional initiatives.

The board of the Federation met for a strategy day in November and we are working on our plans for the coming year. These centre on supporting our members with more continued lobbying, a calendar of industry specific events and encouraging the creation of a collaborative network to highlight the skills issue. A busy year lies ahead. As the year draws to a close, I would like to thank you all for your support over the last year. I would also like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for the coming year.

The hotel report was not the only highlight of Hospitality Exchange 2018. This year’s line-up included chefs Simon Rogan and Marco Pierre White and the highly entertaining, if somewhat irreverent, food critic Giles

NIHF BOARD MEMBERS 2019 THESE PEOPLE REPRESENT MEMBER INTERESTS ON THE BOARD. PLEASE CONTACT THEM IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO RAISE ANY ISSUES AT BOARD LEVEL. Alan Walls Bushmills Inn Hotel

Colin Johnston Galgorm Resort & Spa

Mike Gatt Maldron Hotel Belfast City

Avril Robson Corick House Hotel & Spa

Eddie McKeever McKeever Hotel Group

Nicky Cassidy Westville Hotel

Cian Landers Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast

Gavin Carroll, President Merchant Hotel

Ciaran O’Neill Bishop’s Gate Hotel

Mark Walker, Treasurer Hilton Belfast

Stephen Meldrum, Vice-President Grand Central Hotel Vicky Green Andras House Group


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HOTEL FORECASTING

THE END OF THE TUNNEL? BREXIT CONTINUES TO BREED UNCERTAINTY AT A TIME OF UNPRECEDENTED HOTEL GROWTH The dominant theme in 2018 in Northern Ireland’s hotel sector was new openings. Throughout the year room stock grew and now sits at record levels with 141 rooms and 9,250 rooms. The year proved to be one very much of two halves – a status quo until the summer with rates, occupancy and RevPAR all holding strong. In July, the tide began to turn, and the tap of new supply reached full flow. Occupancy in Belfast began to falter and by autumn the rate in Belfast had begun to slip. This was not entirely unpredicted as a vast amount of supply had been concentrated into a relatively short period of time. Other cities and markets have grown organically over the last decade, increasing room stock by 4-5% year on year. The market in Belfast had been more or less stagnant since 2009. Suddenly, a building boom hit with supply growing over 30% in an eighteenmonth period. Business beyond Belfast has held up relatively well. Occupancy is down but room rate has grown slightly. It is imperative that the industry reacts to the increase in stock in a measured way. Forecasts about the effects on the market taken from a study commissioned by the Federation from STR and Oxford

Economics shows a period of adjustment. This period has been adjusted in length to around eighteen months and yes it will present challenges, but the market should return to growth by 2020. The lessons of the last downturn show that discounting and bargain basement pricing do not increase business but undervalue products and often reduce appeal. The effects of such strategies may cause long-term damage and increase the market’s recovery period. However, all of this is unfolding against a backdrop of growing uncertainty as Brexit looms in the background. The last hotel spurt took place on the cusp of the worst global recession on record and the current phase is playing out to the background music of the biggest political and economic upheaval in half a century. The stoicism of the hotel industry has been noted before and we weathered the recession, returning to growth in 2012. History has repeatedly shown the sector’s ability to adapt and there is no doubt it will adjust in accordance with the final Brexit outcome. A falling pound offers an opportunity and the value it brings will help us attract more visitors. On the other hand, uncertainty is eroding consumer confidence which is reducing spend. As an organisation, we have met with all

JANICE GAULT Chief Executive the political parties and like many others do not have a clear picture of what the final outcome will bring. Hotels are a long-term capital investment and it is important that we work with each other in the coming year to promote our industry. Some 50% of Northern Ireland’s hotel rooms are under fifteen years old and we have never had such a well invested product. Interest in the region is high and we now have the ability to host larger events, attract more business and capitalise on our £500m investment. Collaboration, adaption and resilience would appear to be the key themes for the coming year. Maintaining our market position, presenting a value led and not a bargain basement offer will help us grow and sustain the industry going forward.


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NIHF EVENTS NIHF EVENTS CALENDAR 2019 Here is a list of hotel and hospitality industry events for the first half of the year. Further details will be available on nihf.co.uk. 16th January Receptionist Training Ten Square Hotel

GAME OF THRONES EXHIBITION

OFFICIAL GAME OF THRONES EXHIBITION WILL DEBUT IN BELFAST FROM APRIL TO SEPTEMBER 2019 AT THE TITANIC EXHIBITION CENTRE TBL International (the operator of Titanic Belfast) is bringing Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition to TEC Belfast for its debut visit to UK and Ireland. It will run from 11th April to 1st September 2019 in the 5,000 sq m venue. Designed in collaboration with HBO Global Licensing, the exhibition combines costumes, authentic props and majestic settings from all seven seasons of the award-winning series to create an interactive and immersive Game of Thrones experience like no other.

exhibition in Northern Ireland will be the first official experience covering up to season seven for fans in the UK and Ireland and will be perfectly timed with the highly anticipated final season of Game of Thrones next spring. “The exhibition will offer an authentic travel opportunity for fans to immerse themselves in the world of Westeros and fully experience the breath-taking landscapes and rugged charm of Northern Ireland. We are delighted to support the exhibition and look forward to welcoming many more visitors in association with this initiative.”

GAME OF THRONES IN NUMBERS spent on goods and services in Northern Ireland since the pilot to end of Season 7.

30m 120,000 Estimated viewers per Estimated visitors episode in Season 7. That’s a lot of people looking at Northern Ireland!

5th February Sales & Segmentation Workshop 7th February Trade Lunch Dunadry Hotel 20th February Housekeeping Assessment Clayton Hotel Belfast 26th February Industry Outlook Workshop (incorporating STR updates) 20th March Receptionist Assessment Wellington Park Hotel 28th March Housekeeping Dinner Clayton Hotel Belfast 3rd April Receptionist Interviews Wellington Park Hotel 9th April Taste of Tourism Culloden Estate & Spa

The exhibition is supported by Tourism NI and Chief Executive, John McGrillen commented, “The arrival of the

£160m Estimated amount

23rd January Receptionist Training Waterfoot Hotel

drawn to Northern Ireland in 2016 by the series. More research is needed to update this.

2nd May Receptionist Dinner Hilton Templepatrick 11th June Golf Day Lough Erne Resort 20th June Trade Lunch Crowne Plaza Belfast


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MEMBER NEWS

LOUGH ERNE RESORT » The Hotel Alone: Lost at Lough Erne package is offering the ultimate seasonal getaway to fans of the cult 90s Home Alone films. Guests will live like Kevin McAllister for the day, enjoying an in-suite trolley laden with bowls of ice cream, cookies, marshmallows and jellybeans. A cheese pizza will be delivered by room service before settling down in bathrobes to watch Home Alone 1 & 2 in the comfort of one of the resort’s loughview suites.

NIHF MEMBER NEWS

BEECH HILL HOTEL

HOLIDAY INN BELFAST

BUSHMILLS INN HOTEL

The Beech Hill Hotel has been acquired by The House Collection following a multimillion-pound investment with support from First Trust Bank.

Holiday Inn Belfast City Centre has been ranked the number one Holiday Inn Hotel in the UK and Ireland and granted the highest possible ranking in IHG’s Elite Status. The hotel is one of only five hotels out of 133 in the IHG group to have achieved the Elite status, being ranked number one within the five.

The Best Loved Awards, now in their 4th year, celebrated a whole host of winners, representing the ‘Best of the Best’ of the company’s UK, Irish and international hotel portfolios. All of the hotels are independently-owned, across the country’s regions, with thirteen specialist categories, which attracted over 7,500 nominations from customers all over the world.

The hotel is now under the ownership of entrepreneurs Sam Harding, Barry Kemp and Adam Kemp who between them run a number of local and international businesses. The House Collection hopes to bring new life to the iconic hotel which was sold by the O’Kane and Donnelly families, the previous owners for more than two decades. The new owners have already created five new jobs at the hotel and have an ambitious growth plan to become the best four-star hotel in Northern Ireland.

The Elite status was achieved through outstanding Guest Satisfaction survey results and Andras House attributes the success to the continued investment into its team, each of whom are trained through the group’s Andras Academy. Vikrant Tyagi, General Manager of Holiday Inn, Belfast said: “We are absolutely delighted to be awarded this most prestigious accolade and would like to thank our excellent team for making this possible.

Nominations for the Best Loved Awards opened in June 2018 and Best Loved customers were invited to nominate hotels where they had stayed and experienced ‘best in class’ stays. The Bushmills Inn were delighted to be crowned the regional winner for all Ireland earning them the coveted title of Best Hotel in Ireland.


MEMBER NEWS

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BEANNCHOR GROUP » Beannchor, has taken a major step towards reducing its carbon footprint by agreeing a £500,000 renewable electricity contract with 3T Power.

The clean energy transition has been rolled out across the group’s entire portfolio including The Merchant Hotel, Bullitt Belfast, The National & Sixty6, Little Wing, The Dirty Onion and Hillside Bar and Restaurant, with all venues now using 100% renewable electricity, generated locally by wind farms in Northern Ireland.

BISHOP’S GATE HOTEL

MAHON’S HOTEL

ROE PARK RESORT

Bishop’s Gate Hotel has scooped one of the main accolades in the UK hospitality sector, having been named as AA Hotel of the Year (Northern Ireland) 2018-19.

The Mahon Family has been welcoming guests to their hotel since 1883. During 2019 the family will celebrate the success of their hotel with a year-long programme of events to acknowledge this impressive achievement.

GolfNow and Roe Park Resort recently teamed up to offer golf fans across the UK the chance to win a round with Rory McIlroy on his home turf in Northern Ireland – and they couldn’t believe the response when over 222,000 people entered the competition.

Ciaran O’Neill, Managing Director of Bishop’s Gate says: “Winning the AA Hotel of the Year (Northern Ireland) 2018-19 award is a massive achievement for an independently run boutique hotel and restaurant, which only opened its doors in 2016. This award is the AA’s ultimate accolade for hotels in the UK. The hotel has also been listed in the 45th Anniversary Edition of the prestigious Ireland’s Blue Book. The book is a guide to an impeccable collection of 56 country house hotels, manor houses, castles and restaurants located throughout the island of Ireland.

Joe Mahon explains “We are very proud to be able to say that the hotel has been in the Mahon name for 135 years. The hotel has seen two world wars and the turning of two centuries. “My grandfather Joe Mahon bought the hotel back in 1883. At the time it was a small hotel, with just 8 bedrooms. Several members of our family have been born in the hotel and for our Open House in November, we converted Room 4 (where I was born) into a nursery.”

The lucky prize winner Ash Rizi with his friend Richard Watson, both from Rory’s hometown of Holywood in County Down, played 18 holes alongside Rory at Royal Portrush. The winners also played at Castlerock Golf Club whilst staying and playing at Roe Park Resort. To top it off, the money-can’tbuy prize also included a full set of new TaylorMade clubs.


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MEMBER NEWS

MORE MEMBER NEWS

SLIEVE DONARD RESPORT & SPA The Spa at Slieve Donard has been named Northern Ireland Spa of the Year at the Professional Beauty Regional Awards 2018 which took place in Manchester. The prestigious awards acknowledge excellence and celebrate the shining stars of the beauty industry. Pictured accepting the award are The Spa at Slieve Donard’s Reception Manager Sambie Lee and Spa Manager, Cathryn O’Neill. The resort has also appointed two new senior mamagers. Michael Weston is now General Manager. Michael has al-

HASTINGS HOTEL GROUP most 20 years’ management experience in the hospitality industry and previously worked for Walt Disney World, the Mooney Hotel Group, Hilton Hotels and Radisson Hotel Group. Niall Burns has been appointed Deputy General Manager. Niall has worked for Hastings Hotels for over eight years and was previously named Bar Manager of the Year at the NI Institute of Hospitality Awards. He recently graduated from an Executive Management Program through the IMI and Fáilte Ireland.

The Directors of Hastings Hotels have announced that James McGinn has been appointed to the Board of Directors. James joined Hastings in August 1996 as Quality Development Manager in the Europa Hotel under General Manager John Toner. Subsequently, he has held the positions of General Manager in the Stormont Hotel, Culloden Estate & Spa and the Europa Hotel where he has been at the helm since 2003. He also appeared in the BBC TV series about the Europa Hotel, “Lobby Lives”, which ran from 2006 to 2008.

CORR’S CORNER HOTEL Twenty-five years ago, Eugene and Catherine McKeever walked into to Corrs Corner Hotel as the owners and started, the then bar and restaurant, on a journey to become one of the most loved hotels in the community. No stranger to the ethos of Corrs Corner, Eugene has grown up with it, originally starting in 1966 and working his way to becoming the Head Chef in 1974, a position he held for 11 years. Since his time only 2 Head Chefs have succeeded him, a position currently held by Jason Gault. In an industry which is struggling to recruit, Corrs bucks the trend with over 40% of its team having over 10 years service, 6 of which are over 25 years.

Over the last 25 years Eugene & Catherine have invested heavily in not just their employees but also have spent approximately £6 million in capital investment which has seen the original road house transform into a 68 bedroom hotel. Corrs was the catalyst from which the McKeever Hotel Group began which now boasts 5 venues including; Dunsilly Hotel, Adair Arms Hotel, Dillons Hotel in Letterkenny and the most recent addition of the Dunadry Hotel, but Eugene admits, “Corrs Corner will always remain the special one to me; it is where I have spent 52 years of my life.”


Find out what impact a great front of house range can have on your business at ufs.com/frontofhouse FOOD TASTES BETTER WITH HELLMANN’S * Number 1 claim based on Nielsen Retail IRE Grocery Value Sales MAT 12/08/2018

WE’RE ON THE SIDE OF FOOD


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TOURISM MARKETING

TOURISM IRELAND MARKETING PLANS Tourism Ireland has launched details of its marketing strategy and plans to promote Northern Ireland overseas in 2019. Details of Tourism Ireland’s first new global advertising campaign in seven years were revealed at an event in Belfast. 2018 is set to be another record year for overseas tourism to Northern Ireland; by year end, some 2.23 million people will have visited Northern Ireland (+3% on 2017), spending £589 million (+4%). In 2019, Tourism Ireland aims to build on this year’s performance – growing overseas tourism revenue to £639 million (+8%), driven by more than 2.33 million overseas visitors. Tourism Ireland’s new global campaign – ‘Fill your Heart with Ireland’ – launched in December in the United States, GB, France and Germany. From January 2019, it will be rolled out in over 20 markets around the globe. It will include TV, cinema, print, outdoor and online ads, as well as content for social platforms. The campaign will feature less visited attractions and locations – including The Gobbins and Devenish Island – and aims to attract visitors all year round. 2019 presents Tourism Ireland with some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities

to showcase Northern Ireland around the world. These include the final series of Game of Thrones, which will air in spring 2019. Tourism Ireland is planning a year-long programme of activity to fully maximise every opportunity from Game of Thrones, in close co-operation with HBO and Tourism NI. A brand new campaign will be rolled out to coincide with the final series, highlighting Northern Ireland as ‘Game of Thrones Territory’ to fans everywhere. Tourism Ireland will also promote HBO’s new legacy visitor attractions. Tourism Ireland will also take every opportunity to highlight The 148th Open at Royal Portrush. Promotional activity will encourage those attending the event to extend their stay in Northern Ireland and will also showcase Northern Ireland as a host of world-class events and, by extension, a superb golf and holiday destination. The significant increase in bedroom capacity in both Belfast and Londonderry also presents Tourism Ireland with a significant opportunity. City break campaigns will be rolled out in Q1 and Q4 next year, to drive business to both cities. Tourism Ireland will re-develop its entire suite of Ireland.com websites, which

attracts more than 20 million visits a year, to ensure its digital marketing continues to be ‘best in class’ in the 2020s. The new technology will also allow Tourism Ireland to re-target visitors and potential visitors with personalised messages and offers, designed to appeal to their specific interests. Tourism Ireland will implement its US, German, emerging markets and GB market growth strategies. This will see the organisation expand its operations in China – with new representation in Hong Kong – and increase its marketing activity in the US and Canada, as well as in emerging markets like Japan (particularly around the Rugby World Cup). In 2019, Tourism Ireland aims to grow overseas tourism revenue by +8%, to £639 million for the Northern Ireland economy, driven by over 2.33 million overseas visitors. 2019 will undoubtedly present some challenges – not least the continued uncertainty around Brexit, which may impact on consumer confidence and, in turn, on outbound travel from GB. Other challenges include economic and geo-political uncertainty, as well as the potential for oil price inflation.


ECONOMICS

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Webb Wonders Musings from the Federation’s Economic Advisor

SCREEN TOURISM ECONOMIC ADVISOR, ANDREW WEBB, ON THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF FILM AND TV TOURISM. It was only during the summer months that I finally got a proper sense of the value of screen tourism and its potential for Northern Ireland. I was lucky enough to get a couple of days away in Dubrovnik and it was in the old town that I saw just how beneficial an association with a film of television programme can be. It was hard to move for Star Wars and Game of Thrones references and memorabilia. A quick bit if research later and I learned that Game of Thrones induced tourism in Dubrovnik resulted in a near 40 per cent increase in tourist arrivals, a 28.5 per cent increase in overnight stays and a 37.5 per cent increase in City Walls admission tickets, compared to a mere 7 per cent increase in tourist arrivals, a 8 per cent increase in overnight stays, and a 2 per cent increase in City Walls admission tickets in the pre-Game-ofThrones period.

While I was aware that Game of Thrones has been transformative for Northern Ireland as a screen tourism destination, with 25 accessible locations, mostly in County Antrim and County Down, the scale of impact that Dubrovnik is getting is the goal for us. Northern Ireland Screen estimated at the end of Season 6 that expenditure on goods and services into the Northern Ireland economy was £146m, or over £20m per season. Tourism NI have estimated that 120,000 visitors were drawn to Northern Ireland by the series in 2016, pumping £30m into the local economy. We can achieve what Dubrovnik is achieving. Although Game of Thrones will not be filming in Northern Ireland now that the show has ended, the legacy of the show can be harnessed. In September, HBO announced the launch of the Game of Thrones Legacy experience in Northern Ireland, where

the sets for Winterfell and Castle Black will be opened to tourists. Each site will feature not only the sets, but will also exhibit displays of costumes, props, weapons, set decorations, art files, models, and other production materials. The visitor experience will be enhanced by state-of-the-art digital content and interactive materials. Due to open in mid-2019, this is another important addition to the NI tourist offer that could generate multi-millions of positive economic impact. Winter is coming, but the summer looks good. Andrew Webb is economic advisor to NIHF.


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THE GRILL

THE GRILL IN A NEW FEATURE FOR HOTPLATE, WE SPEAK TO TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY LEADERS ABOUT THEIR COMPANY AND ROLE. FIRST UP IS JUDITH OWENS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF TBL INTERNATIONAL, THE COMPANY THAT OPERATES TITANIC BELFAST, THE NOMADIC AND TITANIC EXHIBITION CENTRE. Where did you start you career in Hospitality/Tourism? I started my career in the advertising industry in Belfast and then went into the media, working for the Belfast Telegraph and then UTV. Whilst not pure hospitality it’s where my passion for delivering events and hospitality management began. I joined the Belfast Waterfront in 1998 and have been involved in events, hospitality and tourism ever since. Can you describe your role in 50 words? My role is to deliver the Titanic Belfast vision, as one of the world’s leading tourism attractions and a catalyst for tourism growth in Northern Ireland. Along with a very strong and talented senior management team I am responsible for the strategic direction of the company. I’m the ultimate decision maker. How do you think Belfast has progressed as a destination since Titanic opened in 2012? Belfast has become a really vibrant tourist destination over the last 7 years, you just have to walk around the city centre,

hear the range of different languages from across the world to know we have moved on. The growth in both the tour operator business and the cruise market has been incredible. We also have a great choice of tours from Belfast Sight Seeing Tours, Cabbie Tours, Walking Tours to open top buses. We have great local cuisine and a fine choice of hotels to suit all tastes. What is the visitor mix at Titanic Belfast? Over 90 % of our visitors are from outside of Northern Ireland. 21% are coming from Republic of Ireland, 18% from North America, 16% from England. 20% of our visitors are coming in as part of an organised tour group. How important is working in partnership? It is absolutely vital. We work collaboratively with the tourism agencies, TNI, TI and VB but also with the Belfast City Council in terms of their events strategy, and hotels and local businesses. It is really important that we extend the offering for our visitors so that they are encouraged to stay in our city for longer. Variety and choice is essential - Titanic Belfast might be the reason that they have come here but there will be many other offerings that will encourage them to stay. How important are people in delivering a world class experience and What are the key skills you are looking for in Titanic Crew? For me there are 4 essential elements of delivering a world class experience – you have to have the product/ story, a choice of services, things to do and the people/customer service – all of these have to come together for us to get it right. The right people are essential - at Titanic Belfast we have developed a value system called the T-Factor Basics. We

GRILLED. » Judith Owens, Chief Executive, TBL International


believe that if staff have the right attitude we can provide them with the skills. The key behaviours that we are looking for in a Titanic Crew member are: friendliness, enthusiasm, professionalism, presentation, interest and attentiveness, helpfulness and knowledge. You took over the running of Nomadic in 2015 - do you have any other plans for expansion or additions to the site? We opened Hickson’s Point, an extension to our hospitality offering last year and plan to expand upon it in 2019 in terms of entertainment and animation. We are also working with Belfast City Council and Titanic Foundation Ltd to help develop further the Titanic Maritime Festival.

What do you see as the challenges for 2019? Each year brings with it new challenges, ones that you expect to have to deal with but plenty you don’t. It’s all about how you deal with them and where you can create opportunities. The skills gap is one that we keep talking about, we have to get to grips with this issue and profile the tourism and hospitality industries in Northern Ireland as careers of choice. The uncertainty that comes with a lack of government and Brexit – people have a choice, if they are uncertain they can choose not to come!!


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HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE

GOURMET DINNER SIMON ROGAN WAS THE 2018 CHEF FOR THE MERCHANT HOTEL GOURMET DINNER

The Gourmet Dinner is traditionally the event that marks the start of Hospitality Exchange with hoteliers, chefs, suppliers and restauranteurs coming together to experience an evening of culinary excellence. The dinner has attracted many leading culinary names over the last two decades including Raymond Blanc, Gordon Ramsay and Tom Kerridge. The 2018 dinner was held in the Rita Duffy Suite at The Merchant Hotel and was created by chef, Simon Rogan, a leading figure in the UK’s burgeoning restaurant scene. Chef Rogan has a unique approach to food with his menu embodying a strong seasonal element coupled with expertly executed classic techniques. His link to the land has been strengthened by his farm at Cartmel where his Michelin Star Restaurant, L’Eclume is based.

The farm is one of the main sources of ingredients along with long term trusted suppliers. His restaurant operation has grown with the most recent opening, Roganic winning a Michelin Star in London this year. He next venture will be in Hong Kong where he will open Aulis and inart, Chtwo amparestaurants gne, France Roganic in early 2019. His Riesling 2017 , New ZeRogan first cookbook, aland was o Rioja Wh published September ite 2016in , Spain this year and all those who Casa Conc ha Chardonnay 2015 , oro, Chilattended the dinner received e a signed copy of book on k Red 2015, Co ncha ySimon Toro,was the evening.

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accompanied by his operations manager, Chef Harry Guy who demonstrated a number of dishes from the dinner the following day. The dinner was a blend of local sourced ingredients augmented with a real Rogan twist. Diners commented on the extraordinary flavours, the simplicity of execution and the skill level of the overall cooking. Artisan Onyx tableware sponsored by Bunzl McLaughlin added to the visual experience with wine pairing from Dillon Bass complimenting the diverse menu. The evening was compered by Pamela Ballantine who welcomed diners, oversaw the running of the evening which finished with a specially created Jameson Irish coffee.

Gourmet Dinner with Simon Ro gan The Merchant Hotel 15th October 2018 Menu Canapés Smoked salmon , golden beet root, pike perch roe, el derflower Jerusalem arti chokes, Ragsto ne cheese, truffle Turbot braise d in ham fat, prawn, lettuc e Shorthorn Beef shortrib, leek horseradish, s, marrow fat Fig leaf ice cream, preser ved plum, cobnut Sheep’s milk, pears, rose hi ps Petit Fours

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HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE

HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE A RECORD DELEGATE TURNOUT FOR HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE 2018 INCLUDING A SOLD-OUT BUSINESS BREAKFAST AND SPEAKER LUNCH Hospitality Exchange 2018 was staged against a background of record hotel growth, continued Brexit uncertainty and growing concerns about skills. A varied programme, which included chefs Simon Rogan and Marco Pierre White, as well as food critic Giles Coren, attracted a record number of delegates. Insights from Tripadvisor and Lonely Planet highlighted the global power of reviews and the competitiveness of tourism. The Federation drew attention

to the importance of the sector with an economic update and the launch of a updated hotel expansion report.

a trade exhibition where suppliers promoted a range of new services and products over the two days.

Matters south of the border were outlined by Minister Brendan Griffin, TD Minister of State for Tourism and Sport. Despite a rise in VAT, support for the sector remains strong with additional funds for agencies and capital projects secured for the coming year.

There was plenty of opportunity to catch up with industry colleagues, although this was perhaps a little harder at the Masquerade Gala Ball. Revellers did party long into the night helping celebrate not only a great event but all that is good about this diverse sector!

This years event was supported by


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HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE

HOTEL EXPANSION THE FEDERATION LAUNCHED A NEW HOTEL EXPANSION REPORT INCLUDING A FORECAST FROM STR AND TOURISM ECONOMICS

The NIHF has worked on building a strong relationship with STR over the last decade. This has ensured a meaningful sample of local hotels contribute to their monthly market reports which is now broken into four Northern Ireland regions. The Federation produced an expansion report, which included a forecast from STR on the enlarged Northern Ireland market with an emphasis on future trading in Belfast. The forecast including economic analysis by Tourism Economics will be available to purchase directly from STR on a quarterly basis. The Federation will distribute updated hotel expansion data and analysis on a quarterly basis in the coming year. Initial findings highlight the following: • An increase in demand for hotel rooms in Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland. • Pressure on rate in the short term due to an unprecedented level of supply.

A period of adjustment in the market throughout 2019 with the market likely to steady and return to growth in 2020.

Hotel Expa n in Northern sion Ireland

A report from the Northe and perform rn ance includin Ireland Hotels Federat ion on hotel g a forecas t of future investment market con ditions.

The current phase of expansion is almost complete in Belfast with another phase likely from 2021 onwards. DerryLondonderry will see a considerable rise in hotel rooms in the coming year with pockets of growth along the North Coast and the Newry & Mourne area. Supported

by research

, data and

analysis from

OCTOBER 2018

The Federation will create and distribute updated hotel expansion data and analysis on a quarterly basis in the coming year. A synopsis of the initial forecast is outlined below.

What’s in store for Northern Ireland?

The Belfast Boom

Steady Story Derry-Londonderry

»» Supply reducing over the coming two years after a period of rapid growth. »» Demand high in 2018 but reducing significantly in 2019 and 2020. Demand also does not meet the supply curve for an extended period estimated to be 2022. At this stage the market will have absorbed the current supply and a new cycle of growth is forecast to begin. Visitor numbers as you would expect are also set to grow over the period. »» Occupancy falling in 2018 and 2019. »» Average Daily Rate falling in 2018 and again in 2019. »» RevPAR down in 2018 and dropping significantly in 2019.

»» Supply dropping significantly in the coming year after a period of rapid growth but more product in the pipeline after 2020! »» Demand high at the start of 2018 but reducing significantly into 2019 and will struggle to meet market influx. Demand also does not meet the supply curve for a considerable period but this could be further influenced by more supply coming as indicated in the pipeline. »» Occupancy falling in 2019 and slowly returning to small growth in 2020. »» Average Daily Rate knocked in 2019 but steadies in 2020 with RevPAR following a similar trend.

»» Supply due to come on stream in 2019 and 2020. City could grow by 25% in terms of rooms over the coming year after a period of rapid growth but more product in the pipeline after 2020. »» Demand building in 2018 albeit slowly until 2020. »» Occupancy reducing as new supply enters the market but showing an upward trend in 2020. »» Average Daily Rate shows no major change in this metric with little movement until 2021. »» RevPAR reducing until 2020 but returning to a positive from then.


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HOSPITALITY HERO DOUBLE RECIPIENTS OF THE FEDERATION’S ANNUAL HOSPITALITY AWARD

In a departure from the norm, the hospitality hero for 2018 was a couple instead of a single recipient with Eugene and Catherine McKeever the popular winners of this year’s award. They have taken the family business to a new level and are a real inspiration to the hospitality industry. Building a substantial & sustainable business empire while raising a family, studying for qualifications and always having an eye out for the next opportunity. Between them they have a century of experience in hospitality and have grown their business dramatically

over the last ten years. Presenting the award on the evening, compere, Pamela Ballantine stressed “that they both started out at a very young age – building on experience, investing in their business and even managing to produce children along the way! In many ways they are the perfect marriage – bringing together operational skills, front of house experience and adding an artistic flair!” The McKeever Hotel group is truly a family affair with son Eddie and daughter Bridgene both working as directors in the business. 2018 has been

a year of celebration for the couple as they have just marked 25 years at their first business, Corrs Corner which was then a bar and restaurant. Today they own and operate not only Corrs Corner where Eugene began his career fifty-two years ago, but have four other properties - Dunsilly Hotel, Adair Arms Hotel in Ballymena, Dillon’s Hotel in Letterkenny and the most recent addition of the iconic Dunadry Hotel, Templepatrick. The group is always on the lookout for a good acquisition which fits in with their current portfolio and has not ruled out further expansion.


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NIHF 2018 EVIEW

NIHF REVIEW A REVIEW OF 2018 EVENTS

The 15th year of the re-invented Receptionist of the Year culminated in a glittering black-tie awards dinner in the Everglades Hotel where winning trophies were awarded to Helen Crawford from Maldron Hotel Belfast International Airport, Alex Coyle from Shipquay Hotel and the team from Bishop’s Gate Hotel. The Hotel Receptionist of the Year 2018 was supported by Tourism Northern Ireland, Net Affinity, Shopper Anonymous, Right Revenue, Derry City & Strabane District Council and Life: One Great Adventure.

The Housekeeping Awards will be 10 years old next year. 2018 was another roaring success. The awards dinner in the Hilton Templepatrick crowned the Belmore Court & Motel, Tara Lodge and the Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast. The Housekeeping Awards were supported by Tourism Northern Ireland, Bunzl Rafferty Hospitality, Ecolab, Robinson Services, Linencare and Respa Beds.

NORTHERN IRELAND HOTELS FEDERATION


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Three free seminars were run with STR to demonstrate the importance of up-todate information and how it can benefit your business.

The Federation ran its fourth development programme to New York’s renowned Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

STR is using data from members to further refine its forecasting model - a fact that helped lead to a brand new forecasting tool launched at Hospitality Exchange in October.

It included pre-programme exercises, a residential workshop in Northern Ireland, two intensive days at the university, three days benchmarking the very latest hotel developments in New York City, and meetings with travel agents and tour operators.

GDPR was the big talking point of early 2018 and the Federation held a number of workshops and produced a Toolkit for members to assist in the new legislation. The workshop was supported by O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors.

The programme was supported by Invest NI and run in conjunction with Tourism Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland and Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

Other events the Federation ran in 2018 included: A Bridge to Employment scheme for trainee chefs in partnership with DfE, People 1st and Belfast Met. The annual golf day, held at Lough Erne Resort and supported by Henderson Foodservice. A Job Fair in partnership with Belfast City Council, DfE, DfC, Invest NI and Tourism NI. Two member and trade lunches, held in the Merchant Hotel and Crowne Plaza Belfast. Hospitality Student of the Year in partnership with Bunzl McLaughlin and the local colleges.


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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

OTA

FRIEND OR FOE? ADRIENNE HANNA FROM RIGHT REVENUE ON HOW AND WHEN TO SEIZE BACK CONTROL OF BOOKINGS The OTA battle as we all know has been raging for a long time and quite honestly it is a battle that we openly walked in to at the beginning of the recession. Now we are here, we need to realise three things: firstly we have allowed consumer buying behaviour to change, therefore no matter what ‘Book Direct’ strategy we try, the OTA’s have acquired a large part of our customer journey. Secondly, what we should remember is that guests are OUR customers and the OTA’s are only a distribution channel. And finally, that you do not need OTA’s for base business, you need them only when you have distressed inventory. You need to take back control and only allow rates and inventory when you actually need the business. Make that switch in your mind and your sales and distribution strategy will change… Let’s look at the good stuff – the OTAs market and distribute our inventory 24 hours a day, 365 days each year and in countries we could never reach. In short, they provide a ‘window to the world’ and for that, I believe we should be grateful. However, we call them ‘aggregator’s and ‘disrupters’ for a reason and that is because like in all bad partnerships, the relationship is not equal and we handed over control. That control has allowed inflated commission, which by the way is used to bid directly on our brand name on Google and other search engines; tied us to rate parity agreements that inhibited our chances of selling flexible rates not only to other websites but even on our own brand website to our own customers; they often insisted on allocations with short release times

which in real terms meant that we showed full on our own site but allowed bookings through their site. I could go on and mention a dozen other unfair practices but the bottom line is that we as an industry didn’t stop to think of the consequences and now we are paying for it. Can we really win the battle on ‘Book Direct’ ??? The short answer is ‘kinda’. There are lots of strategies that you can implement that will absolutely make a difference. Let me give you some examples: Be where your guests start their journey and start bidding on your brand name on Google (at the very least) 2. Make your website clear, visual, easy to navigate with a clear booking ‘call to action’ 3. Ensure your brand booking engine is the absolute best in the market with an easy booking path and secure payment process 4. Collect emails at check-in and then use them. Communicate, communicate, communicate 5. Consider meta-sites such as Trivago, Google HotelFinder and TripAdvisor (there is a cost and not suitable for all but worth checking)

ADRIENNE HANNA Right Revenue

1.

Most importantly, manage your inventory and your pricing. You do not have to give OTA’s rooms every day. You do not need them for base business and you certainly can flex rates. One easy exercise is to take your Average Booking Value (ABV) from each OTA and then look at your ABV on your direct bookings. Remove the commission

from all and measure your Nett ABV. If you factor in your cost of sale of managing your own Book Direct strategy, as long as it comes in under around 12% and 8-10% ideally, then it is worth working really hard to gain back your well-deserved market share. My personal opinion is that the OTA commission crisis is as important as our battle with VAT. As an industry we need to demand a fairer playing field as with everything in life, relationships only work if all parts are equal. And for all things revenue, please just ask@rightrevenue.co.uk


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Now in their 10th year, the Hotel Housekeeping Awards are about recognising and rewarding your team; giving them the thanks they deserve! It is an exciting, fun competition with interactive tasks and some great team building.

HOW TO ENTER

IMPORTANT DATES

The 2019 competition has a brand-new format and now takes place in teams of two across four categories:

Assessment Day Wednesday 20th February 9.30 am - Group 1 1.00 pm - Group 2 Clayton Hotel Belfast

A. Under 50 rooms C. 50-99 rooms C. 100-149 rooms D. 150 rooms and over

Awards Dinner Thursday 28th March 7.30 pm Clayton Hotel Belfast

THE REWARDS

All entrants are required to attend the assessment day on 20th February. It is completely free to enter and take part. The assessment day will now be run in two equal-sized groups so your actual assessment time will depend on the number of entrants. You can specify a preference when applying.

All finalist teams will receive two free tickets to the Awards Gala Ball. The winners of each category will receive individual prizes and each winning hotel will get ÂŁ250 and a trophy.

Teams interested in taking part should complete the short online form available at nihf.co.uk by Friday 8th February.

Please enter online at nihf.co.uk by Friday 8th February 2019

Finalists will receive a certificate. Entrants, finalists and winners will be featured in press and on social media.

The Housekeeping Awards are supported by


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FOOD

EASY TO ASK ABOUT ALLERGENS BUSINESSES ACROSS NORTHERN IRELAND URGED TO KEEP FOOD ALLERGIC CUSTOMERS SAFE As concerns over public health related to food allergies continues to grow, with as many as 20% of the population experiencing some reaction to foods, and allergy related incidents and deaths being reported, especially among young people, it is evident more must be done to help local businesses come to grips with food allergy. To address this, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), in partnership with

Allergy UK and Anaphylaxis Campaign, have launched the Easy to ASK campaign to remind food establishments to be up front about providing accurate allergen information and to urge customers to be vocal about their allergen information requirements and food allergies.

advantage of the free allergen training and templates developed by the FSA (www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/ allergen-guidance-for-industry) to help staff understand and apply allergen requirements. Alternatively, contact a Food Safety Officer in the local council area.

Businesses operating within the hospitality sector across Northern Ireland are encouraged to take

Remember, it’s #easytoASK - Always ask about allergens - Speak up - Keep safe.


MORE SAFETY – MORE EFFICIENCY

CONNECTED WASH

In an increasingly networked world, Winterhalter boosts commercial warewashing to the next level. CONNECTED WASH integrates the latest generation of undercounter, passthrough and utensil washers into the network. It enables the analysis and evaluation of all operating data, remotely, via an app or portal. It allows you to optimise the whole washing process and increase operational safety. This technology delivers cost savings and reduces downtime to a minimum. Find out more at: www.connected-wash.com


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FOOD AND DRINK TOURISM

WHISKEY EMBRACING THE SPIRIT OF TOURISM

Whiskey derives its name from the Gaelic words, uisce beatha, meaning “water of life”. Distilled alcohol was also known in Latin as aqua vitae “water of life” and it has long been an integral part of the drinks trade on the island of Ireland. In 1608, King James I granted a licence to Sir Thomas Phillips, a landowner in Bushmills, County Antrim to distil whiskey, a date that is reflected in the Old Bushmills Distillery branding today, as it claims to have the oldest surviving grant of licence to distil in the world. However, purest whiskey historians note that the current Bushmills distillery and company was not registered to trade until 1784, some 176 years later. This allows the Kilbeggan Distillery (formerly Locke’s Distillery), founded by the McManus family in Kilbeggan, County Westmeath, which has been licensed and distilling since 1757 (not counting the period between 1954 and 2007) to lay claim to the title of the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland. Kilbeggan also has what is believed to be the oldest operational copper pot still in the world, at over 250 years old. Moving swiftly back to the 21st century and we find whiskey breathing life back to the local drinks industry, as well as cultivating a new dimension in tourism. Irish Whiskey, with that all important “e”, was one of the most widely consumed spirits in the world, enjoying global domination in the latter part of the 19th century. At this time there were 88 distilleries throughout Ireland. A rapid decline in the 20th century saw the number of distilleries shrink to just two!

The reasons behind this are numerous but most notable were prohibition in the United States, the main market for the spirit, resulting in the production of illicit Moonshine to supply demand and the advent of war which made transportation more difficult and had an adverse economic effect globally. Whiskey’s fortunes have certainly changed as premium spirits have made a comeback. Hotplate has featured the resurgence of Gin in a previous issue, though Irish Whiskey is following a similar trajectory having experienced growth of 14.3% worldwide in 2017. This is the strongest performance in the brown spirits category world-wide. Ireland now has eighteen operational distilleries, with some twenty additional operations in planning, and produces 175 different brands. There are also a number of visitor attractions supporting the product including three in Northern Ireland. Bushmills has for many years been the dominant brand in the local market. Its 400-year history gives it real kudos with whiskey aficionados. There is a trend towards drinking a premium product and Bushmills has filled this niche for a considerable period of time. However, competition from new products such as Echlinville and Rademon Estate, as well as three other proposed distilleries will add to the Northern Ireland portfolio and create a whiskey trail north of the border. The new distilleries can learn from those already benefiting from the visitor

experience. Jameson, reportedly the largest selling Irish Whiskey, has visitor attractions in Dublin and Cork. They have gained international recognition for the experience in Dublin which opened in March 2017 after an €11m investment attracting 350,000 visitors in their first year. According to the Irish Whiskey Association, 814,000 people visited 12 distillery centres on the island of Ireland in 2017. There is a strategy in place to double this to 1.9m visitors by 2025. For the Northern Ireland tourism economy, whiskey tourism will help us build a stronger brand offering a unique experience and it will attract those in search of an authentic experience. Bushmills, Echlinville and Rademon Estate (Shortcross) offer a visitor experience with their small batch products and this resonates with the discerning whiskey connoisseur. Distilleries are a long-term investment and the addition of a visitor experience allows them to generate income during their early years while building product recognition. This is a win-win situation for everyone and it helps to build Northern Ireland’s reputation as a food and drink destination with international appeal.


FOOD AND DRINK TOURISM

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UNDERGROUND HOTEL » Located in Shanghai, the “earthscraper” Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland Hotel was built vertically along the precipice of an underground, water-filled quarry over a 10-year period.

THE LATEST HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY NEWS GIFT OF A LIFT

RESTAURANT TRENDS

SLEEPBOX NAP LOUNGE

Coca-Cola HBC Ireland & Northern Ireland has announced the return of its annual Designated Driver campaign; encouraging consumers to give the ‘Gift of a Lift’ this Christmas and help to keep our roads safe and alcohol-free. The campaign will once again offer free soft drinks or water to those drivers who stay sober to ensure loved ones get home safely throughout the festive period.

The “trendologists” at San Francisco-based hospitality consultancy af&co. have released its 2019 food predictions, a broad list of the hottest hotel and restaurant trends — from wild hummus concoctions to globally-influenced breakfast menus.

If Santa needs a nap after flying around the world on Christmas Eve, he might consider setting his sleigh down at Dulles International Airport and checking into a room at the Sleepbox Nap Lounge on Concourse A.

Joining Coca-Cola HBC’s Dermot O’Donnell and Kylie Magee, is Cool FM DJ Rebecca McKinney; Joel Neil, Operations Director, Hospitality Ulster and Gavin Carroll, President, NIHF.

Some of their predictions sound ok, such as stating that carb is no longer a dirty word. “Pasta and bread are back, alongside an appreciation for heritage grains and artisanal bread preparation,” af&co. says. Others perhaps less so. To visually amuse guests at the table, af&co. has spotted restaurants serving cocktails in lightbulbs and milk cartons, breakfast served on a shovel, and appetizers served on a bed of rocks. ROKC in New York City, for example, serves their “Flower” cocktail in a lightbulb. The Michelin-star-rated EL Ideas in Chicago serves a coconut and lime powder palate cleanser on a mirror accompanied with a razor blade!

Scheduled to open in time for the busy Christmas travel week, the staffed post-security micro-hotel will be located between gates A6 and A14 and offer 16 small, stand-alone sound-proofed rooms (with no bathrooms or showers) that can be rented, via the Sleepbox website or app, for an hour or more, or overnight. The 8-foot-tall rooms will be “cozy” at 30 square feet for a compact size and 45 square feet for a standard size with more storage space. The beds will be premium memory foam. Average hourly rates will start at $25 and $35 per hour for the compact and standard rooms, respectively. Twelvehour overnight stays are capped at $120 and $150.


LEGAL UPDATE

TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY...

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

BUT DON’T DO ANYTHING SILLY The Christmas season is upon us, workplace parties are in full swing, and while the emphasis should be on having fun, hotels are wise to be alert to the possible vicarious liability risks associated with their employees’ actions and to the dangers of trading outside your permitted hours. Work Parties Where an employer endorses and supports a workplace function, financially or otherwise, the general position is that this function is an extension of the workplace and the normal working environment. Usual workplace behaviour is therefore required and the employer can be held vicariously liable for the actions of any employees during the function. The extent of the employer’s liability has however been somewhat unclear, especially in relation to the ‘after-parties’ that often follow such functions. The Bellman .v. Northampton Recruitment Ltd decision issued in December 2016 was believed to have provided some clarity on this matter when the High Court ruled that the Company was not liable for one employee’s violent assault on another employee at the after-party to the work function. The Claimant was a Sales Manager at a small recruitment agency for HGV drivers. In December 2011 the Company held its Christmas Party at a local golf club. Most of the employees and their partners and a few guests attended. Following the party, the Managing Director initiated a move to a nearby hotel, where the guests could continue to drink and talk. Approximately half of the guests attended this after-party. The conversation was initially about

social topics but moved to work around 2am. A controversial issue arose and the Managing Director lost his temper. He lectured the employees present on how he owned the Company and made the decisions. When the Claimant challenged him, the Managing Director punched the Claimant twice, knocking him to the floor, fracturing his skull and rendering him unconscious. Medical reports confirmed that the Claimant suffered severe brain damage and would be unlikely to work again. The High Court found the Company not liable as the assault was committed after, not during the work function and a line could therefore be drawn between the party at the golf club and the after-party at the hotel. What occurred was held by the High Court to be “a personal choice to have yet further alcohol long after a work event had ended”, and the fact that before the assault the conversation had turned to work could not provide a sufficient connection to support a finding of vicarious liability. The provision of alcohol by an employer at a Christmas party is customary and can be safely enjoyed in moderation. There was therefore not a sufficient connection to make the Company liable. The matter was however appealed, and in October 2018 the Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the High Court. At appeal, looking at the Managing Director’s role and the connection between his role and the incident, it was found that there was a sufficient connection between the Managing Director’s field of activities within the Company and the assault to render it proper that the Company should be vicariously liable. Establishing whether or not an employ-

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er will be held vicariously liable for such incidents remains unclear. Currently there is no straightforward process for determining liability, - it requires a case by case assessment of the close-connection of the circumstances. It would appear that vicariously liability remains a risk for employers. Licensing Hours Hotel operators should remind their management and staff of the legal licensing hours during the Christmas period. The general licensing hours are from 11.30am to 11.00pm weekdays and 12.30pm to 10.00pm on Sunday and Christmas Day. In areas of your hotel where you have Article 44 (additional hours), you are permitted to sell alcohol until 1.00am on weekdays and to 12 midnight on Sunday PROVIDED that you are also offering food or entertainment in these areas. Note that this extension does not apply on Christmas Day and so on Christmas Eve, you are only permitted to serve to 12midnight and to 10.00pm on Christmas Day. The restrictions do not apply to hotel residents (or their guests) who may consume alcohol at any time. For further information please contact O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors on 028 9032 1000.


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RATES REVALUATION

RATES REVALUATION REVAL2020 IS CURRENTLY UNDERWAY TO DETERMINE THE NONDOMESTIC RATES THAT WILL BE CHARGED FROM APRIL 2020

L

and & Property Services (LPS) is undertaking a revaluation of all commercial properties for rating purposes. The new assessment will come into effect on 1st April 2020, the last revaluation was implemented in 2015. Some members will be better off, others significantly worse off. The Federation’s advisor on property rates issues, Nick Rose of RHM Commercial, has issued a warning to members - “Rates Appeals can be dangerous!!!”, adding “the fact that your rates bill has gone down doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have gone down more and the fact that your rates bill has gone up doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have gone up more!!” Nick explains, “in the last revaluation we were able to obtain further reductions even where an assessment had gone down but

beware - appeals are a two way street - Land & Property Services are entitled to increase an assessment if they believe an assessment is too low”. Members are advised to seek advice before completing any revaluation notice. No member should lodge an appeal without first taking professional advice from a rates expert - otherwise they run the risk of opening a can of worms that could result in the rates they pay going up not down.

WARNING - RATES APPEALS CAN BE DANGEROUS AND ARE A TWO WAY STREET NICK ROSE RHM Commercial

Nick has already advised over 50 hoteliers on the best course of action - he can be contacted on his direct number 028 9031 6745 or 07968 797160. Alternatively you can contact him by email on nick@ rhmcommerical.com.

CHARITY CHEQUE. » The gala ball which took place during Hospitality Exchange, the two-day conference for everyone who works in the hospitality industry, raised a total of £2270 for local charity PEAT (Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists). NIHF President Gavin Carroll is pictured presenting the cheque to PEAT Chair Dr Stephen Gallagher (left).


PROFESSIONAL RECEPTIONIST TRAINING

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16TH OR 23RD JANUARY 2019 BELFAST OR DERRY-LONDONDERRY

The Federation has developed a receptionist training course to provide receptionists with the skills required to provide exceptional service while creating the unique Northern Ireland welcome to visitors. It will assist in understanding the impact they have on enhancing the overall guest experience of their property and region. Delegates entering the Receptionist of the Year competition will also benefit from attending this training workshop. The course will cover: • The importance of professional presentation, first impressions and how to present yourself well. • The importance of correct communication skills and how to communicate effectively. • What to do when things go wrong - how to effectively handle complaints. • Selling techniques - how to sell professionally and the importance of strong product knowledge. • How to recognise and anticipate guest needs, how to achieve them and more importantly, how to exceed them.

PROFESSIONAL RECEPTIONIST TRAINING Ten Square Hotel, Belfast Wednesday 16th January 2019 The Waterfoot Hotel, Derry-Londonderry Wednesday 23rd January 2019 09.30 -16.30 This course will be delivered by Marianne Hood, Hospitality Solutions and costs £75 + VAT per person. Places are very limited to ensure that everyone benefits from the training. You can book online now via nihf.co.uk or call us on 028 9077 6635.


THANK YOU

October’s Hospitality Exchange was one of the best yet. Thank you to everyone that supported it, whether as a delegate, sponsor or exhibitor. You can find photos, presentations and a feedback form at hospitalityexchange.co.uk. Work has already started on next year’s 20th Anniversary event but, in the meantime, please show your appreciation to the companies below. Without them, we couldn’t run Hospitality Exchange. AdGen TV AIB Merchant Services Alliance National ASM Belfast Avvio Belfast City Council Best Western Hotels & Resorts Bewley’s Tea and Coffee BOI Payment Acceptance Brakes Foodservice Bunzl McLaughlin Bunzl Rafferty Hospitality Calor Coca-Cola HBC Counterpoint NI Diageo NI Dillon Bass Dream World Bedding Ecolab Elavon Merchant Services Electric Ireland Environmental Products & Services EOS Systems

NORTHERN IRELAND HOTELS FEDERATION

First Trust Bank Food Heartland Food Standards Agency For-Sight Frost Couture Galgorm Group Get Fresh Guestline Henderson Foodservice Hoist Group Ireland Hospitality Review NI HygieneCare Insight6 Invest NI iota James E McCabe Kingkoil Licensed & Catering News Lynas Foodservice McCue Crafted Fit MBCC Costa Ireland MCM Insurance Brokers Molson Coors Brewing Company

Musgrave MarketPlace Net Affinity O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors Outsource Solutions Pallas Foods Power NI PPL PRS Respa Beds Review Hub RHM Right Revenue Robinson Services Savills Stephens Catering Equipment STR Thomas Henry Tourism Ireland Tourism Northern Ireland Unilever Food Solutions United Wine Merchants Visit Belfast Winterhalter

Profile for Northern Ireland Hotels Federation

Hotplate January 2019