ELECTION TIME THE FEDERATION’S NEW-LOOK MAGAZINE SETS OUT THE CASE FOR TOURISM AS A MAJOR ECONOMIC FORCE IN THE NEXT PARLIAMENT P. 8
COMPETITIONS AND AWARDS
HOW CAN WE ENSURE THAT TOURISM IS ON THE AGENDA FOR ALL PARTIES AFTER 7TH MAY?
PHOTOS FROM THE ASSESSMENT DAY FOR HOTEL & GUESTHOUSE RECEPTIONIST OF THE YEAR IN THE WELLINGTON PARK HOTEL
The Federation sets out its case for a VAT reduction and continued investment in the sector
HOUSEKEEPING AWARDS GALA NIGHT AND ASSESSMENTS Three winners for 2015 and the largest entry to date. We have all the photos and details in a special 4-page section
7 TOP TIPS FOR HOUSEKEEPING STAFF AND SUPERVISORS
FRONT COVER. Whatever the colour of your politics, we are aiming for tourism to be top of the agenda in the next Parliament.
Some tips from our judges to help you through the housekeeping day
THE RUNNERS AND RIDERS FROM THE ANNUAL DOWN ROYAL EVENT, THIS YEAR IN MEMORY OF RODNEY WATSON MBE
HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE IS BACK IN THE EUROPA AND GEARING UP TO BE BIGGER THAN EVER
The exhibition details will be out soon for existing members and we are working on some exciting speakers for October
GOURMET DINNER AT GALGORM Mark Sargeant impressed with an ambitious menu and some well-matched wines from McCabes
P. 25 THE FEDERATION’S ANNUAL GOLF DAY IS ABOUT TO TEE OFF. BOOK YOUR TEAM NOW P. 27
HOTPLATE Northern Ireland Hotels Federation The McCune Building, 1 Shore Road Belfast BT15 3PG Tel: 028 9077 6635 Web: nihf.co.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
LOBBY LIVES. » The Europa Hotel has unveiled a new lobby, which seamlessly links through to a refurbished bar area.
NIHF MEMBER DEVELOPMENTS DALATA BUYS HOLIDAY INN BELFAST FOR £18.5M Dalata Hotel Group Plc, operators of the Maldron Hotels in Belfast and Derry, has agreed to aquire the freehold interest in the Holiday Inn Belfast. This will be group’s first owned property in Belfast.
RAMADA PLAZA LAUNCHES £1.5M REFURB AND CUTS FOOD WASTE
HILTON BELFAST TEMPLEPATRICK RE-LAUNCHES SPA
The Ramada Plaza Hotel at Shaws Bridge in Belfast has completed a twoyear refurbishment with the unveiling of a newly designed lobby by Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers MP.
Hilton Templepatrick has invested £250k in refurbishing the LivingWell Health Club, including updating the three beauty rooms and installing brand new Precor equipment in the gym with fully functional internet facilities.
The work has included a major makeover of the Grand Ballroom and the creation of the new Laganview Suite. Hotel parent company, Andras House, has also embarked on a programme of food waste reduction in partnership with WRAP. The nine-week trial started in Days Hotel and resulted in savings of more than £400 per week. Special smart meters measure food waste and help highlight cost savings. The plan is now to extend the programme across all the Belfast hotels to achieve even bigger savings. See P. 24.
The swimming pool, sauna and bubble spa have also been refreshed and hot lava shell massage has now been included in the spa’s unique new selection of treatments. Lava shells are natural tiger clam shells, and are silky smooth to the touch. Holding one shell in the palm of each hand, the therapist uses light massage strokes over the body, with the added benefit of heat stored in the shells which lasts the entire length of the treatment.
Pat McCann, Chief Executive Officer of the company, said, “We are delighted that we have acquired this excellent hotel in such a strong location. Belfast is a major city and we are delighted to further build out the Dalata footprint on the island.”
INTERSTATE TAKES OVER RAMADA PORTRUSH The Ramada Portrush was placed into administration back in April 2013 but has recently been bought by the City Hotel Group and is now being run on their behalf by Interstate. The 69 bedroom property achieved in excess of its £2.75m asking price.
TEN SQUARE HOTEL IN ADMINISTRATION Ten Square Hotel in Belfast was placed in administration in January and has been run by Dalata to date. Hotplate understands that there has been significant interest in the property and we believe that a sale has almost been secured.
FARMER’S MARKET WELCOME? THE NEW FOLKTOWN MARKET IN BELFAST BRINGS WELCOME COLOUR TO THE STREETS BUT AT A PENALTY FOR SOME.
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE WITH A BRAND NEW HOTPLATE LOOK, MANDY REFLECTS ON THE FEDERATION EVENTS THIS YEAR AND THE UPCOMING GENERAL ELECTION.
elcome to the new look Hotplate magazine. We hope that you will enjoy this expanded version. The tourism sector is full of surprises and challenges: the Federation has highlighted the issues the industry faces and sought to raise its profile on an on-gong basis. With this in mind, we staged our first ever Tourism Summit in association with First Trust Bank in March. I hope that you had the opportunity to attend. I felt really proud to be part of an industry with such potential and thought that the event captured the vibrant nature of the industry perfectly. The Federation has had a number of other successful events since the start of the year. These include a Gourmet Dinner with Mark Sargeant at Galgorm Resort & Spa, our annual horse-racing day at Down Royal and a series of workshops with STR Global. NIHF is always keen to highlight the important role of people within the hotel industry and the annual search for the best housekeeping team of the year was completed
The newest addition to Belfast’s streetlife launched in Bank Square in April. The weekly Farmer’s and Artisan Market brings a range of stalls selling food and crafts to Bank Square, the area behind Primark on Royal Avenue. But, Hotplate has learnt that existing hospitality traders in the area, Kelly’s Cellars and Mourne Seafood, may have to remove their attractive, quality street furniture. It seems wrong that a market operating one day a week should disrupt the outdoor street buzz for the other six days.
in March. Congratulations to our three winners: Belmore Court & Motel, Lough Erne Resort and Tara Lodge. The quest to find the best receptionists is underway and we look forward to recognising the best in this field in May. The general election is looming and we hope that tourism will feature in the political agenda going forward, leading to a more favourable business climate. The economy has slowly started to return to growth and a number of new hotel projects have been planned for Northern Ireland. These will see additional hotel stock coming to the market in 2016. It is good to see investment and expansion, which we hope will be matched by an increase in visitor numbers and spend. As the summer season starts, I would like to wish all our members a very busy spell ahead with continued success for the rest of 2015. I look forward to meeting with you in the coming months and thank you for your continued support of the Federation. Mandy Patrick MBE
BELFAST BIKES. » Not Boris Bikes, but Coca-Cola Zero Belfast Bikes to be exact, the new transport scheme launched on 27th April in the city.
HOTEL STOCK IS GROWING - 10% IN DERRY-LONDONDERRY AND OVER 500 ROOMS IN BELFAST
As the global economy settles down and talk of the recession recedes, expansion and development are the buzz words in the hotel world at the moment. Financial institutions have indicated the sector is no longer an anathema so with finance becoming more readily available operators are looking at opening new hotels in Northern Ireland.
JANICE GAULT Chief Executive
The coming year will see the first significant growth spurt since 2009, with new hotels opening in Derry-Londonderry in 2015 and plans afoot in Belfast for 2016. Looking at developments in more detail, the Maiden city will have two new boutique properties within the city walls giving visitors an authentic local offering. The hotels will have around 60 bedrooms, which doesn’t sound like a lot but will add an additional 10% to the city’s overall hotel stock. This coupled with a limited legacy from the City of Culture year and a strongly seasonal performance may present a challenging time for the industry in the short term. There are also projects including the Tillie & Henderson Building and a couple of redevelopments sites in the city centre which are earmarked for hotel development but have no start date confirmed.
Scottish Mutual Building into the Bedford will add to Belfast’s independent hotel offering. However, other more substantial projects are likely to be aligned to major brands. These include the city quay project backed by the Harbour Commissioners, the Andras House development in Hope Street and the Novotel development at the Fanum House site. McAleer and Rushe have indicated a hotel development at College Street and other buildings in the city including Windsor House, Crumlin Road Gaol and options in Corporation Street.
NEW HOTEL OPENINGS The other pocket of growth is within Belfast city centre. The hotel landscape in the city has dramatically altered over the last decade. Over 1,000 budget branded bedrooms have been added with 17% of Northern Ireland’s hotel stock located on the one strip. The announcement of a Titanic Hotel with 74 bedrooms and the redevelopment of the
Whilst a number of these projects may not come to fruition, the consensus would be that Belfast will have an additional 500 bedrooms by the end of 2017 with the possibly of an additional 500 rooms by 2020. This growth could alter significantly with the extension of the Waterfront Hall stimulating demand and improvements in the economy. Recent reports suggest that Belfast requires an additional 2,000 hotel rooms to support the ambitious plans for the Waterfront, which is good news for the developers. However if demand does not grow, the incorporation of new hotel stock into the market will present a considerable challenge for the sector. It is more difficult to predict growth on a pan Northern Ireland basis. Galgorm Resort & Spa will open 48 new rooms in August 2015, which is the only concrete expansion at the moment. However, it is important to note that there are project in Armagh and Ballycastle which may progress in the coming year.
THERE’S LOTS HAPPENING IN THE WIDER TOURISM INDUSTRY
The US is back along with more European routes.
Titanic Belfast takes over running of Nomadic.
Cocktail bar with a very unusal name and a different approach.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is to begin a daily service between George Best Belfast City Airport and Amsterdam from May.
SS Nomadic will now be operated by Titanic Belfast Limited, Titanic Belfast’s commercial operator, who will align their 5 star visitor attraction experience to Titanic’s little sister.
A.P.O.C (Arranged presence of company) is a new and exciting cocktail bar opened on Goose Entry, Lower Garfield Street, Belfast. A.P.O.C will be the first of its kind in Belfast and offers customers a high end drinks experience with the added luxury of advance booking in a beautiful blend of art nouveau and Titanic drawing rooms inspired setting.
It is the second major new carrier recently announced, following low-cost Spanish airline Vueling starting its service from Barcelona. Meanwhile, at Belfast International, the United flight from Newark has resumed after a winter break while Jet2 and Whizz Air have new flights from Poland, Italy and the Czech Republic. The Federation continues to support the removal of Air Passenger Duty but a recent report suggests that its abolition would not bring significant economic benefit. We believe this is a short-sighted conclusion to what has been identified as a barrier to tourism growth and we continue to lobby on this.
The SS Nomadic is not only the last remaining White Star Line ship anywhere in the world, it’s also the biggest Titanic artefact and an authentic piece of Belfast’s maritime heritage. The ship has been restored to her original 1911 glory and is located in the Hamilton Dry Dock. Stretched over four decks, the Nomadic experience provides a first-hand experience of what it was like to be a passenger boarding Titanic on her fateful maiden voyage, to marvel at the intricate details and the contrasts between the separated class areas on board.
A.P.O.C was the result of a 70 thousand pound investment by owners Anthony Farrell and Brian McGeown and will employ 7 additional staff.
TOURISM FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH CUTTING VAT IS JUST ONE PART OF AN AMBITIOUS AIM TO GROW TOURISM 15% BY 2020 Tourism is the largest and fastest growing industry in the world today. Hospitality and tourism, as an industry, directly employs 60,000 people in Northern Ireland. By 2020, the industry is set to grow by 15%. Figures for Northern Ireland show that the industry made a contribution of ÂŁ723m to the local economy in 2013, the final figure for 2014 was not available as Hotplate went to press but it is believed that it shows modest growth from the 2013 position. Tourism is an industry of transformation. It has the ability to alter the economic and social landscape of a country and its contribution to the local economy has grown by ÂŁ340m, growth of 88% over the last decade. The NIHF has been investigating the overall role of the sector and has looked at the challenges on an industry wide basis. We have
spoken on a regularl basis about the Five T’s that have been the focus of our industry and political engaged over the last year. Many of the issues have been addressed but VAT, access and future talent remain very much in the minds of local business operators. The Federation was keen to showcase the sector and held its first Tourism Summit in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast on 20th March in association with First Trust Bank. The summit was opened by DETI Minister, Arlene Foster MLA, whose portfolio includes tourism. The minister stated, “Now is an opportune time to consider future plans and direction to enable us to fully realise the industry’s potential.
We must continue the momentum that has been created over the last few years as we strive to maximise our tourism offering and fulfil our long-term goal of making tourism a £1billion industry by 2020. I am proud of our industry for what it has achieved, but even greater success is within reach”
candidates to state their support for this. Representatives from the industry will be continuing to follow up with candidates to see if they are truly committed to showing the leadership and action which they referred to during the Summit. In addition to VAT, we will be seeking to address the other challenges facing our industry.”
THE TIME IS RIGHT TO PUT NORTHERN IRELAND ON THE GLOBAL TOURISM MAP BUT WE DON’T NEED OUR HANDS TIED WITH 20% VAT
The Summit not only explored political opinion but assessed ways to ensure tourism reaches its full potential. It also raised the profile of the sector and sent a cohesive message to government and tourism agencies on the needs of the industry.
Mandy Patrick MBE, President of the NIHF said, “The time is right to put Northern Ireland on the global tourism map. Whilst we recognise the great potential for our industry to create employment and attract inward investment we feel that Northern Ireland and the UK are facing economic challenges with one hand tied behind our back. Northern Ireland has a VAT rate 11% higher than the Republic of Ireland and we have the fourth highest VAT rate in Europe. This makes Northern Ireland an expensive destination and places us at a competitive disadvantage. “In the lead up to the Westminster elections in May, the Summit provided an opportunity for those within the sector to reinforce the need for each and every competitive advantage to be maximised including a reduction in tourism VAT. Our research shows that failure to reduce VAT could cost in excess of £128m in lost economic potential for Northern Ireland over the next seven years. This is something we cannot afford. “Our Tourism Summit challenged local politicians and Westminster
The programme included an insight from Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association who questioned government’s commitment and understanding of the economic benefits that hospitality and tourism could bring. She along with a number of other contributors spoke about the benefits a VAT reduction could bring. Compère, Mark Carruthers, quizzed the political panel who all accepted that tourism had a role to play in the future of Northern Ireland and agreed that it required a joined up approach. This issue was a hot topic with the industry panellists who also expressed concern about marketing of the region and skill levels. In an industry very much centred on people and experiences, the changing needs of the customer were explored by futurist, Rohit Talwar who gave an insightful, if not alarming view of advances in the 21st century. Irish travel writer of the year, Pól Ó Conghaile also touched on the customer viewpoint in his insightful presentation on the diverse and dynamic nature of the Northern Ireland tourism product. His positive take on truth and travel adding to the entertainment factor of the mornings proceedings. (Photos on P.26 of this Hotplate.)
HOUSEKEEPING AWARDS FOR 2015 HAD A RECORD ENTRY AND LOTS OF ENTHUSIASM
LOO ROLLS. » Toilet rolls featured in the ice-breaker task for this year.
RICE. » Rice and vacuums definitely shouldn’t go together.
Hotel & Guesthouse
ousekeepers gathered at the Holiday Inn, Belfast to discover who had cleaned up in this year’s Hotel & Guesthouse Housekeeping Awards. The event, which was hosted by UTV’s Pamela Ballantine, saw a tie for first place in the under 90 room category with Belmore Court & Motel, Enniskillen and Tara Lodge, Belfast taking the honours for 2015. It was another success for Fermanagh as the winner in the over 90 Rooms category was the Lough Erne Resort. The sixth year of the awards was supported by Tourism Northern Ireland, Ecolab and Robinson Services. The competition included a team assessment day with 64 housekeepers undertaking a range of tasks evaluating the skills they use everyday. This was followed by a surprise on-site inspection for the ten shortlisted finalists. The assessments for this year were supplemented with a new vacuuming task to test skills and teamwork. Each
BEDS. » The bed-making revealed how teamwork can triumph.
team of two staff had to vacuum one cup of rice as quickly as possible from around a chair. Penalties were awarded for missed rice and for any movement of the chair. The rogue room inspection was more challenging than ever. One person was allowed a maximum of 7 minutes to find 25 hair clips left in a hotel bedroom. The clips were used to simulate the areas where dirt, dust and debris can accumulate in a room. The bed-making task was as tough as always. Judges were looking at technique as well as the finished product. Points were deducted for standing on bed linen and throwing duvets on the floor. See tips on next page for how to improve.
OUR HOUSEKEEPERS ARE AMAZING BUT HERE ARE 7 WEE TIPS TO HELP YOU ALONG
Create a good impression, avoid trips and keep bedding fresh by keeping it off the floor. Ideally, use a chair for the duvet and pillows and a laundry bag/basket for the used linen.
2 3 4
A door wedge can be used to prop open the door to assist in ventilation. A much better choice than a towel or a beer mat. Be proud of your trolley or basket. It should be kept clean and tidy so that guests see a neat corridor and professional staff. Teas, coffees and other condiments should be in the same pristine condition as the rest of the room. Be careful about crumpled corners and out-of-date items.
Pay special attention to the areas around your tea tray and waste bin. Tea bags drip easily and tea is hard to spot on wooden furniture. Consider touch-up pens for wood and tiny tester pots for paint. Might be quicker than reporting to maintenance if something can be fixed on the spot.
Ask your manager can you be a customer for a night. Lazing in the bath or sitting in a chair by the TV may reveal previously hidden areas.
UNDER 90 ROOMS. Âť Sponsors, Ecolab and Tourism Northern Ireland with winners, Belmore Court & Motel and Tara Lodge.
13 90 ROOMS AND OVER. » Lough Erne Resort won this category, supported by Tourism Northern Ireland and Robinson Services.
MORE PHOTOS. » Lots more photos and a video of the assessment day can be viewed online at nihf.co.uk.
DO YOU KNOW YOUR UBER FROM YOUR PERISCOPE?
E JOHN STUART
very few years, I take a look at what’s happening in the online world of hotels. It was all about mobile for quite a while but that’s taken for granted now.
Here are some websites and apps that you might have heard about but maybe you are not sure just what they are. Some of them will be useful now, others may
have some impact on us in the near future. We’ll also be looking at Online Travel Agents in a workshop soon. Watch out for that.
If you need advice on technology, the Internet, legislation or anything hotel related, give us a call and we’ll try to help.
OPEN TABLE AIRBNB TRANSFERWISE transferwise.com
According to Google, more than 60% of searches are now performed on mobile devices. Therefore it has come as no surprise that Google has changed the game and officially announced that mobile friendliness became a ranking factor in search results on April 21st 2015. Check your website is mobile friendly now.
A brilliant concept for transfering money between countries at a fraction of the cost of banks. Invented by the same people behind Skype, it allows you to pay a supplier in Dublin or receive a deposit from a group in Germany without the high credit card or bank charges.
One of the fastest growing companies in any industry, airbnb allows indivduals to rent out their rooms or apartments directly to guests. Absolutely massive in many cities around the world, our certification legislation is the only thing holding back the tide in NI.
Sporting a brand new look, OpenTable is now even easier to use. It is incredibly useful for a customer who wants a dining table and can’t be bothered with all that phoning around. Saves you lots of time too.
SPG UBER uber.com
Live video is the new thing. First it was Vine, then Meerkat and now Periscope. It’s owned by Twitter so there is some pretty big investment. Guests can now broadcast “tv” right from their hotel room. A scary prospect.
Not without controversy and not yet in NI but Uber has arrived in Dublin and London and could change the face of customer transport forever. A similar proposition to airbnb in that private individuals can now compete with larger businesses. It’s a taxi but not as we know it.
iOS, Android & Apple Watch
Starwood Hotels was one of the first groups to launch keyless check in and entry to their hotel rooms. They are a launch partner for the new Apple Watch so you will be able to check in, get your room number and unlock your door without ever queuing at reception. A bit impersonal but some will like it.
THE BEDFORD. » A luxury boutique hotel development in Belfast, representing a £12.5 million investment by the developers Tullymore House Limited, the group behind Galgorm Resort and Spa and who operate Fratelli’s restaurant in Belfast.
THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE HOTEL WORLD
HYATT UNCOVERS SOME QUIRKS OF HOTEL GUESTS Hyatt Place has polled more than 1,000 adult travellers to find out just what they expect from a hotel. Two thirds of guests forget an important item - the most common being razor (28%), toothbrush/ paste (24%) and mouthwash (21%). Free wifi is the most important amenity for travellers whilst only 5% are looking for a gym. 29% like to take full advantage of the breakfast options.
TRAVELODGE PROFITS UP 63% AND NEW HOTELS PLANNED Travelodge UK has reported that underlying earnings for the year to 31 December 2014 were up 63.5% to £66.2m. Revenue last year rose 14.9% to £497.2m, while RevPAR rose 16.8% to £34.24. Goldman Sachs, Avenue Capital and GoldenTree Asset Management took control of Travelodge in 2012 when it faced collapse with debts of £500m. They have bought back 144 hotels from independent landlords and plan to open 15 new hotels in 2015, bringing their total number of rooms to 39,730. 80% of reservations are now made online.
POP-UP MINI GOLF COURSE AT HUDSON NEW YORK HOTEL One New York hotel has found a novel use for an underused patio. The new Putt Putt Park at the Hudson opened at the start of April in time for the Masters. The pop up also offers food like moon pie sundaes, pimento grilled cheeses and southern fried chicken, plus drinks for a sober game or a tipsy one, depending on your mood. Tickets are just $10 and include one full game, balls and clubs. The park joins other outdoors spaces at the hotel, which include Hudson Common and Tequila Park.
Employee Purchase Program
Working has its perks. Apple and Northern Ireland Hotels Federation bring you a special program. Members and their staff qualify for preferred pricing on the latest Apple products and accessories.
Program benefits: - Special employee pricing on Apple products - Complimentary shipping on orders over ÂŁ50 - Free engraving on all new iPod and iPad models - Mac customisation NIHF Members can avail of the special discounts by logging on to the website at nihf.co.uk and clicking the booking link. Employees can purchase or sponsor up to 3 computer systems, 3 iPads and 10 iPod devices per calendar year, as well as software and peripherals. Please identify yourself as an eligible participant purchasing from the Apple Employee/Member program, and remember to request your Apple@Home preferred pricing when calling Apple. Promotion details are listed on your store site. Terms and conditions apply. TM and ÂŠ 2015 Apple Inc. All rights reserved.
TARGET ON FOOD TOURISM THE RECENT TOURISM NI CONFERENCE FINALLY CONFIRMED THAT 2016 WILL BE THE YEAR OF FOOD
GOLF TOURISM ON COURSE TO GROW MINISTER ARLENE FOSTER MLA HAS LAUNCHED A NEW STRATEGY TO GROW GOLF TOURISM TO £50M PER ANNUM BY 2020.
aunching the new Tourism Northern Ireland Golf Strategy, Arlene Foster said: “The vision of the strategy is to grow the value of golf tourism to £50million per annum by 2020, and in doing so to remind golfers worldwide that Northern Ireland is where golf champions are born and play. As a sport, as a business and as a tourism asset, golf operates on a worldwide scale so there has never been a better time for Northern Ireland, the Home of Champions, to formulate a new strategy to tap into its potential.
with its return again in 2017, and indeed the prospect of holding the world’s biggest golf tournament, The Open Championship, by the end of the decade.”
“The continuing success of our golfers, the acknowledged quality of our courses and the widespread support for the game, exemplified by the unprecedented sell-out of the Irish Open in 2012, have combined to enhance Northern Ireland’s status as an exceptional golf destination.
It is expected that the new golf tourism strategy will provide a cohesive rationale and call to action, address areas of weakness, promote the destination and capitalise on Northern Ireland’s visibility and success in golf to generate more real economic value.
“Our reputation for golfing excellence will be increased further with the hosting of the Irish Open by Royal County Down this year, along
Golf tourism will be an integral part of achieving a £1billion tourism industry by 2020.
Golf tourism currently generates £33million per annum for the local economy. The importance of golf tourism lies in attracting high spending visitors and dispersing their spending power throughout the visitor economy, with research suggesting that for every £1 spent on green fees in Northern Ireland a further £4 is spent elsewhere.
Minister Arlene Foster chose the conference to serve up a new initiative aimed at giving more tourists an appetite to visit Northern Ireland. Announcing that next year, 2016, will be Northern Ireland’s Year of Food, the Minister called on everyone to get involved in giving visitors a taste of what makes our local menus so special. “We have some of the best food and the best restaurants in the world, and the potential this has when it comes to tourism cannot be underestimated. Food tourism already generates over £350million per year to the local economy, but I believe there is significant room for further growth. That’s why I have asked Tourism Northern Ireland to begin preparatory work to develop the Year of Food initiative and have secured funding to allow them to do so.
YEAR OF FOOD 2016. » Arlene Foster and James Nesbitt at the Tourism NI Conference.
RECEPTIONIST OF THE YEAR
RECEPTIONISTS SKIP THROUGH TO FINAL
Hotel & Guesthouse
RECEPTIONIST of the year
RECORD NUMBER OF ENTRIES FOR RECEPTIONIST AWARDS Eighty-five receptionists entered the individual competition this year so judging was always going to be tough. The candidates went through a series of team assessments looking at various personal skills. They also completed a written test on their job knowledge. Those shortlisted from the assessments then had a short interview to test them even further. From all of these tasks, the finalists were arrived at. They now face a final more indepth interview to arrive at the Receptionist of the Year 2015. This yearâ€™s competition is supported by Tourism Northern Ireland, Avvio and Life: One Great Adventure. The winners will be announced at a gala awardâ€™s night in the La Mon Hotel & Country Club on Wednesday 20th May. Finalists Hotel & Guesthouse Receptionist of the Year Michelle McCaffrey, Belmore Court & Motel Tyler Stothard, Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel Gillian Wilson, Bushmills Inn Hotel Catriona Weir, Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast Martin Hutchinson, Ibis Belfast City Centre Emmett McErlane, Maldron Hotel Belfast Laura Naimi, Merchant Hotel Sophie Emerson, Old Inn Fidelma Legge, Premier Inn Derry Rachel Lennon, Premier Inn Belfast Stephanie Esler, Stormont Hotel
Most Promising Receptionist of the Year Natalie Kavanagh, Benedicts Hotel, Belfast Tanya Hughes, Bushmills Inn Hotel Jordan Foster, Galgorm Resort & Spa Melanie Savage, Jurys Inn Belfast Cory Quinn, Wellington Park Hotel Hotel & Guesthouse Reception of the Year Benedicts Hotel, Belfast Bushmills Inn Hotel Culloden Estate & Spa Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Tara Lodge
TEAM BUILDING LIFE BOYS. » The Life crew that worked with us at Receptionist of the Year in 2015.
TEAM BUILDING LEADS TO SUCCESS
Getting the best from your team can be a real challenge and yet is one of the essential and rewarding elements of a successful business. There are lots of ways of doing this but one of the more innovative and sustainable solutions come in the form of activity based team building. Exercises can be devised to find what areas of strength your team have, where they thrive and what areas they need help with. The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation has run a competition to find the best hotel receptions for over ten years. The role of the receptionist is a pivotal one in a hotel operation. They have to be able to work as part of a team, use their initiative and deal with problems on a daily basis.
Life has worked with the NIHF over the last number of years to help identify the stars of the reception world as part of the Federation’s annual competition. They have designed a number of exercises, which show the key skills required for the reception role. As this years competition gets underway, Martin McMullan of Life said, “The advantage of activity based team building is the unique and lasting opportunity for participants to bond, identify individual strengths and highlight areas of potential growth in both, individuals, teams and entire business”. We’ve enjoyed working closely with the team at the NIHF to create a bespoke solution for the Receptionist of the Year competition, a service that we’re happy to provide for any business.”
Janice Gault, Chief Executive of NIHF added, “The exercises, which are adapted each year, really hone in on a number of key elements and also add to the fun of the day. It means that we can give each contestant the opportunity to demonstrate their skills whilst matching them to the talents required for their role”. Life is a Northern Ireland-owned company that operates across the UK and Ireland. They work across all sectors designing and delivering events from motivational away days to team and leadership development exercises. All the details of the vast range of services can be found on their website www. lifeadventureco.com.
LEGAL UPDATE. EMPLOYMENT The issue of zero hour contracts continues to be debated with Labour leader Ed Miliband promising to abolish the practice if elected. We recognise that many of you in the industry would struggle to operate without them as they provide your business with the flexibility to deal with peaks and troughs in trade. It is thought as many as 28,000 people in Northern Ireland work under such contracts. Following a review by Northern Ireland’s Employment Minister Stephen Farry, it was announced that zero hour contracts would not be banned here. Dr Farry said that “an outright ban would have a disproportionate impact upon flexibility within the economy.” However, the Minister will table a bill in June which will see the banning of exclusivity clauses in zero hour contracts which at present stop people working for other employers. So while an employee is not guaranteed work under a zero hour contract, they are free to pursue work elsewhere at the same time. The Minister also proposes to place a burden on employers that after a period of six months they must provide the employee with an objective reason as to why that person should not be given a more formal contract.
that staff are trained to deal with such instances. Remember, ignorance is not an excuse.
LICENSING The recent closure of popular Donaghadee pub, Grace Neill’s, due to what has been described as a ‘licensing issue’ is a reminder of the importance and intricacies of the licensing laws in Northern Ireland. Our licensing laws can be complex and when breached, even if accidentally, can have a devastating impact on the business operating from the premises. The Grace Neill’s incident is a timely reminder that you should seek expert advice on licensing matters.
ADVICE. » Contact the NIHF on 028 9077 6635 for advice or O’Reilly Stewart directly on 028 9032 1000.
Please contact the Employment and Licensing teams at O’Reilly Stewart if you have any queries.
DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION In an important case for all in the hospitality industry, a blind man from County Down was last month awarded damages after taking a case against a restaurant who had refused him entry because he was with his guide dog. Mr Cosgrove was told by the management of Bangla Restaurant in Bangor that he would have to tie the dog up outside or else order a takeaway. He was awarded £1,250 plus legal costs and the restaurant offered him an apology. Hoteliers should make sure that policies and procedures are in place and
O’REILLY STEWART. » Linus Murray from O’Reilly Stewart (2nd from right) at last year’s Hospitality Exchange.
SOCIAL EVENTS GOURMET DINNER WITH MARK SARGEANT
Canapés Alfred Gratien Cuvee Brut Clas sique NV Champagne
he Federation was delighted to run a spring gourmet dinner featuring a menu created by renowned chef and restaurateur Mark Sargeant. Mark Sargeant is well known in culinary circles for his long association with Gordon Ramsay, whom he worked with for over thirteen years. During this time, Mark gained many accolades including a Michelin star and chef of the year. He instigated new openings and helped co-author twelve books with Ramsay. Mandy Patrick, President said, “We were delighted to stage this great event. Northern Ireland has fabulous local ingredients and these were showcased in Mark’s Sargeant’s superb menu. We are really indebted to our industry partners without whom we could not stage the evening. Events of this nature raise the profile of our local culinary talent and hotel properties.” Mark Sargeant
Crab Bisque Clos de Loyse, Château des Jacq ues, Maison Louis Jado t 2012 oOo Pressed Smoked Ham Hock Beaujolais Villa ges, Combe aux Jacques, Maison Louis Jado t 2013 oOo Scallops with Jerusalem Artichoke Riso tto and Sherry Cara mel Villa Maria Cella r Selection, Marlborough Cha rdonnay 2012 oOo Poached & Sau téed Chicken with Asparagus & Morel Sauce Villa Maria Cella r Selection, Marlborough Pino t Noir 2012 oOo Cold Chocola te Fondant Villa Maria Nob le Ries Botrytis Selection ling, 2011 oOo Northern Irela nd Cheese Plat e with Ditty Irish Oak Cakes & Chu tney Villa Maria Nob le Ries Botrytis Selection ling, 2011 oOo Freshly Brewed
Tea and Coffee Petit Fours
Organised by the Northern Irelan d Hotels Feder and supported ation by Bunzl McLa Galgorm Resor ughlin, t & Spa, McCa bes, Tourism Irelan and Unilever Food d Solutions.
Mark also works as a KNORR ambassador with Unilever Food Solutions, helping impart his passion for the industry and inspire young, up-and-coming chefs through his association with the KNORR Student Chef of the Year competition. Unilever Food Solutions supported the event at Galgorm and Jim Reeves, Customer Director of Unilever Food Solutions said, “We were delighted to support the NIHF Spring Gourmet Dinner. Unilever Food Solutions has recently moved to an island of Ireland business and we are keen to further build relationships with our industry colleagues in Northern Ireland. I am personally delighted to have had this opportunity to work with the NIHF and our ambassador Mark Sargeant.” The Gourmet Dinner with Mark Sargeant took place in the Four Seasons Suite at the Galgorm Resort with matched wine from McCabes. All those who attend received a signed copy of Mark Sargeant’s book. The event was also supported by Bunzl McLaughlin and Tourism Ireland.
LEFT. » Leigh Watson presents the Rodney Watson Memorial Trophy to Gordon Elliott, trainer of winning horse Rocky Wednesday.
BELOW. » Staff from Malmaison enjoying the race day.
NIHF RACE DAY AT DOWN ROYAL
ast President and Patron, Rodney Watson MBE, who passed away last year was remembered at a special horse racing event in Down Royal. The Watson family, friends and staff came along to join hoteliers and trade on a chilly February day. The Rodney Watson Memorial Race was won by Rocky Wednesday, ridden by Davy Condon and trained by Gordon Elliott. Rodney was a great supporter of the race day every year and he will be sadly missed. The Federation is indebted to Dillon Bass for supporting this year’s race day and for supplying the wine.
OPPOSITE PAGE. » Israel Robb from Galgorm Resort & Spa with Mark Sargeant.
ABOVE. » Mike Gatt with colleagues and partners from Maldron Hotel Derry.
LEFT. » Diane McMullan and Jackie Kelly from Holiday Inn Express Antrim with John Stuart from NIHF.
WASTE OF FOOD. T he new Food Waste Regulations (NI) came into effect recently. This is the start of a five year programme to reduce food waste and prevent it going to landfill. From April 2015, you will have the opportunity to separate your food waste from your normal waste. All local councils will have to provide a suitable receptacle for you to store this waste and much collect it separately. This legislation will cover all food service operations including hotels, restaurants and caterers. From April 2016, any food service operation that produces in excess of 50kg of food waste will have to separate out its food waste. This will also be collected separately and cannot be used for landfill. From 2017, no food waste can be put down a lateral drain. On initial examination, this may appear to be a major cost. However, food waste has a value and can be sold on. There is further information available on the WRAP website at wrap. org.uk. There are also a number of case studies involving hotel members: City Hotel, Derry and Andras house, which show how this can work in your premises on a practical basis.
NO MORE WASTE. Âť The Andras House Group has embarked on a programme to reduce food waste across all its Belfast hotels.
A COST OR A RESOURCE. Âť WRAP believes that food waste can actually be sold, rather than sent to landfill.
HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE THIS OCTOBER THE FEDERATION’S ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION FOR THE WHOLE INDUSTRY IS IN THE EUROPA HOTEL ON 13TH & 14TH OCTOBER 2015
SHORT BREAK GUIDE HAS A GREAT DAY OUT
he Federation, in conjunction with Tourism Northern Ireland, produces a short break brochure featuring hotels and guesthouses in Northern Ireland. The publication highlights the great value and variety of properties in the marketplace. The brochure has been used extensively in Northern Ireland and is carried by all the local Tourism Information Offices. The spring brochure was given to all those who attended the Great Days out event, which was held in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum on 11th March and attracted over 200 group organisers and buyers. Janice Gault, CEO of the NIHF said, “Many of these groups stay overnight, so it was a great opportunity to showcase our local hotels and hoteliers. The brochure has proved very popular for consumer shows and promotional events. It is a great platform and the only publication showcasing hotel and guesthouse accommodation. We are delighted that so many of our members have
availed of this opportunity and we want to thank Tourism Northern Ireland for their support.” The current edition of the brochure runs until the end of September.
Last year’s Hospitality Exchange introduced a new venue and new format to the fifteen year-old event and plans for 2015 are already underway. We will be making some more changes to better accommodate the exhibition and provide more space for the most popular conference sessions. Existing stand holders will be able to reserve stands soon and sales to new companies will be opened up in June. Meanwhile, the search for inspirational speakers and a top chef continues. Watch out for more information over the next few months via hospitalityexchange. co.uk.
HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE. » Back to the Europa Hotel this October with an expanded programme.
THE TOURISM SUMMIT in association with First Trust Bank
TOP LEFT. » Terry McCartney, Belmore Court & Motel with Siobhan O’Sullivan, Fitzwilliam and Adrian McNally, Culloden Estate & Spa.
BOTTOM LEFT. » Mark Carruthers and Mandy Patrick MBE with Ramona Wylie, Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel.
TOP RIGHT. » Brian Gillan, First Trust Bank.
BOTTOM RIGHT. » Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland with Rajesh Rana, Andras House and Stephen McNally, Dalata Hotel Group and Irish Hotels Federation.
RATES AND GOLF
RATES: WINNERS AND LOSERS THE REVALUATION OF COMMERCIAL RATES HAS LED TO SOME SIGNIFICANT RISES BUT THERE ARE ALSO LOTS OF PEOPLE KEEPING QUIET AS THEY HAVE SEEN A BIG DROP.
and & Property Services (LPS) has completed a revaluation of all commercial properties for rating purposes. The new assessment came into effect on 1st April 2015. This is the first revaluation since 2003 and all members should have received their new valuation at this stage. 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!!” Analysis of the rates contribution of hotels suggests that the current contribution of £8.4m (2014/15) will
rise by some 15% to £9.6m in 2015. Nick explains, “we have been able to obtain further reductions even where an assessment has 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”.
WARNING - RATES APPEALS CAN BE DANGEROUS AND ARE A TWO WAY STREET NICK ROSE RHM Commercial
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. 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.
Everyone is welcome at the Federation’s annual golf outing at the Hilton Templepatrick on Monday 11th May. We have a Stableford competition with teams of four (best two scores), an individual competition and a range of other fun prizes. There will be a two tee start between 12 noon and 2 pm and golf will be followed by dinner and prize-giving in the hotel. Tickets at £250 (plus VAT) per team of 4 include:
GOLF DAY MONDAY 11TH MAY
18 hole golf competition, bacon rolls & refreshments before tee-off, goodie bags, three course dinner plus coffee, and complimentary drinks throughout the day. Give us a call in the office on 028 9077 6635 to book your team. The NIHF Golf Day is supported by CocaCola HBC NI and Magners Irish Cider.
WEâ€™RE HERE FOR YOU; JUST GIVE US A CALL
The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation is the representative body for the hotel, guest accommodation and guesthouse sector. The Federation is here for you. We offer free advice on employment, licensing, social media, technology and business rates. One-to-one support is available to every member. Over 40 members have availed of this service in the past year so give us a call to arrange.
E S A PLE URB T S I D
The Federation looks at the upcoming elections.