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May 2018

HOTEL ROOMS TOP 8,500 FOR FIRST TIME SPECIAL 14-PAGE HOTEL EXPANSION SUPPLEMENT

SEE INSIDE FOR NEWS, AWARD PHOTOS, GDPR TOOLKIT AND MORE


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INSIDE HOTPLATE

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HOTEL EXPANSION AN 14-PAGE LOOK AT SOME OF THE NEWLY BUILT AND REFURBISHED HOTELS TO OPEN RECENTLY. P. 11

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NIHF AWARDS PHOTOS FROM THE HOUSEKEEPING AND RECEPTIONIST AWARDS IN 2018 P. 26-29 MEMBER NEWS Refurbishments, awards and celebrations in the Northern Ireland hotel world.

P. 6-8 May 2018

INDUSTRY NEWS More news from hotels, restaurants and the wider tourism sector.

P. 32 HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE HOTEL ROOMS TOP 8,500 FOR FIRST TIME SPECIAL 8-PAGE HOTEL EXPANSION SUPPLEMENT

A new look for October’s annual conference and exhibition. Stands on sale now.

BACK COVER GDPR The Federation has launched a new GDPR Toolkit for members.

P. 34 SEE INSIDE FOR NEWS, AWARD PHOTOS, GDPR TOOLKIT AND MORE

FRONT COVER. New AC Hotel Belfast is one of a number of new hotels to open in 2018.

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

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

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t’s difficult to believe that its almost summer and that we will soon be in the height of the holiday season. It’s been a mixed start to the year with poor weather and what seems like a never-ending winter causing difficulties for hotels and others in the industry.

and Belfast Met on a collaborative Bridge to Employment programme. The training will commence in May and will run as a pilot. We have also received support on this from Belfast City Council and are working on some other initiatives to assist with staffing in the coming months.

The NIHF has been highlighting the importance of the coming year in terms of hotel expansion. Room numbers now exceed 8,500 and we are likely to break the 9,000-room barrier by June of this year. The Federation has highlighted the significant investment involved in the current wave of expansion and has been meeting with stakeholders and politicians to highlight the £500m commitment that we have made. It is important that we explain our needs in terms of skills and staffing, tax regimes and promotion support.

The Federation has long campaigned for a reduction in VAT and a major consultation is underway. This was agreed as part the DUP confidence and supply agreement with the Conservatives and it will look at APD and VAT for Northern Ireland. The Federation will be submitting a detailed reply and we urge members to send a response supporting the need for a VAT reduction. This can be executed via the following link: www.gov.uk/ government/consultations/vat-air-passengerduty-and-tourism-in-northern-ireland.

GDPR has been in the news and members can access a range of materials on this including some industry specific templates and action plans. All businesses must be compliant with the new legislation by 25th May 2018. Recognising the great work that our people do is important element of the Federations work and we have run the annual awards for housekeeping team of the year and the hotel receptionist of the year. A great entry in both competitions and a real opportunity to recognise the excellent work carried out every day in our local hotel properties. We are planning to run a hotel restaurant competition in the autumn and are happy to look at other initiatives if members think they are appropriate. Staffing and recruitment is a major issue for the industry. We have been working with the Department for the Economy, People 1st

The NIHF has once again been lucky enough to work with Tourism Northern Ireland on a spring campaign to attract visitors from the Republic of Ireland. This is the fourth campaign we have partnered on and it is good to see numbers from this region grow. Over seventy companies availed of the opportunities, running offers tailored for this market, undertaking promotional campaigns and supporting competitions in market. The planning for Hospitality Exchange is underway and I hope you’ll put 16th & 17th October in your diaries and that you will come along to this year’s event. I hope that you will all have a very busy summer season and if you have any queries or questions, please do not hesitate to contact the NIHF office on 028 9077 6635.

GAVIN CARROLL President

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VAT AND APD

THE VAT SPAT

JANICE GAULT

GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION ON THE BENEFITS OF A VAT AND AIR PASSENGER DUTY REDUCTION IN NORTHERN IRELAND The Government has at last launched the consultation on the issues of VAT and APD which was part of the Confidence and Supply agreement that was made between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party. For hotels VAT is a critical issue and one that we have been highlighting since 2004. After more than a decade of arguing and explaining the hotel position, we hope that the consultation will finally bring change and clarity to the situation in Northern Ireland. It is disappointing that the Government has not produced a study prior to the consultation, outlining the economic facts. This would have allowed the industry to address and respond to the Treasury’s position. Unlike other taxes, VAT is strictly governed by EU rules. Under these rules,

Chief Executive

tourism and sectors with a high labour content, can avail of a lower rate of VAT but VAT must be applied universally throughout the member state. The UK’s exit from the EU would open up an avenue for tourism in Northern Ireland to operate on a different VAT rate to the rest of the UK. This could be a pilot to see how a reduction would play out on a UK wide basis and would also help us compete on an even playing field with our counterparts in the Republic of Ireland.

HOW TO RESPOND Email: NIVATAPDTourismCFE@ hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk

The NIHF will be responding to the call for evidence and we urge members to send a letter outlining their support for a reduction. All the details of the consultation are available online at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/ vat-air-passenger-duty-and-tourism-innorthern-ireland.

Write to: VAT, APD and tourism in Northern Ireland VAT & Excise Team HM Treasury 1 Horse Guards Road London SW1A 2HQ

7 FACTS ABOUT VAT 6 3 1 Unlike most aspects to do with taxation, VAT is regulated by the EU. Reduced rates can only be applied to a limited range of goods and services specified in the regulations.

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Brexit would allow Northern Ireland to operate on a different VAT rate from the rest of the UK.

Since 1986, hotel accommodation in the Republic of Ireland has benefited from a reduced VAT rate. That is 32 years of a reduced VAT level!

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The VAT rate on hotel accommodation and out of home food is currently 9% in Republic of Ireland. 24 of the 27 countries in the EU apply a reduced VAT rate to hotel accommodation.

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4,800 jobs have been created in the Republic of Ireland annually due to the VAT reduction since 2011. Ireland, north and south, is currently marketed as a single island destination in all overseas markets including GB. A lower ROI VAT rate makes Northern Ireland seem more expensive.


TRAINING

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Hotel Sector Executive Management Development Programme

THE FEDERATION’S TRAINING COURSE FOR SENIOR MANAGERS WILL TAKE PLACE IN SEPTEMBER AND NOVEMBER, INCLUDING A STUDY WEEKEND IN CORNELL UNIVERSITY The NIHF is running a course for the hotel and serviced accommodation sector to understand the issues of marketing, leadership and the consumer market. This course is aimed at general managers, owners and those who have a direct impact on development and decision-making within their business. The programme is supported by Invest NI and will be run in conjunction with Tourism Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland and Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. This course has been developed out of the very successful executive programmes run in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

The course will comprise of six elements: 1.

A range of pre-exercises will be given to all those who join the course so that they can fully benefit from the sessions/understand how the issues raised will affect their operations; 2. A two day residential workshop in Northern Ireland, the details of which are set out below; 3. An intensive executive management development course in the worldacclaimed Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. This will include an accreditation from Cornell; 4. A benchmarking trip to New York City;

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An opportunity to engage with and promote Northern Ireland as a destination to the North American market including Canada; 6. A review and assessment of the overall impact of the learning of the course. Further information will be available over the summer but please note the provisional dates if you are interested in this programme. 18th & 19th September - Northern Ireland Residential Workshop 9th to 15th November - Cornell and New York Programmes. Contact the office for more details.


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MEMBER NEWS

CITY HOTEL DERRY » The City Hotel has launched “Herveys”, the only hotel roof terrace in the city. Herveys commands breath-taking views of the city over the River Foyle, Foyle Bridge and The Peace Bridge from its dazzling vantage point on the 7th floor.

NIHF MEMBER NEWS

GALGORM RESORT & SPA

PARK AVENUE HOTEL

DOBBINS INN HOTEL

Galgorm has launched 3 Apprenticeship Programmes, commencing September 2018, as it seeks to train up the next generation of hospitality professionals.

Marco Pierre White was back in Belfast to host a special lunch and a book signing. He welcomed members of the public to the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse at the Park Avenue Hotel while visiting one of his most popular outlets where over 50,000 guests have dined since opening just over two years ago.

On 1st April 1978 Derek and Maureen Fallis took the keys to Dobbin’s Inn Hotel in Carrickfergus, just a few hundred yards from the town’s famous Castle on the northern shore of Belfast Lough.

Building on the success of the resort’s trainee management and operational trainee schemes, the new apprenticeships offer a comprehensive one-year programme where students will aquire new skills and develop practical “handson” experience in either Food & Beverage Service, Professional Cookery or Spa Therapy. They will follow the standards as set out in the City & Guilds & CIBTAC framework in conjunction with Northern Regional College and Bronwyn Conroy Beauty School.

Mandy Patrick, Managing Director of the Park Avenue Hotel says it is always a pleasure to welcome Marco to Belfast; “Marco has a great relationship with all the team here at the hotel and restaurant, it will be great to see him again. Marco regularly checks in with Eddie Patrick, our head chef, who he personally trained to ensure the highest levels of cooking and standards throughout the restaurant.”

With a history stretching back to the 13th Century, this 40th anniversary year will include a restoration of the building’s exterior. Speaking about the developments Kirsty Fallis commented, “the family are delighted to have the backing of local council and the community. Already the town has been buzzing about what will be found behind the walls. Whatever the outcome Dobbins will continue to offer their unique history and hospitality and look forward to another 40 years.”


MEMBER NEWS

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LA MON HOTEL & COUNTRY CLUB » The hotel has completed an upgrade programme to one of its bedroom wings and is now embarking on a £2m refurbishment of its banqueting suites and foyers.

BUSHMILLS INN HOTEL

BULLITT HOTEL

BISHOP’S GATE HOTEL

The Bushmills Inn celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a record haul of awards in 2017. The hotel first opened its doors in 1987 and toasted its 30th year with six major awards including ‘Hotel of the Year’ and ‘Customer Service Excellence’ at the 2017 Northern Ireland Tourism Awards.

Mindfulness is at the forefront of a new partnership launched by Belfast’s Bullitt Hotel and Northern Ireland’s depression charity, AWARE.

TripAdvisor has unveiled that Bishop’s Gate Hotel in Derry-Londonderry features in its annual UK Travellers’ Choice awards for the second year in a row.

The partnership, which will run until 2019, will help to raise vital funds for the charity and educate customers and employees on the importance of checking-in on their mental health. As well as raising awareness around the charity’s work, Bullitt employees will host a range of fundraising activities.

Last year, the luxurious, boutique hotel ranked second on this coveted list, and Bishop’s Gate takes the No. 3 spot in 2018.

Originally a Coaching Inn, dating back to the 1600s, the historic site was meticulously restored in 1987 into a 10-bedroom hotel and restaurant. Two multi-million pound expansions have transformed the old coach house, stables and mill house into an AA 4 Star Silver hotel with 41 bedrooms and suites, an AA Rosette restaurant, an exclusive cinema, conference facilities, courtyard patio and helipad.

The hotel is giving customers the option to make a donation to AWARE by paying £1 for large bottles of its specially filtered still and sparkling water, which will be served in the restaurant and hotel lobby.

Featured in three categories, the ratings are an indication of the continued appeal of Bishop’s Gate and demonstrate the consistently high standard of customer service that is delivered to all visitors. Based on reviews from millions of travellers, Bishop’s Gate is in the top 1% of hotels in the United Kingdom.


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MEMBER NEWS

MORE MEMBER NEWS

HASTINGS HOTEL GROUP

MERCHANT HOTEL

CROWNE PLAZA BELFAST

Hastings Hotels has announced it has purchased 350 Cloud Beds for the Grand Central Hotel.

The Merchant Hotel has announced a magical new charity partnership with the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, which kicked off with a Harry Potter themed fundraiser in March.

The Crowne Plaza, has embarked on a £5m investment programme, which will see a significant upgrade and extension of the property’s guest bedroom accommodation.

Throughout the yearlong partnership, The Merchant will host a range of fundraising events and initiatives, including an ambassador dinner event.

The current investment will see all 120 bedrooms completely refurbished in a design-led approach, with new bespoke furniture and soft furnishings, air-conditioning, Wifi and all new bathrooms. In addition the hotel will see a further 36 bedrooms rooms added including 16 new executive Club Rooms, 6 Bridal Suites and a stunning Presidential Suite.

The Cloud Beds are made for Hastings Hotels by Kingkoil in Ireland and feature a deep pillow layer, hand filled with blends of soft cushioning for that ‘floating on clouds’ experience. When the new Grand Central Hotel opens in June it will bring the total number of bedrooms in the group to over 1,000 making Hastings the largest privately-owned hotel chain in Ireland. It brings the total number of beds in the group to 1,700.

Gavin Carroll, general manager, The Merchant Hotel said: “We are proud to partner with NI Children’s Hospice and are looking forward to hosting a range of events over the course of the next year to raise funds for this fantastic local charity.”

The work commenced in January and will be completed in two phases, completing early 2019.

MARINE HOTEL BALLYCASTLE The completion of phase one of a £1 million expansion programme has seen the Marine Hotel renovate all 33 rooms and its seafood restaurant, Marconi’s Bar & Bistro. The renovations also include the refurbishment of the hotel’s function room which can now hold up to 400 guests. The second stage of the expansion will see the hotel add 12 new executive bedrooms and an additional event space, as well as upgrading the exterior of the hotel in-keeping with its new modern interior. Owners Claire Hunter and Colum McLornan are pictured with Stephen Comer from First Trust Bank.

LOUGH ERNE RESORT Noel McMeel, Executive Head Chef at Lough Erne Resort, has been named ‘Best Chef in Ulster 2018’ at the prestigious Good Eating Guide to Ireland annual awards.


CHEF RECRUITMENT

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TRAINEE CHEFS

NEW TRAINING PROGRAMME FOR TRAINEE COMMIS CHEFS UNDERWAY The Department for the Economy is running a Bridge to Employment Trainee Commis Chef programme. Working in partnership with the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF), sector skills organisation People 1st and a number of Belfast-based hospitality businesses, the Department’s training programme provides an introduction to the basic skills required to work as a professional Commis Chef. The Bridge to Employment programme aims to equip unemployed people with the skills to compete for new job opportunities. Successful applicants will attend a four week training course, delivered by Belfast Met at their Spring-

vale Campus resulting in a guaranteed offer of an interview by representatives from a hospitality business with a view to offering permanent employment. Chris McConkey, Head of Employer Skills at the Department for the Economy said: “With Northern Ireland’s hospitality sector being one of our largest employers, this initiative offers a great opportunity to forge a career in this vibrant industry. Tourism and hospitality here have gone from strength to strength in recent years and if we are to continue this growth then collaborative programmes such as this, providing a structured path of training and development, will be vital to the development of the next generation of culinary talent.”

Janice Gault, NIHF Chief Executive, said: “The hospitality industry needs great people. Many new hotels are opening this year and existing restaurants will be even busier. This will create further job vacancies and many roles within the sector offer internationally recognised qualifications that allow people to travel and have long and well-paid career paths.” Fourteen trainees successfully completed the interview process and started the programme on 8th May. The Federation will be assisting with placements and monitoring the programme through to job offers. If successful, it would be hoped that further programmes could be run to address the skills shortage.

CHEFS. » The programme was launched with the help of Merchant Hotel chefs by John Stuart, NIHF; Chris McConkey, DfE; Roisin McKee, People 1st and Gavin Carroll, Merchant Hotel and NIHF President.


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MARKETING

NEW HOTEL GUIDE FEDERATION LAUNCHES NEW GUIDE TO NORTHERN IRELAND HOTELS, THE ONLY COMPREHENSIVE HOTEL BROCHURE IN THE MARKET The Federation has been working with Tourism NI on a series of ROI Marketing Campaigns. The fourth campaign has just finished and feedback has been very positive.

As part of this marketing activity, NIHF has launched a new Hotel Guide, the only comprehensive hotel brochure in the market and free for all members of the Federation..

Funding of £200,000 was put in place to help hotels and visitor attractions promote in the Republic of Ireland. For many, this has been their first foray into ROI marketing and it is very encouraging to see the results come through.

Some 12,000 copies will be distributed over the summer through Visitor Information Centres and other outlets. Despite the prevalence of online marketing, the print guide remains popular.

Northern Ireland

Hotel Guide

The Official NIHF Guid e to Hotels and Guesthou

ses

Offers valid until 30th Septemb

er 2018

NORTHERN IRELAND HOTELS FEDERATION

ROI MARKETING. » Some examples of the advertising taking place in the ROI market.

National Trust Fermanagh

Fabulous Fermanagh Castle Coole, one of the finest neo-classical houses in Ireland, Crom, a haven for wildlife and outdoor activities and Florence Court, a 35 hectare estate with an 18th century house, scenic gardens and woodland trails.

You’ll find plenty to explore at National Trust Fermanagh.

Visit Castle Coole, Crom & Florence Court for great days out Tel: +44 (0) 28 6634 8249 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk Facebook.com/NationalTrustFermanagh © National Trust Images. Registered Charity, Number 205846

National Trust Fermanagh


HOTEL GROWTH

Hotel Growth HOTPLATE SPEAKS TO HOTELIERS FROM INDEPENDENT AND INTERNATIONAL OPERATORS TO LEARN ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF EXPANDING IN TODAY’S MARKETPLACE April was a milestone month in NI’s hotel sector as room capacity hit 8,500 on the way to nearly 9,500 by the end of the year. NIHF has given regular updates on the burgeoning hotel market, reporting on the significant increase in rooms, the £500m investment in the sector and the corresponding growth in jobs.

Whilst there has been a major focus on expansion in the Belfast market, important developments have also been taking place in the Derry-Londonderry market with the opening of the Bishop’s Gate in 2016 and the launch of the Shipquay Boutique Hotel in 2017. The city now boasts 686 hotel bedrooms.

Hotplate has been out and about looking at a selection of hotels that opened over the last eighteen months. We’ve been asking about their journey, the highs and lows and the challenges they see ahead.

This 14-page supplement covers everything from 10 to 188 rooms.

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HOTEL GROWTH

Shipquay Boutique Hotel

focused, hotel experience.”

Chic, urban boutique hotels have become something of an international trend. The City of Derry with its walls and historic buildings lends itself to this type of product. Rory Cregan, Managing Director at the Shipquay Hotel says: “When we founded the business, we set out with the vision of creating a classic hotel with a modern contemporary twist.”

This individuality is reflected in the staff approach to customer service. They take pride in representing a small, locally created independent property and they have won a number of accolades for this. Rory highlights that staffing has been one of the biggest challenges in opening the hotel. A strong core team with experienced managers have helped steer the business through the first year of trading. However, recruitment at lower levels and succession planning has proved to be more difficult.

The historical building, which dates from 1895, has been brought back to life as an independent, contemporary hotel with 21 bedrooms. Rory, who comes from a financial background, explains the implications of this: “Being a small independent hotel has advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages are more economical than anything else. There are economies of scale when you’re part of a hotel group. As a small independent hotel, we don’t have this.” He balances this saying: “On the other hand, we have a uniqueness that allows us considerable scope in delivering a distinctive, customer

Reflecting on the opening Rory says: “We made a conscious decision to do a soft opening. We wanted to ensure we had everything right and we were willing to absorb a short term financial impact to put our best foot forward. Having now established ourselves as one of the best hotels in the City, we’re continuing to grow and get our name out there. We are looking forward to the coming season. 2018 is shaping up to be a very successful year.”

Aside from staffing, another notable challenge is the current VAT rate. Rory explains: “In Donegal and other border counties such as Monaghan and Cavan, there is a 9% VAT rate. On a daily RORY CREGAN Shipquay Hotel basis, we compete with them whilst operating with a standard VAT rate of 20%. I feel that if the government wanted to actively encourage tourism in NI, lowering the rate of VAT like they have done in ROI would have an immediate positive effect.”


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HOTEL GROWTH

Titanic Hotel Belfast Back in Belfast the long-awaited Titanic Hotel opened in September 2017 with an investment of £28m. Located in the former H&W Headquarters and Drawing Offices, the heritage of this designated ‘listed’ building is now evident for all to see. The building, which had remained in use up until October 1989, became the subject of a conservation plan in 2014. The proposal aimed to restore the building, showcase the heritage assets of the ground floor and first floor Presentation Room, while ensuring there was a sustainable commercial use for the rest of the building, namely a 119-room luxury hotel. Hotel Manager Adrian McNally, a native of Armagh and graduate of Ulster University, has over 20 years’ experience of working in luxury hotels worldwide. Reflecting on the opening Adrian says: “There have been a few challenges such as employee recruitment and the completion of building snags. We were very successful in recruiting front line employees. For many there was a historical draw. They wanted to be a part of the next phase of the H&W journey. Recruitment of chefs was the number one concern and remains so. Training has and continues to be a major focus for us. The team has been very interactive during our training and problemsolving sessions. As with any new building there were a few snags to overcome. We’re over these and I’m delighted to say the hotel is performing well.” The hotel is run by Harcourt Collection which operates the five-star Lough Eske Castle in Co Donegal, Carlisle Bay in Antigua, the four-star Redcastle Golf and Spa Hotel in Co Donegal and Titanic Hotel in Liverpool. According to Adrian: “Operating as part of a group has many advantages, most notably the resource you use in pre-opening months, drawing upon the group’s existing purchasing power and taking advantage of established platforms.” “Business has been very strong for us since opening. There was much anticipation about our arrival into the Belfast hospitality scene and we’ve hosted a number of high profile dinners and events that have helped cement our position in the luxury market.”

The hotel’s historic past has significant appeal and Adrian says it would be impossible to select a favourite thing: “There are too many delights in the hotel. The history of the building and its links to maritime ADRIAN MCNALLY events is something I’ve Titanic Hotel Belfast never experienced in another hotel. Every wall, corner, picture, photograph and artefact have a story to tell. Being part of the pre-opening team gives a different sense of ownership. As for the team, they are simply amazing!” In his opinion, government could do more to support the sector and like others he notes the issue of personnel and staffing saying: “There is a lack of focus on apprenticeships and college enrolment for roles in the hospitality industry. Schools are not guiding young people into an industry where there is no shortage of jobs. A holistic approach to labour shortages seems to be missing and government should be stepping up to take charge.”


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Bullitt Hotel Another recent addition to the Belfast scene has been the Bullitt Hotel which opened in 2016. An expansion in 2017 added a rooftop bar and thirtyone further bedrooms. The original investment of £4m was enhanced by a further outlay of £2m for the expansion phase. The property, owned by Beannchor, now has 74 rooms. It has been managed by Michael Sullivan since its opening. Michael is a hotel management graduate who worked in Dublin for a number of years before returning to Belfast to take up a position with Beannchor in 2014. Bullitt has a vibrant food and beverage offering, quirky urban inspired bedrooms and a sophisticated roof top lounge - Babel. The hotel is located on the edge of the Cathedral Quarter but could easily be in one of New York’s up and coming neighbourhoods. The news that another Bullitt is planned for Dublin does not come as a surprise as its appeal is universal. Upon opening, Bullitt immediately found itself in a very competitive marketplace for bedroom business. Michael discusses: “We believe our property to be superior to other three and four star hotels in the area for several reasons. The quality

finish of our rooms is second-to-none, from our high-end mattresses, to the rain showers, Sky TV packages, superior Wi-Fi, own brand toiletries, top-of-therange hairdryers and funky carpet and bathroom finishes, the offering would put most hotels to shame. “Because of this we have placed our rooms in a higher price bracket which has proven to be one of our biggest challenges as consumers are generally swayed by price points. To prove why Bullitt is worth the extra expenditure we implemented key marketing campaigns and sales strategies. We needed our target audience to understand that Bullitt is not your average hotel, it is a place to stay, play and work – blurring the lines between all three with its stylish, cleverly designed bedrooms, high-quality food and drinks offerings, a calendar of eclectic events, super-fast Wi-Fi, and innovative meeting spaces. These aspects coupled with an unrivalled level of customer service have helped us overcome this initial challenge.” “As an independent property we had the freedom to bring something completely unique to the NI hospitality sector, stay true to the original ethos of our brand and build relationships with other local businesses.”

Michael adds: “Business has been strong in Bullitt since day one. Our food and beverage outlets have over MICHAEL SULLIVAN delivered from Bullitt Hotel the outset and are showing strong signs of continued growth in 2018. We had a very successful first year in rooms and with the addition of 31 rooms in late 2017, we’re really starting to see the benefit of this investment. There are obvious concerns with the increased number of beds coming to Northern Ireland, but I feel our product and brand are strong enough to help us continue to grow our business.” When asked about the challenges of business Michael says: “Easter licensing laws are a topic that I believe all hoteliers, restaurateurs and publicans would like to see addressed. Given these laws have been ditched in ROI it’s hard to see why we can’t follow suit. Maintaining them is completely unsustainable and can only harm Northern Ireland as a tourism destination. With the planned growth in hospitality over the coming months and years, the financial losses associated with the laws will only increase, making them a huge obstacle in a highly competitive and successful sector.”


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HOTEL GROWTH

Ten Square Hotel Another hotel that has benefited from investment has been Ten Square. One of the landmark properties in Belfast since 2001, the hotel has undergone a major expansion and refurbishment since it was acquired by Loughview Leisure Group in 2016. Hotplate spoke with Stephen Perry, who has overseen the hotel’s reincarnation and £18m investment. Stephen has over twenty-five years’ experience in the hotel industry having worked for Hilton Hotels in America and the Hastings Group in Northern Ireland. Ten Square now boasts 131 bedrooms including a number of suites with outside spaces and great views over the city. The hotel has a new dedicated reception area, while function spaces have been elevated to a new standard with a stunning rooftop Bar ‘The Loft’ providing an ideal location to socialise. Stephen says: “The opportunity to purchase the hotel and adjacent buildings arose in early 2016. The new owner, Paddy Kearney, had a vision to re-imagine this Belfast landmark as a contemporary 4-star hotel targeting the growing number of global travellers. The hotel now incorporates Yorkshire House, the original linen warehouse, built in the 1890’s by Sir Otto Jaffe, who served two terms as Lord Mayor of Belfast. The building was laterally used as the General Post Office for Belfast.” This process of moving from 26 rooms to 131 has not been without its challenges and speaking of the monumental change Stephen says: “There are only 24 hours in the day and there was a lot to pack into each day! The hotel remained open throughout the refurbishment and

expansion. The biggest challenge varies depending on who you ask. Our Head Housekeeper would suggest that it was the DUST!” He continues: “Business has been good over the past three years with year on year growth in Accommodation, Banqueting, Restaurants and Bars. I believe 2018 will demonstrate that there is the demand for Northern Ireland’s business and leisure product and the demand will warrant the planned hotel and bedroom expansion offerings for Belfast and beyond. The competition to win customers with the right offering will be stiff and it will require sharpened focus. There will also be an element of having the nerve to hold out for the best achievable room rates. “Being part of an independent hotel group is most definitely of benefit. The senior team is in daily contact with the customer and fully aware of their needs and expectations. There is an advantage in understanding the local business landscape, from infrastructure and suppliers, to competitors and consumers. This company is agile, talented across complementary disciplines and continuously evolving. My favourite part of the product is still the warmth and generosity of the welcome provided by the staff of Ten Square Hotel, coupled with the views from the new rooftop bar ‘The Loft’.” He concludes by saying that he would like to see: “Government support the sector by addressing the current VAT rate and giving the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland parity with the Republic of Ireland.”

STEPHEN PERRY Ten Square Hotel


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HOTEL GROWTH

Maldron Hotel Belfast City A serial investor in the sector over the last five years has been Dalata Hotels, one of largest hotel groups trading throughout the UK and Ireland. The Maldron and Clayton brands have become a familiar fixture throughout Ireland and the group has acquired a number of properties in Northern Ireland. Their most recent purchase is the Clayton Hotel (formerly Holiday Inn), in Belfast. In 2016, they announced plans to build a new £25m hotel in Belfast City. Mike Gatt, who formerly headed up the group’s Maldron Hotel in DerryLondonderry, was appointed general manager to oversee the opening of the 237 room, Maldron Belfast City Centre hotel. Mike is a well-known figure in the local industry. His experience within the sector and knowledge of the industry made him an ideal candidate to oversee Dalata’s first new build in the region. Discussing the hotel Mike says: “Maldron Hotel Belfast stands on the site of what was once the College of Business Studies (where I spent many happy days as a student myself). I was involved with the project for around a year before the doors opened and I had the pleasure of seeing it rise from the ground up. We

installed a time-lapse camera on the project in September 2016, which took a photograph every 9 minutes, so there is a detailed, step by step progress map. “Maldron Hotel Belfast City offers everything you need for that overnight city break. Located in the heart of Belfast City Centre, it’s just minutes from popular tourist attractions, such as the Grand Opera House and Victoria Square. Our hotel offers 237 beautifully furnished rooms, 5 modern conference/ meeting rooms, our signature grain & grill bar and restaurant and our famous Red Bean Roastery coffee station.” Mike adds: “Being part of a large group is an advantage as you have the support of a wider network. This opening may not have gone as smoothly as it did without that support structure. It meant that we have been able to pull resources from other Dalata hotels. We had a clear road map for the opening and it went well. However, recruitment has been a challenge and remains high on the agenda. In advance of opening we worked to secure business and this has

paid off. We have high expectations in relation to occupancy levels which have been met and indeed surpassed. Q3 & Q4 2018 look promising though I’m mindful of further hotel MIKE GATT Maldron Belfast City developments in the pipeline which means you can’t become complacent.” He attributes the success so far to the team, saying that they remain his favourite thing about the hotel. When asked about support for the sector he returns to the common theme of a VAT reduction and parity: “The benefits this would bring to the hospitality sector would be immense. It would give hoteliers in Northern Ireland parity with all other providers on the island of Ireland.”


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HOTEL GROWTH


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AC Hotel Belfast Hotplate’s final visit was to the latest opening, AC Hotels by Marriott in Belfast, which is the first Marriott in Northern Ireland and the first AC Hotels by Marriott on the island of Ireland. AC Hotel Belfast is a contemporaryluxe four-star quality hotel. The £25m property was opened by Lisa Steele, recognised as one of the industry’s top hospitality professionals. With a career spanning over 20 years, Lisa has worked with some of Northern Ireland’s most recognisable brands including the Merchant Hotel and Malmaison Belfast. Lisa is returning to Northern Ireland from Hotel du Vin in Edinburgh to take the helm at AC Hotel Belfast. Lisa says: “Owned and developed by Belfast Harbour, the AC Hotel Belfast is notably the first built-to-specification AC Hotel in the UK. This stunning property with bespoke local extras such as the ‘Novelli at City Quays’ restaurant will add a distinct and valuable new dimension to Northern Ireland’s fantastic tourism and hospitality offering.” Discussing the opening in Belfast, she adds: “With over 100 properties worldwide, the opening of AC Hotel Belfast is the culmination of a long-held

ambition by AC Hotels by Marriott to bring our hospitality proposition to the island of Ireland.”

of the hotel.

Reflecting on the challenges of opening, Lisa says: “Northern Ireland’s tourism industry is experiencing a wonderful renaissance and the timing really couldn’t be better for us to open. Local and international investment in the city is at an all-time high and the hotel sector is reflecting that with further investments scheduled. With this comes the challenge of finding sufficient talent and resource, an issue that the industry is facing as a whole.”

“We’ve only just opened but before LISA STEELE we did interest AC Hotel Belfast in the hotel was exceptionally high, with our booking calendar filling up rapidly for 2018. We knew Belfast would be a very attractive destination for our loyal Marriott guests and Rewards card holders, but the interest we have experienced on a local level with new guests from both the corporate and leisure sector has been the most encouraging. The year ahead is looking very positive.”

“AC Hotels by Marriott is meeting that challenge head on by investing in its people. I am personally committed to investing in and developing the teams around me. I believe it is the only way to extract the best from our employees. Our brand has attracted huge interest and enthusiasm from the local workforce and I believe we have built a team that has a wealth of talent and knowledge.”

When asked about the challenges of opening Lisa explains: “Meeting global expectations is dependent on investing in and developing the skilled resource needed to service this sector. AC Hotels by Marriott recognises this and invests in staff. I would however welcome greater investment in education, skills and training for the hospitality sector in general.”

She continues: “AC Hotels believes ‘if we have time to make it, we have time to make it beautiful’ and the AC hotel Belfast is full of custom-designed features which create moments of pause for guests as they move through the hotel. I love the relaxed but contemporary feel

When asked about government support for the sector Lisa adds her voice to the call for a reduced VAT rate saying that if one thing was to change: “It would have to be the VAT rate. We are at an immediate disadvantage to our neighbours.”


24

HOTEL GROWTH

Conclusion Expansion within the sector is set to continue throughout 2018, with the number of hotel rooms set to reach nearly 9,500 by the end of the year. 2017 was a good year with consolidation in occupancy, growth in room rates and good trading conditions. Tourism has continued to flourish with steady growth since 2012. The hotel sector has responded to this opportunity with an investment of over £500m in new product and a further £100m investment in refurbishment and upgrades. Job numbers will have grown by 25% by the end of 2018. Hotel growth also brings benefits to the wider hospitality sector. The challenge of staffing has been a common theme from all those we interviewed and with staffing needs continuing to grow this has to be

addressed as a matter of urgency. VAT has been a burning issue with hoteliers for more than 20 years and those new to the market have also noted this issue. The case is well documented, and the UK continues to have one of the highest VAT rates on tourism services in the EU. The position is exacerbated by the fact hotels in the south of Ireland receive a reduced VAT rate of 9% on accommodation and food. This tax differential places Northern Ireland at a considerable disadvantage when we are promoted as a single island destination. Northern Ireland tourism now sits on the cusp of a remarkable billion-pound turnover. The sector employs 61,000 people with significant growth projected in the coming years. Tourism now accounts for more than 5% of Northern Ireland’s GDP and in many areas it is the main source of employment. Hotels are

an integral part of this success. Increased guest numbers will bring more visitors to attractions and also increase the number of meals and drinks consumed in local bars and restaurants, allowing these businesses to grow and prosper. More visitors and increased room sales are a really good news story for Northern Ireland. We will continue to report on the rise of the sector and wish all those trading in the industry continued success. Hopefully, the challenges of VAT and staffing will not fall on deaf ears but rather be addressed in a meaningful way to ensure that the industry reaches its full potential.

THE NORTH COAST HAS A NUMBER OF NEW HOTELS UNDER DEVELOPMENT BUT LOCAL FOUR-STAR GUESTHOUSE, THE FULLERTON ARMS, IS ALREADY MOVING FORWARD WITH REFURBISHMENTS

Fullerton Arms Ballintoy based Fullerton Arms, run by husband and wife team Sean and Geraldine McLaughlin, has unveiled a £200k refurbishment programme which includes a complete refit of the 10 bedrooms and bathrooms as well as creating 3 new jobs. Featuring ‘coastal chic’ interiors and woodwork reflective of the original style when the property opened in 1897 combined with its award winning top-quality hospitality offering; The Fullerton Arms is set to provide visitors with a luxurious and welcoming experience on the Causeway Coast. The new look bedrooms and bathrooms

were created by well-known North Coast based interior designer Jude Burrows. Inspired by the coastal setting and surrounding landscapes the rooms feature local handmade furniture, soft furnishings and king coil beds mixed with the simplicity and cosiness of a Scandinavian style to create a special, decadent, indulgent and welcoming ambience.

experience in the hotel and hospitality industry, Sean and Geraldine have already made their mark. Highlights to date include; Ireland’s only Moluiere (mussel bar), a dog friendly restaurant and awards including; Top 100 hospitality business, Taste of Ulster as well as regional winners, 2 years in a row, for the ‘dog buddy’ Dog Friendly Pub UK.

As part of the ongoing refurbishment programme the hotel plans to develop purpose built dog friendly bedrooms. Plans will be revealed later this year.

The Fullerton Arms is host to Door of Throne No 6 which is one of 10 doors carved from trees from the nearby world famous Dark Hedges and also includes a themed GoT banqueting room with a replica iron throne.

Since they acquired the property in 2016, and with many years’ combined


IRISH TOURISM

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ITIC LAUNCHES 2025 REPORT The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) has announced a new eight year strategy for tourism in the Republic of Ireland following a 12 month consultation with the sector. The strategy, Tourism: An Industry Strategy for Growth to 2025, finds that the Irish Government’s existing national tourism policy is already “out-dated and overtaken by events such as Brexit”. The ITIC Strategy estimates that earnings from overseas tourism can increase by 65% to €8.1 billion annually by 2025 if the right policies and investment strategies are adapted and pursued.

billion annually. The strategy outlines ambitious goals for Irish tourism, a key export sector, and contains 40 recommendations across 10 pillar areas. It identifies key enabling factors including the construction of new hotels, the expansion of Dublin Airport, the retention of competitiveness, maintenance of the tourism industry’s ability to match and exceed visitor expectations, and increased state investment in overseas marketing and tourism investment.

The ITIC strategy argues that the engine behind tourism development is the private sector which is committing €2.5 billion on new aircraft, ferries, attractions and hotels by 2021 alone as it invests in its capacity to meet projected demand.

Examples of such investment include Aer Lingus’s transatlantic expansion plans, two new ferries under construction by Irish Ferries, 6,000 new hotel bedrooms planned, attraction expansions such as Guinness Storehouse and Westport House’s plans, and the Brexit is the major issue for Irish tourism development of the new Center Parcs visitor in Longford. ITIC also Tourism: An industry strategy for growth to 2025 currently and the British market is in Tourism: An industryexperience strategy for growth to 2025 This would mean 80,000 more jobs retreat with Fáilte Ireland estimating welcomed the recent announcement nation-wide and an increase to the that the Brexit cost to Irish tourism last of the new Beijing to Dublin flight exchequer in direct tourism-related taxes year was €86 million. scheduled to commence in June with Given the right policies, and appropriate investment strategies, By 2025 Irish tourism, on an annual basis and in real terms, can fromIrish overseas visitors just under €2 Airlines. visitor number, tourism can build on to its current strong foundations. aim to achieve strongHainan revenue, employment, and tax receipt growth.

2017

2025

Overseas visitor revenue

€4.9 billion

€8.1 billion

+65%

230,000 jobs

310,000 jobs

+35%

8.9 million visitors

13.7 million visitors

+54%

€1.13 billion

€1.86 billion

+65%

Employment

Visitors

Tax receipts

8

9


26

HOUSEKEEPING AWARDS

NIHF AWARDS THE FEDERATION’S TWO BIG AWARDS - HOUSEKEEPING AND RECEPTIONISTS - CULMINATED IN TWO SPARKLING EVENINGS Housekeeping Awards More than 100 hospitality professionals celebrated excellence in housekeeping at the Housekeeping Awards 2018. Sponsored by Tourism Northern Ireland, Bunzl Rafferty Hospitality, Ecolab, Robinson Services, Linencare and Respa Beds, the awards were presented to finalists and winners across two categories. The gala ceremony, which had an ‘in the pink’ atmosphere, took place at the Hilton Templepatrick. Tara Lodge (Belfast) and Belmore Court & Motel (Enniskillen) were named joint

winners in the under 90-bedroom category with a runner up award going to Bishop’s Gate Hotel in Derry-Londonderry. In the over 90-bedroom category, the Fitzwilliam (Belfast) scooped this top accolade with a runner up award going to Holiday Inn (Belfast City Centre). Receptionist of the Year The sparkling event, held at the Everglades Hotel in Derry-Londonderry, was hosted by Pamela Ballantine and staged in the city with support from Derry City

and Strabane District Council. The competition, now in its 15th year, recognises the important role a receptionist plays in ensuring a positive visitor experience. It also presents the sector with a platform to highlight the exceptional talent that exists in Northern Ireland. Gavin Carroll, President of NI Hotels Federation discusses the awards: “We had a record number of competition entries this year. The standard throughout the entire competition

THE HOUSEKEEPING AWARDS ARE SUPPORTED BY


RECEPTIONIST OF THE YEAR

was particularly high with the judges commenting on the exceptional quality of the finalists. It is a pleasure for the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation to recognise the important role of the receptionist, reflect on the exceptional talent that we have in Northern Ireland and reward those who ensure the success of our hotels.”

try. A versatile communicator, Helen remains calm in any situation. This individual is a very confident communicator who makes excellent eye contact and is a real credit to the profession.

This year’s awards recognised outstanding performances across three categories, with the coveted ‘NIHF Receptionist of the Year’ title, supported by the NIHF, going to Helen Crawford of the Maldron Hotel Belfast International Airport.

Meanwhile, the accolade of ‘NIHF Most Promising Hotel Receptionist of the Year’, supported by Net Affinity, was bestowed on Alex Coyle from Shipquay Boutique Hotel. Alex was described by the judges as: “fresh, positive and passionate with exceptional business acumen. Her organisational skills and attention to detail is to be highly commended”.

Helen was described by judges as being a great ambassador for the hotel indus-

Finally, in the team category, the title of ‘NIHF Hotel Reception of the Year’,

27

sponsored by Tourism Northern Ireland and Right Revenue, went to Bishop’s Gate Hotel. One of the judges summed up the interaction they had with the team as: “One of the most professional check-in experiences I have ever had throughout my years of hotel inspecting. All hotel staff were extremely friendly, warm-hearted and efficient which exuded a great atmosphere throughout the entire hotel.” The awards are sponsored by Tourism Northern Ireland, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Right Revenue, Shopper Anonymous and Net Affinity.

THE RECEPTIONIST OF THE YEAR AWARDS ARE SUPPORTED BY

More photos on the next two pages and online at nihf.co.uk


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HOUSEKEEPING AWARDS


RECEPTIONIST OF THE YEAR

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FEDERATION GOLF DAY

NORTHERN IRELAND HOTELS FEDERATION

TUESDAY 12TH JUNE LOUGH ERNE RESORT & SPA We are delighted to announce that the NIHF Annual Golf Day will be held at the five-star Lough Erne Resort & Spa on the fabulous Faldo course on Tuesday 12th June 2018. It’s a great day out and we’ll have some amazing hotel prizes on the day with our Round of 18 Prize Draw! The Texas Scramble competition will feature teams of four and a range of fun prizes. There will be a two tee start from 11.30 am and golf will be followed by dinner and prize-giving in the hotel. If you want to Stay and Play, we have deal with Lough Erne Resort & Spa for £95 per room in a lodge and £110 per room in the hotel on a B&B basis. Please call 028 6632 3230 and quote NIHF Golf 2018.

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

SUPPORTED BY

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FROM


SAFETY AND SECURITY

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MODERN SLAVERY IT IS HAPPENING IN NORTHERN IRELAND. SIMPLE STEPS TO SAFEGUARD YOUR BUSINESS. Modern slavery is an umbrella term covering human trafficking, slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour. It can involve different types of exploitation. Victims can be any age, gender or nationality. Often victims cannot, or are afraid to, come forward.

Employees should be in possession of their own legal documents, they should not be held by someone else. All staff should have a written employment contract. They should know their statutory rights, including sick pay and holiday pay.

Modern slavery is happening in Northern Ireland. Traffickers and unscrupulous recruitment agencies target unsuspecting businesses including those in the hospitality sector.

Reputable recruitment agencies will be able to prove that the staff they provide are legally entitled to work in the UK. Assess quotations and fees from agencies charging suspiciously low rates. If a group of staff have the same address – be suspicious, it could be a sign of exploitation.

We are asking business owners to take some simple steps and be vigilant to the possible signs of modern slavery.

Working together we can help build a community where we respect the law and each other. Anyone with any suspicions should not intervene, simply: In an emergency, call 999, call 101 about a general situation; or contact the Modern Slavery Helpline (0800 555 111) to report or talk through your concerns. More information can be found at: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/humantrafficking

CCTV AT THE ODYSSEY COMPLEX NIHF MEMBER, DIAMOND SYSTEMS, HAS INSTALLED A NEW SECURITY SYSTEM ACROSS THE BELFAST COMPLEX The Odyssey Complex had been operating a legacy CCTV system installed at the venue’s inception in 2000. In line with their commitment to providing leading entertainment within a safe and ANGELA BENNETT secure environDiamond Systems ment, its management team decided that a futureproof security solution would be pivotal to the venue’s ongoing success. The proposed solution incorporated 140 new Axis IP cameras, including day and night fixed dome cameras with 5

megapixels for improved image quality. This allowed the Complex to identify incidents in real-time. All cameras utilised innovative Axis Lightfinder technology with extreme light sensitivity to give more life-like colours in low-light conditions, vital within the arena and during evening events. Other technologies helped reduce the complex’s total cost of ownership by decreasing storage and bandwidth requirements and controllers have been installed to restrict public access to certain areas of the complex. The Odyssey team has been extremely impressed with the quality and robustness of the solution. The cameras’ superior image quality means the complex can now rapidly investigate suspicious activity. Since the system went live, it has already assisted with the prosecution of those committing offences.

The installation met all of The Odyssey Complex’s operational requirements, with significant cost savings achieved through Zipstream and Lightfinder technology, optimising storage capacity and improving low-light scenario image capture. Steve Snoddon, Managing Director at Diamond Systems, states, “We installed the original CCTV system 17 years ago when the complex was first developed. While providing value at the time, technology has progressed at such a rapid pace since that it was time for us to revaluate the technology available to support its requirements.” To discuss your electronic security requirements, contact the team at Diamond Systems, www.diamondsystems. co.uk.


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DIRTY ONION » Local dog owners are in for a treat as Belfast bar, The Dirty Onion launches a brand-new menu for its furry, four-legged customers. Created in partnership with local pet food brand, Naturo, dogs can now enjoy a nutritious meal with their owners, with dishes created using high-quality, fresh, natural ingredients, made in Northern Ireland.

THE LATEST HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY NEWS MERROW HOTEL GO AHEAD

SODA AND STARCH IN CITY WALLS

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has approved plans for the Merrow Hotel and Spa, a £20 million, four-star hotel complex in Portstewart.

Soda & Starch Pantry and Grill, a new restaurant located in the heart of Derry’s Craft Village, opened recently. The menu will appeal to ‘foodies’ who love tantalising, wholesome Northern Ireland cooking.

The complex plans to provide 118 rooms, a luxury spa with sea views, a leisure club with a 20m pool, a glass sauna and infinity pool, a steam room, a gym and studio, a demonstration restaurant, a bar/bistro restaurant, a signature cocktail bar, a conference space, meeting rooms and nine chalets serviced by the hotel. It would be located adjacent to the start and finish line of the world renowned International NW200.

The restaurant is a partnership between Head Chef Raymond Moran and NIHF Past President, Ciaran O’Neill, who operates the Bishop’s Gate Hotel. It is designed to cater to different tastes and appetites as it offers a range of options, from a simple sandwich lunch through to a four-course formal dinner.

TOURISM UMBRELLA BODY

After a period of consultation, NITA – Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance was incorporated at the start of 2018. The organisation will be an umbrella group bringing together the many diverse strands of the tourism sector. NITA key objectives are to act as a united voice for the industry highlighting its economic strength, identifying and raising the common issues that the industry faces and presenting a united voice to government. The organisation has appointed Doreen McKenzie, a well-known figure in the Northern Ireland travel industry as interim Chief Executive. Doreen has over forty year experience in business and has been the Northern Ireland ABTA representative for a number of years. She will oversee the implementation phase of the organisation, recruiting of members and the formation of an initial Board.


RATES REVALUATION

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GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL The directors of Hastings Hotels have announced that Stephen Meldrum has been appointed General Manager of the new Grand Central Hotel. Mr Meldrum joined Hastings Hotels in 2002 as restaurant manager of Ballygally Castle before working his way to become the hotel’s general manager. He has since held the role of general manager at the Everglades Hotel, the 5-star Culloden Estate & Spa and is currently at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa having managed it to one of the finest award-winning resort hotels in the UK and Ireland. He is the Vice-President of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation.

REVAL2020 CALL FOR RATES REVALUATION DATA Land & Property Services (LPS), part of the Department of Finance, has contacted business ratepayers to collect rental data for the non-domestic rates revaluation Reval2020.

STORMONT HOTEL Andy O’Neill has been appointed as the new General Manager of the Stormont Hotel in Belfast. Andy worked at Hastings Europa Hotel for 19 years where he held a number of positions including Functions Bars Manager, Front Office Manager and Front of House Manager. He has a degree in Hospitality Management.

Business ratepayers and their advisors in Northern Ireland are obliged to provide rental evidence to LPS with a view to preparing a new Valuation List for use from April 2020. Letters explaining how ratepayers can submit information have been sent to occupiers of commercial premises. LPS will use this information to analyse and interpret the current market and assess the rental value of each and every rateable property, which then will be used to calculate

individual business rate bills from 1 April 2020. Alan Brontë, Commissioner of Valuation for Northern Ireland said: “This is a key stage in the process of revaluing around 75,000 properties occupied by businesses and other bodies. I would urge all business ratepayers to submit the necessary information to enable us to make the system fairer for all; this is not an exercise in raising more money for public services. Regular revaluations maintain fairness in the rating system by ensuring that the system of business rates adjusts to reflect the changes in the property market over the past 5 years.”

HOTELIERS ADVISED TO SEEK ADVICE ON RATES

NEW UK BODY FOR HOSPITALITY The British Hospitality Association and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers have merged to create UKHospitality, a powerful new voice for the £130bn hospitality sector. NIHF is an Associate Member of UKHospitality.

The Federation has worked with Nick Rose at RHM Commercial for many years and Nick has proven that he can negotiate significant rate reductions for hotels. The last rate revaluation in 2015 led to some large rises as well as big drops in some hotel bills.

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.


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GDPR

NIHF GDPR TOOLKIT LAUNCHED FEDERATION HAS LAUNCHED TOOLKIT TO HELP MEMBERS ADAPT TO NEW LEGISLATION With GDPR enforcement due to begin in only a few weeks, it is imperative that you consider the implications of this major new legislation for your business.

addressed. Additional documents are available on the Federation website at nihf.co.uk to supplement the various points.

your website. It is also one that shouldn’t be copied from someone else as every business processed data in a different way.

The Federation has already run a workshop on the subject and has produced a toolkit for members to help start things off.

Point 5 in our action plan is privacy communication. This is simply telling your customers and the public what you do with their data. It will be very clear which companies have not taken GDPR seriously as this privacy information should be prominently displayed on

More assistance is available on the website or by calling us on 028 9077 6635.

The GDPR Action Plan (below) can help you see the areas that need to be

GDPR action plan 1 Audit You need to identify what personal data you hold, where it came from and who you share it with. This can be a simple paper audit (see document 1.1) or it can be in a spreadsheet with tabs for each department (under development).

6 policies

2 risk

3 security

4 legal basis

5 privacy communication

Once you know what data you process, you need to identify where the risks lie. This can be included in the audit step but it is useful to take a step back and look at how data moves throughout your hotel.

Now that you have identified your data and know the risks, you can look at the steps need to secure that data.

In order to complete your privacy notice in step 5 you need to know the lawful basis for your processing.

When you collect personal data you need to give certain information, such as your identity and how you intend to use the information.

Identifying potential problems now will help you shape what you do in each step after.

This applies to digital and paper files. Privacy by design is a legal requirement and you might complete a Data Protection Impact Assessment (see document 3.1) if you are making changes to your processes.

This might be consent, contract and/or legitimate interest amongst others. Most hotels will rely on legitimate interest but you cannot use this for email marketing. More information in the next section.

Our Privacy Notice Toolkit (document 5.1) will help you write a privacy policy and will look at what legal basis to use.

7 consent

8 breaches

9 requests

10 register

When you have completed an audit of your personal data and identified (and corrected) any security weaknesses, you will need robust policies to help your staff process data correctly.

If you carry out email marketing, you cannot rely on Legitimate Interests as your legal basis. PECR regulations cover this in addition to GDPR. You need to have consent or what is called soft opt-in.

Create a procedure to handle data breaches. This could be as simple as losing one customer credit card file.

Customers and employees have new rights to request access to the data you hold on them. You will need to know how to respond to these requests and be able to action the request within one month.

Finally, if you are not already registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office, do so now.

Our list of policies (document 6.1) is a starting point and we will be developing these further.

This does not mean dumping your existing contacts or asking them all for consent. See documents 7.1, 7.2 and the privacy toolkit 5.1.

Treat a data breach just like a first aid incident. Have a way to record it and a procedure to follow up.

Customers may also want to withdraw from marketing so you should make this easy and automated if possible.

Note: This is intended to provide an overview of GDPR and is not a definitive statement of the law.

The process takes about 15 minutes and costs £35 per year (under review). It is a criminal offence not to register under GDPR so don’t ignore this.


PEOPLE & TOURISM

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PEOPLE 1ST BOUGHT SECTOR SKILLS BODY WENT INTO ADMINISTRATION BUT HAS BEEN RESCUED BY THE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT TRUST The Workforce Development Trust has announced that it has acquired key strategic elements of People 1st, the skills organisation that went into administration at the end of April. People 1st is the sector skills organisation for hospitality, retail, passenger transport, travel and tourism in the UK. It has led the development work on the new apprenticeship standards and is the External Quality Assurance (EQA) body for apprenticeships through sector employer leadership. This acquisition will allow People 1st to continue as a standalone organisation, enabling it to continue focussing on its

key activities including apprenticeships, EQA, accreditation services and work in the devolved nations and international markets. We are aware that press coverage last week focused on the potentially damaging loss of the People 1st’s highly regarded apprenticeship services and its EQA role. We can confirm that this aspect of the People 1st work has been preserved in its entirety – and further investment will be put into this area over the summer. As a charity and not-for-profit organisation, the Workforce Development Trust is an ideal new owner for People 1st and has ensured its financial stability.

As part of the acquisition, 16 People 1st employees, including Northern Ireland’s Roisin McKee, have moved across to the new company. The WDT plans to operate People 1st as a largely standalone organisation enabling it to continue focussing on key strategic activities including its work in Northern Ireland. Roisin will continue as the point of contact for Northern Ireland and remains committed to working with local industry and key partners to help progress the skills agenda for the visitor economy sector under the new ownership of WDT.

FÁILTE IRELAND’S NEW BRAND IRELAND’S HIDDEN HEARTLANDS WILL ENCOURAGE VISITORS TO GET ‘ACTIVE IN NATURE’ AND EXPLORE THE REGION’S NATURAL ASSETS Fáilte Ireland has unveiled ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ as its latest new tourism brand - designed to boost tourism and drive visitor growth across the Midlands region. The brand elements including the name, logo and what the brand stands for were developed following extensive research with consumers in Ireland, US, UK, Germany and France. Over 10,000 consumers were interviewed in the process giving Fáilte Ireland great insight and confidence that Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands has the potential to be both appealing and motivating to visitors. The River Shannon will be a central focus of the brand with a Shannon Master Plan currently being developed by Fáilte Ireland in partnership with Waterways Ireland to drive tourism opportunities both on and off the water, and in the towns surrounding it.


HOSPITALITY EXCHANGE 2018 16&17 OCTOBER 2018 CROWNE PLAZA BELFAST

Hotplate May 2018  

Major article on hotel expansion along with GDPR Toolkit and more.

Hotplate May 2018  

Major article on hotel expansion along with GDPR Toolkit and more.

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