Page 1

October 2017





P. 4


P. 8-17


P. 4 MEMBER NEWS Refurbishments, awards and celebrations in the Northern Ireland hotel world. October 2017

P. 6-7


HEALTH & SAFETY Legionnella and Fire Safety are both in the news. Check your business now.

P. 22

ROOM TAX Now is not the time for a new tax, when we are already disadvantaged compared to our neighbours.


FRONT COVER. Hotel Expansion P. 4

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




t’s difficult to believe that this will be my last message as President of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation. It’s been an interesting and exciting two years in office with lots of hotel news and industry developments and trips to the polling stations to vote. The challenges around skills, staff and recruitment are still prevalent and if anything these will become more difficult as new hotels open and the industry continues to grow, coupled with the uncertainty of Brexit negotiations. I became a small part of Northern Ireland’s hotel boom last year when I achieved a lifetime ambition and opened my own hotel: The Bishop’s Gate Hotel, in my home town of Derry-Londonderry. A small trickle of rooms have come to market over the last year but the coming eighteen months will see a massive influx of new product. The Federation will launch a report at this year’s Hospitality Exchange on Hotel Expansion. Room numbers are set to reach 10,000 by 2020, jobs numbers will grow considerably but for me the figure that really resonates is £500m. This is the amount of money invested by hotel operators in building, expansion and major refurbishment between 2016 and 2020. A real vote of confidence and a substantial economic impact to boot. This investment shows that the private sector is willing to lead but for the sector to reach its full potential their needs to be more support at government level. Don’t get me wrong, tourism is doing well and we have come along way. Hotels have had a good year. However, if we look at other destinations and start to compare, it’s a different story. All of a sudden you realise the potential this sector has and the huge gap between our current good and

the great that could be achieved by more assistance. Support for the sector would mean a better tax regime with a favourable VAT rate. A sea change in training, which requires urgent action. The situation has been reviewed and consulted on. Now is the time to put the outcomes into practice. Introduce meaningful qualifications, rationalise schemes and revamp apprenticeships with industry involvement. This will help us improve our image, provide more meaningful career paths and address some of the recruitment issues. In addition to this, promotion needs to be up-weighted with agencies appropriately resourced to deliver a revamped tourism strategy. We only have to cast an eye south to see to how visitor numbers have soared with support and we do not want to be the poor cousins in this scenario. As an industry we’re showing that we are willing to play our part in building a better future for Northern Ireland. Now is the time for government in all its guises to get behind us. Hotels are being built, rooms are being refurbished and we’ll have an additional 700,000 rooms to sell every year by 2020! Northern Ireland is in ascendency and we should be upbeat and optimistic but that number is a little scary. We’ll be covering hotel growth at this year’s Hospitality Exchange and the report will be available to members at the AGM and at the Business Breakfast on Wednesday 18th October. Booking is now open and you can reserve tickets on line at hospitalityexchange. co.uk or by contacting the office on 028 9077 6635. I hope the see you there and would like to thank members and my fellow board members for their support over what has been a very memorable two years.






JANICE GAULT Chief Executive Over the last eighteen months, the Federation has reported on the advent of a new age of hotel growth. Since the start of 2016, four new hotels have opened and room numbers have broken the 8,000 barrier. By 2020, current projections would see this figure rise to over 10,000 rooms with 13 new hotels opening in a four-year time frame. In order to quantify the impact of this expansion, the NIHF has commissioned a new industry report, which will be launched as part of Hospitality Exchange 2017. The report, “Hotel Expansion in Northern Ireland: An era of opportunity”, outlines the effects of expansion and the economic benefits growth will bring. It also explores the additional employment generated at both construction and operation stages. There are lots of impressive figures in the report’s data but perhaps

the most striking is the estimated £500m of investment by the private sector in construction. This £500m figure is based on projects recently opened, under construction and those whose development is imminent. This is a massive vote of confidence by the private sector in the local economy. As the hotel industry forges ahead, it is vital that government policy and support mechanisms enable businesses to flourish. A more favourable tax regime and increased promotion are required to growth visitor numbers to fill the new supply. Skills and staffing could be a real constraint and need to be addressed on a national level. It is important to note that hotel business remains buoyant throughout Northern Ireland as more tourists are visiting the region than ever before. Tourism spend in 2016 was estimated to be £850 million and early indicators predict

a significant increase in spend for 2017. Occupancy levels, as of August, sit at 78% with room rates and RevPAR growing by double digits. The hotel sector in Northern Ireland has certainly captured the imagination of investors, operators and consumers with a period of exceptional trading and expected expansion. The predictions of growth and levels of investments are at an unprecedented level. It is essential that government supports the sector so that it can reach its full potential. Hotels have performed well and have the ability, with well thought through policies and redeployment of budgets, to trade even better. Capitalising on the £500m investment and improving the Northern Ireland economy are a future that hoteliers want to be part of and they have written a cheque for £500m to support this vision.





NEW RESEARCH SHOWS THAT A VAT REDUCTION IN NORTHERN IRELAND WOULD LEAD TO A £3.6M REVENUE BOOST FOR THE GOVERNMENT BY 2020. The NIHF has been working with the Cut Tourism Vat Campaign, which represents 46,000 businesses across hospitality and tourism in GB and NI. We are continuing our call for a reduced rate of Tourism VAT to 5% on visitor accommodation and attractions in order to create a more competitive environment for businesses to grow and thereby boost the wider economy. This would bring GB and NI into line with 33 European competitor countries, including the Republic of Ireland, which benefit from reduced Tourism VAT.

Hotel Expansion in Northern Ireland an era of opportunity

A report from the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation on hotel investment and future growth.

Over five years, in just the visitor accommodation and attractions sector, 2,094 new jobs would be created in Northern Ireland following a reduction in VAT to 5%, and in ten years the reduction will create 2,713 new jobs. Cutting VAT on visitor accommodation and attractions in Northern Ireland from 20% to 5% would result in a loss of Treasury income in the first year of £4.2 million. However, there would be gains from the following year and over 5 years the Treasury would gain by £32 million at current prices and by £109 million over 10 years.

As part of the Conservative-DUP Confidence and Supply arrangement These figures represent an internal agreed after the 2017 general rate of return of 158% over 5 years election, the government committed and 165% over 10. The cumulative to produce a “a detailed consultative improvement to Northern Ireland’s report… into the impact of VAT and balance of payments would be £332 APD on tourism in Northern Ireland million over 10 years. to recommend how best to build upon the growing success of that sector.” This is the first time that Find us at: Email: support@cuttourismvat.co.uk the UK Government Online: www.cuttourismvat.co.uk Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CutTourismVAT Twitter: @CutTourismVAT has formally and publicly consulted How Treasury will gain from Reduced on Tourism VAT. Tourism VAT each year (from year 4)


Lower prices stimulate higher domestic and international visitor numbers and sales

Higher sales create more jobs

And reduce unemployment


Direct VAT loss -£23.2 Million

REPORT LAUNCH. » The Federation’s Hotel Expansion report is pictured against a background of the current Belfast cityscape. The report will be launched at Hospitality Exchange at the Business Breakfast on Wednesday 18th October. For further information and event details, log on to hospitalityexchange. co.uk, book your ticket and pick up your copy of the report on the day.

VAT gains from higher turnover £1.9 Million

Income tax & National Insurance £3.5 Million

Higher turnover generates higher profits and investment

Treasury’s income decreases initially because of the immediate VAT loss

Additional tourism industry investment and consumer spending feeds through to new jobs

£ Treasury’s income increases because of revenue gains from higher turnover, income and corporation taxes and savings in benefits payments

Savings in benefit payments £4.5 Million

£3.6 Million positive impact on the exchequer

The Campaign is supported by:

Corporation tax, taxes on dividends & business rates

£3.2 Million


Multiplier Impact £13.7 Million



TITANIC HOTEL BELFAST. » After almost two years of restoration, construction and preservation of the former Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices and Headquarters, the £28m Titanic Hotel Belfast opened its doors in September.




Bishop’s Gate Hotel is thanking its staff, customers and the wider public for the wave of industry awards and accolades that the business has secured in its first year of trading.

The Garvan O’Doherty Group has refitted the bar at Da Vinci’s Hotel. The iconic bar closed for 4 weeks for £100,000 investment works. The makeover has changed the space from traditional Irish pub to a more contemporary and luxury pub.

Earlier this year TripAdvisor unveiled the UK’s top 25 rated hotels in the annual Travellers’ Choice Awards, and Bishop’s Gate took second place on this coveted list. The hotel recently featured in The Irish Times – ‘100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland’, and it’s also been voted ‘Hideaway of the Year’ in a Georgina Campbell hospitality guide. Laura Curran and Stephanie McCarron were winner and runner-up in the Federation’s Receptionist of the Year awards and the hotel also received an award from The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The Millbrook Hotel in Ballynahinch has unveiled its new Orangerie, a space for private dining and small events. The hotel has already scheduled such events as a Masterclass with Pro Make, Belfast with Paddy McGurgan, an evening of gin tasting with the owner of Jawbox, afternoon teas and traditional music evenings.

The bar refurbishment is the first phase of the development of the Da Vinci’s Hotel complex to be completed. Phase two will start in October with the redevelopment of the Spirit Bar space. In addition to the new bar, restaurant, and kitchen developments, attention will also be given to the exterior of the building and there will be a big focus on training and development for staff.

ROE PARK RESORT The Roe Park Resort has appointed Michael Marshall as its new General Manager. He joins the Roe Park Resort from his previous position as General Manager at Hilton Aberdeen Treetops.



BULLITT HOTEL. » Babel, Bullitt Hotel’s new rooftop bar will open in October. Work is progressing fast on Phase II of Bullitt, which will also see 31 new bedrooms being added this year including the hotel’s first twin rooms.

The Old Inn has won the title of AA Hotel of the Year Northern Ireland. Introduced in 1992, this award is the AA’s ultimate accolade for hotels in the UK.


Dating from around 1600, with a rich history that includes figures from the worlds of literature, music and politics, the Old Inn is a family-run hotel which has grown and transformed year after year. In fact, over the last six years a complete remodelling of the hotel has taken place with projects still ongoing.

CLAYTON BELFAST Clayton Belfast executive rooms have now been refurbished with the introduction of Nespresso machines, new beds with duck down duvets, and large televisions. The second phase of refurbishment will start in October with a soft refurbishment of the standard bedrooms. All rooms should be completed by quarter one in 2018.



The Bayview Hotel in Portballintrae is the first hotel in Northern Ireland to install destination charging points for Tesla Electric Vehicles. They have installed 2 Tesla charging points and one EV charging point.

A new boutique hotel has opened for business in Derry-Londonderry, creating up to 40 full time and part time jobs following a major investment by local developers Foyleview Builders.

Trends are always evolving and the UK government has announced a ban on the sale of new petrol & diesel vehicles by 2040. Other European countries have similar announcements in place with introductions announced prior to the UK 2040 timescale.

Located on Derry’s Shipquay Street, the listed heritage building was the former home to the Provincial Bank of Ireland, built in 1895. The building has undergone significant modernisation, and the new 21 bedroom hotel has brought a fresh approach to luxury accommodation within the local thriving tourism sector.

ARMAGH CITY HOTEL The Armagh City Hotel has spent £250,000 refurbishing the bar and restaurant and completely re-carpeting the function suite. Work will start in January on updating the bedrooms.

Hospitality Exchange, the event for everyone who works in the hospitality industry, is back in the Crowne Plaza Belfast on 17th & 18th October.

You’ll find an extensive range of exhibitors showcasing the latest innovations in the sector and some great speakers and seminars. Whether you own, manage or work in a hotel, B&B, pub, restaurant, museum, airline or coffee shop; if you’re interested

in developing and want to tap into innovation to drive business, then this is where you need to be! Take a look at hospitalityexchange.co.uk for more information and see the full programme as an insert in this issue of Hotplate.



17th October Crowne Plaza Belfast

18th October Crowne Plaza Belfast

Breakfast to go

Business Breakfast

8.30 - 9.30 | FREE

8.00 | £20

Start the day the relaxing way. Beat the traffic, enjoy breakfast for free and explore the exhibition.

Serving up insights into hotel expansion, industry performance and economic growth. A free copy of the Federation’s new report will be available to all delegates.

Chef Demo 10.00 | £35 The Yummy Brummie, Glynn Purnell and innovative beer chef, Owen Murtagh with everything you need to know about food.

Lunch 12.45 | £15 Something a bit different from the Crowne Plaza kitchen for Tuesday’s casual lunch.

Sales Masterclass 14.00 | £35

Tourism Live 10.45 | £25 Debate and discussion on the dynamics of Northern Ireland’s burgeoning tourism sector.

Speaker Lunch 13.00 | £35 John Scanlon, General Manager at 45 Park Lane, will regale diners with his career at one of the world’s most prestigious hotel groups.

The Downton Dinner

Damian McAlonan from the Boost Partnership will conduct an interactive session on closing the deal and engaging the customer.

19.30 | £75

Meet & Mingle


17.00 | FREE The wind-down to day one includes a glass of wine and the first opportunity to view the Federation’s new hotel expansion report.

Exhibition 08.30 - 17.00 | FREE Over 50 exhibitors will be on site showcasing innovation within the industry at this free exhibition, which is open from 8.30am – 5pm.

The Gala Ball will have a genteel theme, with echoes of the early 20th Century.

9.00 - 14.00 | FREE The free exhibition with over 50 exhibitors is open from 9am to 2pm, so just pop in whenever you want.


Hospitality Exchange: a programme showcasing growth, opportunities and investment.

One of the recurring themes in the hotel sector over the last eighteen months has been growth. At this year’s Hospitality Exchange, the opportunities associated with a significant increase in the number of hotel bedrooms across the sector will be explored in more detail. As part of the programme a report on the economic impact of hotel growth will be launched. Its content will be outlined at the Business Breakfast by Gareth Hetherington, Associate Director of the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre. For food lovers, Glynn Purnell will demonstrate some signature dishes on Tuesday morning and will be supported by Owen Murtagh, looking at how beer and food can be matched. Growth means more business. Engaging the customer, motivating staff and the art of the sale will be explored by award-winning speaker Damian McAlonan. This Tuesday afternoon session is not just for the sales professionals; it will show you how all your employees are in fact part of the sales team. Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland will also offer insights into markets that we can attract more visitors from, what represents good promotional activity and what industry opportunities exist.

Gareth Hetherington will look at the economic impact of hotel expansion.

John Scanlon will ragale Wednesday lunch diners with stories from The Lane.

Owen Murtagh is a food technologist and development chef looking at beer and food.


Lawrence Kenwright of Signature Living will be speaking at this year’s Exchange, as part of the Tourism Live line-up. His company’s development of the Scottish Mutual Building into a George Best-themed hotel has certainly captured the imagination of sports fans and will provide an iconic tribute to one of Belfast’s most loved sons. Lawrence’s plans to open a further four hotels in Belfast and invest £80m in these projects is a real vote of confidence and has certainly caused a stir in the city. Hear why he has chosen Belfast, get his thoughts on local hospitality and learn about his vision of the hotel sector. Wednesday’s lunchtime speaker will be John Scanlon from 45 Park Lane, an internationally-renowned hotelier. In addition, the programme features a sold-out exhibition with over fifty companies showcasing new innovative products and services. Check out the programme and make your booking at hospitalityexchange. co.uk. Don’t miss this opportunity to harness expertise and drive your business forward.

The Industry Conference & Exhibition 17th – 18th October 2017 Crowne Plaza Belfast



LAWRENCE KENWRIGHT Lawrence Kenwright certainly has a great story to tell. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the 2007 property crash, he has built a £250 million property portfolio from his Liverpool base. Recently his name has become linked to the Belfast hotel boom, yet less than a year ago, people in Belfast would have asked quizzically, who is Lawrence Kenwright?

To date, the following hotels have been made public, £15 million George Best themed hotel at the Scottish Mutual Building at Donegall Square South and the £25 million redevelopment of the Crumlin Road Courthouse. The third is the War Memorial Building on Waring Street. This site has plans for a 37-bedroom hotel, a rooftop and restaurant but the final scheme is yet to emerge.

The answer; he’s the founder of Signature Living, one of the UK’s fastest growing developers and hotel operators. Headquartered in Liverpool, the company has won critical acclaim for a series of prestigious developments including the historic 30 James Street Hotel in Liverpool, which was once home to the Titanic’s White Star Line HQ, as well as The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool and The Exchange Hotel in Cardiff.

He has referred to another prominent site in Belfast but no details have emerged to date. While remaining tight lipped on the progress, he added: “We hope to have all four open in 18 months, certainly three. I can’t see the fourth yet as we haven’t nailed the fourth, but certainly three can be open in 18 months.”

Why has he captured the headlines locally? At the start of 2017 he announced that he was going to open as many as five hotels in Belfast with an investment of £80 million. This news came as a bit of a surprise and certainly caused more than a ripple or two in local hotel circles. However, his commitment shows no sign of abating and in a recent interview he alluded to even more ambitious plans saying: “It could be seven (hotels in Belfast), it all depends on deals that can be found and the right property for the project that we want.”

It’s an incredible vote of confidence from an individual who has little or no history of trading in the city. Other investments beyond Belfast may also beckon. On a recent visit to Belfast, Lawrence outlined his plans for the iconic George Best Hotel in the city. He intends to replicate the successful model used to create Signature Living’s The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool, deploying stories, artefacts and memorabilia to evoke the memory of George Best in the new development. Commenting on the venture Lawrence said: “At Signature Living, we’re passionate about creating and sharing stories and this is a

Hospitality Exchange 17th & 18th October Crowne Plaza Belfast.

fabulous way to showcase Belfast’s most famous son. It will be a visual experience that will reflect his footballing prowess and the hero he was to so many people in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and further afield.” He added: “It’s about unearthing some of the George Best stories that we might not have heard before, as well as reliving the most iconic and well known tales. Every room and guest space within the hotel will reflect the genius of the man this city and fans around the world love so much.” Many are intrigued by Lawrence’s incredible vote of confidence in Belfast. He speaks openly of the warm welcome he has received and has praised the council for their forwardlooking approach to development. Lawrence will be in conversation with Mark Simpson as part of Tourism Live at this year’s Hospitality Exchange. Delegates will be able to hear firsthand why he opted for Belfast and he may even reveal what he has in his sights for his next hotel project. It will also be an opportunity to hear about his success in Liverpool and Cardiff, lessons that he has learnt along the way and the challenges he sees for the sector. Book online at hospitalityexchange. co.uk. Tickets are priced at £25 and include access to the live debate and insights session from Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland.


The Industry Conference & Exhibition 17th – 18th October 2017 Crowne Plaza Belfast Book online now at hospitalityexchange.co.uk





As a conference speaker I’ve had the privilege to deliver talks at over 32 conferences in 23 countries with audiences of more than 2,000.

in Northern Ireland?

So, when I’m not on stage I mingle amongst the delegates, organisers and visitors and ask what stands out for them when visiting somewhere. The answer is nearly always the same. It’s all about - the service! The mistake many sales people make is that they apply the word service to the most basic things any reasonable sales person would give to their customers. When working with senior management from high street franchises such as Black & White or luxury brands such as The Dorchester, it’s interesting to understand how they perceive the word ‘service’. But, similar to sales, the nature of service is also moving into a new phase. Allow me to explain. A man who was arguably the father of hotel hospitality, Mr. Conrad Hilton, left an important clue for us about the future of ‘service’ many years ago. During the Second World War hotels in the US had a problem with overcrowd-

ing. One way to explain to customers that your hotel was full was to place a sign that read “Sorry! No rooms today without reservations.” The word ‘sorry’ felt weak and insincere especially when he imagined himself as someone who had travelled to a new city, arrived at the hotel and saw the sign. He insisted that his people remove the sign and in its place he set up accommodation desks with hotel representatives ready to help a customer find a room in another hotel. He would have the customer sit in his lobby, get them refreshments, whilst they tried to find a room at a hotel close by. Conrad wanted the customer to believe the Hilton brand sincerely wanted to help. This example led to a new movement known as ‘service sales’ and demonstrated that even though you have no control over the circumstances, you can still retain the customer’s goodwill, repeat business and loyalty. It gave a whole new level to the word hospitality. Customers were no longer customers; they were ‘Guests’. Perhaps most importantly they became ‘Hilton’s Guests’. So what’s this got to do with hospitality

Hospitality Exchange 17th & 18th October Crowne Plaza Belfast.

Boost Partnership

The future of hospitality sales and service is going to be determined by the ability in which each individual can make a personal contribution to the customers’ needs rather than just delivering tick-box basics. This unique, genuine and authentic mind-set I believe is present already within the Northern Ireland hospitality industry. Remember problems often show up as opportunities in disguise, the challenge for you is to think of ways you can respond or react other than saying – we’re sold out, we’re out of stock, we don’t carry that, we’re not taking any more reservations, or that sale ended yesterday. Damian McAlonan from the Boost Partnership will conduct an interactive session on closing the deal and engaging the customer on Tuesday 17th October at the Crowne Plaza Belfast. Tickets are priced at £35 and can be booked online at hospitalityexchange.co.uk.


Free Exhibition

The Industry Conference & Exhibition 17th – 18th October 2017 Crowne Plaza Belfast

Book online now at hospitalityexchange.co.uk

Tuesday 8.30 - 17.00 Wednesday 9.00 - 14.00 Exhibition stands have now sold out and there’s plenty of variety represented. Assure Services Avita Communications Avvio Bailies Coffee Roasters Best Western Hotels & Resorts Bookassist Bunzl McLaughlin Bunzl Rafferty Hospitality Calor Cask 9 and Botl Castlebrook Coca-Cola HBC NI Counterpoint Diageo Diamond Systems Dream World Bedding Ecolab Elavon Electric Ireland Findlater & Co - Lavazza First Trust Bank Frost Couture Frylite Galgorm Group Get Fresh

Guestline Henderson Foodservice Hospitality Review NI Hugh Jordan Hygienecare Kingkoil Lavazza Licensed & Catering News Linencare Lynas Foodservice McCue Crafted Fit Molson Coors Brewing Co Musgrave MarketPlace Net Affinity Patton Interiors PRS for Music and PPL Quintex Systems Respa Beds Retail Systems Technology Right Revenue Robinson Services Shopper Anonymous Stephens Catering Equipment STR Tourism Ireland Tourism Northern Ireland United Wine Merchants Winterhalter

There was a time when pristine white tableware defined a restaurant’s fine dine credentials. Anything less than a pure white table-top setting was not favoured by the gourmand. But times and tastes change and with the growing importance of casual dining, the identical fine china setting is being usurped by vibrant, eye-catching table-top products in a wide range of colours. The modern dining-out experience is increasingly becoming about much more than just the food. Diners are seeking a complete social experience where the overall combination of food, setting and ambience offers them something unique. And with the trend being for more relaxed casual dining options, many restaurant operators are looking for less formal ways to present their menus. At the same time the growing influence of a wide range of ethnic flavours and dishes has meant a fundamental reappraisal of the kind of tableware needed to deliver the desired dining experience.










See our all NEW colours in our Artisan Range at Stand 34 at Hospitality Exchange !


For more information: www.bunzlmclaughlin.com Appetite for Colour Advert NI.indd 1

Hospitality Exchange 17th & 18th October Crowne Plaza Belfast.

Or Call Us Now On: 028 3751 1999 19/09/2017 12:16



LEFT. » Glynn Purnell in the kitchen preparing a ten-course meal.

BURNT CUSTARD, PIGS TROTTERS AND BLIND DATE! THE LIFE OF GLYNN PURNELL The Hospitality Exchange guest chef for 2017 is Glynn Purnell. Well known from his successful appearances on Great British Menu, where he gained a perfect 10 with his innovative Burnt English Custard Surprise dessert, Glynn secured a place at the banquet on two occasions before moving on to become a mentor in the ever-popular series. Glynn credits his mother for instilling his interest in cooking. Visits to Birmingham’s food markets are firmly imprinted in his memory. “I vividly remember my Mum buying fresh ingredients and haggling with the traders. She was very good at it, and we would often walk away with a free bag of pig’s trotters! They were one of my favourite things to eat while watching Blind Date in my pyjamas on the couch on a Saturday evening.” Glynn started in the kitchen at the tender age of 14 and is proud of having worked his way up to his current Michelin star status. He says: “To become the best at something, do it from ground zero. I take as much pride flipping a burger as I do making a sandwich or cooking for a full restaurant.”

In his early career Glynn completed a six-year apprenticeship at the Metropole Hotel at the NEC. He credits Mark Hill, who was the first chef he worked for in an a la carte restaurant, as the reason for working in fine dining. Later influences include Claude Bosi, who Glynn describes as the biggest influence and his mentor. He also credits another French chef, Pierre Gagnaire, as a guiding light adding: “I guess my inspiration has always been French orientated. I like the solid, regaling French cuisine, and Claude and Pierre are both masters of it.”

Purnell’s has just celebrated its tenth birthday and whilst TV appearances and a media persona are important, Glynn realised that you have to back it up with the goods in the restaurant. He continues: “The restaurant is more gastronomic than fine-dining! I would change absolutely nothing about Purnell’s. It was built from hard work and not a lot of money. As for the restaurant itself, it used to be quite generic and the décor grey, with dark tables. A local, award winning interior designer came to see me and we had a coffee and chatted a few times and he then built the décor around my colourful, lively personality to match the food. It’s very unique and it’s very colourful. The colourful theme is carried through to the menu with its quirky language and culinary play on words. There are no stuffy white uniforms; chefs are dressed in T-shirts with utilitarian aprons and floor staff decked out in stylish suits.”

A convivial character he also counts Heston Blumenthal as a friend and has great respect for his culinary intelligence. He remembers Sat Bains when he had hair and cooked with local Chef Danny Millar on a trip to Belfast. Glynn’s also starring in Channel 4’s My Kitchen Rules with Rachel Allen and is one of six guest presenters on Saturday Kitchen.

Commenting on his upcoming appearance at Hospitality Exchange, Glynn says: “I’m looking forward to some great food and some great laughs.”

Despite owning two restaurants in his native Birmingham, he remains grounded. His vision was to run a successful restaurant and pay the rent. He describes Michelin and other accolades as the icing on the cake.

Book online at hospitalityexchange. co.uk. Tickets are £35 and include a signed copy of Glynn Purnell’s latest book ‘Rib Ticklers & Choux-Ins’.

Book online now at hospitalityexchange.co.uk

Glynn will demonstrate at Hospitality Exchange on Tuesday 17th October. It’s a great opportunity to see the man who describes himself as the ‘Roger Federer of the British culinary scene.’



BEER AND FOOD PAIRING A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN Beer products have undergone a resurgence with craft products now becoming a more popular beverage choice. Molson Coors are keen to capitalise on this new-found interest by pairing beer with food as well as incorporating it into a wide range of recipes. Many people will have added ale to a stew, relying on its hoppy notes to increase flavour, but the team at Molson Coors have gone a step further. They have been working with innovation chef Owen Murtagh on recipes, rubs and syrups to change the way you think about beer as a product.

What is Beer Food Beer? Molson Coors use a simple 3 step process to explore how beer and food can influence each other’s flavours. The beer can cut through certain ingredients with carbonation and bitterness levels, food can lift and complement a flavour characteristic of a beer and best of all, your palate will always be cleansed by carbonation.

Des McCann, Beer Sommelier with Molson Coors, says, “I have a passion for beer and food so when I was asked to bring them both together to explore what happens when they meet I jumped at the chance. We’ve been working on an approach to food and beer pairing called Beer-Food-Beer. I urge everyone to give it a try, you’ll be surprised at the results and the delights of beer pairing.”


1. 2.

Beer - taste the beer and pick out its characteristics - sweet, bitter etc. Food - identify the key flavours of the food. Beer - keeping the food on the palate, bring the beer back in and see what happens when the two meet.

Des and Owen will be appearing on stage at this year’s Hospitality Exchange as part of the chef demo. Between them they will give delegates a basic understanding of how beer is brewed, what makes each beer style unique

Hospitality Exchange 17th & 18th October Crowne Plaza Belfast.

as well as a short history of the beer style and its place in the dining experience. You’ll have an opportunity to taste a beer and food pairing as part of the demo and at the lunch afterwards. Forget beer and a burger, who knew that beer can add cheer to ice-cream! If you’re interested in learning more, please visit Molson Coors at Stand 25 at this years Hospitality Exchange or contact our Northern Ireland National Account Executive Philip Morgan on 07808096941 or email philip.morgan@molsoncoors.com to find out more about our beer-food-beer programme and our award-winning portfolio of craft and world beers.



PUTTING HOSPITALITY TO THE TEST BRIAN GILLAN, HEAD OF BUSINESS & CORPORATE BANKING AT FIRST TRUST BANK , SEES GROWTH ACROSS THE COUNTRY Earlier this year, First Trust Bank, along with more than 300 tourism providers and industry stakeholders, visited the beautiful grounds of Enniskillen Castle in Fermanagh for the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards. Here we shone a spotlight on the creative talent and commitment of those at the forefront of a sector whose innovative practices are driving the success of NI’s tourism industry locally and on the world stage. At the Awards it was plain to see why the hospitality industry is worth more than £1.1 billion annually to the Northern Ireland economy and employs one in every 20 workers. From hotels that are empowering their businesses through innovative technology, to family-run companies that are capitalising on niche markets, our local industry leaders demonstrate why 2.6 million people want to visit our region annually. With Belfast hotels reaching a record high room occupancy rate of 83.5% and Airbnb citing Northern Ireland as its fastest-growing UK visitor destination, our hospitality sector not only continues to deliver solid growth but demonstrates its extraordinary potential for future expansion. Although the Awards highlighted our hospitality sector’s bright future and the vibrancy within it, the celebrations followed a turbulent 2016. We have revelled in a successful ‘Year of Food and Drink’ programme and numerous prestigious awards - Belfast picked up the ‘Best UK City’ trophy at the Guardian and Observer Travel Awards and Titanic Belfast was named the ‘World’s Leading Tourist Attraction’ at the World Travel Awards – but we also had to consider the impact of the EU Referendum results, the drift in the Sterling/Euro exchange rate and potential challenges in the marketplace.

Republic of Ireland and the free movement of people, goods and services across the border is essential to ensure the sector is supported and that it continues its important role of creating jobs and adding to the overall economic health of the region. Although we face the added pressures of local political stalemate, we know that debate, collaboration and knowledge sharing at an industry level - and right across the supply chain – can sharpen focus and create solutions. While together the industry can continue to emphasise its viewpoint in regards to Brexit arrangements, the focus should remain on innovation and investment for the future in any case. In our own business, we continue to see a return in confidence and an appetite for growth. From our offices in Ann Street, we can look out over the Belfast skyline and count a number of cranes all busy adding to local room occupancy rates. The same is true if you visit other areas in Northern Ireland. From the North Coast to the West, we have had customers add to their offerings by researching market trends and innovating across their businesses. From refitting premises and developing new products to investing in ICT systems and reinventing dishes, local companies and entrepreneurs are keen to attract guests and visitors regardless of the political and economic challenges we face on a macro scale. At First Trust Bank, we are keen to play our part and help nurture local businesses growth plans. From working with supply companies to heavy-weight hotels and boutique B&Bs, we know first-hand the unique and wider challenges the hospitality sector faces and we are committed to working closely with our customers and the industry as a whole to help realise its potential.

Clarity around issues such as the Common Travel Area between Northern Ireland and the

Book online now at hospitalityexchange.co.uk

BRIAN GILLAN First Trust Bank


TRIBAL BURGER » Acclaimed Burger Gurus branch out from street food trucks to open Tribal Burger on Botanic Avenue. Husband and wife duo Paul and Elaine Catterson have opened a high end burger and milkshake restaurant in Belfast.



Family and friends of football legend George Best have presented Signature Living, the developers of his namesake hotel, with iconic items of memorabilia, in what is intended to be the start of a George Best collection for the new George Best Hotel in Belfast city centre.

It has been announced that Premier Inn is planning to open an 81-bedroom hotel at Belfast International Aiport. The £5m development is out for public consultation at the moment.

The presentation took place at a launch event at the former Scottish Mutual building, which was attended by the Best family, Lawrence Kenwright, Founder and Chairman of Signature Living and the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister.

The hotel is part of a wider retail and hospitality development that will include an M&S Food outlet, cafes and restaurant. A petrol station has already opened at the site. Premier Inn has a number of other possible developments in Northern Ireland but none has come to fruition yet.

CAFE PARISIEN The owners behind Galgorm Resort and Spa have unveiled details of a major new investment in the city’s growing hospitality sector bringing a Frenchstyle restaurant to one of the city’s most iconic sites. The site which is housed at Cleaver House at Donegal Place, is undergoing a major refurbishment programme ahead of the restaurant, Café Parisien, opening soon. The restaurant will be set over two floors, the ground floor featuring a classic creperie with seating for 50 covers and an open style kitchen with the first floor 100-seater restaurant offering a modern twist on the classic brasserie dishes for lunch and dinner as well as afternoon teas. The project, which will create approximately 50 jobs, is part of a £700,000 investment by the Galgorm owners in the site. This latest development brings the total spend in the city centre to just under £1.5 million in the last 3 years.


AUTUMN MARKETING THIRD CAMPAIGN UNDERWAY TARGETING REPUBLIC OF IRELAND MARKET The Federation has again partnered with Tourism Northern Ireland to run a major marketing drive in the Republic of Ireland.

With the additional TNI activity on TV and more, there will be a definite Northern Ireland message across all channels this autumn.

£200,000 is being used to support hotels in their own marketing efforts by allowing them to choose where best to target. Some are using traditional print media, radio and billboards. Others have chosen to promote online, through bloggers and in social media.

The Federation will publish a new Short Break Brochure with free listings for all members and this will be sent out to all Tourist Information Centres and used at events and promotions for the next six months.

Further details of the campaign, including online entry forms, can be found at nihf.co.uk. Please do not hesitate to give us a call to discuss your ideas on 028 9077 6635. 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

Say hello to more...

Titanic stories


Titanic Belfast

AUTUMN MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES ACTIVATING THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND MARKET FOR ACCOMMODATION PROVIDERS AND VISITOR ATTRACTIONS. A programme delivered by Northern Ireland Hotels Federation in partnership with Tourism Northern Ireland. October to November 2017





ROOM TAX ARGUMENTS Tax in any form is always contentious and as new projects come to the fore, the issue of room tax has been mooted as a means of creating additional tourism and event revenue. Operators have concerns on the introduction of such a measure given the current VAT, APD, NLW and Apprentice Levy charges. Hotels pay a significant level of rates and the consensus would be that a more favourable tax regime would have to be in place before any “Room Tax” was even considered. Michael Williamson, Director of ASM Chartered Accountants, explores this “thorny” topic in more detail, raising a number of points and highlighting the pitfalls of such a plan. A topic that has popped up from time to time is the somewhat thorny question of applying a room tax to tourist accommodation in Northern Ireland. This is distinct from, and in addition to, VAT. Of course, we already have a similar scheme in the form of Air Passenger Duty and it might be argued that since the travelling public have become accustomed to its existence, then surely the concept of applying a bedroom tax is not that irrational, particularly in light of the increase in bedroom demand over the past 6 years. Similar schemes do exist elsewhere (New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Rome for instance) although they may be called by different names or applied in different ways. These cities also add state, city or VAT to their bills. Before answering the question, the following matters need to be addressed: Administration: firstly, and assuming that it can be applied legally, how would it be collected and administered? The collection of the tax needs to be simple, efficient and effective. If it requires PMS upgrades then

this will complicate matters;

Purpose: the rationale for occupancy taxes in other cities is to support tourism through, for instance, the funding of convention and visitors bureaus to help with promoting the destination. Over the years the use of those taxes have become blurred in some places (maybe to tourism or maybe to a general fund) such that is not always obvious to those who pay them; Competition: the value of sterling can have a noticeable impact on the attractiveness of Northern Ireland as a destination. We are seeing the benefits of a weak pound just now, but the industry has been battling against lower rates of VAT, the abolition of Air Passenger Tax and lower Corporation Tax rates in Ireland for many years. Applying a local room tax on top of the current tax structures would make us that little bit less competitive; Fairness: the emergence of Airbnb and the opportunity for unregistered accommodation providers to tap into the tourist market means that this segment could avoid any room tax – this is clearly unfair on bona fide operators; and Maturity of the destination: whatever the industry’s views on taxes levied in the aforementioned cities, it does not appear to have stymied their appeal as tourist destinations. But these are amongst the most popular “must see” city destinations on the planet and they are more likely to get away with applying such taxes than we are. So, is there an argument for a room tax? Maybe, but it should only be considered if we can secure a more competitive VAT rate for the industry, get rid of APD and unregistered operators and commit to using the funds raised exclusively for the betterment and promotion of the industry. None of this will be achieved any time soon.




IMMIGRATION HOSPITALITY SECTOR AND SKILLS Facing new challenges: Taking new opp

The Federation will be making a response to this call and we urge members to give their story as well. It is vital that we are able to access a skilled workforce in the future. Details of the consultation and a briefing note can be accessed using this link: https://www. gov.uk/government/consultations/call-forevidence-and-briefing-note-eea-workers-inthe-uk-labour-market






NLW as % of industry median





In July 2017, the government commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise on the economic and social impacts of the UK’s exit from the European Union and also on how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy. They are calling for evidence, which should help influence and form Government policy in relation to migration and the labour market. The NI Strategic Migration Partnership (NISMP) is working in collating employer responses on this matter and hopes to co-ordinate some face to face meetings with the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) before submissions are required.

Immigration is a key source of labour for hospitality sector... more than 3 times the average across sectors.


Members are already experiencing staffing issues. Currently, many of our employees are from the EU and we have relied on the availability and skills of Non-UK nationals to grow the sector. Research has shown that 23% of the hospitality sector’s workforce is from outside the UK and Ireland.

Potential Impact of Brexit


The hospitality sector has a diverse workforce. Expansion will require additional staff and demand more skilled personnel. In the hotel sector we are likely to require an additional 2,000 staff by 2020, and that’s not including the normal recruitment needs to address staff turnover.










% of total workforce from outside the UK, 2015-16 (4 quarter average)

This a to rev













In 2015, 67cruise ships docked at Northern Ireland



LEGIONELLA WARNING Legionella hit the news again in September with the death of a guest who stayed in a hotel in Ludlow, Shropshire. The hotel in question had a previous case of the disease in April and guests have been warned about the illness. The hotel has closed temporarily and been advised to replace its plumbing system. Are you and your team aware of what Legionella is, the risks and how to manage and maintain your property to keep it Legionella free.? What is Legionella? Legionnaires’ Disease was named after an outbreak of a severe pneumonia-like disease that occurred at the Belle Vue Stratford Hotel, Philadelphia, USA in 1976, where there was a convention of the American Legion. Legionella pneumophila, the causative organism for most cases of Legionnaires’ disease, was thought to have been present in the hotel’s cooling towers. Somehow, water droplets in the form of an aerosol contaminated the hotel’s

air conditioning systems allowing the bacteria to come into contact with the convention guests, a highly susceptible population. Proliferation of the bacteria typically occurs between 20°C – 45°C and is assisted by the presence of suitable nutrients present in dirt, sludge and scale as well as conditions of poor water flow, stagnation or where dead legs occur in water systems.

accordance with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations. This is achieved by following the Approved Code of Practice L8 The Control of Legionella (Bacteria in Water Systems). In general, these require the employer to conduct the following: • •

How does this affect hotels? Water systems, including evaporative cooling systems, hot and cold water systems and other risk systems, need to be managed under health and safety legislation. Further information is provided in HSE’s Legionnaires’ disease: Technical guidance (HSG274). Hotels also need to manage pools, spa pools and hot tubs to ensure they are monitored, maintained and legionella free. What are your responsibilities? Hotels are required to control the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria in

Identification & assessment of the risk; Prevention or minimisation of risk from exposure to Legionella; Systems for the management and selection, training and competence of personnel; Record keeping of maintenance, cleaning and disinfection.

For further information and to arrange an appointment, Please contact: Elan Environmental Mobile: +44 (0)7976 024286 Phone: +44 (0)28 9543 6364 Email: charlie@elanenvironmental.com

DOES YOUR FIRE ALARM CRY WOLF? It’s 3am and all is peaceful in your hotel, until the fire alarm activates. It’s another false alarm, and another headache that you, and your guests, could do without. With an increasing number of hotels offering financial compensation for false alarms, there is a tangible cost to this disruption. False alarms are now so common that many of your guests will not even bother to evacuate. But complacency is a dangerous thing; what if it was a genuine alarm? We all remember the story of the Boy who Cried Wolf; does your fire alarm cry wolf? In the UK last year there were over 600 hotel fires, according to Home Office Statistics. Hotels have an increased risk of fire and other hazards. Guests expect

the highest level of safety and security; you have a legal and moral obligation to provide this. For many hoteliers, the means to avoid false alarms is the use of heat detection. Heat detectors are slow to respond in the event of a real fire. The most common temperature setting is around 58 degrees Celsius for activation. In a fast spreading fire, where time is of the essence, this delay in alarm activation could have devastating consequences for both the protection of life and property. Smart Hotel Solutions for a Sound Sleep Cutting edge technology solutions from Diamond Systems, in partnership with global market leader Siemens, means you can now benefit from a high level of resistance to false alarms, with the add-

ed assurance of early, reliable detection of fire. Thanks to ASA™ technology from Siemens, you no longer have to run the risk of using heat detectors in problematic areas including kitchens and hotel bedrooms as a means of avoiding false alarms. Optimum protection for your hotel guests without false alarms The Siemens solution from Diamond Systems offers a smart fire protection system. False alarms caused by burnt toast, steam, cooking fumes and other deceptive phenomena are now a thing of the past.



SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE WORKPLACE. The use of social media is now common place in the professional and business world and as hoteliers you will no doubt have a strong presence on social media for your own marketing purposes. It is also commonly used among staff to communicate with each other and as a platform for customers to contact you or share their opinion.


2. 3. 4.

It is undoubted that the correct use of social media can be an effective marketing tool in an increasingly digitalised society and is possibly now the primary way by which you communicate with your customers. However, along with the many advantages are disadvantages; it is a platform for guests or staff to air their opinions (sometimes not always good!) and permits ease of access to sites that are often unprotected and accessible to the general public, meaning that employee use of social media both inside and outside the workplace can have major implications for both employee and employer.




8. We have all read or heard of stories where employees have been sacked for making inappropriate comments or posting inappropriate pictures on Facebook or Twitter or the like while at work or even outside of working hours. Examples in Northern Ireland alone include workers being sacked for making sexualised comments about colleagues, sharing inappropriate or extremist political views or most recently the story of the anonymous PSNI Twitter profile where critical and possible illegal comments were made by serving police officers about various matters in Northern Ireland. Given the widespread use of social media, we strongly advise that businesses have a policy for dealing with the use of internet and social media. Points to remember are;

State what is and is not acceptable behaviour for the use of internet, email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. both inside and outside the workplace. Inform employees if their use of internet/ social media will be monitored. Advise employees to check the security settings on their personal pages. Inform prospective employees if you plan to view their personal social media pages and how this information will be used in the application process. Make employees aware that breach of the policy such as making derogatory remarks about their employer, clients or colleagues will result in disciplinary action. Update other policies to include reference to the use of social media e.g. a bullying policy should include references to cyber bullying or ‘trolling’. Be clear about the repercussions of publishing confidential or business related information on social media platforms. If you feel an employee had misused social media and you are contemplating disciplinary actions, remember you must follow standard disciplinary procedures.

Remember that employers can be held vicariously liable for the actions of their employee if they did not take all reasonable efforts to prevent the employee’s actions. That is why it is important to have a policy in place and to train staff on social media misuse. In your line of business where a social media presence is now a must, an inappropriate comment or newsworthy story can be damaging to your hotel’s reputation. Having a social media policy in place limits the risk of unwanted events happening and gives you a guideline on how to react if they do.

ADVICE. » Contact the NIHF on 028 9077 6635 for advice or Linus Murray O’Reilly Stewart on 028 9032 1000.

The Industry Conference & Exhibition 17th – 18th October 2017 Crowne Plaza Belfast

Featuring Guest chef for 2017 will be the Yummy Brummie, Glynn Purnell. The event will also look at beer trends, sales techniques and the economic future of tourism. See more at hospitalityexchange.co.uk or call now on 028 9077 6635.

Contact Hospitality Exchange The McCune Building 1 Shore Road, Belfast, BT15 3PG 028 9077 6635 hospitalityexchange.co.uk

Profile for Northern Ireland Hotels Federation

Hotplate October 2017  

The magazine of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation.

Hotplate October 2017  

The magazine of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation.

Profile for nihf

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded