Hospitality Horizons 2020 – Industry experts say the hospitality industry will bounce back better
Leeds Beckett University welcomed students from schools and colleges across the region and further afield to our annual Hospitality Horizons Conference so they could hear first hand from experts within the industry.
The Conference's first speaker was Alistair Sandall from the Institute of Hospitality who discussed the opportunities and challenges the Hospitality Industry has seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Former Leeds Beckett hospitality students Paul Upham, Director of Sales and Marketing from Hotel Indigo (Manchester: Intercontinental Hotel Group) and Dimitrios Nakai, Meetings & Events Assistant Operations Manager from DoubleTree by Hilton (Leeds) also joined the conference. They shared how they had supported key workers during the first Covid-19 lockdown and how they continuously connected with their community of guests and employees.
David Greenwood-Haigh, International Chocolatier, remarked after the Conference, “ In these days of distanced families, it was encouraging to hear that all the speakers mentioned how much of a family hospitality is wherever in the world we find ourselves."
Denisa Buculeasa, Leeds Beckett Student also said “It was inspiring to see that people working in the sector, at different levels of their career, are very committed to delivering the hospitality experience. I was very surprised to hear that there is so much support available for people who want to work in this sector. It really gives the full picture of the big family that they represent and of how important it is to support each other in times like this.”
At the end of the Conference, there was a Question and Answer session. Industry experts spoke about how hospitality businesses had been innovative throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Many have changed their business models by providing click and collect and delivery services, enhancing their outdoor spaces, and found new digital solutions such as live-video “walk arounds” of bedroom suites and conferencing and banqueting venues through What’s App.
Reflecting on the conference it made me proud to see how resilient and innovative our sector is. COVID-19 has hit all hospitality businesses hard but I believe we will come back better and stronger.
Dr Alexandra J Kenyon: Alexandra is a Researcher leading on projects for the University's enterprise strategy focussing on Corporate Social Responsibility for events and hospitality, together with development projects in marketing emotions and interactive packaging.