Category Archives: Events
The beauty of the UK is that regardless of the weather, there is always somewhere to go and something to do.
With the recent deluges sweeping the country, the NEC in Birmingham had the perfect solution: the Summer Good Food Show. Recognised as the “biggest summer food festival to hit the Midlands” the show opened on 13 June. It was packed with food lovers’ delights, from demonstrations to exhibitors to taster sessions and expert advice and tuition from some of the UK’s top chefs.
The Big Kitchen has always been the highlight of the Show and this year it did not disappoint. Some of the very best celebrity chefs and guests cooked up delights live on stage. Lotte Duncan presented Taste of Italy, with offerings from Tom Kerridge, James Martin, Raymond Blanc, Tom Kerridge, Nadiya Hussain, Ainsley Harriot and the marvellous pairing of Mary Berry and Alan Titchmarsh.
Exhibitors turned out in their hundreds to tempt the flow of Show visitors with delicious, innovative and healthy produce. There was a huge selection of artisan producers and over in the Producers Village, there was a smattering of almost every food type from bread and cheese, savoury sausage rolls to luxury sweets.
Pop up Restaurant
Of great interest was the BBC Good Food Pop-Up Restaurant. This offered a sit-down meal of two or three courses. These were inspired by some of the most popular seasonal dishes from www.bbcgoodfood.com. The event was extraordinarily popular. Hardly surprising when you see the menu: charred asparagus, smoked salmon, shrimps and rye crumbs; followed by cumin-roasted rump of lamb, crushed Jersey royals, shallot petals, caper and mint dressing; or fish pie with smoked haddock, king prawns and salmon, crunchy cheddar mash and steamed greens.
But it wasn’t only food and drink that visitors were interested in this year. The BDA Dietitian Drop In Clinic was very well attended. The Association of British Dietitians were on hand to give advice on diagnosing and treating diet and nutrition problems.
The Skills School was a sell-out. Classes ranged from making and decorating fondant fancies, preparing the perfect sushi and learning Zwilling knife skills. Lexus played host to the Lunch Clubs at the Show this year. It worked with Michelin-starred chefs Michel Roux Jr, Tom Kerridge, Tommy Banks and Emily Roux to present dishes inspired by their cooking style and recipes.
Finally, for those exhausted by the demonstrations, sampling and treats, visitors made their way to the BBC Gardener’s World Live. Here they could stroll among the plants and enjoy the gardens, all included in the price of this year’s ticket.
The Women’s World Cup is underway which gives us something to watch while the UK slowly drowns in the worst June weather in decades. The host country, France, is home over the next few weeks to 24 teams from six confederations with 17 matches scheduled to be played.
2019 is the eighth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, with France winning the right to host the event for the first time. Matches are being played in nine cities across France.
The United States enters the competition as defending champions and firm favourites. Scotland, Chile, Jamaica and South Africa are making their Women’s World Cup debuts. Other teams include France, United States, Germany, England, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, Brazil, Spain, Norway, South Korea, China PR, Italy, New Zealand, Argentina, Nigeria and Cameroon.
If you were wondering, the emblem mimics the shape of the World Cup trophy football surrounded by eight decorative shards of light. This symbolises the eighth edition of the Women’s World Cup. Ettie is the mascot. According to FIFA she is “a young chicken with a passion for life and football…the daughter of Footix, the official mascot of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.” How charming to see such a family-oriented tournament.
So what are the talking points of the Women’s World Cup so far? A 13-goal fiasco from the United States team have sent fans into a frenzy. The Americans celebrated every goal with expected exuberance, adding on a fair few minutes to the end of the game. With this historic win over Thailand, the USA squad has taken the record for the biggest winning margin in a World Cup. That was previously held by Germany, who beat Argentina 11-0 in 2007.
Although as we go to press the World Cup virgins (Chile, Jamaica, Scotland and South Africa) have racked up nil points so far. But they are all performing well and are proving the theme of the World Cup slogan – Dare to Shine. And the attendance has been excellent throughout all of the venues, with the Netherlands fans seemingly the most avid. Their orange dominates the colour scene in the host French cities. Over 30,000 Netherlands fans packed PSV’s stadium against Australia.
Players to watch out for include Nikita Parris from England. Head coach, Phil Neville, claims that she could develop into one of the world’s best players. Parris scored the opening goal of England’s Women’s World Cup campaign in their 2-1 win over Scotland on Sunday. She was the Women’s Super League’s all-time top scorer last season with Manchester City before moving to European champions Lyon.
The competition concludes on 9 July 2019 where the winners will take the biggest prize in women’s football. And with the viewing figures for the Women’s World Cup, eight times that of men’s cricket, there must be an opportunity for catering businesses.
It’s been a long time coming but it’s finally here. Yes, Theresa May is resigning. But before that, there’s the little matter of the Cricket World Cup 2019. This starts this week which, at least to sporting fans, is infinitely more interesting.
The UK will host this elite event through many venues across the country and excitement is already building.
The event has a long and varied history, having begun with three nations, England, Australia and South Africa in 1912, with England as the host. Sadly the tournament was not a success. For one, the weather was abysmal – the August of 1912 was recorded as the “coldest, dullest and wettest August of the 20th century”. Some might say typical English cricket weather.
A Very Brief History
The first of what is now accepted as the official Cricket World Cup was held in England in 1975 who hosted the four-yearly event for the next three tournaments. India and Pakistan were the hosts for 1987.
2019 will be the fifth time that England has hosted the tournament and as hosts, automatically qualify. The next seven spots belong to the top seven ODI ranking teams in the ICC, and for the last two spots, the ICC conducted a qualifying tournament for the remaining test playing nations in the world. West Indies and Afghanistan occupy those spots.
10 teams will face each other in a total of 45 games before the final stage of the tournament. The top four teams from the group stage will qualify for the semi-final as there are no quarter-finals for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. The two successful teams will then compete in the final on 14 July.
Venues and Stadiums
Venues are London, Birmingham, Southampton, Trent Bridge, Chester-Le-Street, Leeds, Nottingham, Cardiff, and Taunton. The stadiums are Lord’s, The Oval, Trent Bridge, Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Rose Bowl, Old Trafford, River Side Ground, County Cricket Ground, Headingley, and Sophia Gardens. So with some local and others televised there’s plenty of opportunity for themed catering events.
The schedule is as follows and makes June a veritable month of cricket.
- May 30 England v South Africa
- 31 West Indies v Pakistan
- June 1 NZ v Sri Lanka; Afghanistan v Australia
- 2 South Africa v Bangladesh
- 3 England v Pakistan
- 4 Afghanistan v Sri Lanka
- 5 South Africa v India; Bangladesh v NZ
- 6 Australia v West Indies
- 7 Pakistan v Sri Lanka
- 8 England v Bangladesh; Afghanistan v NZ
- 9 India v Australia
- 10 South Africa v West Indies
- 11 Bangladesh v Sri Lanka
- 12 Australia v Pakistan
- 13 India v NZ
- 14 England v West Indies
- 15 Sri Lanka v Australia; South Africa v Afghanistan
- 16 India v Pakistan
- 17 West Indies v Bangladesh
- 18 England v Afghanistan
- 19 NZ v South Africa
- 20 Australia v Bangladesh
- 21 England v Sri Lanka
- 22 India v Afghanistan; West Indies v NZ
- 23 Pakistan v South Africa
- 24 Bangladesh v Afghanistan
- 25 England v Australia
- 26 NZ v Pakistan
- 27 West Indies v India
- 28 Sri Lanka v South Africa
- 29 Pakistan v Afghanistan; NZ v Australia
- 30 England v India
- July 1 Sri Lanka v West Indies
- 2 Bangladesh v India
- 3 England v NZ
- 4 Afghanistan v West Indies
- 5 Pakistan v Bangladesh
- 6 Sri Lanka v India
- 6 Australia v South Africa
- 9 First sf: 1st v 4th, Old Trafford
- 11 Second sf: 2nd v 3rd, Edgbaston
- 14 Final, Lord’s
Cricket World Cup Fun Facts
When the game slows or it begins to rain a few fun facts to throw into the conversation:
- Australia became the first country to win three consecutive World Cup tournament in 2007.
- Until now Australia has won five times, India and West Indies twice, and Pakistan and Sri Lanka once.
- Sachin Tendulkar scored a total of 2278 runs from 1992 to 2011 which is the most by any batsman.
- Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels have the record of highest partnership (372 runs against Zimbabwe).
- The most runs in a single tournament and most hundreds in World Cup history belong to Sachin Tendulkar.
- Glenn McGrath has taken most wickets in the World Cup tournament (71).
- Ricky Ponting holds the record for the most catches.
And if the Cricket World Cup 2019 is not the sport you want to celebrate or its rained off then there is always the women’s football world cup starting on 7th June as an alternative!
Yet again, the NEC surpassed all expectations with its five-in-one show, the Farm Shop and Deli Show 2019, incorporating Foodex, Food and Drink Expo, The Ingredients Show and the National Convenience Show. The event took place from 8 to 10 April. It returned for its ninth year as the sector’s leading event for delicatessens, garden centres, farm shops, restaurants, food halls, bakeries and butcheries.
This year saw more than 450 suppliers exhibiting. These encompassed all core food categories and contemporary trend categories; including candles, stationery, furniture and home goods, together with equipment, labelling and packaging.
2019 placed heavy emphasis on healthy and natural produce with exhibitors showcasing their products in the ‘Healthy & Natural’ area. There were plenty of natural, vegan-friendly snacks on display for this year’s hot trend.
Back by popular demand, the Show featured the British Baker’s Britain’s Best Loaf 2019. Over 150 bakers entered in a range of categories, including Best Sourdough, Best Wholegrain and Best Gluten Free Loaf. The overall winner was a wholemeal sourdough created by East Sussex’s Poppyseed Bakery.
The Dragon’s Pantry slot saw competitors presenting their best new product ideas in a 15-minute pitch in. The reward for successful pitchers was winning professional advice on the best route to market.
Of course, the renowned Farm Shop & Deli Awards were eagerly awaited. Back for their sixth year, they recognise the very best independent retailers. There were 12 category winners: baker, butcher, cheesemonger, delicatessen, farm shop large retailer of the year, farm shop small retailer of the year, fishmonger, food hall, greengrocer, local shop or village store, newcomer of the year and online business of the year. Overall winner was Cannon Hall Farm Shop from Barnsley.
The Farm Shop & Deli Show 2019 Live stage witnessed a host of industry leaders sharing their thoughts and experience. These ranged from ethical eating, the rise of gin and tapping into the healthy appetite for the wellness market. Top of the bill was the ‘Plastic to palm oil’ discussion addressing consumers’ current eco-worries. The ‘Healthier beer’ discussion was another popular talk. This gave insight into the importance of burgeoning brews from gluten free to zero alcohol.
At the National Convenience Show, the Retailer Hub hosted a number of sessions including a discussion on ‘Success after Brexit: What’s next for food and grocery’. This highlighted the risks posed to the sector in a post-Brexit reality.
Farm Shop & Deli Show 2019 Commercial Director Mat Rose said: “The ongoing trend for artisan produce, provenance and entrepreneurial innovation has not slowed down in recent years and we are delighted to bring the Farm Shop & Deli Show back in 2019 to provide a platform for all the exciting companies and retailers who have devoted their careers to this sector.
Next year’s show is already recruiting; so if you want to exhibit or book tickets for the event, register your interest here.
The weather is changing and the nights are getting lighter, which can only mean one thing…summer. And with summer comes festivals, in particular food festivals, and we have gathered some of the best to consider.
Music or Not?
The Big Feastival is taking place on Alex James’ Farm in the Cotswolds from Friday 23 August to Monday 26. It will welcome some of the world’s top chefs. They will demonstrate their expertise in cooking skills live on The NEFF Big Kitchen stage. Raymond Blanc and Tom Brown are just two of the names who will headline, together with a host of music acts including the Zutons, Elbow and the Fun Lovin Criminals. Look out for the Collaboration Kitchen. Here special edition dishes will be served up with all proceeds going to Charity Partner, Action Against Hunger.
The Food Rocks festival will take place on 7-8 September 2019 in Lyme Regis. This presents some of the best food, producers and suppliers that Dorset and the South West has to offer. The festival brings together top chefs, exhibitors, locals. The main stage will showcase a diverse mix of interactive cookery demonstrations, talks and tastings across the weekend. Highlights include the Glenarm Estate beef supper club and the crab and mackerel supper club
Venue-based Food Festivals
Smoked & Uncut at THE PIG near Bath on 15 June features a line-up of handpicked classic and contemporary artists, including Imelda May and the Kaiser Chiefs, home-made festi-food, local ales and cocktails. Family style feasts will feature heavily with the focus on alfresco dining under canvas. While Mark’s ‘Ruby Murray House’ which will be dishing up indulgent home-style Indian curry.
24 and 25 August sees The River Cottage Festival taking place at River Cottage HQ, Axminster with food, music, talks, master-classes and a host of children’s activities. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free food will be available and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall himself will be in attendance.
Coming Together Locally in May
Moving across the border, the Caernarfon Food Festival is on May 11 2019. It promises to be “perfect for foodies to explore the food and drink producers from the local area.” The event will feature market stalls of food and drink, live cooking demonstrations and freshly cooked street food, celebrating local food and drink produce. There will also be live music from local bands, artists and choirs.
Also in May (18-19) is the Spring Tide Food Festival on Hive Beach near Bridport. This is a food festival jam-packed full of activities and things to eat and drink. The aim of the festival is to combine the network of artisan food and drink producers from Somerset, East Devon and Dorset to “welcome in the new season of food and ingredients in style, to celebrate the pleasure that can be had in the growing and cultivation, the production and cooking and consumption of tasty food and drink.”
Any Reason to Hold a Festival?
Finally, there must be a mention of the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling on May 27, 2019 when a 4kg cheese is thrown off a terrifyingly steep hill chased by people in Brockworth, Gloucester. In theory, the aim of cheese-rolling is to be the first person to catch the wheel of cheese; but nowadays, the majority of people participate in the event to raise money for local charities and other good causes.
Lots of food festivals this summer in the South West of England and South Wales. So if you’re a catering business, think what food festival could you hold this summer to boost trade? Or where you might go as a mobile caterer?
17-20 March saw more than 27,000 visitors travelling to ExCeL London for The International Food & Drink Event (IFE) 2019. Over 1,350 drink and food brands were exhibited. Many new products showcased including healthy ketchup, meat-free burgers and charcoal infused beverages. Talking Trends and Tasting Trends were self explanatory sections of the show. The Hub provided a networking space for visitors and exhibitors and played host to the Festival of Food and Drink.
Brexit negotiations were on most people’s minds. There were plenty of discussions on the implications of Brexit; in particular, the import and export of food and drink produce. Key seminars from The Food and Drink Exporters Association and The Food and Drink Federation debated the core issues. Their key message to the sector is to focus on the need to protect the quality, diversity and range of food and beverages produced in the UK.
Improving Sustainability in Food and Drink
Sustainability was a theme high on the agenda. More than 50% of food and drink companies revealed that their biggest challenge regarding sustainability was the task of reducing their dependency on single-use plastic. The Campden BRI Conference focused on this theme with a debate on Sustainable Packaging: smart choices and shelf-life testing.
The environmental impact of the use of single use plastics in food and drink is a huge issue. Retailers and food manufacturers are committing to make the move to sustainable packaging wherever possible. But this needs to be done without compromising the safety and quality of food.
Speakers from many industries including academia and industry schemes talked on many topics. These included sustainable packaging options to maintain shelf life of foods; reframing the plastics debate: a use phase approach; the effect of shelf life extension on household waste; the case of packaged fresh foods; and the idea of packaging design for end of life.
One of the seminars explained how to make informed choices on plastics and waste. It increased understanding of waste management infrastructure and how the packaging supply chain can work together to increase packaging reuse or recycling. Experts from organisations such as Defra, WRAP, the Packaging Collective and the Soil Association, took part.
As part of the sustainable theme, IFE partnered with City Harvest to redistribute food surplus from exhibitors at the end of the day. This resulted in the equivalent of five million meals delivered to 66 projects within London.
Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director, said: “As one of the biggest international food and drink events, IFE has to live up to high expectations and this year certainly delivered. The 2019 event was truly the best yet with boundary-pushing products being introduced to the market from a wide-range of innovative exhibitors; thought-provoking and insight-driven debates and presentations.”
IFE certainly gave us food for thought at AC Services.
Why bother attending other shows when the Source Show 2019 offered “everything a food or hospitality business could want” all in one place! The show was held at the Westpoint venue in Exeter from 6 to 7 February. As the South West’s largest show of its kind, it has expanded by 35% over the past two years.
Source Show 2019 offered a range of products and services, from produce to furniture and innovative equipment as well as this year’s kitchen design trends and the most advanced business services. Visitors and exhibitors flocked to the show, not only from the South West, but from other parts of the UK and internationally.
The Source Show 2019 gave visitors the opportunity to discover quality local products with fascinating provenance stories and to meet passionate producers and knowledgeable suppliers face-to-face. This year was no disappointment with a spread of comparative tastings, networking opportunities and inspirational experiences; and a fair few new faces on the exhibition market.
The Newcomers’ area showcased new companies from the South West that have never exhibited at a trade show before. Exmoor Distillery is a small family run distillery located in the Somerset countryside. Here all products are distilled, bottled, labelled and distributed including the premium quality Northmoor Gin first launched in July 2018.
Just Desserts is an independent rural business delivering artisan cakes and slices to cafes, delicatessens, farm shops and outdoor caterers throughout Somerset and Devon. It uses organic flours, free range eggs and locally sourced ingredients.
The Wholesome Baker produces luxury, light and tasty pastries from a Master Baker with 35 years experience. There is the option of ready baked or ready to bake with all products freshly frozen to encapsulate the flavours. New for 2019 are gluten, sugar free and vegan product options.
Recipes for success were served up in the Demo Kitchen with advice, inspiration and culinary innovation on display. Students mingled with experts to create some mouth-watering menus. These included Cornish hake, celeriac and apple with a Somerset cider sauce from Sophie Kennard, South West Student/Apprentice Chef of the Year at Devon & Exeter College and The Swan, Bampton.
Overall South West Chef of the Year and South West Professional Chef of the Year, Tim Kendall countered this with a dish of duck with blackberry, celeriac and endive and John Dory, Jerusalem artichoke, jasmine and sorrel. There were also multiple talks, demonstrations and tastings of the nation’s favourite tipple, gin, as well as a pasty crimping competition and a butchery masterclass.
Next year’s show is already scheduled for 6-7 Feb 2020 and if this year is anything to go by, it will be a roaring success and bigger and better than ever before. For details on exhibiting and visiting, visit the Source Show website.
The BBC Good Food Shows have kicked off the season. Last week, it was the turn of the NEC to host one of the most eagerly-awaited food shows of the year.
With Christmas just around the corner, the flagship Winter Show offered a feast for visitors of produce and entertainment. Top chefs joined exhibitors to present a veritable smorgasbord of culinary delights. These included demonstrations, new products and fabulous retail opportunities.
The Birmingham Winter Show combined the UK’s greatest cookery experts, with plenty of festive inspiration and live entertainment in the Big Kitchen and other stages. Greeting visitors to the NEC was the show’s new contribution, Street Food. Brand new for 2018, delicious street food made a successful appearance at the Show. An army of street food vendors in the outside areas, brought a huge selection of ready to eat food for all visitors.
The Big Kitchen is always the highlight of the show. Here top celebrity chefs cook festive recipes and share tips for seasonal winter foods. Tom Kerridge and Michael Roux Junior were just two of the famous names demonstrating their skills to the public. The highlight was the demonstration by everyone’s favourite Bake Off judge, Mary Berry.
This year, the Big Kitchen was sponsored by Travelsphere, who offered additional free themed sessions to the menu. This included a taste of India with Cyrus Todiwala, chef patron of Cafe Spice Namaste, award-winning Pan-Indian restaurant in London and also Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen and The River Restaurant (in Goa). A taste of Spain was presented by José Pizarro described as the Godfather of Spanish cooking.
BBC Good Food Stage
Barney Desmazery hosted the BBC Good Food stage. There, he offered live interviews into our favourite chefs’ success and seasonal advice from some local foodie experts too. The sessions involved an interview with Nadiya Hussain and a masterclass from Stacie Stewart.
The BBC Good Food Pop-Up Restaurant offered a sit-down meal, of two or three courses, inspired by some of the most popular seasonal dishes from the country’s leading food website, www.bbcgoodfood.com. The succulent menu presented delights such as:
- chicken, leek, smoked bacon and apricot terrine with watercress salad,
- baked goat’s cheese with beetroot, honey and thyme and
- main courses including garlic cheese-stuffed turkey breast wrapped in pancetta, with parmesan roast potatoes, buttered sprouts and glazed carrots.
The Winter Kitchen, sponsored by Magimix inspired by a range of seasonal dishes for the festive season with contributions from Mary Berry, James Martin, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith amongst many other top chefs. Complementary to this was the Skills School where a number of experts shared their secrets from knife skills with Zwilling to sourdough masterclasses.
At AC Services Southern, we think it’s always a good idea to attend the Good Food Shows. These help us to learn new trends and to judge consumer reactions. That way our business never gets stale.
11 November 2018 marks a significant date in the history of the world. At 11 o’clock on the 11th day of the 11th month, the First World War – the Great War – ended. Germany signed the armistice prepared by Britain and France and the guns fell silent. Britain, France and all of the countries that supported them, celebrated the end of a heinous war that lasted four years and four months. Millions died, not only in battle but from the terrible living conditions they faced during that time.
Since then, the red poppy has become a symbol of peace and remembrance used since 1921 to commemorate military personnel who have died in war. It was inspired by the WWI poem In Flanders Fields then adopted by military veterans’ groups in parts of the British Empire and then throughout the world.
Lest We Forget
Remembrance Day 2018 commemorations will take on a special centenary meaning for all those involved. Across the country, beacons will be lit and special services taking place to mark the 100 years since the end of the war. Weymouth is conducting a Beacon Lighting event, known nationally as the `Battles Over’ taking place at the Nothe Fort starting at 6pm on 11 November. The event will feature performances from the Bovington Military Wives Choir and the Decadettes followed by a service and will encompass elements of the traditional Remembrance Service normally held at Holy Trinity Church.
In Wales, Gwent’s St Woolos Cathedral will host a free day of events to mark the centenary with music from the U3A choir, Newport rugby club choir, and the local Boys’ Brigade band. Re-enactments will include a World War One surgeon, a Monmouthshire Regiment infantryman, and a member of the Royal Flying Corps. Caerleon Remembers will mark the centenary with a tribute of words and music from local choirs as well as an exhibition. The concert will take place on Saturday, November 10 from 7pm at St Cadoc’s Church. 100 red poppies will also be seen on the Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) aircraft as a sign of respect.
Poppy of Honour 2018
In Wincanton, a commemorative Poppy of Honour has already been unveiled. Over 250,000 individual volunteers and businesses have joined forces to create an eight-foot steel and glass poppy-shaped sculpture, the first memorial of its kind, dedicated to the 1,117,635 British and Commonwealth service personnel, killed or declared missing in action in the war. 1,117,635 individual poppies are contained within, all labelled with the details of the men and women who died. In early 2019, the Poppy will embark on a major tour around the United Kingdom and Southern Ireland, before being displayed at the Tower of London.
And in Bristol, The Bristol Festival of Remembrance will take place at Bristol Cathedral on 10 November, presented by Terry Waite CBE. The evening begins with orchestral pieces, choral works, readings and a performance by local children, and the night will finish with a performance of Karl Jenkins’ The Peacemakers, a piece dedicated to all those who have lost their lives during armed conflict. On 11 November, also at Bristol Cathedral is Duruflé’s Requiem performed by Bristol Cathedral Choir. Admission is free.
Finally, the annual act of remembrance at Wells Cathedral this year will feature John Rutter’s Requiem, a free event taking place from 3-4pm on 11 November followed by a devotional service, interspersed with War Poetry.
Boutique hotels are categorised as small and intimate establishments, far away from the mighty conglomerates that appear in every town and city of the UK. These hotels are usually located in the most hip and fashionable urban areas. Their charm generally lies in their stylish design decor and personal touches that distinguish them from other hotel brands.
Interestingly, it wasn’t until 1981 that the first official boutique hotel opened in London.
Over the past two years, the sector has seen stellar growth. Independent hotel rooms still comprise more than half of the serviced accommodation rooms in the UK. The Independent Hotel Show managed to encapsulate the enthusiasm for the future development of the sector.
Over the two days seminars addressed relevant topics and offered advice to independent and boutique hotel owners and managers. These seminars covered everything, from managing websites to design using limited space, offering the best service possible and tips and tactics to ramp up food and beverage options to keep menus fresh.
Among the more interesting discussions was one on trends for the future. A hotel stay is more than just a room for the night and customers expect more than just the basic levels. Guests want to know what else is on offer. This has led to the rise of combination hotels. A basic example is the hotel and spa. This has expanded to giddy heights such as a hotel and art gallery in Beijing and a hotel and perfumery in Paris. These hotels are now known as slashy hotels. This term first came to prominence in the film, Zoolander, where it referred to model/actors.
On a more local level, visitors want to book a whole experience in one place. The 2018 Independent Hotel Show offered invaluable advice on how hotels can best offer local expertise and knowledge via local experience packages. The Show also focused on the importance of technology offering convenience. These include being able to control the temperature and lighting in the room via apps, and virtual concierge to allow guests to make requests quickly without needing to leave the room.
Other trends involve pop-up hotels, especially those associated with festivals or other events. This trend is complemented by glamping, described as a hybrid of camping and hotel-stays. For the catering industry, this is a major opportunity, especially for mobile caterers in the locality.
Finally, the centrepiece of the 2018 Independent Hotel Show was the Hotel Bedroom of the Future immersive installation. Luxury bedroom specialists Two’s Company built this “inspired by the results of several intense research sessions with industry experts”.