Tag Archives: Hotel
The sudden currency depreciation triggered by the June 2016 decision brought sterling to its lowest level against the dollar for over 30 years. As a result, July 2016 was a record month for inbound visits from EU countries with 2.3 million visits, 3% up on last year. And the trend has continued.
According to forecasts, inbound tourism in Britain will continue to be the fastest growing tourism sector. International visitors are expected to grow by over 6% a year in comparison with domestic spending by UK residents at just over 3%.
In 2016, 37.6 million overseas visitors came to the UK in 2016 spending £22.5 billion. These record breaking figures represent a 4% increase in volume compared with 2015. It gets even better when compared with figures just released, that overseas residents made 3.7 million visits to the UK in April 2017, an increase of 19% when compared with April 2016.
Where Do They Come From?
France, USA and Germany were the top three countries in terms of number of visits to the UK accounting for 39% of visits. Inbound visitor spend was highest in London with 53%, the rest of England 35%, Scotland 8% and Wales 2%.
Visitors from the USA spent £3bn in Britain for the first time, while visits from China, the world’s largest outbound market, increased by 46%, with spending up 18%. According to a report in the Guardian, “UK hotel chains have reported a leap in tourist spending since the vote, while the home lettings website Airbnb said its UK-listed properties welcomed 1.6 million guests between June and August .”
Where Do They Go?
For the tenth year in a row, the most popular British tourism attraction was the British Museum with 6,420,395 visitors in 2016. Outside of London, the most popular attraction last year has surprised many, with Chester Zoo attracting more visitors than the likes of Stonehenge and Edinburgh Castle.
The Tate Modern increased its popularity, due mainly to the new 10-storey extension which was opened in 2016, leading to an increase of 24% of visitors on the previous year. In 2016, 1.38 million people visited Stonehenge.
In employment terms, tourism has consistently been the fastest growing sector in the UK, and forecasts indicate that by 2025, the industry will be worth over £257 billion. It supports almost 3.8 million jobs, which is around 11% of the total UK number. This is excellent news for an industry that has been beset with difficulties, not least the terrorism acts that have threatened to destabilise travel and tourism.
The UK has always had a massive tourism potential, and has been exploiting this potential overseas. Post Brexit and the decline of the pound, it is now cheaper to come to the UK than ever before and people are taking advantage. For those businesses involved in tourism in Britain, there has never been a better time to capitalise on an enthusiastic and lucrative market.
They may not draw the same crowds as the winter sports, but there now seems to be an explosion of cricket with the Champions Trophy. But more importantly it’s the start of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup taking place between 24 June and 23 July and which is attracting great excitement.
Hosted by both England and Wales, the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup is an international women’s cricket tournament which has been going for 11 years. It is the third time it has been held in England (after the 1973 and 1993 tournaments), both of which England won. No pressure there then…
Eight teams have qualified to participate in the tournament: Australia, England, New Zealand, West Indies, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Lord’s will host the final, and other matches will be played at the home grounds of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Somerset and Gloucestershire.
Good news for cricket fans: the ICC announced that 10 games will be shown live on television, while the remaining 21 matches will be streamed live via the ICC website.
For those who are unfamiliar with women’s cricket, it may surprise you to learn that the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup is the oldest and most prestigious international women’s cricket tournament in the world.
It was first held in 1973 two years before the inaugural men’s tournament. Since 2005, it has held a regular four-year slot. However, the international scene originally stretches back to 1934, when a party from England toured Australia and New Zealand and won.
To date, ten World Cups have been played in five different countries with Australia winning six titles and England three .
Where and When
The timetable for the qualifying matches is as follows:
- 24 June: England v India, County Ground, Derby
- 24 June: New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
- 25 June: Pakistan v South Africa, Grace Road, Leicester
- 26 June: Australia v West Indies, County Ground, Taunton
- 27 June: England v Pakistan, Grace Road, Leicester
- 28 June: South Africa v New Zealand, County Ground, Derby
- 29 June: Sri Lanka v Australia, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
- 29 June: West Indies v India, County Ground, Taunton
- 2 July: Australia v New Zealand, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
- 2 July: India v Pakistan, County Ground, Derby
- 2 July: South Africa v West Indies, Grace Road, Leicester
- 2 July: England v Sri Lanka, County Ground, Taunton
- 5 July: England v South Africa, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
- 5 July: Sri Lanka v India, County Ground, Derby
- 5 July: Pakistan v Australia, Grace Road, Leicester
- 6 July: New Zealand v West Indies, County Ground, Taunton
- 8 July: South Africa v India, Grace Road, Leicester
- 8 July: New Zealand v Pakistan, County Ground, Taunton
- 9 July: England v Australia, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
- 9 July: West Indies v Sri Lanka, County Ground, Derby
- 11 July: West Indies v Pakistan, Grace Road, Leicester
- 12 July: Australia v India, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
- 12 July: England v New Zealand, County Ground, Derby
- 12 July: Sri Lanka v South Africa, County Ground, Taunton
- 15 July: England v West Indies, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
- 15 July: India v New Zealand, County Ground, Derby
- 15 July: Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Grace Road, Leicester
- 15 July: South Africa v Australia, County Ground, Taunton
The final will be held at Lord’s on 23 July.
The Women’s Cricket World Cup provides an opportunity for most catering businesses to run slightly different events than those for other sporting tournaments as it spotlights women’s sport. Given women’s sport is growing faster than men and the South West England focus of these matches it would be silly to miss out.
The Independent Hotel Show 2016 took place last week at Olympia West, London. The show has established itself as the UK’s largest business event supporting the luxury, independent hotel and boutique hotel sector. This year it attracted more visitors than ever.
Over 300 innovative product and service providers alongside expert key speakers at the Seminar Programme were present over the two-day event for advice and innovations to improve the efficiency and profitability of independent hoteliers.
One of the most influential events was the Zeitgeist Talk and report . Commissioned by the Independent Hotel Show, and penned by Melvin Gold Consulting Ltd, this thought leadership discussion summarised and emphasised the key issues facing independent hotels operating in the UK today.
Although acknowledging that the UK independent hotel sector is shrinking, the discussion revealed that the sector is still strong and continues to wield great influence. Independent hotel rooms still comprise more than half of the serviced accommodation rooms in the UK. The discussion cited the seaside resorts as excellent examples of best practice and innovation that emanate in independent hotels in reigniting tourism.
Five key differentiating factors for independent hotels in today’s hotel market were identified: individuality; locality; freedom; personality and innovation.
The talk concluded that “there is little doubt that the hotel brands will continue their growth and equally that some independent hotels might fall by the wayside. Some may choose to rebrand but the majority will remain … the best will provide leadership and innovation for the whole hotel sector and this report highlights key topics, actions and opportunities that are likely to underpin their success.”
Way Out, Way Forward
Other seminars covered the Brexit effect, marketing trends, and advice on current best online practices presented by eviivo. This talk explained the importance of efficiently promoting and selling rooms throughout the coming year using online media to the maximum.
There was also an excellent seminar on what the future looks like from an aesthetic viewpoint: what’s the right balance between classic and progressive? How can every hotel have its own visual identity?
The emphasis was firmly upon creative thinking and looking to the future. The seminars were extremely well attended by hotel managers and owners seeking to accommodate the evolving needs and priorities of tomorrow’s consumer.
As far as awards go, Kate Levin was crowned Independent Hotelier of the Year and The Laslett was pronounced the Most Outstanding New Hotel.
The Independent Hotel Show gives a voice to the hotelier within the sector and offers a forum for participants in this sector to meet and exchange values and ideas. Next year’s show is already in the planning stages so remember to put it in your diary to attend.
Over three days, the exhibition attracted some of the most well-known chefs and decision-makers in the industry as well as hordes of visitors!
This year, the show was held in conjunction with two other exhibitions. The Bar & Pub Show, delivered in partnership with The Morning Advertiser, and The Conscious Hospitality Show. In addition, The Restaurant Show also included a new dedicated area, Catering Equipment Expo to showcase the latest trends in the presentation of food and drink from around the world.
Bar & Pub Show
The Bar & Pub Show was a huge success, catering for those involved in the management and ownership of UK pubs and bars. Live events covered a range of relevant issues including design, front of house and tableware and entertainment providers. In short anything that could boost the financial opportunities for the great British pub trade.
The Conscious Hospitality Show highlighted the changes in how people view their food. The age of the conscious consumer has arrived and the show discussed a variety of topics, including health and nutrition, responsible sourcing, sustainability and ethical business practices.
Restaurant Show 2016
A major highlight of the Restaurant Show 2016 was the live line-ups, featuring some of the industry’s most exciting names, led by Phil Vickery, who showcased their signature dishes.
The OpenTable Insights session on running and growing a restaurant featured insights, real-life success stories and advice. The favourite event appeared to be the World Steak Challenge, where visitors had the opportunity to sample the world’s best steak! Edible insects were also a popular attraction.
The introduction of a new area, the Liquid Hub gave visitors the opportunity to learn about alternative drinks, with an interesting talk on the popularity of Japanese sake and new wines from unusual climates.
A range of topics were discussed on the main stage. This included a fascinating discussion on how to capture a slice of the lucrative family dining market, where the psychology of eating out as a family was presented.
As usual, Restaurant Show 2016 heralded an impressive line-up of expert speakers and passionate visitors. Along with the other shows, Olympia was once again bombarded by hordes of eager visitors. The next Restaurant Show has already been lined up for October 2017 so put it in your diary now.
The region embraces the cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport with the Brecon Beacons national park covering about a third of South Wales. That’s the geography … now what happening in South Wales in the summer?
There is always plenty going on in South Wales, with the holiday season drawing hordes of visitors to the coast and August is jam-packed with events and occasions for everyone. From the 12 to 14 August, the Brecon Jazz Weekend 2016 is taking place with more than 20 concerts held at major venues in the town, namely Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon Guildhall, Castle Hotel, Brecon Cathedral and The Muse. A veritable treat for jazz fans, the event will also feature a Food Feast and Brecon Farmers Market for anyone who gets peckish during the performances.
Festivals and Feasts
If it’s a big and diverse event you are looking for, head for Coopers Field, Cardiff on Saturday 13 August 2016 for the annual Pride Cymru. The Pride Cymru parade returns for a fifth year followed by a main stage line-up that includes the first ever PugFest Pride! The emphasis is on fun and enjoyment so there will be fairground rides, food and drink and an assortment of market stalls.
If you go down to the woods…
Fancy something a little more diverse? Then make your way to the Brecon Beacons between 18 and 21 August for the Green Man Festival. “Where mystical ley lines converge amid ancient Welsh oak trees, something magical is stirring” according to the website. So if you want to drink, make merry until dawn, then Green Man is the place to be. Or if you want to sample some excellent Welsh food, then this is also a good place to do it. From beefburgers to caviar and laverbread, there is a feast for all. The venue also promises crab meat burgers and mackerel masala dahl!
And keeping with the food theme, 20 August sees the Menai Seafood Festival taking place in Anglesey. The event is being held to “celebrate North Wales’s coastal heritage and the abundance of seafood and fish available around the shores of Anglesey”. There will be cooking demonstrations from acclaimed Welsh chefs as well as a local produce market. There will also be interactive educational activities including seafood safaris.
Being Wales, the summer itinerary has to have a sporting theme and so the 21st Golden Oldies World Rugby Festival is taking place between the 21 and 28 August in Cardiff. Billed as the most popular and longest-running veteran rugby tournament in the world, Golden Oldies is for all rugby teams and groups of mates over 35 who want to be involved in the world’s premier rugby event. Over 100 teams from 25 countries have already entered for the week-long celebration of rugby.
And finally, try something completely different or at least go along and watch the World Bogsnorkelling Championships on 28 August in Llanwrtyd Wells. The championship has been heralded by Lonely Planet as one of the top 50 “must do” things from around the world in 2014. The event attracts entrants from around the world and to accommodate all visitors, the town puts on a huge welcome with food and drink stalls, crafts, a bouncy castle, live music and a real ale and cider bar on the site.
So there’s plenty to do in South Wales this summer, and plenty of opportunities to taste some good solid Welsh food. Which is why AC Services is happy to support its South Wales clients keeping people fed whatever they do!
Food and Drink Expo 2016 took place last week at the NEC in Birmingham and as expected, it saw record numbers of visitors. The show was promoted as providing the “number one route to the UK food and drink market, helping hundreds of companies showcase their wares”.
Over the course of three days, visitors from all walks of the food industry attended the stands, the seminars and the exhibited products.
According to figures from the last Food and Drink Expo in 2014, 31% of visitors were key foodservice buyers from various venues, including independent cafés, caterers, coffee shops, large restaurants and hotel chains. 18% of visitors were from the speciality food market from farm shops, delicatessens, garden centres, speciality food halls, butcheries and bakeries, with 25% from the manufacturing sector.
The Grocer Talking Shop Live took centre stage, with an action-packed programme and a top line-up of speakers. These included Nadiya Hussein, reigning champion of the Great British Bake Off who took time off from baking the Queen’s 90th birthday cake to attend.
The Great Health Debate discussed changing eating habits and the rising obesity problem as well as investigating the changes required when it comes to targeting millennials versus the ageing society.
Topical sessions included talks on gluten-free products and the sugar debate with Gavin Partington, Director General of the British Soft Drinks Association and Ian Twinn, Director of Public Affairs at the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers debating the drinks scandals.
The Grocer Talking Shop Live concluded on Wednesday with a Meet the Dragons session at where entrepreneurs put forward their best innovations for potential funding to an expert panel.
The Food and Drink Expo, co-located with the Farm Shop & Deli Show and the National Convenience Show was particularly focused on international cuisine, which was heavily represented. According to the World Cuisines Report 2014, the market has seen strong growth in recent years, with retail value sales increasing by 32% from 2008 to 2013. This is due in part to a wider range of ethnic cuisine, the UK’s diverse ethnic population, international travel and our national enthusiasm for trying novel foods!
Also very popular was the Great New Idea Competition, where industry professionals voted for their favourite products ahead of the event. Three finalists were chosen from hundreds of products, including Nim’s Fruit Crisps, with its healthy range of fruit and vegetable crisps; Craft beer Growlers, with its PEGAS CraftTap 2.0 and Purbeck Ice Cream, with its Dorset Wasabi ice cream.
Interestingly for British food companies, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has also partnered with Food & Drink Expo and Foodex to support British businesses who are seeking to expand overseas. There is a big vote coming up about whether or not to stay in Europe and whatever the outcome, British businesses are keen to sustain and maintain a lucrative presence overseas. The Food & Drink Expo demonstrated the need and the enthusiasm for the industry to continue to expand and find innovations for future requirements.
At AC Services (Southern), we heartily support trade shows and have a vested interest in seeing what is new and what is trending. This enables us to provide the most up-to-date and relevant advice and support for all of our customers in providing and maintaining the perfect Rational appliance for market needs. So we’re looking forward to the next Food And Drink Expo in 2018.
It’s no secret that food trends come and go depending on the seasons, the availability of certain food groups and the imagination of new chefs.
Quinoa and kale were the superfoods last year: for the majority of us, this comprised learning how to pronounce the word quinoa (gratitude is given to the television advert that educated us).
But this year it seems that it is not just food that will be the attraction, it is also the way we order and eat. A huge trend at the moment is letting guests order food and drink from their tables or beforehand using their smart appliances: tablets or phones. You order a meal, go to the restaurant and there it is waiting for you. The benefit to the restaurant is less downtime.
Even more innovative is location-based technology or face-recognition software, which can tell a waiter exactly where you’re standing. This involves science such as wearables like Google Glass. With face-recognition software, a server can know them names of everyone at a table. A good thing? Maybe not if you genuinely don’t want to be recognised.
Let’s get back to real food trends: apparently, oysters are hot this year. From being the food of luxury, oysters are now significantly cheaper, thanks to bays, inlets and tidal basins being detoxed so oyster farmers are reseeding old oyster beds and discovering new ones.
I think we are now all tired of kale, but worry not, root vegetables are up and coming. Celery root, parsnips and kohlrabi (German turnip) are being put on the menu in various forms: fried, mashed, pureed, or even gratined!
And seaweed is becoming more popular, not the Chinese version from the local takeaway I hasten to add, but as a food group it is being seen particularly in America as a packaged snack.
My particular favourite, purely because I genuinely cannot see how it will catch on is vegetable yogurt, with flavours including butternut squash, beet, carrot, and tomato, garlic dip; and cucumber, olive oil and mint leaves.
Keep your eyes open for clean eating, food made with ingredients that are free of additives, antibiotics, and other artificial components.
“The trend is towards food and beverages that are considered wholesome and real,” says Bonnie Riggs, restaurant analyst for market research firm The NPD Group. This concept also includes adding authentic foods, such as ethnic, regional, and local ingredients.
The Return of Bread
Finally, it’s good news for bread. The gluten-free campaign has been hugely successful and popular, with bread the major food item to suffer from the trend. However, it appears that bread is about to get a big revival as authentic, ancient grain-containing loaves are suddenly in style again. Bread comes in many shapes and forms: artisan toasts, bagels and babka (sweet yeast cakey thing), and gourmet pizzas and flatbreads and these have also given the bread renaissance a boost.
Regardless of the food trends the secret to good cooking is a good oven. Here at AC Services (Southern) we encourage everyone who owns a Rational oven to get it regular serviced and maintained so that whatever the trend, you can produce contemporary food for all.
Perhaps the most important change is the higher National Living Wage coming in to force in 2016. From April, staff have to be paid a minimum of £7.20 an hour, which is 50p up on the current rate. Although there are fears that this will impact on the cost of eating out, in an attempt by restaurants and hotels to cover rising salaries, not everyone is pessimistic.
Mitchells & Butlers (owners of All Bar One, Browns and Harvester) has made it clear that the chain’s aim is to increase consumer spending through “tactical price opportunities” across its outlets, encouraging diners to “trade-up” to a more premium menu.
This philosophy can be well adopted by the hotel industry, who can see a return on investment by providing a more varied and palatable menu in house, rather than guests finding eating-houses in the immediate surroundings. A better and more varied menu, catering for all tastes can bring in much needed revenue.
Overseas Visitors Projected to Increase
There is also a good forecast for overseas visitors, whose numbers are predicted to hit £23bn this year as the number of visits to the UK rise. The figures from VisitBritain predict a 4.3 percent increase in spending on last year due to a 3.8 percent rise in the number of visits to 35.5 million by the end of the year.
Last year was undoubtedly boosted by the hosting of the Rugby World Cup, when London hotels recorded a 2 percent year-on-year increase in profitability. Joe Stather, CBRE Hotels Intelligence Manager EMEA said: “In Q4, with over 2.5 million visitors coming to the UK to watch the Rugby World Cup, and three out of the 13 rugby stadia being in the capital, there was an explosion in demand for London’s hotels, returning the sector to profitability by year end.” Other cities that hosted games outside the capital also showed an increase in profits.
Although there are no major sporting events planned in the UK this year, other events may entice visitors, including the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The hotel industry can capitalise upon the expected demand of visitors and use this to their own ends.
Social Posting Important
Finally, mobile marketing and mobile commerce is about to take off, so hotels be aware of the power of the networks! Social media is highlighted as being a powerful medium to attract visitors.
According to a recent survey “71% of 18 to 45 year olds frequently share images on social media while dining or drinking out, presenting venues with a wealth of opportunity to obtain immediate, positive brand mentions and gain valuable peer-to-peer recommendations that reach a wide audience.”
With four social media postings every second across the UK, this form of customer interaction, if harnessed properly can be an utterly invaluable marketing tool for media savvy hoteliers. If nothing else, make sure you have free WiFi so that customers can share their food immediately. And don’t forget to also connect with other businesses like AC Services to help you spread the word among the hotel industry and with more clients.
As Christmas is at the end of the week, we’ve allowed the writer of our news a week off from the show reports, the case studies of our customers, the industry news, Rational ovens tips, suggested events and alternative food sourcing.
So with those in mind like AC Services, who are still working hard to deliver the season’s celebrations, she has written the following fun ode to hopefully bring a smile back to those who are flagging.
‘Twas the night before Christmas and throughout the land
Every oven from Rational was taking a stand.
Turkeys and geese were about to start squealing
And the vegetable mountains were in dire need of peeling.
“Enough is enough” said the leading head oven
We’ve been working all year and see what we’ve proven…
Perfect roasting and boiling and flawless menus
From small little cafes to top class venues.
But we’re knackered and worn out and we want a break too
So you cooks of the land, it’s your turn to stew!”
What a dilemma in kitchens across the land
Whose Xmas depended on Rational’s hand.
But our heroes stepped up at AC Services Southern
And without a thought for themselves, they approached every oven.
A tweak here, a twist there, and some TLC from the team
And the Rational ovens were restored to full steam.
The moral of the tale is take care of your appliance
Or face the consequence of their ill-timed defiance.
Simply call us or email or use the website
For a last minute service to avoid the plight
Of an undercooked turkey, or an overdone starter…
Happy Christmas from Rational’s foremost service partner!
All the staff at AC Services Southern wish everyone in pubs, restaurants, hotels, food service, schools, colleges and catering establishments in South West England and South Wales a Happy stress-free Christmas and a Prosperous 2016.
Usually the South West is associated with alcohol (cider), cheese (Cheddar) and pasties (Cornish) but in recent years, the output from the region of the delicatessen favourite, charcuterie, has increased. Truly South West charcuterie is booming.
Charcuterie, as the name implies, is a word imported from the French, but its meaning is simple in English: cooked meat, or rather “the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products, such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, ballotines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork.”
The history of charcuterie can be traced back to the first century AD, where according to sources Strabo recorded the import of salted meat from Gaul. The Romans (although not a genre commonly recognised for their adherence to health and hygiene) may actually have been the first to standardise the charcuterie trade as they regulated the proper production of pork joints.
However, it was the French who had the most influence. In 15th-century France, local guilds regulated tradesmen in the food production industry in each city, with the charcutier preparing pâtés, rillettes, sausages, bacon, trotters, and head cheese.
British and South West Charcuterie
Now, British producers are starting take a large slice of the market, and the South West Charcuterie is as good as anything you’ll find on the continent and where some producers have had to get creative with temperature-adjustable drying rooms mimicking a hotter European climate, others simply air-dry their charcuterie naturally.
Companies such as The Real Boar Company based in the Cotswolds, and The Bath Pig are flourishing. The Real Boar Co. offers air-dried Wiltshire salamis. Choose from Wild Boar and Red Wine Salami, Wild Boar Chorizo with Red Wine and Cotswold Game Salami with Port. The free range boar are to be found roaming onsite, on 20 acres of woodland, feeding on a diet of acorns and cherries! The Bath Pig was set up in 2009 producing its own British chorizo in a range of different flavours, which bear the RSPCA Freedom Food logo.
Deli Farm Charcuterie produces an award-winning range of Cornish salami, coppa and bresaola, supplying a wide selection of air dried salami and hams, sourcing local sustainable meat and using renewable energy.
Capreolus Fine Foods offer the finest, locally-sourced English charcuterie and smoked foods in Rampisham, West Dorset. The company website states that “Curing of the meat follows age-old traditional techniques combined with a flair and instinct for flavour. Air-drying of the cured meat is carried out in temperature and humidity controlled rooms to overcome the vagaries of the British weather. Smoke is used to enhance the flavour of some of the meats and we use beech wood chips which give a delicate flavour that never dominates.”
Topsham in Devon is the home of the Good Game company, offering charcuterie deliciously called Devon Black Coppa, Devon Ruby Biltong, Topsham Chorizo, Venison Bresaola, Venison Burger, Devon Ruby Burger.
No matter where you go, there are companies that offer South West charcuterie that rivals the best and most well-known meats on the continental market, so when you next fancy a charcuterie board, why not source locally and see what may well be on the doorstep?