Supporting the independents

Miranda Martin, the new director of the Independent Hotel Show shares her outlook for the sector and her plans for the event.

This year will be the fifth year that Miranda Martin has worked on the Independent Hotel Show. Launched in 2012, the show has continued to be dedicated to supporting the independent, boutique and luxury hotel sector and now in her first year as the show’s director, Miranda is putting her own unique stamp on the show to build an even greater hub for the industry to come together and thrive. Here she shares her vision.

“When the show started I was amazed at the enthusiasm for knowledge sharing amongst hoteliers and exhibitors. Every seminar stage was standing room only and the stands were brimming with visitors engaged in conversation. We knew instantly the show was going to be a recurring success and we haven’t been disappointed. Each year the show strives to improve on the previous year and I’m delighted we have now become such a firm fixture in the diary of hoteliers and industry professionals across the UK.”

“As a business event, we have to recognise the needs of our audience and we know that hoteliers are time poor and need to come to the show confident they can get around and digest as much information as possible in a day. For me this is the biggest challenge, to create features and a show that can really satisfy the appetite of hoteliers looking for the latest trends, innovations and solutions for their business. To get this right, we have to engage with the industry throughout the year and I think that’s what makes us a strong show for hotels as we are constantly in touch.”

“Since the last show I have made it a priority to talk to hoteliers and meet with suppliers to identify the key challenges and opportunities they are facing and there have been some consistent messages coming through. Understanding the changing dynamic of the industry is important to me, and what has been highlighted is that the industry struggles to keep up with the constant changes. ”

“In search of some answers, this year I commissioned some research to address this and we will shortly be launching an exclusive report by Melvin Gold, a leading consultant to the hotel industry, that really sets the scene and helps provide some shape and structure to the definition and position of the independent hotel in today’s market.”

“Many of the points within the report resonate with me and I’m sure they will with hoteliers.  Key themes are already transpiring which outline the traits of an independent hotel that make them different, and such an exciting part of the hospitality market. Personality, freedom, innovation, individuality and locality – whilst these are unique traits they also bring their challenges and we are seeing a rise in registrations from rural hotels keen to tap into marketing advice at the show to reach out to new customers.”

“We’ve also recognised that independent businesses are working more creatively to combat the uncertain state that Brexit pushed the consumer into, and the importance of diversifying, reaching out to new markets and focusing on growth potential has never been more important. Interestingly the millennial market continues to drive hoteliers hard as they seek to create more experiential and customised escapes whilst providing value for money.”

“The importance of good design and willingness to invest in technology means consumers are becoming even more connected through visual stimulation and content. Hotels are therefore adopting more marketing methods and embracing technology suppliers providing financially realistic solutions to keep customers entertained.  This year we have recognised the need to support the appetite of hoteliers with more design led features and with a specific focus on the spa community where hotels are expanding to accommodate experience hungry guests.”

“We’ve also seen a significant increase in the marketing of food and beverage offerings within hotels and providing customers with more choice for food destinations with rooms, which corresponds with the ever increasing trend to follow food through media.”

“Of course a recurring issue and challenge that is raised every year, is finance. Yes, the show will bring together some very successful operators who will share their top tips for success, but we also naturally include some of the bread and butter subjects that will tackle the ongoing issues such as investment. This year the programme is peppered with debates and Q&As that will encourage more frank discussions around how to secure money for projects without being burned or shunned by the banks.”

“So whilst large groups and brands shuffle for top spot and merge, demerge, buy and sell, we rest assured that the independent hotel is a robust force not to be reckoned with and will continue to have its day in the limelight as a hotel of personality, agility and service, nimbly able to react to consumer demand.”

“Looking forward, the 18th and 19th October can’t come soon enough. We’re excited to witness the incredible talent that lies within our industry and celebrate the expertise and experience of our suppliers, our operators and our supporters.”

Boutique Hotel News is a media partner for the Independent Hotel Show, which takes place at Olympia West, London on October 18 and 19.

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