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People Power To Kick Off Hospitality Exchange 2023

Organised by the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF), Hospitality Exchange 2023 is scheduled to take place over two days, 17th and 18th of October 2023, at the Crowne Plaza Belfast.

As the conference enters its 24th year, it continues to serve as a catalyst for innovation, collaboration, and excellence in the industry.

With its rich history and dedication to the advancement of the hospitality and tourism industry, Hospitality Exchange has consistently proven to be an invaluable platform for industry professionals, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts. This year’s event promises to be nothing short of extraordinary as it brings together influencers and innovators from the hotel, food, and tourism sectors.

Four pivotal themes will define this year’s event: People, Teams & Building Success, The Green Dream, The Global Marketplace and The True Value of Tourism.

Discussing the Hospitality Exchange 2023 line-up Eddie McKeever, President of the NIHF, says:

“There are several key themes in this year’s programme, but we are kicking off the conference by focusing on a perpetual industry topic that requires radical thinking – People.  Recent people initiatives have included a refocus on skills, expanding the labour pool and highlighting the flexible careers available. However, the crisis continues to bite.  We will therefore be looking at the issue from an industry perspective, as well as celebrating those making a significant contribution.”

The “People Power” session, hosted by Tim Browne, will feature insights from notable speakers, including Adrian Ellis from the Lowry Hotel and Tom Booton, Executive Chef at The Grill by Tom Booton at The Dorchester in London.

There will also be an opportunity to experience Tom’s innovative cooking at a gourmet dinner on the eve of this year’s Hospitality Exchange in The Merchant Hotel.  The menu will include classic dishes with a twist incorporating local Northern Ireland ingredients.

A ‘Gen Z Speaks’ session will outline what attracts young people to the industry, with Zena Everett, author of ‘The Crazy Busy Cure’, drawing the session to a close with a masterclass on managing time, talent and energy.

In the afternoon, Pamela Ballantine will host ‘Rising Stars’, an initiative supported by Ulster Bank to celebrate industry talent and reward stellar performance.

Janice Gault, Chief Executive of NIHF, outlines the programme for day two, which includes a Business Breakfast event and discussions on industry performance, sales, valuations, and economic influence.

“Wednesday begins on a vibrant note with the Business Breakfast event, guided by the seasoned journalist, Mark Simpson. Sarah Duignan from STR will illuminate the performance and future outlook of the hotel sector, ensuring that figures take centre stage. The Sales and Valuations session, led by Tom Barrett, Head of Hotels and Leisure at Savills Ireland, will delve into the nitty-gritty of industry statistics, while Adrian Patton from ASM Chartered Accountants will conclude the breakfast event with a comprehensive look at the evolving landscape of bedroom costs over the past decade.

“Our ‘Talking Tourism’ session is a forward-looking exploration of what lies ahead. We’ll delve into international trends, economic influence, and the vital pursuit of sustainable growth. Economist Andrew Webb will discuss the economic might of tourism, paving the way for a thought-provoking industry discussion on the sector’s resilience, diversification, and global opportunities.

“Yannick Cabrol from EY will then present a vision for tourism: a sustainable future. Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland will offer invaluable insights into the exciting prospects for the coming year”, says Janice Gault.

A Speaker Lunch will see Stuart Godwin from the Lamington Group share his experience of sailing, sustainability and creating the room2 hometel brand.

The grand finale for Hospitality Exchange 2023 will be The Gala Ball.

In previous years, Hospitality Exchange has attracted over 600 delegates over the course of two days with business leaders from the hotel, accommodation, and hospitality sectors along with those from allied tourism industries and government agencies.

Press release information


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NIHF President Eddie McKeever is pictured at the launch of Hospitality Exchange. The two day conference will take place on 17 and 18 October 2023 in Crowne Plaza Belfast.

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