As we begin to recover from the COVID-19 crisis together, H&E North asks Stewart Moss, Director of Sales for Yorkshire’s Cedar Court Hotels Group, his predictions of how the events and hospitality industry will look in a year’s time.
Long before we’d even heard of COVID-19 or used the word ‘furlough’, the process to secure MICE business was a fairly straightforward one: find key decision makers and convince them as to why they should use your space and choose your venue over so many others. This process often involved highlighting how your brands (and your own) personality ‘added value’.
Post-lockdown, of course, we are now faced with another sizeable hurdle…those same decision makers are now asking, ‘Why should we use ANY room?’. However, in spite of our new collective set of hurdles, I remain positive that we’ll soon see our industry bounce back.
The reasons behind my confidence? In the first instance, we have all seen many businesses still manage to flourish under the weight of such monumental disruption. Those businesses have a common theme, they all house true personality of both offering and people and have all subsequently continued to generate revenues.
Secondly, the desire for travel and the need for social interaction are potent drivers; guests are now telling us that while they understand that things have certainly changed, they have faith in our ability to keep them safe and to still provide a fun experience (at Cedar Court, this has certainly been driven by how well informed we have kept them during the lockdown). Our customers are returning, and in record numbers; it stands to reason that MICE demand will soon catch up.
Finally, the true nature of hospitality is to ‘add value’. We add value to business meetings, family holidays, and social events. We are there to enhance your experience when you enter a hotel and venue. That is still the case.
These three points, I believe, are the makings of a roadmap out of this: if your brand has a strong sense of personality and houses great people; if you continue to communicate what is still recognisable, as well as what is ‘new’, in your offering and if you continue to add value…then, you will be fine and will soon see better days again.