Interview with Miranda Martin, Event Director, Independent Hotel Show

Miranda Martin is the driving force behind the anticipated annual two-day event. Having first been involved in 2011 she worked her way up to become Event Director and ensures the show serves a wide community of hoteliers across the UK. EP recently spoke to Miranda to find out what the show is delivering this year and why coming together in this format is so essential.

What can guests expect this year?

The show changes significantly every year. Like our audience of hoteliers who need to be nimble to keep up with changing consumer demand, we too, evolve in line with the needs and desires of our hotelier guests. We meet with a different group of hoteliers every year to gain insight into how the show can better serve the industry year-on-year and the topics they feel deserve to be included in the seminar programme. This ensures the show consistently continues to deliver what our hotelier guests want editorially.

Guests can expect creative collaborations with brilliant design partners across all of the show’s communal spaces, including a ‘hot house jungle’ in the show’s VIP Lounge, The Suite; ‘The Perfect Hotel Bedroom’ exhibit, built to scale and open to the floor’s opinion as to whether it really is perfect; a Gymnasium for the Mind where one can come to listen to workshops on mindfulness, wellness and spa but also exercise their own minds whilst participating in interactive workshops covering various topics including what to do in the event of a cyber-attack.

How do you ensure you have the leading players in the room?

By focusing on delivering a great experience for all those who attend. We are considerate of the environment we create and endeavour to make sure guests feel comfortable and at home in a carefully designed setting. We know for example that a significant reason hoteliers attend is to discover design ideas and suppliers, so we ensure that we have great representation of exhibitors from across the design community to satisfy that demand. We send and hand deliver personal invitations. You can’t beat the personal touch. And we facilitate networking, by creating great spaces for our guests to catch up with colleagues and friends.

Just how important is the old fashioned value of networking?

Networking is essential. Especially in our industry, where people are our most valuable asset. On a personal level, so many opportunities and wonderful achievements have come from sparking a conversation in an informal “networking” environment. You just don’t know the possibilities without talking to people.

We encourage our audience of hoteliers who value the show to invite emerging talent from their businesses. You never know, one encounter could spark an idea that transforms your business and throws you leaps and bounds beyond the competition! With a strong editorial focus on creating extraordinary careers in hospitality, we hope that emerging talent would be inspired to discover these possibilities by attending the show.

What trends do you see happening this year?

Mindfulness is everywhere, infiltrating many industries and led ultimately by a widespread consumer interest, hence our introduction of the Gymnasium for the Mind.

People are the priority. In a Brexit landscape, there are natural concerns about our workforce thus there’s a push on recruiting, training and creating an attractive career proposition for domestic staff. This is a huge focus for us at the show this year in our role in supporting independent hoteliers.

A focus on food and drink; a continuation of a trend we’ve seen growing every year of the show, with a strong focus on grow-your-own, locally sourced, authentic propositions.

Brand extensions – clever partnerships to engage the right type of consumer with your brand and widen your marketing message,.

What does the future have in store for the show?

The future is bright. We are lucky to be serving a fast-paced industry that speeds along in line with changes in consumer wants and needs. As long as we continue to keep abreast of these changes and listen to what out hotelier guests want from the show, we will provide relevant content, ideas and solutions to create a compelling reason for our guests to return year-on-year.

We’ve reached a finite size, so moving forward, our focus will be entirely on ensuring the quality of the show gets better and better each year.

What role can independent hotels play in the need for social good? How do they bring together communities? How does the show bring together their community?

In simple terms, every hotel inhabits a geographical community. If it was me, I would start by looking to create jobs and opportunities for people in that locality. This not only supports those closest to you but also enables a truly authentic brand extension with your hotels location. There are so many ways that this could translate into social good: sourcing produce from local farmers and manufacturers; running events that profile a local artist or craftsman; simply looking to the surrounding community to offer jobs in your hotel; supporting local charities; the list could go on…. and lots of hoteliers are already doing this successfully.

The Independent Hotel Show serves a wide community of hoteliers from across the UK by bringing them a dedicated platform to discover opportunities and solutions to improve their businesses. It’s a collegiate and social industry but we know just how hard it is for a hotelier to spare a day or two out of their busy hotel business, so we are intent on offering something at the show that is worthy of their precious time, and we hope that this community feels that this is their show. As it truly is, and that’s the way we want it to be.

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