Three winning BU hospitality students were at the Hilton on Park Lane attending the Master Innholders conference on Monday to collect their competition trophy.
Julian Dombrowsky, Suzanne Parr and Eleanor Moore stepped on stage in front of over 450 top industry professionals to do a short presentation and collect their award for creating the winning video which addressed ‘Maintaining Sustainable Competitive Advantage’ in the hospitality industry.
The students joined a number of high profile speakers, including the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Danny Meyer, who complained that the internet has ‘disrupted the sanctity of a good idea’ and focused on the ‘empathetic and bespoke’ nature of good hospitality.
Rupert Gutteridge, Regional Director of Sales for EMEA, spoke about the trends in discreet consumerism, augmented reality, and the fact that, “In 2013 more people will use their phone to surf the internet than PC’s.”
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association, spoke about the impact of the visit Britain funding cuts and the unusually high UK airport taxes. Martin Couchman OBE announced new legislation such as the fact it will be compulsory to detail food calorie content on a menu in 3 years time.
The conference also discussed how the industry is equipped to tackle youth unemployment and the problem of alcohol and drugs abuse in the hospitality industry, with a powerful personal anecdote of destructive addiction from Phil Howard, Chef and Co-owner of The Square.
Chairman of the London 2012 committee Lord Seb Coe was schedule to open the event, however the VIP guest ran 3 hours late and was swiftly rushed in and out, but gave a succinct thankful speech to the hospitality industry for making the Olympics 2012 feasible.
Lord Coe told his audience,
“The Olympics started of as a conversation with a few friends in a pub about 7 or 8 years ago, now the Olympics 2012 committee is the same size as an organisation like Cadbury.”
The former athlete credited the hospitality industry for making him feel at ease in his role for being in ‘such good shape’, and spoke about the ‘potential and opportunity outside London’, perhaps even hinting at BU’s very own local Weymouth site.
After admitting to a few nerves beforehand the students felt the presentation went well, Julian said,
“I am looking forward to the people I will be meeting and networking with over the next few days.”
Associate Dean of Hospitality and Retail Management Andy Boer who accompanied the students to the conference, thought they did “remarkably well, as it is no mean feat doing a presentation in front of 450 general managers staring at you!”
Andy also acknowledged that at least 6 or 7 graduates approached him throughout the conference congratulating him on how great the students were, which also reflects how well the alumni go on to do in the industry.
The conference finished today Tuesday 17 with the students coming to the end of their brilliant prize, of being chauffeured to and staying in 3 top London hotels, and having exclusive meetings with senior staff and general managers.