THE SUITE SERIES: LEADING FROM LOCKDOWN

A JOINT INITIATIVE BETWEEN HALO AND WOLFFE - APRIL - MAY 2020

Think Big. Think Together.

As we find ourselves in these challenging times, we’ve seen acts of kindness, resilience and moments of innovation that are likely to change the world. As a community, the Hospitality Industry has often been at the forefront of these great actions. Whilst we have found ourselves physically isolated, the camaraderie of togetherness has remained.

THE SUITE SERIES: Leading from Lockdown, is a collection of virtual thought leadership events and networking, for colleagues in hospitality and associated industries, to come together and find a path beyond Covid-19. They were filmed from April to May 2020, in the height of lockdown in the UK.

THE SUITE SERIES is a collaboration with our friends at Wolffe, a creative brand design agency, delivering innovation and transformation initiatives for world-class brands including Belmond, Turnberry and Rocco Forte, to name just a few.

Episode 6: Recorded 21st May 2020

Welcome to Episode 6 of THE SUITE SERIES: Leading from Lockdown, the final instalment of this series. We are delighted to introduce our guests today:

 

Natasha Eldred runs Shine PR from her base in Phuket, Thailand, working with luxury hotels and travel companies, primarily in South East Asia and has first-hand insight into the South East Asian experience during this crisis.

Stacey Fleming has vast experience in hotel sales, marketing, operations and strategy and recently joined Highland Coast Hotels as Director of Operations.

 

Andrew Kennedy returns to THE SUITE SERIES after appearing in Episode 1. Andrew is a Senior Manager in Franchise Owner Support for Marriott's European operations based in Germany. 

 

Kieran Smith Director of Sales at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants based in Edinburgh.

 

Dr Saloomeh Tabari is a lecturer in Consumer Behaviour and Marketing in the Department of Hospitality Management at Sheffield Hallam University.


 

In this episode we are asking our guests about the impact of Covid-19 on International Travel, how the future of airlines might affect recovery and how hospitality may have to change. We also discuss mental well-being to mark World Mental Health Awareness Week. 

  • (3.56) What have been your biggest challenges in the past two months, and how have you been overcoming them?

  • (23.25) Airlines, like so many industries, are continuing to debate the feasibility of their operations in an era of social distancing. How is International travel going to need to change and how reliant are we on the role of airlines in the recovery of travel & hospitality. 

  • (48.15) In previous episodes we have spoken of the “big reset”. Customer expectations and social distancing will change the way we interact with each other. How will we define hospitality in this new era and what changes are most likely to stay for the long term.

  • (56.30) This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and with so many outside pressures at this time, how have you been looking after your own mental well-being and/or seen any interesting initiatives to focus on mental health and well-being at this time?

Episode 5: Recorded 14th May 2020

Thank you for joining us for Episode 5 of THE SUITE SERIES: Leading from Lockdown. Many thanks to our guests:

 

Dr Wei Chen is a Senior Lecturer in Internationalisation of Hospitality at Sheffield Hallam University. His teaching and research areas include strategic management, hospitality and tourism marketing, entrepreneurship and cross-culture management.

John Lee is a Partner at Ledingham Chalmers LLP, specialising in both Discrimination and Employment Law across many sectors, including hospitality.
 

David Meany has represented both Tourism Ireland and VisitBritain and is now Director of Partner Marketing at The Travel Corporation, operating with a strong understanding of the travel industry landscape.

 

David Morison is the Assistant Director of Human Resources at The Carlton Tower Jumeirah and The Jumeirah Lowndes Hotels in Knightsbridge. Having worked for both Hilton and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, in a career that has included an Acorn Award in 2011 and HR Manager of the Year in the 2018 Hotel Cateys.

 

Robert Walton MBE is the President of The Restaurant Association of Great Britain and Founder of The Nth Degree Club which offer extraordinarily unique culinary experiences and benefits to its members. Robert and Nth Degree successfully relaunched the prestigious Young Chef Young Waiter competition in 2019, after a seven year hiatus.

In this episode we discuss how the hospitality and travel industries will continue to attract talent and how we can build resilience into the industry. Please watch and/or listen to hear our guests’ thoughts on these questions:

  • (3.01) What have been your biggest challenges over the past two months and how have you been trying to overcome them.

  • (21.15) How will Covid-19 affect the attraction and retention of talent in the hospitality and travel industries.

  • (37.15) A recent Deloitte research article described resilience as being able “to not just recover to where it was, but catapult forward—quickly”. How can the hospitality and travel industries take this opportunity to build resilience into what they do.

Episode 4: Recorded 7th May 2020

Welcome to Episode 4 of THE SUITE SERIES: Leading from Lockdown. We are delighted to introduce our guests:

 

David Cochrane,  
David has been Chief Executive of the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland since 2005 supporting tens of thousands of people working and studying in the hospitality industry.
 
Gavin McGowan Madoo 
Gavin has a long history in food & beverage Front of House operations and now represents an award-winning premium spirits importer, exporter and innovator.
 
Rory Shannon, Head Chef - Bistro One, Foxrock, Dublin
After honing his skills as Head Chef in some of London’s finest gastropubs, he has returned home to Bistro One, an institution in Dublin run by the Shannon family for the past 27 years.

 

In this episode we are concentrating on the impact Covid-19 has had on the Restaurant and Bar industry from three different perspectives. Please watch or listen to hear our guests’ thoughts on: 

  • (2.29) Is there anything on your "I never have time to do this" list that you have been taking the time to do now?

  • (8.31) How can Bars and Restaurants take advantage of the inevitable increased customer focus on cleanliness to build trust and instil confidence?

  • (21.42) How can Bars and Restaurants learn from the experience of other countries when they start coming out of lockdown?

  • (36.54) Before Covid-19, Restaurants faced massive challenges such as high rents, expensive overheads and short lifespans. Is there anything you would like to see done differently in future?

Episode 3: Recorded 30th April 2020

Lateral thinking, flexibility and adaptability are key themes in this week’s episode, inspiring confidence and trust in the hospitality industry. 

Thank you to our panel:

 

Rob Flinter - Park Plaza Riverbank, General Manager, with vast experience in senior management roles in London hotels. 

Joanna Fisher - Kew Green Hotels, Group Sales & Marketing Director, with a wealth of commercial experience, overseeing 70 hotels in the UK and overseas.

James Turton - 11 Cadogan Gardens, Director of Sales & Marketing and experience in the luxury London hotel market through roles at Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard and The Carlton Tower Jumeirah.

Virginia Webb - The Savoy, Director of Marketing Communications, bringing a depth of insight, having worked within the luxury travel and hospitality sector, both in-house and in communications agencies. 

This week ​

This week, we spoke to our panel about how they are managing their roles in the current climate and how they are planning for the future. We delve deeper into:

  • What might future events look like?

  • How can we reinvent hospitality?

  • How is our new normal fast tracking innovation?

  • How will consumer empathy drive new initiatives?

  • How do we develop contactless guest recognition?

Episode 2 - Recorded 23rd April 2020 

The importance of staying connected, being innovative and learning from other industries was a big theme in this week’s discussion. Looking ahead to what’s next and what the new normal may look like, thank you to our panel:

 

Vikki Bruce,  Founder of Maclean & Bruce, offering luxury travel to special destinations in Scotland.

Lucy Flinter, The Spare Pear, Founder & Business Growth Consultant, specialising in the hospitality sector.

Philip Gardner, Almarose Hotels & Resorts, Commercial Director with extensive experience in revenue management, sales and marketing with UK and international brands.

Sam Jones,  Renaissance St Pancras,  Director of Sales & Marketing with a long career with Marriott and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Alistair Prow, General Manager of Luss Estates Company, a world-class visitor destination situated on the banks of Loch Lomond including the Loch Lomond Arms, Luss General Store, Clan Shop, Luss Filling Station Luss Seafood Bar, Loch Lomond Adventures and Loch Lomond Faerie Trail.

Chris Walker, Owner of The Selkirk Arms, in the artists' town of Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway. Home to good food, cosy lounges, traditional Scottish hospitality.

We discuss the emotional rollercoaster we have all been on over the past few weeks, the future of domestic travel and how the hospitality industry might need to adapt to what the new normal may look like.

 

Delve into this episode to discover more about our panel’s thoughts on:

  • Communication and engagement 

  • Collaborating with other sectors in the industry to create a more experiential offering once we’re able to travel again

  • Inspiring trust and confidence 

  • Commitment to health and hygiene 

  • Personal development for employees, as well as self-development

  • Giving back - charity and community partnerships

  • Preparing for the to ‘start to dream’ phase

Episode 1: Recorded 16th April 2020

Our very first episode of THE SUITE SERIES: Leading from Lockdown took place behind closed doors, helping us form the template for the rest of the series, which we wanted to share in full.

Thank you to our panel:

Rob Flinter MI - Park Plaza Riverbank

Aisling Kearney - Global Sales Hyatt

Andrew Kennedy - Marriott

Kieran Quinn - Kimpton, Charlotte Square

Stephen Walker - The Balmoral

Charlotte Weatherall - The Langham

We talked about challenges, opportunities and what's next for the industry and the world:

 

  • How cleanliness will be a key driver in decision making

  • How the guest journey could change in light of a new customer psyche

  • How the adapting and multi-skilling of employees may change the structure of how hotels operate in the future

  • How the recovery of hotels will be inter-linked to the airline industry

  • How virtual experiences will dovetail with hotel experiences, particularly in the events segment

  • How a brand's CSR will be more important than ever

If you’d like any further advice or support during these challenging times, we are offering a free one-to-one consultation. Please email ashleigh@gohalo.co.uk or call +44 (0)7907 058206.