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Top chef for Hospitality Exchange 2021

Michelin-starred chef Michael Wignall will be the guest chef at this year’s Hospitality Exchange 2021.

The event has been a highlight of the tourism and hospitality industry calendar for the past two decades and the inclusion of the man behind the Angel at Hetton only adds to an already exciting programme.

Taking place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on October 12 and 13, the two-day conference offers a cocktail of analysis, advice and support for the hotel and hospitality industry following possibly the most challenging period in recent history.

The 2021 event has three central themes: Reflect, Recruit and Restore.

The programme will consider the previous success of the sector, the challenges of staffing in a new era and how to restore trading to its £1bn pre-pandemic levels of spend.

The Lancashire-born Michelin star chef will discuss his stellar career, sharing his culinary wisdom and thoughts on the current

chef crisis.

A wider discussion on people will explore generating new talent with advice on how to retain people and address the industry’s image, whilst considering the pressure on the Labour Market with Grant Thornton’s Chief Economist Andrew Webb.

Sally Beck, General Manager, Royal Lancaster Hotel, London, will look at improving the industry’s image, as well as the Hoteliers Charter launch and objectives and international speaker and business coach Tim Browne will explore staffing solutions.

Also covering the perennial problem of people is Sean Wheeler, Consultant, Chair, People 1st Employer Accreditation Panel. Sean will share his experience in creating a business culture that retains talent and reduces barriers for staffing.

This year’s high-profile and experienced speaker line-up ensures that delegates get practical guidance with insights covering this year’s three themes.

The economic outlook and tourism recovery will be brought to life by EY Chief Economist Neil Gibson. Tourism chiefs, Niall Gibbons and John McGrillen will look at future success alongside Michael Williamson, Director of Consulting Services at ASM Chartered Accountants.

The event will see the launch of a specially commissioned report from the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, as well as an update on trading from international benchmarking company STR’s Sarah Duignan.

Tom Barrett, Head of Hotels and Leisure at Savills Ireland, will explain hotel sales, valuations, and the current commercial position.

With people in mind, a special initiative has been created for 2021 recognising industry stars who have contributed to success and indeed survival of the sector over the last eighteen months.

The Hotel and Hospitality Heroes Awards will feature at a special awards lunch at Hospitality Exchange ’21.

Stephen Meldrum, President of the Northern Ireland Hotels’ Federation, said: “Hospitality Exchange 2021’s line-up is one of our most impressive yet and has been curated to reflect the challenges we are facing collectively.

“We’ve brought together a team of experts to share their insights and advice contained within a very comprehensive programme.

“While discussion, analysis and the future will be the main focal points, time will be devoted to the people of our trade, who, without doubt, are our greatest asset.

“The role that employees play is integral to the success of the business and the sector as a whole.

“The federation recognises this and that is why staff will be the star of the show as we celebrate those who have been nominated for a Hotel and Hospitality Hero Award.”

n For further information, log on to hospitalityexchange.org.uk

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