Rising rates and mental health action among HBAA’s predictions for 2019

Increases in average daily rate (ADR), action on mental health and transparency on Wi-Fi were among the predictions for 2019 at the HBAA’s latest Members Meeting.

Addressing members at the Crowne Plaza Solihull, Liz Hall from Liz Hall Hotel and Travel Consulting predicted that the hospitality and events industry will experience modest growth despite challenging macro-economic conditions.

ADR is expected to increase in 2019, with London experiencing an 0.8 per cent rise, resulting an extra £150 of spending, while the provinces will see an increase of more than 1.2 per cent, representing an £70 in additional spend.

Former HBAA chair and director of proposition-accommodation and meetings at Capita Travel and Events, Leigh Cowlishaw unveiled Capita’s #THISISME campaign, which aims to call attention to and tackling the growing problem of mental health in the workplace.

And HBAA tech and innovation chair Caleb Parker provided an update on the future of Wi-Fi at venues. The results from a recent survey suggested that more than 80 per cent of hospitality and events professionals want a transparent industry standard that is clear on service levels for Wi-Fi. Nearly 90 per cent believe that the industry would benefit from standardised pricing for Wi-Fi that offers a fair market.

Louise Goalen, HBAA chair, said: “Our theme for the year has been Building on Success and the last meeting of 2018, attended by so many members, and delivering valuable, inspirational, and insightful presentations, was the perfect way to round off the year.”

The meeting also saw Alison Jenkins from Meetings Club unveil her new venue location platform, which focuses on sharing feedback and reviews.

Tony Morris from the Sales Doctors provided an engaging session on sales, while David Wood from Conferma explored consumer innovations driving change in corporate expenses payments.

Delegates were split into groups and asked for their thoughts on response time to client enquiries and how the process could be improved. Responses included the need to streamline small meetings bookings, reducing the amount of unnecessary options, creating more honesty between agent, client and venue, and ensuring there is greater transparency in budgets. The outputs from this session will be used to inform best practice for enquiry handling, as part of next year’s full review of the HBAA Code of Practice.