Interview: Kimpton Fitzroy London

Find out more about Kimpton Fitzroy London

What is the status of your hotel right now?

Like many others we’ve made the difficult decision to temporarily close Kimpton Fitzroy London until further notice.

How are you staying in touch with your employees?

We are all on various platforms like FaceTime, House Party, Instagram and WhatsApp. We all stay in touch and keeping each other’s spirits up in these tough times.

How do you motivate your sales team right now?

Whilst the hotel is temporarily closed, and the entire team is on furlough, we do keep each other motivated by regularly checking-in on how people are doing, exchanging funny pictures, videos and memes. We all know that the situation we are in is a temporary one and that things will go back to normal in the not too distant future.

How do you see the future for the rest of the year once the crisis passes?

Hopefully the worst phase will have blown over in the next few weeks and things should slowly get back to normal. At this stage across the globe the quarantine stage is being extended, so I would imagine that April and May are months where we will continue to focus on staying in and keeping safe. Ideally from September business would go back to normal and Q4 will be busier than ever before. We have already seen all our events from March, April, May and June moving into the second half of the year, and bookings in Q4 even pushing back into Q1 2021.

What are the unique selling points of your hotel?

At Kimpton Fitzroy London there are several things making it unique:
First and foremost, the landmark building, which occupies a full block along the eastern side of Russell Square in Bloomsbury, looks every bit the part of grande dame. The hotel first opened its doors on Saturday 2nd June 1900 and has many stories to tell.
Another key feature is of course the stunning Grade-II listed Ballroom, which with it’s 7m high ceiling and natural daylights, boasts elegance and works well for events where you would like to see your guests impressed.
Food and Beverage is another unique feature at Kimpton Fitzroy London. The hotel offers four outlets, each with its own ambience and unique concept offering guests a wide variety: Burr & Co, Fitz’s, Neptune and Palm Court.
There are several other points to share, although would happily elaborate on these via a virtual coffee, call, or walk around Kimpton Fitzroy London itself once things are back to normal.

What message do you have to MICE bookers in the UK who will read the interview?

Dearest friends, event/production planners, venue finders and co-hoteliers, I sincerely hope that all of you are well and are keeping safe. These are tough times although we will get through them together. I am personally very much looking forward to either welcoming you or welcoming you back at Kimpton Fitzroy London in a few weeks’ time when all of this behind us and we can all go back to the hectic and exciting life of events! Stay safe 😊

Interview: The Hotel

Find out more about The Hotel

What is the status of your hotel right now?

The Hotel is currently reduced to the bare minimum following the restrictions imposed by the Belgian government.

How are you staying in touch with your employees?

We do regular Zoom meetings, we exchange a lot by email and on WhatsApp. We exchange news and best practices about our daily routine while we are confined at home. We are still connected as we do need to deal with cancellations and rebookings. We keep up with the hope we will all be able to get back to normal soon.

How do you motivate your sales team right now?

We work together on some action plans for ‘after Covid-19’. We are currently trying to stay connected with our clients and make them discover another side of our lives at home, in a more private setting.

How do you see the future for the rest of the year once the crisis passes?

We understand that this crisis will impact our business for months even after the lockdowns but we are staying very positive about the aftermath as our industry will always do whatever is necessary to recover.
Of course we are conscious that many of our industry’s friends, colleagues, clients, partners are as impacted as we are and we hope that everyone will be ready as we are to get back to ‘normal’. But, in the meantime, we also strongly hope that this crisis will change our minds and make all of us think more about the impact of our actions and our business on our environment. We all need to change the way we used to do things and do whatever is necessary to preserve our planet. In fact, there is no looking back, there is only looking forward. A drastic change for good, for the better.

What are the unique selling points of your hotel?

We believe that what makes The Hotel. Brussels different is our team. Every hotel can have a sauna or the largest ballroom in town but what is a venue without the people that work hard, every day, with passion and devotion to their clients, partners, colleagues with the only aim to bring the best experience possible? So yes, The Hotel Brussels offers stunning views, amazing food and timeless design but what really matters is how our team will help you make your event and your stay a great success and the most memorable.

What message do you have to MICE bookers in the UK who will read the interview?

When you are ready to come back, we will be there to welcome you and make that ‘magic thing’ of our beautiful industry happen again… and again…

Interview: Robinson Club

Find out more about Robinson Club

What is the status of your hotels right now?

All our Clubs around the world are closed until April 30th, 2020 at least.

How are you staying in touch with your employees?

All our Staff at the various HQs around the globe are working from home and our colleagues at the Clubs are either in their individual ROBINSON Club or working from home. We keep in touch via video conferences, phone calls and mails.

How do you motivate your sales team right now?

As we all are on a reduced work schedule and working from home, we all get encouraged to enjoy this time and make the best of it. As we are part of TUI, the world’s biggest tourism company, we are all optimistic that we’ll catch up where we left off before the crisis. As our business is all about people, we are encouraged to think about new ways of reaching out to our partners.

How do you see the future for the rest of the year once the crisis passes?

We believe that this year will be slow as most corporate companies along with individual travellers will not confirm new events or individual holidays. It all depends on their financial situation. We hope and believe that 2021 will bring a boost as it will be more important than ever to encourage teamwork and to do events and incentive trips for employees, partners and customers so that they can connect.

What are the unique selling points of your hotels?

Our Clubs are situated in some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, either directly at the beach or in a prime mountain location. Our main USP are our employees. We call them “Robins”, they live and work with our guests in each individual resort. This makes us stand out from the crowd. Sustainability is one of our key indicators as well. Whether it’s solar panels, water purification systems or the reduction of plastic items in our resorts, we try our best to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

What message do you have to MICE bookers in the UK who will read the interview?

Stay positive and resilient as it isn’t the first and won’t be the last challenging situation.
We will emerge stronger as all of us will feel the need to connect, share, meet and get in touch with colleagues, partners and customers.

Interview: SugarCity Events

Find out more about SugarCity Events

What is the status of your venue right now?

We are following the guidelines of our Dutch government and our venue has been closed accordingly until further notice. Fortunately, our events have not been cancelled but postponed to later this year.
Due to the fact that our venue is empty, we are utilising the opportunity to perform tasks such as deep cleaning and maintenance so that we have our venue in its best state when the event season starts again.

How are you staying in touch with your employees?

We are using Microsoft TEAMS to have regular meetings with each other as well as with other departments within the company.

How do you motivate your sales team right now?

The current situation has not affected the motivation of our team. We are more than ever in good contact with our clients and with our colleagues to see how we can help each other or learn from best practices. Each team member has their own projects and tasks but is also willing to assist at other departments if necessary. This does not only improve their knowledge but brings our team closer to each other.
As enquiries are still being received and we are preparing for better days to come, we are looking forward to improved days while keeping ourselves busy and useful.

How do you see the future for the rest of the year once the crisis passes?

We see an increase in enquiries for the end of the year and the first two quarters of 2021. Our events start right after the summer break, from September this year. However, we have adjusted our terms with the possibility of being able to cancel without penalty, should the virus still not be under control during those event days. This encouraged planners to sign off without fear of spending large amounts on cancellation costs. Also, we are in good contact with different event platforms and event associations to keep ourselves updated. Event companies and corporate clients in the Netherlands have started to be a bit more optimistic about the fall 2020 and thereafter.

What are the unique selling points of your venue?

Given our uniqueness thanks to our history and the fact we maintained the old elements of the factory, we are one of the largest venues in the region of Amsterdam. Amsterdam remains one of the most popular cities in which to organise events and conferences, according to several global statistics. We can easily host conferences of up to 1,200 participants while still having rooms available for networking/catering area and breakout sessions. Furthermore, our venue is perfectly situated being only 10 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station, Schiphol Airport and with our own train station and parking lot in front of the building. Especially for companies from the UK, there is not only a direct flight connection but also train connection that increased their frequency last winter.
It therefore doesn’t matter how you prefer to reach us or how large your group is, we can serve (almost) any type of event!

What message do you have to MICE bookers in the UK who will read the interview?

We understand that the current situation has significant impact on the industry.
As one of the largest event venues in our region we therefore are open for discussion about our flexibility towards terms and conditions along with especially included healthy clauses in our contracts.
We look forward welcoming great events back to Amsterdam and back to SugarCity Events. Meanwhile, we are making sure that both our venue and our team remain in good shape and can deliver what’s expected when the situation returns to normal.
For the time being we would like to wish all readers good health and safety, for you and your loved ones.
Till we meet again!

Interview: Hotel Palace Berlin

Find out more about Hotel Palace Berlin

What is the status of your hotel right now?

The Hotel Palace remains open for business travellers. Leisure bookings however are not allowed during this time. The outlets are closed and the F&B team is offering a limited menu.

How are you staying in touch with your employees?

We have a great app for internal communication called IK-up. All the information can be put on there for updates.

How do you motivate your sales team right now?

We are a very close sales team and we have always been in touch with each other through a WhatsApp Group and regular calls. This keeps the team spirit going. Right now, we are taking advantage of the crisis with some renovations taking place at the Hotel Palace Berlin… the walls are getting painted, some rooms are being refurbished, etc. So, we can all look forward to a modernised freshened-up hotel when we come back.

How do you see the future for the rest of the year once the crisis passes?

At the moment, a lot of clients have postponed dates rather than cancelling the events. So, it does look good once this crisis is over.

What are the unique selling points of your hotel?

The Hotel is a privately-owned property and the focus has always been on personal treatment. A lot of employees have been working with the Hotel Palace for more than 20 years and the client feels and appreciates this welcoming connection throughout their stay.

What message do you have to MICE bookers in the UK who will read the interview?

Come and visit the Hotel Palace Berlin once this crisis is over! This city has a lot of buzzing life on offer… culture, art, festivals and fine dining. Check out our beautiful House of Gin with over 150 different types of gin or our exclusive beef45 restaurant with the finest beef prepared “sous-vide”.

Interview: Forte Village

Find out more about Forte Village

What is the status of your hotel right now?

We are currently closed and have postponed the opening to the month of May.

How are you staying in touch with your employees?

We have internal WhatsApp groups; we schedule conference calls and keep all our team informed on the evolution of the business.

How do you motivate your sales team right now?

Keep constant communication flowing, show positivity, ask for support and ideas to overcome the crisis and to work on new ideas to be ready for when we will start again.

How do you see the future for the rest of the year once the crisis passes?

We believe and hope that we will have a stronger autumn. All corporate companies will need to start up, reassess targets and relaunch their business. It will take some time. We are gearing up for this time of the year, we believe people want to travel again after all these restrictions and confinement.

What are the unique selling points of your hotel?

Forte Village is located in a 50 hectares park, fully refurbished, it is a destination within a destination.
You have everything you need but at no more than a few minutes’ walk (shopping, sea, sport activities, spa, conference facilities, restaurant facilities). It is an authentic product in an area with a unique microclimate. We have and provide guests with real luxury of space; you can choose from 7 hotels and different accommodation and with the most competitive opportunities.

What message do you have to MICE bookers in the UK who will read the interview?

At Forte Village you can host and organise any type of event, from a board meeting of 20 top executives to a product launch for 1,500 people.
All activities can be organised on site, giving a full selection of options in all sectors (restaurants, events area, sport and incentive activities of all kind.

Interview: Bacardi Brand Homes Collection

Find out more about Bacardi Brand Homes Collection

What is the status of your venues right now?

All of our 12 Brand Homes are currently closed, and we expect they will continue to be for another few weeks, depending on how the situation evolves. All of the distilleries are still running and producing alcohol as normal, and many are now producing hand sanitiser as you can see here.

How are you staying in touch with your employees?

Each site has a daily online meeting, and we connect globally once a week. Numerous meetings are taking place every day, and we are finding that we can get more work done without the travel/commuting. We are also learning a lot more about each other as we beam our calls from our home and meet extended families and pets which is great!

How do you motivate your sales team right now?

This crisis has actually enabled us to put down our daily workloads, look up, and strategically review how we do business. We are making great roads on several strategic projects which are often side-lined for more pressing work. For many of us work has actually increased, and we are doing 10+ conference calls a day with the time, but we take this time as a gift, and are excited about making changes to improve our Brand Homes and guest experiences when we reopen. We are also taking this time to work closely with Hotel Republic to make sure they are familiar with every Brand Home, by doing in detail product refreshers with our event leaders and making sure they are ready to sell the best type of events for us when the market comes back.

How do you see the future for the rest of the year once the crisis passes?

That’s nearly impossible to answer as we all know! The first lesson is to be more prepared should another global event like this occur, as the speed of change seems to have taken the whole world by surprise. We expect a slow bounce back, and a significant reduction in footfall/events in the Brand Homes for our peak summer period. We aimed to shift our booked events for April & May to later in the year where possible. We expect the effects of this will be felt through the entire financial year but hope to recover as best as possible. We look forward to coming back hungrier and stronger than ever before!

What are the unique selling points of your venues?

We have several USP’s!!! We offer highly unique venues to the MICE market – which are unlike anything else. Our venues tend to be more rural, but all feature heavily in local provenance, unlike many MICE venues which tend to be more generic. Walking through our vineyard in Cognac at the exclusive Le Logis Grey Goose or enjoying a Laverstoke cocktail by the chalk stream of the river Test in Hampshire are unforgettable experiences. We prize each region we are in, celebrate local delicacies and heritages, to ensure our guests know exactly where they are in the world. We are also backed by some globally recognised brands like Martini, Patron, and Dewar’s to name a few, which offer clients strong partnerships from names they can depend on for their events.

What message do you have to MICE bookers in the UK who will read the interview?

Stay strong and connected! This is an unprecedented time, but we are all in the same boat globally, and we will bounce back better than before! Use this time to think different about how to do business and come back improved.
We are also using this time to reintroduce our business to the market and go deeper into our destinations and experiences with our clients – so will be hosting ‘virtual tours’ of our properties in the coming days, so look out for announcements from Hotel Republic and online – please join us if you can!

Interview: Le Hotels Group

Find out more about Le Hotels Group

What is the status of your hotels right now?

All our hotels in Prague are closed. On March 12th the Czech government announced a state of emergency and our borders closed. Tourism as we know it naturally disappeared within two days as well as every single guest from our hotels.

How are you staying in touch with your employees?

The situation around employment has been very unstable. During the past few weeks, my main role as a mediator, together with our HR team, was to gather information from our owner, government, Hotel Association and Chamber of Commerce. We have communicated our perspective for the future to all employees via our department heads of each hotel individually and of course via email to all our employees several times per week. We have several employees where both husband and wife work in tourism and they both lost their jobs from day one. We have spoken to them personally to reassure to them that our company will support their family to the maximum. We want to give them some hope for their future.

How do you motivate your sales team right now?

To be honest, in the past three weeks there was little room for extra motivation. When all our events and meetings got cancelled, you need to stay focused and minimise the damage. Our sales team are doing a very good job from their home offices as are the rest of the team taking care of the operational part. So far, I feel solidarity, understanding, and passion for every job well done during this crisis management and this keeps me and the team motivated. We hope for a healthy future.

How do you see the future for the rest of the year once the crisis passes?

Essential for our business is the reopening of the borders and allowing the usual worldwide migration. In several weeks, as forecasted by the Czech government, we hope the number of restrictions will be reduced. We hope that we can reopen the restaurant and conference facilities for the local market to start with.

What are the unique selling points of your hotels?

Considering all our hotels it’s location, location, location … we have a wide variety of conference facilities and the perfect event support team in each hotel. As LHG we offer the overall highest room capacity in the city centre with our flag ships Hotels, the Grandior and Grandium hotel offering almost 400 rooms each which makes them the largest city centre hotels ready to host large events.

What message do you have to MICE bookers in the UK who will read the interview?

It’s on us, the tourism professionals and tourism influencers, to bring tourism back to life when the time comes. Many people and many jobs in our amazing profession will be saved if we support each other. I have made that promise to myself and the Le Hotels Group will support it.