Independent Hotel Show, presented by James Hallam, returned to Olympia London on 4-5 October after a two-year hiatus.

Guests attending the event were able to enjoy a wide range of seminar sessions, opportunities to network with peers at the Social Business Space, designed by Aorta, consult with hospitality technology experts at the Tech Solutions Bar, in partnership with HOSPA, and discover exciting new suppliers in The Concept Lab.

Among the 200 carefully curated hotel suppliers at the event, there were a number of exciting new launches on the show floor including a range of innovative technology services. Clockwork Marketing unveiled its new DIY marketing suite GuestNet; eviivo announced a number of new digital partners, expanding the platform’s range of bespoke offerings for hoteliers; FCS announced the European launch of its latest application FCS1 – an all-in-one web and mobile solution that elevates the way hotels can run operations, and TigerTMS launched iPortal – an affordable, app-less solution which provides branded hotel information, services and guest engagement by scanning a QR-code.

The event also hosted the UK debut of the Cloudbeds Hospitality Platform, which offers independent hoteliers greater efficiencies in bookings, payments and accounting, channel management, marketing and more.

The Innovation Stage, in partnership with eviivo and dressed by, was elevated by an eight-metre-wide mural created especially by art studio Aster Muro, highlighting a continued commitment to integrating art and design into the fabric of the event. The Innovation Stage’s extensive seminar programme saw packed sessions across the two days of the show and covered subjects including the evolution of sensory hotel design, the effective use of customer data, tackling recruitment and retention challenges and much more.

“It’s great to be back at a live event after so long,” reveals Gareth Banner, Managing Director of The Ned and panellist on ‘The Membership Model: Creating A Lifestyle Brand, in partnership with SPACE’ session. “When you’re in the hospitality business there’s no substitute for being with people, whether that’s customers, vendors or industry colleagues, and it’s very encouraging to see such good numbers here.”

The show’s Social Business Space, designed by Aorta, hosted a number of campfire-style sessions during the event, allowing guests to network with and learn from their peers in an intimate, informal and productive environment and covering topics such as hotel marketing, staffing challenges, kickstarting city hotels and retaining domestic tourists.

“Such a delight to find the Independent Hotel Show back in business after our prolonged period of forced hibernation,” says Peter Hancock FIH MI, outgoing Pride of Britain Hotels Chief Executive and Independent Hotel Show Ambassador. “I’m thrilled by how many people have come here and how excited they are about mixing with other hoteliers, learning from each other and learning from the experts that we’ve brought into the show.”

Monday 4 October ended with a joyous industry celebration, as guests celebrated the return of face-to-face events and the reconnection of the hotel community. The evening’s festivities kicked off with the celebration of the Good Hotel Guide’s ten Cesar Award winners. The Independent Hotel Show Awards were announced, with Joanne Taylor-Stagg FIH MI, General Manager of The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences securing Independent Hotelier and Anna Sirba, Operations Manager at Salcombe Harbour Hotel, awarded GM of the Future, in partnership with The Master Innholders.

Juris Dubrovskis, Executive Housekeeper at The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences, was additionally named ‘One to Watch’ by the judges, for his ‘tenacity, drive and passion for hospitality’. The evening concluded with a surprise additional award for industry veteran Peter Hancock, as he was given Outstanding Contribution for his lifetime’s work in the hospitality industry.

The morning of Tuesday 5 October saw The Power Breakfast hosted by Freemotion from iFIT, an exclusive morning session which welcomed independent hoteliers to hear renowned restaurant critics Fay Maschler and David Ellis discuss what goes into creating an exceptional hotel restaurant experience and taking a deep dive into modern restaurant trends and challenges.

“I loved the show. I thought the panel discussions were the best and most relevant that they’ve ever been,” comments Serena von der Heyde, Owner of Georgian House Hotel & Victoria House Hotel. “The Power Breakfast discussion was brilliant – informative and funny. Missing a year has reinforced my belief that the Independent Hotel Show is the most important event in my calendar.”

Both the Social Business Space and The Suite were designed by Aorta, led by Managing Director Frida Rush, with both spaces featuring salvaged architectural materials, bespoke furniture and unique interior finishes, enveloped by the grand industrial presence of Olympia London.

During the event, organiser Montgomery Group announced the launch of new digital platform IH Connects, a free resource for hoteliers to source new suppliers and keep up to date with industry thought leadership, webinars, research and more. The platform will host on-demand seminar content from the two days of the show and will continue to host innovative sessions and vital industry debates throughout the year.

The Independent Hotel Show will return to Olympia London on 4-5 October 2022 for its tenth edition.