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Modern technology - our master or our slave?

Recent advances mean hospitality managers can be swamped with vast amounts of data

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ADAM Architecture is behind designs for the new Soho base2stay

Green light for new London hotel

base2stay concept eyeing up new Soho development

By Pete Hayman

Construction work on a new 73-bedroom base2stay hotel in Soho, London, is poised to get underway early next year after the project was given the green light by the local authority. Westminster City Council's

planning committee has approved plans for the five-storey development, which has been drawn up by London-based ADAM Architec- ture and incorporates a neo-classical design. base2stay – the hotel concept first unveiled in

Kensington, west London, in 2006 – was devised by founder Robert Nadler in order to remove what it calls "unused extras", such as bar, restaurant and gym facilities. Rooms are equipped with

mini-kitchens – including a microwave, a sink, a kettle and a fridge – to encourage guests to bring their own food, as well as an on-screen 'base directory' of local attractions and services. The Soho base2stay property

will be located on Carlisle Street, although the group's next hotel is due to open in Liverpool in August 2010.

Whitbread posts revenue increase

Year-end figures released by leisure group Whitbread show total revenue for the period increased by 7.5 per cent on the same time last year (£1.334m) at £1.435m. Like for like sales were

down 0.5 per cent for the year but showed a rise of 3.1 per cent in the fourth quarter. Pre-tax profits were up 6.6

per cent at £239.1m, with profit after tax rising to £160m against £90.3m for

© Cybertrek 2010

2008/2009. Net debt fell by £109.7m to £513.4m, against £623.1m last year. Premier Inn, the company's

budget hotel division, saw sales up 4.7 per cent, with like for like sales declining 4.3 per cent. Sales at Whitbread's

restaurants – Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Taybarns – rose 1.3 per cent, with like for like sales seeing a rise of 1.7 per cent.

f the many areas which impact on the hospitality manager's day-to-day responsibilities,

technology is one the most difficult to control. No one can deny that the technological advances we have witnessed over the past 25 years have transformed our working lives, not to speak of their wider impact on society. Today, it would be inconceivable to

operate any business without the support of the Internet, and this is especially true for the hospitality industry, where on-line reservation systems and attractive web-sites are now key elements in the marketing mix for all companies. At the same time, the advent of

low-cost airlines, fuelled by the ease with which sales activity can be made through the Internet, together with more rapid and sophisticated communications systems have created a demand for the hospitality product in a way which would have been unimaginable even 10 years ago. The advent of social media, including Twitter, as well as sites

such as TripAdvisor, have revolutionised the power of the customer, and businesses across all sectors are having to respond rapidly and intelligently if they are to exploit the full potential of these phenomena. Internally, the hospitality manager now has access to guest

management systems, as well as endless permutations of management information. The challenge, of course, is how to manage the technology to best advantage without becoming a slave to the systems designed to support managers. Yet the advances in technology are so rapid that it has become very difficult for individual managers to keep abreast. It is in this context that membership of a professional body

can really help in providing welcome support. For example, the Institute of Hospitality has transformed its information services over the past couple of years in order to provide a modern and responsive service for its members. Its regular publications, as well as access to more than 400 sector-relevant e-Books also provide insight and evaluation (in layman's language) of technological advances to ensure members maintain their awareness without being swamped by detail. In an age where individuals can be masters of their own

(virtual) universe, it is reassuring to know that help is at hand when a cyber attack looms!

Read Leisure Opportunities online www.leisureopportunities.com/digital

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PHILIPPE ROSSITER is chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality (IoH). Leisure Opportuni- ties is a member benefit of the IoH, for your free copy call 01462 471932 Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24
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