Interview: Edward Pinchard

How did you get into the industry?

I worked in a hotel as a summer job during university and fell in love with the industry. I was then fortunate enough to secure a graduate training job at The Savoy in London and never looked back.

What do you like about the meetings industry?

I like the fact that the demands of meetings organisers are constantly evolving. It’s a challenging market to operate in both because of the clients’ budget restrictions and also due to an ever increasing number of competitors in the market.

It’s probably one of the last areas of the business where hotels are able to get really creative with their offering and can really go to town to wow clients. I think hotel operators and events staff really thrive on the opportunities to be creative and deliver outstanding events.
 
What is the Park Inn Price Promise and why has it been launched?

The Park Inn Price Promise is our latest meetings initiative for the Park Inn by Radisson brand. It is essentially a commitment to beat like-for-like quotes from comparable venues by 10 per cent. We launched it as a way to bring genuine savings to meeting bookers and to provide a platform for people to try out our brand and venues. Meetings and events is a key area of the business for us.
We’ve invested in our UK portfolio, spending £40m over the last five years, with Park Inn by Radisson hotels including Bedford, Heathrow, Northampton, Telford and York sporting a new look and feel. We’ve also internally reviewed our meetings offering to ensure we offer a consistent, reliable and value for money experience.
 
What is the hotel chain’s visitor demographic?

Park Inn by Radisson is our mid-market brand. The brand is all about a positive, personalised experience focusing on customer choice based on flexibility, functionality and connectivity. We’re creating hotels with contemporary design features with multipurpose social hubs. With Park Inn by Radisson, our aim is to retain guests from Generation X while attracting and nurturing the growing Generation Y market.

How is the event business faring?

We’re cautiously optimistic of growth.

How did the Olympics affect business?

We experienced a strong year in 2013, which is very positive and for some hotels unexpected. As far as our hotels outside of London are concerned, we also had a strong summer, driven by continued leisure interest in the UK post Olympics. Britain is on a high and both domestic and international leisure guests are extremely interested in the UK.

What is the USP of the hotels for event organisers?

The physical USP’s vary from site to site but we offer over 200 meeting rooms across the board in the UK and Ireland. We have hotels that can cater for exclusive on-site meetings, large-scale meetings, meetings that require lots of breakout rooms, clients that require a large number of guest bedrooms and clients that are looking for a hotel with good transport links.

Across the board we pride ourselves on our flexible, transparent approach to doing business. We’ve worked hard to ensure a consistent, quality service delivery and we aim to give our clients value for money. In 2013, all Park inn by Radisson hotels worldwide launched free Wi-Fi for all guests and meeting delegates.
 
Time-saving tip for organisers?

Don’t forget the telephone. Everyone is so into email these days that people forget to pick up the phone, but a conversation can really speed up the decision-making process. As a hotel company we recognise the need for mobility in communication and information, and with this in mind we are working hard to deliver the technology to meet these needs with some upcoming digital developments this year.
 
Most successful personal achievement?

My children.

Funniest moment experienced/witnessed at work?

Very early in my career, armed with a hotel dressing gown, I was dispatched to re-clothe a famous actor who was running through the lobby with no clothes on, much to the amusement and disbelief of the other hotel guests.
 
Prediction for the future?

While it’s still a little early to say, I do believe that 2013 showed signs of economic growth in the UK hotel industry and meetings market specifically, and as a business we remain confident that this will continue this year and beyond.

This was first published in the March issue of CN. Any comments? Email conferencenews@mashmedia.net

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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