AHC 2022 puts levelling up on the agenda

The Annual Hotel Conference (AHC), one of the leading events for the UK hospitality investment industry, will be at Manchester Central Convention Complex on October 3rd and 4th, where the agenda is set to explore the concept of hotels as a catalyst for stimulating inbound investment in the UK…

Robert Godwin, Managing Director, Lamington Group speaking passionately about truly sustainable buildings. | Image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

The conference plans to unite the public sector, hotel developers and investors to explore opportunities for all, and will investigate the direct and indirect economic and social benefits of hotels and the opportunities they present for local authorities and hotel investors.

Real estate investors, when responding to Questex’s Q2 Investor Intentions Index, said they understood the opportunities and had a greater amount of capital to deploy in the hotel sector. However, increased building costs meant they were moving away from development in towns and cities that could benefit. In some regions, local authorities are now taking an interventionist role, partnering with private sector specialists to support the delivery of new hotel stock on a standalone basis of as part of a mixed-use scheme.

As the Government’s Levelling-up agenda moves forward, there are increasing opportunities for both hotel developers and local authorities to boost communities through hotel creation. “Hotels are seen as a real symbol of urban generation and can have a really positive impact on promoting a destination and showing it’s open for business, attracting office occupiers and new residents, and of course tourists, whilst being able to hire locally and provide jobs, sourcing locally,” said Joe Stather, Market Lead for Questex’s Operational Real Estate portfolio, including the AHC. “That’s where the AHC plays a key role in terms of educating local authorities, in particular, in unlocking opportunities and bringing hotels, and their users, to those town and cities which have aspirations to build their domestic and international profile as we emerge from the pandemic.”

The subject will be discussed in the session Levelling Up: Maximising the Social and Economic Impact of the Hotel Sector. An expert panel, including Jon Day, Operational Manager Tourism and Investment, Cardiff Council and Matt Walton, Senior Director Development, UK & Ireland, IHG Hotels & Resorts, will share their experience on the role of hotels as a catalyst for stimulating inbound investment and look at the type of hotel development for maximum impact.

Those looking to find out how the public sector can partner with the private sector to deliver new hotel stock should attend How to Fill the Hotel Development Viability Gap? The session will feature Graham Dodd, Managing Director, Development UK & Ireland, Hilton, who has worked with local authorities to deliver a number of successful hotel schemes in the UK; Andy Townsend, CEO, Legacy Hotels & Resorts, who is operating the new Liverpool City Council-owned Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village and Iain Robinson of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council which owns Hampton by Hilton Stockton-on-Tees.

Throughout the two days, sessions, featuring more than 90 industry-leading speakers and delivered as keynotes, panel discussions and one-to-ones, will cover pertinent topics across four stages – Vision, Collaboration, Innovation and Transformation – under the broad theme ‘Charting the Course’.

Main image credit: AHC / Simon Callaghan Photography