Following the Independent Hotel Show’s major announcement to take the unique exhibition overseas to Amsterdam, Hotel Designs editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with the show’s director, Miranda Martin, to find out more…
Earlier this month, the Independent Hotel Show (IHS) let the cat out of the bag that it will launch the inaugural IHS Amsterdam next year. Considering it’s the first time that the show has taken the concept abroad from London, we caught up with the show’s director Miranda Martin to find out why now is such an important time to recognise Amsterdam as well as London is a prominent design hub of the world.
Hamish Kilburn: What would you say is the most challenging part of your role?
Miranda Martin: The most challenging part of my role is translating blue sky thinking into real, tangible, transformational experiences for the communities my events serve. I’m lucky that I’m surrounded by a team of creative thinkers with big ideas. The challenge is harnessing the key components of those ideas, on schedule, in budget and then delivering them in a compelling and relevant way in a live event scenario.
“Social media presents an unrivalled brand building opportunity.”
HK: We are putting huge emphasis on social media at the moment and its place in our industry. How has social media had an impact on trade events?
MM: Social media presents an unrivalled brand building opportunity. Users belong to a digital tribe and behave in a different way digitally than they do in real life. By positioning yourself in a certain way on social platforms, you engage an audience that value a common vision and you’re able to build aspiration for your brand. Instagram is my favourite platform for the Independent Hotel Show because it allows us to share pictures that paint a thousand words and easily enables us to illustrate our brand to our community.
Image caption: Pulitzer Amsterdam
HK: What does Holland have that London does not?
MM: I don’t think it’s about what Holland has that London doesn’t but rather about broadening our support of our hotelier community to a new destination in continental Europe. We’ve had an amazing response to our event in the UK over the years and are proud to be able to serve the industry in a creative, thoughtful live event environment (not just another boring trade show!). As the world becomes smaller and more connected our ultimate goal is to take our support of the hotelier community global, connecting, sharing knowledge and creating opportunities for the global industry.
“Its unique culture and it being a European centre for innovation will be mirrored at the Independent Hotel Show.”
HK: Why expand IHS to Amsterdam now?
MM: I’ve experienced an infectious enthusiasm amongst the Dutch people with whom I’ve shared the vision of the show and it’s so exciting to be able to create a new event, when nothing like it currently exists, for such an enthusiastic audience. There’s a close community of hoteliers and hospitality professionals in Amsterdam particularly and I’m looking forward to seeing the show spread through the community in an authentic, organic way.
Aside from my excitement at being able to serve this sector, Amsterdam is an incredible destination with beautiful architecture, design and an open minded culture. It is a forward-thinking, attractive and accessible destination. It was last year’s most attractive European city for investment and celebrates a vigorous tourism industry. According to PWC, occupancy is forecast at 82 per cent in 2018, the highest level in western Europe. The industry in Amsterdam is informal, open-minded, tech savvy and driven by ideas. Its unique culture and it being a European centre for innovation will be mirrored at the Independent Hotel Show.
Image caption: Amsterdam’s iconic riverside
HK: How does IHS support collaboration in hotel design?
The show is thoughtfully curated to present the highest quality exhibitors and partners to our hotelier audience. It’s no surprise that it has a strong focus on design. I generalise here but our audience of ‘boutique’ hoteliers are very design led, with design being an easy way to differentiate from competitors in the market, creating a unique guest experience and identity. More than this, we want to build an amazing event experience for all of our customers – visitors and exhibitors alike – so the aesthetics of the show and the environment we create are important to us.
We’re essentially building an environment to inspire our hotelier community to use design to create better guest experiences, so we have to deliver exceptionally designed communal working and networking spaces at the show in line with what our discerning hotelier audience would want and expect. As such we invite amazing design brands to come on board as partners to work with us to design and deliver beautifully designed, stimulating spaces at the show. We are totally in support of collaboration in hotel design. If there are any companies out there who want to work with us, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.
HK: What will be the layout of the show, how will it flow and why?
Without giving too much away, we plan to have a dramatic entrance experience to set the scene as our guests walk through the doors. When in the show, they’ll experience a high quality curated exhibition of market-leading suppliers from across the hotel supply chain. We’ll also have a strong focus on companies and individuals with products never-seen-at-events-before to ensure we deliver true innovation.
The Lobby will be our main communal space at the heart of the show embodying qualities that the modern hotel lobby emulates such as a an inspirational work space, transitioning seamlessly to a social sharing space and bar.
The Suite is our VIP space for special events we’re hosting in collaboration with key industry partners. Our aim: to deliver great hospitality for the best minds in the business. Expect flowing champagne, speed networking and the possibility of making connections you never imagined you’d make.
“Think The Hoxton, Soho House, The Pig, Artist Residence etc. We’ve loved watching them grow.”
HK: What will the key show themes be and why?
Design, technology, sustainability, from one to many – expanding your portfolio, recruitment and retention… these are just some of the big themes we’ll build into the show’s content. Design, because of the reasons stated above and we want the show to look beautiful and to inspire. Technology, because there’s a huge opportunity for hoteliers to grow in the tech space in line with consumer demand and we want to give them the tools to enable them to be successful in this sphere. Sustainability, because we care about the future of our planet. Because we know this is a huge topic in The Netherlands and because consumer shifts indicate deep feelings of responsibility in this area and we want to help our hoteliers capitalise on this. From one to many… we’ve seen some epic hotel brands on their journey, growing from one to many over the years as our little show has served them. Think The Hoxton, Soho House, The Pig, Artist Residence etc. We’ve loved watching them grow and despite their huge expansion plans they’ve managed to retain that special feeling that makes each and every one feel like an independent, unique, special place to stay. We love this about these hotels and we want to champion all hoteliers out there with big aspirations, but particularly those where they don’t lose sight of those things that make them so special. Recruitment and retention – because we know the hospitality industry is an amazing place to work and we want to support the industry in creating remarkable career opportunities in a challenging recruitment landscape.
HK: Will this show pave the way for a succession of other Europe based events for Fresh Montgomery? And if so, where do you have your sights on next and why?
MM: That’s certainly the plan! But our next move will remain secret for now. Lets get the Amsterdam show to an amazing place then we can talk about how we can continue our support for this amazing industry… and where.
Hotel Designs is a proud media partner of the Independent Hotel Show