LAST MONTH the first Essex Hospitality Association meeting took place. 42 Essex based accommodation and venue providers came together at Braxted Park for a breakfast meeting. This meeting was the first of its kind but certainly not the last.
Organised by Visit Essex and chaired by Alex Rayner of Braxted Park delegates heard from key national hospitality organisations, Hospitality Action and UK hospitality. There are many hospitality and hotelier associations across the country but there has never been one for Essex.
The idea behind the Association is to create a forum in which local accommodation providers and venues can network with one another and learn about issues that are effecting them . Those that attended found out how to get involved in Hospitality Action, what marketing opportunities there are with Visit Essex including free training courses and how working with UK hospitality can support their business.
The aim of the Association is to bring together the best hospitality minds to create, develop and deliver and range of activities that will challenge the issues our businesses face, to support our industry through the width of the county, into London and into central government.
Whilst Essex attracts 55 million visitors creating £3.3billion for the county, the vast majority of them are day visitors rather than those staying overnight one of the challenges for the Essex tourism industry is to encourage overnight stays.
“This will only happen by businesses working together and sharing the same positive messages. Essex is a lovely place for a short break whether it be for a glamping trip or a spa weekend Essex is ideal, it is easily accessible, has the best weather and has a largely undiscovered offer of vineyards, gardens and stately homes.” Lisa Bone, Visit Essex.
Oliver Brown, Wivenhoe House attended the meeting “It was a fantastic meeting and great to hear about the wider environment, it was also great to network with colleagues. I found it really useful for myself and the hotel and thoroughly recommend it to others.”
Cllr Mark Durham who also spoke at the event and has a background within the hospitality industry himself stated that “It is important for businesses to get together to discuss current issues for example how Brexit will affect them, staffing, legislation as well as deciding how to position Essex as a place to visit.”
“I am pleased with how the event went, speaking to everyone after there is certainly the appetite for this association. Now we need to ensure that we have engaging content and speakers for the next meeting in April.” Alex Rayner, Braxted Park.
The next meeting will take place on 31 May and Priti Patel MP will be in attendance.