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November 12th 2015 | Specialists announced for ‘HOSPACE 2015 Spotlight’ call to arms to the hospitality industry to embrace digital issues and strategies as intrinsic part of its offering and culture


Date Issued:   9 November 2015 

Industry specialists announced to discuss, explore and illustrate the pressing in-depth, 70-minute ‘HOSPA Spotlight’ topic of ‘Hospitality and the digital challenge’ at HOSPACE 2015 on 26 November

HOSPACE 2015 – HOSPA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition for Hospitality Finance, Revenue Management, IT and Commerce Professionals on 26 November at Sofitel London Heathrow, Terminal 5 – is the largest and most prestigious annual gathering of like-minded hospitality practitioners in the UK

The ‘HOSPA Spotlight’ panel of industry specialists to discuss, explore and illustrate ‘Hospitality and the Digital Challenge’ at HOSPACE 2015 on 26 November, has been revealed.

The expert panel will examine – under the deft chairmanship Dr Crispian Tarrant, Chief Executive of BDRC Group, the UK’s largest independent research consultancy, well known to large branded hotel groups – how the hospitality industry should embrace fast changing digital issues to maximise business potential.

The panellists – bringing their particular experience and expertise to the first in-depth, 70-minute ‘HOSPA Spotlight’ of the one-day HOSPACE 2015 Conference and Exhibition – will be: Stephen Minall, Owner/Director of Moving Food – specialising in the development of brands and product solutions for retail and foodservice companies; Mark McCulloch, Founder and Chief Executive of WE ARE Spectacular; Carson Booth, Vice President, Global Property Technology at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide; Irene Van Der Watt, Area Manager – Regional UK and Ireland, Expedia Lodging Partner Services; Tom Weaver, Chief Executive of Flypay – a new entrant into the ‘Digital Payment’ arena; and Dr Michael Toedt, Managing Partner of TS&C, which developed the dailypoint software – the Marketing and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution for independent and group hoteliers. Dr Toedt is also the author of a 2014 book on hotel ‘Big Data’, entitled ‘Data Revolution –

How Big Data Will Change the Way of Doing Business’ – copies of his book will be available at HOSPACE 2015.

Examples of key questions and subject areas they will be answering, and discussing in-depth, will include:

  • Why has the UK hospitality industry been so slow, compared with other service industries such as supermarket chains and the airlines, to embrace digital technology and the data insights revolution for developing effective customer relationship management and loyalty schemes? What does the industry need to do to address the situation?
  • How can an effective digital strategy have a significant impact on hotel security, payments, revenue management, marketing, guests (before and after they book) and staff?

 “Introduced at HOSPACE 2014 to great acclaim, the in-depth, 70-minute ‘HOSPA’ Spotlight sessions have been designed to be highly topical, in-depth, wide-ranging discussions – embracing current key challenges,” said HOSPA Chief Executive Carl Weldon. “In this respect, we are especially pleased to have such an excellent panel, with such a wide range of digital expertise and experience to bring to the ‘HOSPA Spotlight’ table. This will give our delegates an all embracing insight into the considerable fast changing digital challenges the industry presently faces, and what to do about them.” 

There will be a second in-depth ‘HOSPA Spotlight’ session at HOSPACE 2015, providing the centre-piece for the afternoon discussions; and this will focus on ‘The Challenges of Effective Outward and Inward Hospitality Management’. Both ‘HOSPA Spotlights’ will be supported by the latest cutting-edge, interactive technology to ensure full delegate participation – including voting on issues raised.

 Delegates, and those unable to attend HOSPACE 2015, can interact on the day with the Conference –to be held at the Sofitel London Heathrow, Terminal 5 – by tweeting on ‘@HOSPATweets’, ‘#HOSPACE’, or ‘#HOSPACE15’. HOSPA has over 15,000 followers on all social media platforms, and the Association would be delighted for industry members to join in the discussions via social media on 26 November.

In addition to the ’HOSPA Spotlight’ sessions, there will be the traditionally popular annual ‘Leaders Panel’ discussion, setting the scene for the one day Conference and Exhibition; and two in-depth

face-to-face interviews with two of the hospitality industry’s most influential and dynamic leaders – British Hospitality Association Chief Executive Ufi Ibrahim and citizenM hotels co-partner, founder and Chief Operating Officer Michael Levie.

As in previous years, delegates will have the opportunity to attend three half-hour ‘HOSPACE Workshops and Technical Updates’ – with a choice of one from up to eight available sessions per half-hour. Also, HOSPACE 2015 will be hosting its ever popular and growing exhibition of hospitality technology solutions – providing delegates with a ‘one stop shop’ to view and interact with the latest and ‘best in class’ technologies – covering all eventualities for any hospitality business, whether they be start-up, established independent, or multi chain-owned, operations.

The event’s grand finale Gala Dinner – including the signature HOSPACE entertainment – is one of the traditional social networking highlights of the Conference.

For regularly updated information on HOSPACE 2015, visit the HOSPACE Website at: www.hospace.net . For bookings and further details for HOSPACE 2015, contact the HOSPA Membership and Events Office on telephone: +44 (0) 203 418 8196; or email: bookings@hospa.org         

For further information:

Jane Pendlebury,

Head of HOSPA Membership and Events Office  

Longdene House


Surrey GU27 2PH

Tel: 0203 418 8196






Dr Julian Demetriadi FIH MTS

Managing Director, CommunicationsPoint

Tel:        01722 238 627     

iPhone: 07585 505309




Chairman – Dr. Crispian Tarrant, Chief Executive, BDRC Group 

Dr Cris Tarrant is the founder of BDRC Group, the UK’s largest independent market research and advisory group.  He has led the growth of the firm to become a highly respected provider with a deep level of specialisation in select vertical service industry sectors. With 175 staff and offices in London, Singapore, Beijing, Jakarta, Sydney and Washington DC the firm has a global reach, working in over 90 different countries. Cris is a highly experienced and award winning customer insight professional with an outstanding reputation for pinpointing the business implications of research findings. He provides business advice that is sought out at CEO and Board level by many leading organisations, especially those operating in travel, hotels and hospitality.  He is a Fellow of the Market Research Society, the Institute of Directors and the Tourism Society. Within BDRC the hotels and hospitality practice is responsible for the Hotel Guest Survey, that tracks the dynamics of the market and the perceptions of hotel brands in 30 global markets, MeetingsMetrix that focuses similarly on meetings and events, the Venue Verdict suite of operational performance management tools that enable individual properties to manage their customer relations better and, most recently, Brand Margin®, the unique and innovative methodology for determining the perceived added value that a hotel brand delivers.  You can find out more about this work at www.bdrc-continental.com

Stephen Minall - Owner - Moving Food LTD 

Stephen A Minall - Stephen is one of the owners of Moving Food Ltd, (www.movingfood.com) which has a successful track record in launching new products into the major Retail Multiples within the UK and Europe. Moving Food works within innovation in food technology (long shelf life FMCG brands to chill chain expertise) helping SME’s and foodies the “idea creators” get to market. Moving Food has launched www.wowbutter.com a no nut peanut butter, to FMCG branded products for Ocado to Aldi to Holland & Barrett. Moving Food is unique in that it can ‘speak’ both Retail and Catering, as the owners /directors have worked on food brands and continue to work in both sectors.
Moving Food Ltd advises or consults in areas in food production from new start up innovation in products or packaging and advices in the opportunities in sectors such as grab n go, ambient longer shelf life FMCG ranges. Moving Food takes the strain out of finding sources for production to packaging to access to buyers Moving Food’s experiences in food production offers a unique insight into the overall farm to fork issues facing manufacturers, brands and consumers. Stephen writes for trade journeys, presents at Retail Consortiums in UK and Europe and has been seen on BBC Business News as the leading expert in food related stories. Stephen judges both the Food Service Awards ‘The Cateys’ and The Quality Food Awards. Stephen is an entrepreneur who has extensive experience within retail and food service operations on a global scale. He is one of the founders of a quick service restaurant concept called Wrapid (www.wrapid.com) which is on trend with chilled/frozen preformed wraps and burritos.

Dr. Michael Toedt - Managing Partner - TS&C 

Dr. Michael Toedt is Big Data expert for the hotel industry and Managing Partner of Toedt, Dr. Selk & Coll. GmbH (TS&C). TS&C has developed the dailypoint™ software – a Big Data, Marketing and CRM software. Growing up in his parental Hotel and becoming a trained chef with experience in the high-class gastronomy, he knows the hotel business inside out. Later he graduated in business studies with a focus on hospitality and obtained his doctorate in the field of Big Data in the hotel industry in 2015. Apart from his position as Managing Partner at TS&C he is Regional Director at HSMA Süd, Vice President of the Cornell German Chapter, lecturer for Big Data and CRM at the University of Applied Sciences Munich and guest lecturer at diverse universities. Apart from numerous articles about Big Data and CRM, Dr. Michael Toedt published the books „Big Data – Challenges for the Hospitality Industry“(2013) and “Data Revolution – How Big Data will Change the Way of Doing Business“(2014). 

Mark McCulloch - Founder & CEO - WE ARE Spectacular

Mark has 15 years’ experience in brand, marketing, digital, social and PR. He started life at the British music magazines (marketing them to students), then worked in agencies back in 2002 before jumping the fence to work client side at lastminute.com where he rose to European Head of Brand, then moved to senior brand and marketing positions at Barclaycard, YO! Sushi, Blinkbox Music & Pret A Manger. WE ARE Spectacular specialise in branding creation, development, marketing, digital/social media strategy and execution plus headline grabbing, business building PR. Since starting in January 2013, WE ARE Spectacular have worked with many hotel, food, beverage and coffee clients including Red Carnation Hotels, Anglian Country Inns, Fuller’s Inns and Hotels, Costa, Chop’d, YO! Sushi, and SSP (Upper Crust, Caffe Ritazza, James Martin Kitchen, Camden Food Co.).http://www.wearespectacular.com - twitter: @wearespectaculr - Instagram: wearespectaculr

Tom Weaver, CEO, Flypay

Tom Weaver is the co-founder and CEO of Flypay.  After many years advising top retailers, national, and local government on how to adapt to the blurring boundaries between physical and digital customer experiences in bricks and mortar environments, Tom created Flypay in 2013 to tackle a set of very specific pain points in consumer’s experiences of the hospitality industry.

Irene Van Der Watt, Area Manager - Regional UK & I, Expedia Lodging Partner Services

Irene, who has 14 years’ experience in the travel industry, leads the Regional UK and Ireland offices.
Market Management team at the Expedia group.  Responsible for Expedia’s relationships with hoteliers across the region, she and her team provide a consultative service to help hoteliers with their online distribution strategy.  Prior to this role, Irene was responsible for 10 city markets in Scotland and the North of England, building strong, long-term partnerships, and collaborating with Visit Scotland and other key tourism partners, including Edinburgh Festivals. Prior to joining Expedia, Irene was senior contracts manager for Tui UK, based in London. There, she managed supplier relations to ensure optimal financial results for Thomson brands, and helped investigate and propose the viability of new destinations and hotel products.


Carson Booth, VP Global Property Technology, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide 

Carson Booth has over 20 years hospitality technology experience and began his career in hotel and gaming operations in Las Vegas. He currently leads Starwood’s Global Property Technology group which is responsible for establishing and executing the technology strategy for brand & guest innovation, merger and acquisition integration, IT operations and compliance across 1300+ hotels and offices in 100 countries. He greatly enjoys cultivating a high-performing multi-cultural team throughout his organization. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with a concentration in business management from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.  He is a frequent speaker at industry events, currently serves on the Boards of SILC, and is a past director of Hotel Technology Next Generation and Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals. p



HOSPA (Hospitality Professionals Association for Finance, Revenue Management and IT) is a non-profit educational organisation, formed to bring together those hospitality industry professionals involved in Financial Management, Revenue Management and IT. Not only is HOSPA recognised as the UK’s authoritative voice in the hospitality industry on financial management, technical accounting issues, taxation, and hotel valuation, but also as the leading arena for debate on hotel technology developments and issues, and Revenue Management topics, through their prestigious annual HOSPACE Conference and meetings programmes (www.hospace.org) . The membership has expanded to nearly 1,100 members. HOSPA – which has provided an industry specific, hospitality focused programme in Financial Management for over 23 years – has recently introduced a similar programme for Revenue Management. HOSPA is on all major Social media channels especially Twitter on @HOSPATweets

For more information, visit: www.hospa.org