IHF People Day – A bright future for hotel careers

Thursday, July 04, 2024. 3:00pm
IHF People Day – A bright future for hotel careers
IHF People Day Speakers & Panellists pictured with IHF President, Michael Magner.

Focusing on career development, leadership, wellbeing, inclusivity, AI and more, over two hundred hoteliers from across the country recently gathered at the Midlands Park Hotel in Portlaoise for the third annual Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) People Day – Shaping Brighter Futures Conference.

“The key takeaway for me, is that piece around intelligent recovery and making sure in an industry like hospitality that we take an opportunity to switch off and that we take an opportunity to look after ourselves and recover,” Performance Psychologist Caroline Currid.

Reflecting on the event, IHF President Michael Magner outlines that passionate, empowered and supported people are the defining characteristic of any successful hotel or guesthouse and vital to long-term, sustainable success.

“In our profession, we quite rightly take great pride in the outstanding guest experiences we provide, our warm welcome and the world-class service that defines the Irish hospitality sector. Of course, this is all down to our amazing people and our hotel and guesthouse teams. Contributing to every guest’s smile, every seamless check-in and every memorable stay, are the fantastic people leaders who tirelessly work behind the scenes to make it all happen.

“We are after all a people industry. It is really our teams and countless individuals – right across our sector – who are the backbone of our success. And that is why we are here today – to take a closer look at how we can continue to develop a thriving environment and culture where our people are supported to develop and flourish to their full potential. Our focus is on how we can build on the fantastic progress already being made, creating truly diverse and inclusive workplaces that attract and retain talent and continue to offer great career opportunities to so many people.

IHF People Day – A bright future for hotel careers
IHF President, Michael Magner

“Ours is a profession with an energy and enthusiasm like no other, and one with so many opportunities. And what an amazing profession, with over 65,000 livelihoods directly supported by hotels and guesthouses and over a quarter of a million supported by our wider tourism industry. Combined, this represents 13% of the country’s entire working population. We make such an enormous contribution right throughout the country in every town, city and county the length and breadth of Ireland.

“It is great to have an opportunity to look at how we, as individual businesses, can best accommodate, encourage and enable the many wonderful people who have chosen a career in hospitality. This event not only brings us together, but it also provides a platform to engage in meaningful discussions about vital issues within our sector. An exceptional line up of expert speakers, alongside panels of our peers, discussed insights into how we can create a culture of inclusiveness, personal growth and innovation where our teams have the support they need to achieve their goals.

“This is an essential strategic objective for the IHF and an integral part of our focus on supporting career development and nurturing people within our sector. Right across the country hoteliers are investing in their teams, whether through bespoke education and training initiatives such as the IHF Skillnet programme, or through an increased focus on wellbeing, diversity and inclusion at work.”

“You need to be able to learn in a way that’s constant, and you have to challenge yourself and your team to be able to learn in more detail,”  AI Ireland President Mark Kelly.

IHF People Day – A bright future for hotel careers

Speaking at the event, Broadcaster David Meade said, “People Day has been an incredible opportunity for the industry to come together and ask really big questions, not just about where we all are now but more importantly, where we’re going in the future. I was really struck by the enthusiasm, by the ambition, and by the genuine ability to lean into the tough stuff and the challenges that we’re facing today. It is obvious that the future is bright and that starts with our people.”

“Talent attraction, talent acquisition, talent development is so critically important,” Talent Development Leader Jonathan Logue.

Hotel Manager at Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, Joseph Scott Lennon shared, “I think the key takeaway for me at least would be the value proposition that we’re offering our teams. Knowing how difficult it can be to attract people to our industry. How we make them feel safe, valued and that they’re progressing in their individual careers, whether it stays with us in hospitality or goes into other areas.”

Social Entrepreneur, Dil Wickremasinghe commented, “It’s probably one of the busiest times of the calendar for hotels, and it’s just lovely to see so many people who work in the hotel industry really invested in the topic that I’m speaking about, which is diversity and creating a more inclusive workplace. Everyone can do their piece in relation to creating a more inclusive society.“

IHF People Day – A bright future for hotel careers

Commenting on the career opportunities within the sector, IHF President Michael Magner added: “The world really is your oyster in this wonderful profession. It is such a dynamic industry offering excellent career prospects, swift promotional opportunities and what can only be described as a life less ordinary where you get to meet and work with great people. Our hotels sector in particular offers great potential for career progression with management roles across all areas of operations – whether your ambition is to work in general management or to focus on a particular area such as sales and marketing, food and beverage, IT or HR. A career in tourism presents a wide range of exciting options suitable for individuals at any stage of their working lives.”

IHF People Day 2024 was kindly supported by Alkimii, Fáilte Ireland and the Irish Hotels Federation Skillnet.

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