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Commercial forum gives Interstate the edge

Commercial forum gives Interstate the edge

March 23, 2022 | Community, News, Openings, Our Team, Signings


An innovative event bringing together Interstate Hotels & Resorts commercial colleagues and partners from across the globe returned for 2022 full of energy and inspiration for the future.

The Interstate Hotels & Resorts International Commercial Forum provided the opportunity for the team to come together to reflect on the last two years, recognise the star performers, learn from key partners and each other, and to look ahead to the future, understanding future trends to help shape the direction of hotel’s commercial plans.

With the theme of ‘New Horizons’, the event took place at the Crowne Plaza Newcastle aiming to educate and inspire but also to equip delegates with all the latest insights from leading industry experts.

Industry Experts

Joining the forum were Aimbridge colleagues from the US including Andrew Jordan, CMO, Andrew Rubinacci, EVP Revenue Management and Jamie Grittman, SVP Sales Strategy & Innovation.

A trends and insights session took place with Al Turner from Eight PR & Marketing and author of IBTMs Global Trends report. He presented some key themes around the next generation of consumer, sustainability, wellness, diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I), and corporate event trends. He also hosted a panel on sustainability including leading event professionals.

In addition, Aoife Roche from STR gave a market update and Booking.com shared their travel predictions for 2022. Other supporting partners sharing insights included Groups360, IDEAS, Amadeus, Hopper and BCV Rate Gain.

Breakout sessions were run by key partners including Stress Matters ‘Master your day’, Pistachio View ‘How to get noticed’, SmartSpace, and sessions from the Interstate team on ‘Standout Sales’, ‘Customer Journey’ and our new Sales referral tool, Boomerang.

Our generous delegates also donated two shopping trollies worth of food for the People’s Kitchen, a local Newcastle charity that supports vulnerable people without access to nutritious food or a support system around them.

The keynote speaker was Mark Denton highlighting how to help ordinary people to achieve the extraordinary with his amazing leadership story charting the journey of a diverse amateur team competing in one of the world’s toughest yacht races.

An awards ceremony at the heart of the event was an important chance to recognise and reward Interstate’s hard-working team.

Find out what our senior vice president of commercial said

Carol Dodds, senior vice president commercial at Interstate Hotels & Resorts, said: “Our commercial forum offered us valuable and long-awaited time together as a commercial team – the opportunity to reconnect, to network, time to reflect, time to learn, and very importantly, time to celebrate remarkable achievements and have some fun. It truly is a unique event in our industry, that gives us that extra edge as a company and employer.

“The key focus this year was New Horizons as the turn of the year did signal a new phase of recovery with positive indicators across many of our markets

“However, we have had to acknowledge that we now face new challenges. Following the global pandemic, there are some significant headwinds hitting hard such as the costs of covid, spiralling input costs, increasing inflation and cost of living rises.

Added Carol: “There are challenges ahead but one thing is clear from the past two years – we are resilient, and we have such an incredible team. This was such an important message at our forum because out of challenge comes agility, creative thinking, and perseverance, and we need to ensure that we continue to maximise those behaviours as we move forward. The three P’s – people, purpose and possibilities – were a key focus for us.

“We were able to reinforce how we continue to invest in our fabulous people who drive the commercial mission. This event was all about celebrating their successes and giving them the best chance of winning in 2022.

“We gave expert insight and data to support our team to act with purpose in 2022 and ensure their strategies are aligned to the latest market intelligence.

“Finally, one of the most important outputs from the event and this investment in our time together was to drive thinking on possibilities and how we can all continue to grow individually but also as a wider business.

“Overall, this was one of most successful forums to date and we were so pleased to welcome everyone and to receive such wonderful feedback from our colleagues and partners.”

Partner feedback

Warren Mandelbaum from IDEAS, said: “This was without a doubt a comeback conference full of inspiration! Kudos to you all for energising so many hoteliers across multiple brands to take time out and assess their tech stack across Rooms and MICE and ensure they are set up for success through automation!” 

Matthias Schreiner from booking.com added: “After being apart from each other for almost two years this year’s commercial forum and theme was just a breath of fresh air. To be open to new horizons and to stay agile is even more important than ever and the content and guest speakers consistently embraced the theme within their messaging and got everyone excited about the future ahead.”

Dan Humby from Groups360 said: “The Interstate team demonstrated great communication pre-event, and worked hard during the Forum to engage and interact with their suppliers. As well as engagement with key stakeholders, the content was insightful and the team showed great energy throughout.”

Alistair Turner from eight PR said: “Great events have great personality. It’s why events work, it’s why they can inspire, educate and inform, but also last in the minds of those that attend them. Personality can’t be magically created, it sparks from deep in an organization’s culture and then manifests in every small detail of the event journey itself, not least the people who bring it to life. This is a conference with a great personality, in equal parts ambitious, inspirational, empathetic and reflective. It means a lot to be a part of an event like this.”