Report - EuroCHRIE 2015 Conference

After Dubai in 2014, this year's 33rd EuroCHRIE conference, Experience Manchester, hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University was a great success. More than 250 delegates participated including 160 CHRIE members, 57 non-members, 34 students, 11 day delegates. For 88 of them, it was their first EuroCHRIE Conference. There was also a group of students from the University of Nebraska, some of whom were in Dubai last year.

The first time attendees and welcome reception took place on the MMU campus in the new Benzie building, it’s interesting to note that the MMU and the UofM campuses are located on the Oxford Mile with 70‘000 students and 6000 staff, faculty and researchers. The conference venue was the Lowry Hotel, ideally located across the river from the Market street area. The keynote speakers were really exceptional. B. Joseph Pine Jr. demonstrated that experiences are a distinct economic offering and that companies are moving from mass-producing standard offerings to mass-customizing goods and services that efficiently fulfil the wants and needs of individual customers.

Andrea Torrance, a MMU graduate, is now VP Operations, Support, Americas for the Faimont Hotels and Resorts group. She shared her experiences and oulined Fairmont’s moto « Turning moments into memories for our guests ».

Professor Kaye Chon, Dean of School and Chair Professor of Hotel and Tourism Management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University spoke about innovation in our industry. Having built the famed ICON Hotel in Hong Kong, which is also the location of the school, he really went all out to actually « Practice what you teach » and created an ideal environment for both students and staff. He told us how he asked famed actor Jackie Chan to share his experiences with students and even named him honorary professor. Finally Steve Hood from STR, introduced the STR Global SHARE center which provides hotel and tourism data and training materials to more than 400 universities world wide.

Delegates presented and/or participated to numerous paper presentations and workshops. Susan Fournier from Cesar Ritz Colleges Switzerland with Elizabeth M. Ineson, Mariana Sigala, Bob O’Halloran and Brian King presented the Red Global Career Academy : Developing, Writing and Using Case Studies for Educational Purposes

At the Gala Dinner, the EuroCHRIE President’s Award went to Ron Hilvert, a Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne graduate. He worked for Hyatt and recruited students for international Hyatt properties. He then joined the education field and launched the Emirates Academy in Dubai. He put together a great concept: The academic association with EHL together with the luxury brand Jumeirah: The best of both worlds. The Emirates Academy has been a great success for 15 years now with graduates from 60 countries working in luxury properties both in UAE and worldwide. He also has been very supportive of EuroCHRIE in organizing two exceptional conferences in Dubai in 2008 and 2014.

The STR Global « Bridiging the Gap“ Award went to Christian Perrette. He comes from a Swiss hotelier family background. After a Chef apprenticeship at the famed Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel In Lausanne, he gained experience internationally in Germany, UK and Canada. He then studied at Ecole Hôtelière Lausanne and obtained his degree in 1978. He went on to gain more experience abroad and worked in Food & Beverage, Front Office and Accounting in various hotels in Europe and Saudi Arabia. After managing for 2 years the EUROTEL in Crans-Montana Switzerland, he joined Nestlé in 1984. He was appointed General Manager at the Résidence Rive-Reine, the International Conference and Training Center for Nestlé in Vevey Switerland. It is a 65-room property where Nestlé management staff from around the world report for training at the Nestlé World Headquarters. For 27 years, Christian Perrette hosted the executives of the world leading Food and Water company. He was highly appreciated as a host and was praised for his work by Nestlé’s top brass including the former CEOs Helmuth Maucher, Peter Brabeck and current CEO Paul Bulcke. In 2011, Christian Perrette was appointed Executive Director of the Nestlé Pro Gastronomia Foundation which supports training in the Hospitality and Food & Beverage industry, mainly in developing countries in Eastern Europe, Africa and South America. He served on the EuroCHRIE Board as Director of Industry from 2011 until 2014. Normally at EuroCHRIE conferences Christian Perrette would be the one giving the Pro Gastronomia award, unlike this time where he is receiving the STR award…. Well deserved!

Manchester United Stadium Tour

The visit to Old Trafford, home of the world-famous football team, Manchester United was the highlight of the EuroCHRIE 2015 social events. Food and Drinks and a tour which even included a visit to the players locker room!

We also found out that the team stays in a local hotel prior to games, and I was fortunate to get my picture taken with Anthony Martial prior to the Gala Dinner.