Prominent figures from the world of hospitality rubbed shoulders with the next generation of industry leaders at the second Plymouth University Hotel School Patrons Conference.
Hoteliers and broadcasters Alex and Olga Polizzi were among the keynote speakers at the event, where a range of awards were presented to outstanding students.
Peter Ducker, Chief Executive of the Institute of Hospitality, and Danny Pecorelli, Managing Director of Exclusive Hotels, also addressed audiences, while the event was compered by Tony Potter, Chief Executive of hospitality consultancy Brave Eagle.
The conference is designed as a celebration of student achievement, and an opportunity for undergraduates and alumni to enhance their experiences.
“The Hotel School established Plymouth University as one of the leading national centres for hospitality education. In its first two years, it has worked in partnership with key industry figures to create a range of experiences, enhancing our students’ future employability. This conference and prize giving has continued that mission, giving us a chance to celebrate the successes of the past 12 months and discuss opportunities for future initiatives and collaborations.”
Friday’s event was the second staging of the Patrons Conference, and the 2016 event carried the theme of evolutionary hospitality.
Alex Polizzi spoke about The Marriage of Innovation, Technology and Traditional Customer Service and, with her mother Olga, presented the first Lord Forte Scholarships – a £2,500 bursary – to students Aveline Rust (stage 2 cruise management), and Louise Outhwaite (stage 2 hospitality management).
Peter Ducker talked about 2016, The Year of Learning and Danny Pecorelli gave the concluding keynote on How to Succeed in Hospitality.
Plymouth University alumni David Lane, general manager of the Copthorne Birmingham, and Mary Grose, Sales Manager at Jurys Inn in Plymouth, also spoke about their experiences of studying for a hospitality degree and how it prepared them for their careers.
Current students who have excelled in their studies were also presented with Patrons’ Prizes, which include a range of experiences with some of the best known companies in the hospitality sector.
“One of the key aspirations of the Hotel School has always been to give our students the skills and experience to make them ready for the real world. The patrons are an integral part of that, and over the past couple of years they have been involved in a number of exciting projects, providing our students with opportunities to put their knowledge into practice. This conference was an opportunity for all to celebrate and build on our successes as we look towards the future.”