Hospitality & Tourism

Published: June 9, 2020 | Updated: June 9, 2020

United voice: Hoteliers across south join forces for first time to share info and help each other

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Hoteliers across Dorset and Hampshire have joined together for the first time to share information and speak with one voice.

BH Area Hospitality Association (BAHA), which covers BH postcodes, has united with Southampton and Region Hoteliers Association covering SO postal addresses.

Both are also starting to work with contacts in Weymouth, Portsmouth and the New Forest.

They have been holding Zoom calls, exchanging emails and video messages and even holding quiz nights to keep connected.

The chairs of each region have also maintained regular contact and cascaded information as appropriate.

The associations have also joined forces with local councils, city, town and coastal Business Improvement Districts, Business South, economic development offices and the Institute of Hospitality.

Tim Seward, BAHA’s Chair, pictured left, said: “United voices in such a time of uncertainty have never been more important than now.

“During these strange and ever changing times, it is essential that we all work together to share best practice collaboration and helping each other out is key to our future success.

“The hospitality industry has been hit hard, it was one of the first impacted, and likely to be a long road to recovery ahead.

“We are all working hard behind the scenes to understand the vast amount of information out there, and very much reliant on government initiatives and consumer behaviour.

“There have been countless webinars, podcasts, Zoom calls and blogs on what the future may look like.

“A lot of the venues in the area rely on very different guest segmentations, ranging from conference venues, wedding venues and small independents to large branded environments.

“One thing that unites us all is our desire to welcome our guests back to the ‘central south’ as soon as  we are able.”

Richard Powell, Chair, Southampton and Region Hoteliers Association, pictured right, added: “The area has a big seasonal leisure trade, with ferries to France, cruise ships, wonderful beaches and such amazing attractions across the whole of the Hampshire and Dorset area as well as two incredible National Parks in the New Forest and South Downs.

“The ability to navigate our way through the vast amount of information, and to share best practice across the region is very important.

“We want to make sure that all our businesses are fit and ready to give guests confidence to return as soon as able.

“We also have had a big focus across the area on our teams.

“As leaders in the area, we want to make sure that we are looking out for our teams during this time of massive uncertainty.

“That uncertainty can cause anxiety to many and keeping up clear communication has been very important to us.

“A united voice has been a key focus.

“We have ensured that hotels and hospitality remains firmly at the top of the local recovery agenda, with a key focus on the mental wellbeing of teams, with free webinars laid on in association with the Institute of Hospitality.

“We have worked together on various initiatives, such as codes of action and best practice, so that we can ensue team and guest confidence on a gradual and safe return.

“Hospitality is one big family and having a united voice across the central south has never been more important than it is now.”