In Dublin last month, we saw two of the largest industry exhibitions take place giving hoteliers, restaurateurs, chefs, and all involved in the industry a chance to network and showcase under two conference roofs. Hospitality Expo took place in the RDS and Food and Bev Live was held in Citywest Conference Centre.
Strangely, the expos occurred on the same two days, which meant attendees were hopping between two conference centres across Ireland’s capital city, much to everyone’s confusion! No doubt both organisers will be keen to space out the two events in 2019 to maximise on footfall and exhibitors for each.
Hospitality Expo 2018
Held in the iconic RDS exhibition building in Dublin 4, the Hospitality Expo saw a record number of attendees this year with 4,872 visitors over the two days. The overwhelming response from the 200+ exhibitors was of strong business interest from a
significant attendance of real decision makers from the industry – owners, proprietors, managers, directors, executives from owner managed and group/chain operations. OpenTable were among the exhibitors at the event and Adrian Valerino, VP at OpenTable EMEA, took part as a guest speaker in the Hospitality Summit – one of six theatres at the event. Another of which was the Tech Summit for which OpenTable were a sponsor.
“For us, it was really important to be a part of the industry here,” Adrian commented at the expo. “We have a team on the ground who are interfacing with lots of restaurants, but being able to be here at the expo to talk about some of the trends we see happening, not only globally, but also here in Dublin, is really exciting. Whether that is the shift to mobile or the number of people actually making online reservations, to be able to share that with restaurants that partner with us, but also with restaurants that don’t, is very key and valuable for us.”
“We love the Irish market,” Adrian continued. “We not only see a growth in number of partners who have joined the service but also the number of reservations that we happening. Also, the shift to mobile – 53% of diners booking reservations on a mobile device, 31% of diners booking within a 90-minute window of wanting a reservation. Seeing those same kinds of trends and patterns make us feel good about being here, that we are helping diners solve a problem in terms of discovering a restaurant and booking. Those are all the things we are excited about when we think about Dublin.”
“There are lots of reasons why restaurants get excited about working with OpenTable, but no-shows is definitely a key issue in the industry today. OpenTable as a platform is pretty unique because it actually does help restaurants cut down on no-shows. Our stats show that. We typically in Dublin see a 6% no-show rate on telephone reservations, that’s much lower online. We believe that’s largely to do with the policing we do, to have the ability to say – ‘hey you’ve already made a reservation on Saturday for 8pm, you can’t make a second one’ – There isn’t another platform in Dublin today that has that kind of sophisticated security or policing like that, other than us. It’s definitely one of the reasons why restaurants love using it,” Adrian concluded.
Other large exhibitors at the event included Dyson who were showcasing their latest technology for hotels and restaurants including their now infamous hair dryers and LED lighting installations for hotel rooms with built-in technology so that it can all be accessed and controlled via a tablet, plus the latest hand dryer designs for restaurant bathrooms, which sees the dryer built into the taps, which means less space being taken up and also splashes are collected in the sink.
The Hospitality Expo also had a large number of food and drinks stands including some smaller Irish producers such as Ballymakenny Farm heritage and speciality potatoes and Naturally Cordial drinks from County Wexford.
Food and Bev Live
On the other side of the city in Citywest Conference Centre, the Irish Foodservice suppliers Alliance and the Restaurant Association of Ireland brought Food and Bev Live 2018 to life over the two days. This is a trade event that caters to those owning, operating and working in restaurants, hotels, gastro pubs, bars, catering companies and leisure establishments across the Ireland and Europe with an emphasis on live events and industry national skills competitions including Chef Ireland Culinary Competition, the 2018 National Barista and Irish Cocktail Championships.
For the first time ever, they hosted the largest Hospitality Technology Summit under one roof, which brought the world’s latest hospitality and tourism technology start-ups to Ireland for a global innovation forum.
Other areas included the Euro-Toques Live Stage and The Chef Network Hub, which had lots of activities for attendees. The Euro-Toques Live Stage involved a line up of talks and culinary information exchanges on topics such as ‘Grow your own’ and Zero to 100 Kilometre Cooking’, Sustainable Fish – practical workshop: sourcing, selling & making fish attractive’ and ‘Social Media: an eye into the kitchen – exploring the dos and don’ts of social media with experts from the media and cheffing world in order to make your profile matter’.
The Chef Network Hub was a combined space of social and hospitality where chefs could meet and also a learning space where chefs exchanged ideas and discussed topics and issues of interest.
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